Posted by: David Stewart | June 18, 2013

Sidebar: Don’t fly Pegasus Air, if you can help it

This is part of a series of posts about our Spring 2013 trip

If you travel to Turkey and you want to spend some time outside of Istanbul (which you should), try to avoid Pegasus Air. If you can.

Our trip in April of 2013 was roughly a week in Istanbul, and then roughly a week-long drive from Izmir to Goreme in Cappadocia. I highly recommend that you take the extra time to see some of the amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites around the country. They are quite accessible by car.

But unless you want to take extra days driving or taking the trains into and out of Istanbul, you will likely want to fly one of the regional airlines to save some money.

Pegasus Air is a Turkish regional, and is generally the low price option. But if you can, you might want to try a higher-priced option. Their flights are cheap because they charge extra for nearly everything – food, drinks – and restricted us from carrying on our luggage so we had to check it.

The four of us made two separate journeys with them – one from Istanbul to Izmir and another from Kayseri (in Cappadocia) to Istanbul. On both flights, we had some serious issues with checked baggage and the airline seemed pretty unsympathetic to make things right.

  • On the first flight, the security at the Istanbul airport would not allow my brother-in-law (Court) to carry his umbrella on to the airplane and forced him to check it. When we arrived in Izmir, the handle had been snapped off, leaving a very sharp point, and making the umbrella pretty much useless.
  • On this same flight, my sister (Susan) checked a roll aboard type suitcase. The suitcase came back seriously¬†abraded, like it had been dragged under a pile of heavier objects along the tarmac. She had checked this bag for years in flights all over Asia and the US and never seen this kind of damage before.
  • On the flight from Kayseri to Istanbul, my sister again had to check her bag and when she received it, the stuff inside was soaking wet. Even though it was not raining that day, it looked like the bag had been left soaking in water for quite some time. (Hopefully it was only water, thankfully it didn’t smell worse).

Of course, had the airline staff been the least bit sympathetic or had the smallest intent to make things right, we would probably have been fine with this. After all, mistakes happen. People have bad days. But the ground staff at both airports simply showed us a form which indicated that they had no liability. After returning home we checked the airline’s web site and were only offered forms to fill out to document the damage and loss and make a claim.

I have long had the policy to avoid checking luggage if at all possible for just such stories of mishandling, theft, lost baggage and the like. But when an airline is trying to save so much money that they force you to check your stuff, you have no choice.

I will say that Pegasus is trying to be “cute” – their safety video is the funniest we have seen of any airline – but this doesn’t create a positive experience if you fail on the most basic values of service.

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