When a Coup d’Etat Interferes with Your Travel Plans

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My heart goes out to Turkish people. Everything in this post is completely irrelevant compared to the massive loss of lives. My reason for writing it is that it might help someone in the future.

I caught the first mention of the Turkey coup while on my way back to the hotel from the ABBA museum yesterday night. It was brief and very general. Yahoo News was obviously trying to say as little as possible.

I was supposed to fly to Istanbul on Sunday at 6AM, and the extent of what happened wasn’t immediately clear. A government official blabbered something about a small group of military officers who attempted a coup d’etat, the statement ended with assurances that the country would prevail. Something to that extent. By the time I got home, I turned to the Most Trusted Name in News — Twitter.

The more I read — the clearer it became that things were serious. The military had seized major TV stations, and Erdogan to appeal to the public in a cellphone in a cellphone video. The airports in Ankara and Istanbul had been shut down, as well as the bridges over Bosphorus in Istanbul. As someone on Twitter said (paraphrazing), it looked less and less like an attempted coup and more and more like a coup. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel like going.

ANA Came Through Again!

Those of you who have read my musings about my new favorite airline (especially this one) know a saga about how ANA saved my ass in Sao Paulo. And they did it again this time too.

Here was my ANA itinerary (88,000 ANA miles +$308 taxes and fees):

  1. EWR-TXL
  2. ARN-MUC-IST
  3. IST-JFK

Since flying to Turkey was out of question a that point, I briefly considered going someplace else, but since I had set my heart on Istanbul, I decided to go straight home. The agent put me on hold then told me that Turkish Airlines had canceled all Saturday flights to and from Ataturk, but not the Sunday’s. I politely mentioned that I wouldn’t be ecstatic flying into the war zone even if the airline allowed me to do so. Bear in mind that it was a war zone on Friday night, and no one in their sound mind would’ve been able to predict how or how fast it would end.

So, she put me on another short hold, then told me there was an available business class seat on Lufthansa to JFK via Munich. She also waived additional fuel surcharges fees, I would have to pay due to the difference between Turkish and Lufthansa YQs. As she explained, they wouldn’t charge me anything extra because the circumstances were beyond my control.

Well, I’m very frustrated about not going to Istanbul. I’d been looking forward to finally visiting this fascinating city for a long time. On the other hand, I’m very happy with the resolution. Flying home tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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