Russian tourists demand refunds after Turkish Airlines suspend flights
Moscow - Dozens of Russian tourists have been standing for hours in front of the office of Turkish Airlines in Moscow trying to change or refund their tickets after Russia suspended flights to Turkey.
On Monday, Russia announced that it was suspending air traffic with Turkey, a favourite tourist destination of Russian tourists, from April 15 to June 1 due to Covid-19 concerns.
Tourists who bought tickets were left hanging, as tour operators were advised to suspend the sale of tour packages to Turkey. On Wednesday, Turkish Airlines, the national airline of Turkey, vowed to help the Russian tourists refund or change their tickets.
Elena, one of the customers of Turkish Airlines, has been standing in front of its office for nearly 6 hours with her teenage daughter.
“It is force majeure,” she admitted, adding that the whole queue consisted of those who bought transit flights.
She told Sputnik that her family bought a transit flight from Moscow to Istanbul, whence they were due to travel to the Egyptian resort city of Hurghada.
“The company does not say anything, yesterday we tried to call the [airline's] hotline, got through, but the flights have not been cancelled yet, they told us we cannot do anything until the cancellation is made. Then at 22.00, we started receiving messages via SMS and email saying that flights were cancelled from Moscow to Istanbul,” she said, adding that nobody knew what to do.
Elena said that she saw via glass doors that the Turkish Airlines team was still in the office and was working hard to fix the situation.
Another woman came to the office to get information for her friends who were stuck in Egypt.
“[They were supposed to make] a transfer in Istanbul. But then the flights from Istanbul to Moscow were cancelled. Of course, they are worried, they do not know how to get home,” she told Sputnik.
According to the Russian consumer health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, the decision to suspend flights was made after Turkey had been seeing record Covid-19 infections for days on end and a considerable share of mutated strains of the coronavirus.