Turkish Airlines: World’s Worst Airline for Pets

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Let’s Adopt! is presenting Turkish Airlines with the World’s Worst Airline for Pets Award.

It’s a traveler’s nightmare, moving to another city with your pet, arriving to the Turkish Airlines Check-in desk at the airport and being forced to make an impossible choice: Board the plane but leave your beloved family pet behind.

That Turkish Airlines is not particularly fond of animals doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Four years ago Turkish Airlines shocked the world when some of its employees sacrificed a camel at Istanbul Ataturk Airport to celebrate their job done.

The animal was killed, quartered and the bloody pieces of meat distributed amongst workers.

You would have thought a member of the Star Alliance would have learned its lesson but no… For the last year we have been receiving an astonishing number of emails from angry passengers informing us that the reservations of their animals were cancelled at the very last minute.

Complaints were put forward but no action was taken.

Let’s Adopt! has tried for the last year to improve the procedures of the airline but all efforts have been in vain. Dog reservations are being cancelled across the board.

Today we were told that Temel Kotil, president and CEO of the Turkish Airlines , was not available for comment, but instead H. Ilyas Demirbek from THY Ground Services left the following comments in our Facebook Page: We give priority to humans. Animals are ENEMY to Turks.

Bearing in mind that Ground Services is in charge of handling animal passengers I guess there is little else to say (!!!)

Next time you fly to Turkey, look at your dog and think of having to leave him behind. We encourage all passengers flying in and out of Turkey to make alternative arrangements until the situation at Turkish Airlines is normalized.

Let’s Adopt! recommends the services of Iberia, Air France and Lufthansa for Europe bound flights.

Have you got any bad experience in the way Turkish Airlines has handled your animals? Tell us, leave a comment here…


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120 comments on “Turkish Airlines: World’s Worst Airline for PetsAdd yours →

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  1. Three times no success with the rezervation!!! My Sarı in a pension waiting for a flight.

    And the ones who think animals are their enemies are my enemies.

  2. sabine nowack says:

    I’m say just
    urg Temel Kotil for this one sentence from you : We give priority to humans. Animals are ENEMY to Turks.
    And I will warn everyone who wants to fly with THY ! This is a promise !!!!!!!!

  3. After reading this:
    I called THY to make a booking from Ankara to Istanbul on the 1st of October for myself and my two cats. The person on THY told me that it was impossible because they have a one pet per flight on cabin policy. I read the page again and though that she had probably made a mistake. I went on THY agency in Ankara (the one near Gina cad) and they confirmed the same thing to me. After talking to them and showing them the page they decided to make the booking anyway. But a few hours before the flight, I called to confirm the booking and they told me that the booking was cancelled because I had more than one cat.
    As a result I had to travel by train (they also have restriction for animals) and the whole journey lasted for 16 hours! It was an absolute nightmare both for me and my cats!!
    I hope THY will change their policy soon and be more animal friendly!

  4. This airline has “Turkish” in their name and I am ashamed!!!
    Animals are NOT Enemy tu Turks you moron!!! And I will be the enemy to your company and you will lose your job !!!

  5. Umit Ozbucak says:

    that is what kind of a stupid thinking… How can they say ‘ animals are enemy to turks’ !!! I am Turk too and I am ashamed of them due to their insane behaviour

  6. Daniela Beier says:

    The thought of leaving one of my pets in their (THY) responsibility is unbearable after the comments and reports we got today. I would rather walk to turkey than book a flight at this airline, with or without a dog. Luckily, there are other airlines, so I won’t have to walk. Instead I will choose a flight company which doens’t forget that service does not only mean offering drinks…
    And of course I will stop everyone I know from flying with THY which won’t be difficult after letting people know they way THY and their employees treat pet owners and their animals.

  7. Unfortunately we do not fly thy anymore, as we always travel with our dogs.
    Last time as I would like to check in, I have been told “pls wait a side, as I have a passanger now” as if I was not a passenger at all, not bought a ticket and not made the cargo reservation for our dogs and not ready to pay the cargo fee. Also our cat in the cat box at the cargo area had been dropped and our cat got escaped and has never been found again.. After months of long correspondence, thy gave us a one way ticket. as if it was the value of our cat ! I assume and think that H. Ilyas Demirbek from THY Ground Services comment “We give priority to humans. Animals are ENEMY to Turks” is not correct. he rather had to say say “We give priority to humans. Animals are ENEMY to THY”. It is very sad. Such a good airlines but such unfriendliness towards to animals.
    But they should know, that once we suggested to everyone when they fly to Turkey or from Turkey, that they should fly with THY. Those were the days and now offcourse we will suggest them to fly with an airline, which is not the enemy to the animals.I thought that THY considers the commercial value of the cargo fees of the animals and the ticket had been sold. Appearently THY is making a discrimination. What a pitty.

  8. T. Crawford says:

    Hello Humans and Animals,

    We give priority to humans and animals. TURKS are enemy of Europe and the civil world all together.

    Turkish Airlines and people who agree with this company, can shove their comments up their ASS !!!!!!!!

  9. Ok THY can be an enemy to animals but ”TURKS ARE NOT ENEMİES TO ANIMALS!”Just because of the airline you can’t consider every Turk enemy to animals!Please be careful with the words you choose!Plus how do you now Turks are enemies to animals?Have you ever met a Turk?How can you classify 81 million people into one category?

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Hulu, those were the statements of a THY employee.
      Read the article again.

  10. As a former agent I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by THY’s statement and actions!

    This is 2010. Turkey is eager to join the European Union. THY is a shameful representative of Turkey. It is time for Turkey to come out of the stone age and make an attempt to become a civilized society.
    At this point your street animals show more grace and strength than your people.

    I will advice all my colleagues across Europe and the US, agency owners, as well as fellow travelers + friends not to book or travel THY and to tell their clients why.
    I invite everyone to do the same, especially our European friends. e-mail/fax the poster to all travel agencies across your cities.

  11. Interesting i had a similar problem trying to fly to geneva i actually couldnt use my ticket after having bought it I am glad you guys are bringing this up ILl never fly Thy again unless i really have to

  12. bloody pieces of meat (as it could be otherwise)? the racial undertones in the article?
    very important point raised; wrong attitude used.. tsk tsk!!

  13. Öykü Burma Sauzeau says:

    We flew with THY in may with my 2 cats.I kept one beside me in cabin and other was in cargo.I’ve disturbed them many times about conditions,if cabin was ready bla bla…Fortunately we haven’t got any problem but ı confess ı was worried during flight.(and Viktor, if you remember ı was very worried about if something happens..)

    I’ve heard many times similar stories about THY. and if you pay attention you’ll see that everyday THY has one problem interested with their flights too

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      You flew with cats..
      with dogs is a VERY different story

  14. T. Crawford says “TURKS are enemy of Europe and the civil world all together”

    T. Crawford is another loser with his irrelevant and racist comments regarding an important issue.

  15. Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines says:

    Dear Viktor,

    I feel very bad about the article you write about Turkish Airlines, and I am answering this claim at middle of this night, 12:41 AM Turkish time, because of my bad feeling.

    I check our HR database and there is no body working in my company with the name of H. Ilyas Demirbek. I personally like pets and if you feel we are not best airline for pets, I promise, Turkish Airlines will be best airline for pets.

    You dear customers trust us and last 6 years we triple our passenger numbers. This year we are carrying 30 million passengers. We are fastest growing airlines and targeting became biggest in ten years on the earth. We are four stars carrier and targeting became first European five stars carrier at 2011.

    I am CEO at Turkish Airline last six years and our priority is passenger first, of course with their pets. I am assuming your experience is correct and I would like to give my e-mail address for future communication. Please provide me more detail for your travel, I will investigate it.

    My e-mail is: tkotil@thy.com

    Best Regard

    Temel Kotil, PhD
    Turkish Airlines Inc.
    Tel: +90 212 465 2128
    Fax: +90 212 465 2020

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Dear Temel,

      Thank you very much for your reply.
      I apologize for causing unnecessary suffering to you but this is an
      issue we have been experiencing for months, and its not only us, but
      many others as well (you can read the comments in our blog).
      With your permission I will call your office tomorrow morning to
      discuss the matter personally.
      I look forward to finally put an end to this unfortunate situation
      that for so long has forced us, and so many others, to seek
      alternative arrangements for our travels.
      Kind regards

      Viktor Larkhill

  16. Well, I see the message from the CEO. Hope he read all the other messages and gets in touch with you. I emailed him myself. Will be watching if he fixes his airline. Glad he did not like it himself. Let us know what your communication with him is and if the problem actually gets fixed. Can not believe a representative of the airline would be so disgraceful as to have sad animals are enemies.. Such an evil thing to say. Did it get to the newspapers ?

  17. I hope this never-ending story is going to have a good end at last. We all would be very glad if THY would really become the most pet-friendly airlines of the world!

  18. sabine nowack says:

    I agree with Aysin !

  19. The whole “not allowing pets on the plane” is a bummer I agree..


    If you have a problem with sacrificing animals at construction projects you are obviously a stranger to Turkish customs.. because: EVERY SINGLE MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT in Turkey starts and/or finishes with a sacrificial ceremony.. you just can’t help it.. if you don’t do this, workers will blame you for it ever time an accident happens..

    yes, I know it sounds primitive but that’s just the way it is here..

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      An embarrassing and unacceptable “custom” for a major airline.
      Sometimes some things must be left for the privacy of home or better, eliminated alltogether.

  20. This blog for a good cause has been turned into a frenzy of “Let’s smash the Turks”. And Mr. Victor still keeping such comments up is not an impartial way of keeping a modern and civil way of fighting for a good cause. And also with all due respect, how can someone with and educated mind can publish a facebook comment as the official statement of a billion dollar company yet alone whole nation. It is very highly of Mr. Kotil to answer such allegations on the basis of a “facebook comment”, what gives hope that Turkish Airlines and whole nation is on its way to a better and “more” civilized nation. Turks are enemies of neither animals nor anything else, as our great Ataturk has said Peace at home, peace in the world.
    That is said, I hope Turkish Airlines will correct its policy on pets and better succeed on its way to be the best airlines in the world. They should understand that, in modern societies pets have become family members.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Sabri, that statement came from a THY employee in charge of handling the animals.
      It was published as it is a reflection of what goes on inside the company.
      If our great Ataturk (and his dog Fox) were still alive they would very likely not fly THY but Lufthansa.

      Read the comments and you’ll see there is a serious issue here.. if there wasn’t Mr. Kotil wouldn’t have bothered.

  21. yasemin Baban says:

    For many years I have been flying THY with my dogs I still keep the records of how many flight a year and how much money I spent for tickets and cargo fees. Now all this amounts are going to different foreign companies. How many times did I return with my dog back home although his place was confirmed. How many foreigners were refused to fly with their pets! I and they made several written complaints to which THY never dared to reply! They only kept on lying pretending an answer was mailed. You can never plan to travel with your pet with THY. Now I fly with other companies and am very happy with it. No more stress and unlikely discussions with the unpleasant staff of the check-in counters. Now my pets are confirmed flying well ahead before I buy my tickets and until now not a single time refused since three years!

  22. Yesim Ozok says:

    3 years ago I had a very bad experience with THY too.
    They forced me choose one of my cat to take with me and live other one behind(!)
    Even I had 2 reservations they said they can’t take both of them.It was a international flight and I was coming home.
    Can you imagine living one of your pet at the international airport? Who does that?
    After hours of argueing and stress I came home with both of them.
    If I need to travel with my pets I never fly with them again.Good luck tomorrow,I hope everything changes:)

  23. K. Farley says:

    Any discrimination against pets is just WRONG!!!

  24. Britta Webber says:

    The size of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by how it treats its animals. (Mahatma Gandhi)

  25. Firat A.Yildiz says:

    they spend millions of dollars for soccer teams…
    THY is official sposor of Barcelona, Manchetser United, vs…
    when will they be an offical sponsor for homeless animals ???

  26. Barbaros Sansal says:

    they are murderer of a saint bernard travelling from usa to turkey too

  27. Cansu Ciga says:

    they go for the fame, recently they are very active on tv, internet and radio commercials. “serving the “best” food for economy class, sponsoring famous teams etc…” and we made them this rich. from now on, for our next flight, lets make sure that we check the alternatives first! they should know that there are many people in turkey who love animals and it is guaranteed that they will spread thy’s stupid attitude!

  28. Diane Harrison says:

    If this airline chooses not to accept animals for in cabin or cargo travel, then we as customers will refuse to choose them as an airline to travel with. If every animal lover boycott’s them, then I am sure they will change their minds and policies quite quickly. Speak with your money, there is nothing else that resonates so loudly to any public or private company.

  29. Tuba Yalcin says:

    I brought my dogs from Turkey to Canada (2 big labs) via KLM airlines. They’re great and super professional. If anybody needs information about it, I’ll be happy to help.

  30. Ahmed Adam says:

    i’m surprised that Turkish Airlines would do that! i thought dey wud be by far better dan Middle East Airlines or Egypt Air, yet i’m beginning to think otherwise.. Egypt Air, despite everything culture n religion, were amazing with my dog…… dey flew her for free! And Middle East Allowed me 2 keep my cats with despite a fully booked flight and losing their documents!Maybe i was lucky both times! Maybe it happens more often! However, i’m sure through the tenacity and dedicated hard work of Let’s Adopt members n followers, THY will reconsider n change deir attitude! i mean THEY want to convey which message to the world bout Turkeys’ attitude to animals, especially dogs again?!!

  31. Aydın Kurtoğlu says:

    Feel like a star değil Feel like a jerk demeliler sloganlarına

  32. Reading between the lines…are you not convinced about his message ? If someone asked me I would say, you already nailed him at his statement…he has written in black & white” if you feel we are not best airline for pets, I promise, Turkish Airlines will be best airline for pets”. That sounds like a promise….

  33. Lynne Dobroski says:

    Viktor after reading this please do not fly Sparky to me with this airline. There has to be better international options.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Don’t worry… after this things are going to change.
      We rely on fligh volunteers to fly our animals. We cannot afford to choose airlines.

  34. Yesim Ozok Saucedo says:

    ‎3 years ago I had a very bad expirence with THY too.They forced me choose one of my cat to take with me and live other one behind(!) Even I had 2 reservations they said they can’t take both of them.It was a international flight and I was coming home.Can you imagine living one of your pet at the international airport? Who does that? After hours of argueing and stress I came home with both of them.If I need to travel with my pets I never fly with them again.Good luck tomorrow,I hope everything changes:)

  35. My friends cat : yamyam was lost by Turkish Airlines a month ago, they simply sent pets cage to baggage claim empty, we tried everything but couldnt get any respond from Turkish Airlines, Only think they said was : Please inform us about your properties estimated value for insurance matters.

    AS we were informed my helpful individuals on airport and tarmac, Yamyam was seen on airport(specially aroun technic service) but we recieved no help, or movement from Turkish Airlines.

    Yes Turkish Airlines is the “WORST” airlines for your pet! and for you too!!

    Do not fly with em!

  36. @Aydın Kurtoğlu dostum nerene battı starda jerk diyorsun.THY gördüğün en kaliteli hizmeti veren havayollarından.Sırf siyasi görüşüne göre hayatı yorumlayan “jerk”dir aslında.

  37. they should ban kids who are younger than 5 years old instead of animals. They are really a big annoyence in flights..especially at long distance flights sitting next to a woman with an infant is a hell ride :(

  38. Sacrificing of animals (before that humans) are part of very very old pagan rituals, before Abraham even…religions adopted this in order to be able to turn Pagans into believers of a single Deity – be it Allah, Yahweh or God, blending old customs with new religious practices…Anatolia is a wonderful mix of religious beliefs and practices – has been for millenia before Christ. Instead of deriding this practice, learn some history! However, such practices should be kept private – I agree with Victor. No need to create a bloodbath on the tarmac! Such advertising is the way of AKP, the ruling party of the moment which has appointed Mr. Temel Kotil as CEO of THY.
    My daughter has just lost her cat on the flight between Dalaman-Istanbul. The empty catbox came out of the cargo bay! THY WOULDN’T LET HER GO SEARCH FOR HER CAT – no clearance they said – outside on the tarmac…THY is not an animal-friendly airline, I also agree and they should be boycotted!

  39. I did not read all the messages here. All I have to say – and I hope Mr Kotil reads this, for he did not reply to the email message I sent him weeks ago – is that Turkish Airlines LOST my cat on a flight from Dalaman to Istanbul. We were traveling with 3 pets, 2 cats and a dog. One of my cats came on board with us, my other cat and dog had to go below. My dog came out fine, my cat’s cage came out empty. We tried to get people to look for her, filed a complaint (had to file her as “lost luggage”), called day after day, but to no avail. I am still too upset to write too much about this, but my cat has not been found, I wrote to Mr Kotil and THY Customer Services, and received no reply. Nobody called to say, we’re doing this and that to find your cat. They only called to say, what do you want in damages? I just want my cat!!! But since they have not done anything to find her, we are going to sue them, I want everyone to know what happened. Turkish Airlines may not be the worst airline in the world when it comes to pets, I am not that well-travelled to know, but they sure must be one of the absolute worst.

    For those interested, here is the news story HaberTürk published after speaking with my husband: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=457850878208&set=a.57083463208.53613.536678208
    And here is the news on atv (again in Turkish) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xf0zjv_yamyam-atv-ana-haber_news

    And if anyone, anywhere can help us find our cat Yamyam, it will be most deeply appreciated…

  40. Ozlem Amedcıoglu says:

    I had to travel to USA ones with my two cat, THY put my cats carry on front of dog carry on in Chigago Airport, Whole airport herd my cats screams.
    It wass terrible,they do not know how to carry pets.

  41. Joëlle Lag says:

    I do not leave, I stay with my pet!

  42. Laura Raseman says:

    You are losing business.

  43. Semra Adanır ‎ says:

    GET YOUR CARGO AREA OF YOUR AIRPLANES,where you put the animals,CHECKED ONCE IN A WHILE IF THE HEAT IS WORKING!!!!…i don’t want the dead lifeless cold body of my pet to be delivered(happened to someone else in front of my eyes, a saint bernard from NY to IST) that was the last time i used THY for any of my pets…

  44. Shirly Bluvestein Levy says:

    what is this??????? the Middle Ages ???????????????

  45. Marianne Meehan says:

    May the Curse of The Immortal Mongrels be cast upon you Turkish Airlines!!

  46. sabine nowack says:

    They had write let a message in our blog ( all a lie ) . When they keep their promise . In the year 2050 or what . They harm only themselves with their behavior . Because there are other airlines the a heart for animals have .
    Well then good night, THY !!!

  47. sabine nowack says:

    I forgot to say: Mister Temel Kutil needs a foster home, where he learns how he to behave properly!!!!

  48. Enemy to Turks? Enemy to Turks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Blood-freezing!

  49. Elçin Karadoğan says:

    A pet is much more to people as you think you know, THY! I will not prefer Turkish Airlines, ever! How can a cat get lost i don’t get it. Don’t think s/he just ran away by chance.
    You think that cat is simply a lost & found item?!? It’s a breathing, living thing and you know it! What if a child had been lost… what would Turkish Airlines do, this really makes me wonder…


  50. Sabine Nowack says:

    They had write let a message in our blog ( all a lie ) . When they keep their promise . In the year 2050 or what . They harm only themselves with their behavior . Because there are other airlines the a heart for animals have .
    Well then g…ood night, THY !!!

  51. Burcu Küçükgüner says:

    It s a shame Turkısh Aırlınes, the biggest aırlıne in Turkey has that attitude. They have got to take actıon ımmedıatlely in order to save the leftover reputatiıon they have!!!!

  52. Well, I have not travelled with Turkish Airlines yet but what I have read so far from others who did, I have to say I would not pick Turkish Airlines unless the managment makes sure, animals are transported savely and the cancellations will stop. I am also not sure why that is, I mean, the animals transportations are paid too. They can not make their customers change the entire schedule.

  53. Ahmed Adam says:

    For an Ignorant and uncaring CEO n company like these, well, i know you guys know the next step! PROTEST the hell out of them in Turkey n outside Turkish embassies globally! n with media coverage that will surely zap them to reality! Can/will they risk public humiliation especially in Europe? Go get them guys!

  54. Semra Adanır says:

    I was a student in U.S at the time.so it must be 4-5 years ago.there was another student a girl who where coming back to Turkey for good.so she took her dog with her.i dont know the girl personally thats why i can not tell you the name etc. but i remember like it was yesterday.we got out of the plane waiting for the baggages to come out.her dog come out with the cage i was interested to see what was in there. she opened the cage.the dog was stone cold(freezingly cold) she started to scream help vet etc.of course nobody could do anything other then trying to calm her.not only the dog but some peoples stuff also came out of the plane very very cold,so we figured something was wrong with the cargo area heating.
    it was on the news,i vaugly remember what was on the news.then THY offered her another st bernard a pupy!!!! like a joke i remember that…..
    horriable…you might find the report on the news from archives or smthin.witnessing something like that kept me from travelling with my golden ret.so thats the story…

  55. Jennifer Gillis says:

    Get your check book out Turkish Airlines! This is NO WAY to treat your customers pets or your customers. You SUCK!

  56. Pat Goldberg says:

    I don’t have time for an airline that refuses pets and will not treat them with respect. Would never use them or let anyone I know use them

  57. Mj Murphy says:

    Dear Sir, as a human who has companion animals, I am deeply disappointed in your comments that show such disregard for ‘pets’ -this disregard us also diregard & disrespect for me, an airline passenger.
    As a result, I feel I will also be treated negligently by your airline. Not only have you lost any business from me, you have jeopardized the jobs of all THY personnel and been irresponsible to your airline’s stakeholders. If you do not intend to change your position, the public backlash could result in significant decrease in passenger traffic, loss of revenue & jobs – one of which is ultimately yours. You have also provided extremely negative media attention for the beautiful nation you are fortuinate enough to call home, painting all it’s citizens in a negative manner.
    I strongly recommend and urge you to rethink your harsh position and foolish stand in favour of a more balanced and progressive position
    Sincerely, MJ Murphy

  58. Petra Henle says:

    please be fair to the people and animals around the world who want to come together.

    greetings petra Henle

  59. Oscar Üzüm says:

    We the cats incise to live as humans , I am a Turkish cat and proud of being that, so my adoptives too, cares us as own child…

  60. Marie Stutzig says:

    I would rather swim to Turkey than fly with this crap airline.

  61. Jaqueline Ritter says:

    I will never fly Turkish Airlines again!!!

  62. Yelda Benezra says:

    We are turkish airlines, we are globally yours, really?????
    Then how come you cancel without notice… pls explain!!!

  63. Dinny Crast says:

    Mj Murphy said it all – unfortunately the intelligence level of the Turkish Airlines’ CEO is hardly high enough for him to comprehend the message.

    Again, what’s the prob? If there are alternatives, then why would ANYONE fly with Turkish Airlines? Strange though that they can afford the negative pubblicity in a time where all global airline companies are fighting for survival.

    Love your fur kids? Don’t fly Turkish!

  64. Marianne Søndergaard says:

    Good to know this, since we’re taking home two dogs from Turkey in about three months! Now it will certainly NOT be by Turkish Airways! Imagine to hand over your animal to them, knowing they consider it the enemy! Sick! Sick! Sick!

  65. Colleen McKoy says:

    Turkish Airlines… did you not see all the THOUSANDS of People marching not too long ago for Animal Rights ?!?! Right There in Turkey ?? do you think any of them will EVER fly your AIRLINE ?!?! You are VERY out of touch with the people, and your business will suffer because of it !!

  66. Eser Batbay says:


  67. Jayne Matthews says:

    I was thinking of going on holiday to Turkey next year, however not only will I not travel on an airline that treats my family with such disrespect, but I will avoid Turkey altogether and go somewhere where family members, be they human or animal are treated with the respect and consideration they deserve. I would call the CEO of this airline company an animal, but that would be an insult to animals worldwide who have more compassion, respect and generosity in their little claw than he has in his entire body. Shame on you sir, that you have the ignorance and arrogance to think yourself better than animals, when the only difference is you have flexible fingers/hands to hold and operate things with and you can speak the human language. ANIMALS ARE ENEMIES OF THE TURKS, then that makes YOU AN ENEMY OF MINE

  68. sabine nowack says:

    All my friends who want to fly to Turkey (matter with animal or not) I will warn before this Airline (THY) .

  69. Diana Nemtseva says:

    It’s a real disgrace that a Star Alliance partner company that positions itself as a leading airline has no respect for its passengers travelling with animals. Animals are passengers too, they do not travel free and they deserve the respect… and comfort that any other passenger is getting. Discrimination between people and people with animals shows that Turkey is in the Stone Ages. I as a frequent Star Allince traveller am boycotting this airline and Turkey. I will never use this airline or travel to Turkey for tourism or buy anything made in Turkey and will urge all my friends and colleagues to do the same.

  70. Nora Singleton says:

    Animals are not the enemy! It would be easy to accomodate flyers with their animals. Try Marketing something positive and it will increase your ticket sales. =)

  71. Pelin Tezer Zirh says:

    Some years ago when THY had more crashes than their normal landings, they were called “THY … Fly and Die”.

    A new motto “THY … Makes us CRY” will suit their actual 3rd world country behaviour! Paying zillions for a commercial (Kevin Cost…ner) does not make an airliner a contemporary airline. Looking forward to the ratification of 5199!

  72. Anu Raatikainen says:

    What has happened is outrageous and the airline not taking responsibility & actions to correct the situation is even more outrageous – a model example of really bad customer service and incredible ignorance on animal’s safety. I will definitely tell everyone in FB about your airline’s code of conduct or more precisely the lack of it!

  73. Angela Berghoff says:

    I’m doing business – I fly with the airline I can RELY on. So when I see my belongings are treated like shit, I won’t fly with them. As if there were no other possibilities.. I don’t have the time to waste my nerves worrying about my pets, …I want to travel safe, that’s what I pay for. And if this is not guarranteed, I won’t spend my money on this company.

  74. bien lamentable de la part d’une compagnie aérienne d’un pays moderne….reste à espérer que Temel Kotil , qui au moins ne semble pas pratiquer la langue de bois, tiendra parole. Sans quoi beaucoup de passagers, dont moi et ma famille, risqueraient de se détourner de THY….wait and see…
    Quant aux considérations ridicules de certains par rapport aux turcs en général, je ne pense pas qu’elles aient leur place ici, d’autant que, si je suis bien informé, d’autres compagnies occidentales refusent aussi les animaux, quand elles n’envisagent pas même de faire voler leurs passagers debout !

  75. I always fly with Turkish and as an animal lover I’m really disappointed with them. I respect Turkish culture and Turk people very much. But I might change my air line since I might want to travel with my pets some day. I don’t put my pet in hands of their enemies!!!!

  76. Thanks for the warning. We are (very) frequent flyers and dog breeders, and will indeed ensure never to ship our dogs with this airline nor fly with it anymore.

    On another note, none of the Star Alliance airlines have dog friendly rates when it comes to shipping them out- or inbound from/to Europe.

    Flying with a dog from e.g. Japan to Europe costs you an arm and a leg on Star Alliance airlines at a minimum of 30 EUR per kg as extra weight.

    Air France charges a very reasonable flat rate up to 75 kg. .

  77. Fatma Tweedell says:

    When I was trying to book a flight for myself and 2 of my dogs back in 1995 from USA to Turkey I got the same answer to my questions about my dogs safety during the flight!!! I’ve been told “our priority is humans not the pets”!!! I paid e…ven less for another company to fly us and they have no problem to answer my questions with respect… I would of want to support Turkish Airlines as anyone else would like to support their national airlines… I never try to book a flight with Turkish Airlines after that even when we flew without our pets… I can’t believe same mentality continues today with THY, I will continue to boycot Turkish Airlines until they realized the importance of our pets safety… What a shame!!!!

  78. What would you expect from people that like to kill an animal to celebrate something? Why can’t you be decent?

  79. A. Selen Selçuk says:

    My friend was coming to turkey with a regular THY flight from the USA. and the dog died in the trunk, I think there was something wrong with the heating system. It is not alwa…ys safe to carry our animals with planes. I am so sorry for the cats loss. But I don’t think the owner can get his right through law. They make us agree with certain written conditions before they take the animal into the plane. That’s why he’s trying to make sound through social platforms. THY has sent a new puppy st bernard to my friend at the end, like replacing any regular good. :(

  80. Some people here write their opinions without reading all posts, I guess. The report above said that the comment “the animals are enemy to Turks” came from a THY ground service employee but the CEO of THY (Temel Kotil) wrote personally to Mr. Viktor that there was no such an employe on THY. (You may find that message on the comments above, too.) Posts regarding to that comment only have no use. (Maybe Mr. Viktor should consider to add Temel Kotil’s message to the original post so the people know the truth about that crap.)

    What I wrote may seem deffensive but my sole intention is to inform the people who missed the truth about the “animals are enemy to Turks” crap. But of course there’s nothing deffensive -or even seem so- here when it comes to animal rights and the way THY’s behaviour against animals and their owners, especially reading all the horrible experiences of animal lovers here. I believed that they were a good airline but an airline treating animals and people like that must be stayed away.

    My only hope for my country’s airline is to keep Temel Kotil’s promise becoming an animal-friendly airline from now on. (This promise could also be found on the same message I mentioned above.)


    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Hi Volkan,

      In my email response to Mr. Kotil I showed him that yes, there is such an enployee in the airline.
      In any case I am positive he is not the only employee that shares those backward and outrageous thoughts.
      On a different note, I have been trying to talk to Mr. Kotil since last week to no avail.
      Bearing in mind his track record of breaking promises and the way animals are treated in his airline I have no reason to believe in his sincerity. That answer sounds to me like a PR reply.
      The moment I manage to speak to him we’ll put an end to this campaign, not before..

  81. Ebru Kasap Isil says:

    Dear All,

    We wanted to fly from Paris to Bodrum direct and vice versa this summer, THY had a once a week flight for the summer schedule. Unfortunately we had a lot of difficulty with our reservation for our dog as well; it was not being confirmed and they kept us waiting until the last minute so we switched to Air France three days before our departure date.

    Nevertheless, we took the THY domestic flight from Istanbul to Bodrum and back again after 8 weeks, everything went well and especially the ground handlers and airport staff were ALL extremely nice and helpful. While I was watching from a distance our dog being loaded, they made sure to add some water in her bowl as well and the cargo handlers were very gentle with her kennel.

    As to conclude, my problem was with flight reservations and confirmations, not with any sort of treatment. We experienced this on both 26.06.2010 and on 15.08.2010.

    Kind regards to all,


  82. You have to remove this: “We give priority to humans. Animals are ENEMY to Turks.” Because there is no one named H. Ilyas Demirbek in THY. This make you liar of liar.

  83. Tuğba Güney says:

    Is there any impovements about this situation? Any news?

  84. Vedat Akgun says:


    I have been in the US for 18 years and I traveled to Turkey many times. Service quality at Turkish Airlines is next to none. You cannot find better economy class service at any other airlines. Each seat has a video/games/LCD system and it is a blessing for both adults and children. They still use metal silverware for meals, which are also top quality. Average airplane age at Turkish Airlines is just 6 years old as compared to very old planes with other carriers.

    At least 2 times in my travels with Turkish, there were pets in the airplane and they were extremely happy pets and owners. I can only speak of my experience but this is how I feel.

    I also do not believe in statements such as “animals are enemies of Turks”. It is quite obvious that it is either a made up comment, or a bad English translation of a translation of a …statement in Turkish. An international airline, of course, will have a policy for pets.


    Vedat Akgun, Ph.D.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Vedat, your view is obviously not shared by the hundreds of dogs that are forced to stay behind every year at check-in, or by many of those that commented in this blog…

  85. Angela Oueslati says:

    This blog has made me reconsider my possibility to travel with T.A from USA to Tunisia. I was going to book my beloved dog, but now I don’t want to take any risks. Thanks to all for your comments.

  86. i am about to fly turkish airlines with my cat, and now i’m wondering if i hsould leave her behind.

    i will tell you this though. i extremely resent the racist attitude of the association of turks with barbaric practices and request you post a picture and a link of h. ilyas demirbek’s comment as i will be equally stereotypical of you and say that a person named “viktor” will probably hate anything turkish, even something like yogurt!

    kidding aside, there are many airlines that do not allow dogs onto their flights and some that dont allow either cats or dogs, even on domestic flights. at least, this is when it comes to american airlines, i dont know about your russians or europeans, you may have airlines that allow cats/dogs/bears/bats/whatever and you assume all airlines must do the same thing.

    i will say however, if turkish airlines (or ANY company for that matter) OK’ed and made a reservation for a dog on the cargo or in the cabin (I actually flew with a passenger carrying one a few rows ahead of me) and then when they get to the airport, all of a sudden they are told that their reservation is canceled and they have to leave their pet behind or cannot fly, THEN i agree that that is obviously bad business. it is dishonest, and it is going against the sales agreement between the company and the customer. you bought your ticket with the clear agreement that your pet would be flying with you, and for them to go against this agreement is a clear breach that must be addressed.

    last of all, there is no ilyas demirbek on facebook for him to leave a comment on your page viktor. this can be for one of two reasons. he was a fake or abuser of facebook and his account has been closed some time since he supposedly left that comment on your site, or…or whatever, you made it up. But I’m sure you didn’t make up difficulties with regards to dogs. Like I said, many airlines have different policies when it comes to pets.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Fin, I assure you I’m not racist.. love it here…
      Ilyas Demirbilek IS a THY ground employee… he cancelled his account after the incident.
      This group never makes up anything, don’t be ridiculous please.

  87. I would just like to reply to a few of the comments here of immaturity and prejudice towards turkish people. OUR AIRLINE DOES NOT REFLECT OUR LOVE FOR ANIMALS! please understand this.
    i remember flying istanbul- izmir about 2 years ago with my DOG, who was in the CABIN with us the entire flight. This article is completely biased and very prejudice against turkish people.
    I understand many of you have had horror stories with turkish airlines and your pets, i do not work for the airline but i sincerely apologize for your troubles.
    hopefully they change their policies as soon as possible if they want to be the number one airline.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Emir, of course!.. the article HAS to be biased to reflect our less than stellar experiences with the airline in the past.
      You flew ONE dog on cabin once two years ago.
      The number of animals we have flown over the same period is much much much larger, believe me, and things could be handled much better on the part of the airline.
      Having said, I’m glad to report that since this article was published we have open a very efficient channel of communication and cooperation with THY and the situation is on the way to resolved.
      This wouldn’t have happened if we had not been as forthcoming as we were.

  88. Jools Clowes says:

    I flew from Ist to Antalya last year with my cat and small dog. The booking was a nightmare, as there is all the one animal per passenger thing to get over. They agreed in te end, one in cargo , one on the plane. I took the dog on board in a cat carrier..she is small. They had absolutley no idea what to do with me. When i asked where I was to put the carrier, the stewardess showed me the overhead locker. Astounded at her belief that would actually consider that..I politely refused. Then she shrugged and pointed to under the seat. There is about 8″ of room under a seat, and the carrier would not fit under it. In the end I said, its a 1 hour journey, I’ll carry her on my lap. You take the carrier. She was mortified at this, and said other passengers would complain. The compromise was on the seat next to me, much to the disgust of the male passenger on the other side.

  89. Edward Goody says:

    We have been VERY lucky with our dog Champ having flown to and from Nurnber -Ercan six times but we do book early directly with Turkish Air not an agent and check to make certain he is listed and approved for the flight. Of course he is charged as excess weight each direction thus more expensive than our return flight. Normally T. Air will allow only one dog on the flight which is sad because we previouly always managed to bring back from TRNC a stray to be re-homed. One problem is many connecting flights at Istanbul so space for dogs from other flights needs to be taken in to account. Not so happy when I see bags and cases packed on top of his carrier when they load baggage carts for fear they could crush the box or it falls off and Champ excapes. But, all in all so far so good.

  90. I Dnt Know Who said it but i think it is more than a few in here i’ve got over 10 tickets here and we are traveling in a group with only one dog i’ve been having the run around for a couple of days now (call back tomorrow for confirmation of you request) the problem is that the lady is so dumb that i call today after giving here my details and she talks for about a minute telling my flight details trying to be professional and when she finishes i tell her i want my conformation and she asks me again for the details of the animal etc.. and when all that is said and done she says CALL BACK IN A COUPLE OF DAYS MAY BE END OF THE WEEK. when in actual fact i am leaving tomorrow didn’t you just confirm my flight that it is tomorrow? how can i call u at the end of the week when i leave tomorrow?. the rest is bullshit etc… etc… etc.. cant even bother all i can say is never again i use the planes at least five times a year but never again or anyone i know. i’ll send Mr Temel Kotil an email and let u know his reply if he does

  91. well we took our dog several times on a turkish airlines flight from munich to istanbul or izmir and back in the last 8 years and we never had problems. so i was very surprised when i read your comments on this topic.

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Oh.. here it is… comments are not approved automatically.. approved now.. happy?

  92. wow….i thought you are trying to achieve something good with your work and but now i can cleary see that you really are very prejudiced…somehow i think you are trying to manipulate everything in the way you want it to be….not everything and everybody is bad in turkey..i know that there are some things terribly wrong with some people and institutions…but face it: there are problems not just only in turkey but in the whole world….was my earlier comment too positive or why didn’t you allow it to be posted?!?! i hope i’ll get an answer this time…

    1. Viktor Larkhill says:

      Yeliz.. I dont know what you are talking about…
      Seriously.. no idea.

  93. OMG look at the CEO of the Turkish Airlines>>> I can not put up with his face and his ugly ass mustache. He is prolly supporting AKP . They dont care about pets they only care about their Mighty Prime Minister.

  94. Try flying with your dog on Air France, and you will see what it is like!

    They have absolutely the same policy. One pet in the cabin. And a couple of more in the cargo. That’s it.
    And you will see how “nicely” you will be treated on an international flight…

  95. Nippy'Lulu says:

    I traveled round trip with my 2 yorkshire terriers in May of 2012 from NYC, USA to Tbilisi, Georgia. They both weight 6 kg., Of course I wanted have them with me in the cabin.
    First time I called Turkish Airline, the representative took all info and told me to call next day for an approval. I called next day and for my surprise the rep. has no info about my previous call. So they took my info once again and told me to call next day. Long story short- on the 5th day finally I got an approval. From NYC to Istanbul the air crew was wonderful and very friendly- I was allowed to carry my pets on my lap. But on the way back I was not so lucky, the stewardess obviously was not pet friendly person.
    Today April 26th, 2013, I called Turkish Airline again to make pet reservation (same trip as last year) and I hope to get an approval tomorrow and not next week.

  96. Zach Dimitriadis says:

    Hello Viktor Larkhill and everyone else on this forum.
    Im about to fly with THY to Athens Greece through Istanbul on Sunday Jul 7th from Washington DC. Im going for 3 months so I must have my beloved dog May with me. She is a 3yo Lab in good health and is going to be in the cargo area along with the luggage. She has flown before and is pretty mellow about it but after reading all the comments in this thread I am very worried. So many people have had problems with THY. Any follow-ups on what the conditions are like now? Please let me know as Im very concerned for her safety. Im almost ready to cancel the whole thing and go with a different airline even though it will cost me much much more than i can afford. thanks.

  97. I desperately need help. I made my reservation on TA and got authorization to travel with my cat and her baby together in the cabin, before they told me the cage size requirements, and before I read this! Anyways, the size requirements are 45x35x23cm, which is crazy for even one cat, since they can’t stand up, but I don’t want to risk putting them in cargo, so I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find a carrier this size! All they tell me is that no other passengers have that problem and carry on their pets, but they can’t tell me where to find it or what it looks like. So can anyone tell me what they used in the cabin on TA that was allowed, or where to get one? I fly on August 6th, and need to order something soon! Thanks for your help.

    1. you can contact us on 3 one 2 263 1991. We’d be more than happy to help you.

  98. Christine Fathelbab says:

    Happened to us today….after three try’s we go conformation that our cats can travel with us from Egypt to Spain. Drove to Sharm el Sheikh to make payment, but the office people told us that the confirmation was cancelled. Possibly there was not enough oxygen in the cargo bay..because they changed the aircraft??!! Offered to make application for another date. After reading all those experiences we will search after another and better transport for our dogs and cats. We do not want to loose them. Very unprofessional service of TA, and heartless kapitalists.

  99. Christine Fathelbab says:

    Happened to us today….after three try’s we go conformation that our cats can travel with us from Egypt to Spain. Drove to Sharm el Sheikh to make payment, but the office people told us that the confirmation was cancelled. Possibly there was not enough oxygen in the cargo bay..because they changed the aircraft??!! Offered to make application for another date. After reading all those experiences we will search after another and better transport for our dogs and cats. We do not want to loose them. Very unprofessional service of TA, and heartless capitalists.

  100. Christine Fathelbab says:

    Happened to us today….after three try’s we go conformation that our cats can travel with us from Egypt to Spain. Drove to Sharm el Sheikh to make payment, but the office people told us that the confirmation was cancelled. Possibly there was not enough oxygen in the cargo bay..because they changed the aircraft??!! Offered to make application for another date. After reading all those experiences we will search after another and better transport for our dogs and cats. We do not want to loose them. Very unprofessional service of TA, and heartless capitalists.

  101. The worst airlines ever.
    We were offloaded from the aircraft because the stupid Turkish staff confirmed our dog and the dog for other passenger to be in cabin.
    They let us in confirming everything and then the Turkish Airlines stupid unprofessional staff came to our seats and said either you put a puppy in cargo or you fly next flight in 15 hours.
    After our refusal,they wanted to call police to offload us. It is a very disappointing story what happened next,but I will never fly Turkish Airlines again and will assure all my friends not to fly by Turkish as well.

  102. Oh my gosh , i was going to book a flight from turkey to cairo with THY ……
    After reading all this complaints ,for sure i will not !
    But please can anyone tell me which Airline is the safest one


    1. Lufthansa is one of the best pet safe we’ve found. When possible travel with your pet in cabin.

  103. @ Racielf Thanks ,yes i am trying to take all in the cabin but i think i will not be allowed too :( Almost we are 5 passagiers and 3 cats they said me they have a limit for 2 cats in the plane
    i would use Lufthansa but i have only 2 choices THY or Egypt Air …..

  104. Hi Everyone,

    I plan to travel with my cats in cabin on THY in November from Pakistan to Austria. We do not have lufthansa in Pakistan and now after reading this blog, I’m extremely nervous. Can anyone suggest what to do?

  105. Korhan Tasoren says:

    My wife and I traveling right now from Gran Canaria to Turkey with our dog. Our THY flight starts from Madrid. Two weeks ago I have booked my flights and requested in cabin approval for dog which we get next day for economy class. Then I have upgraded Madrid-Istanbul flight to business class. After my upgrade call center told me to do another request for my dog. I did it true system a week ago and couldn’t get any answer till today and the answer was no. My flight is tomorrow and I had to book another flight from Iberia. Thanks to their fast service they approve your pet request on the phone immediately. I am a Turkish and have Elite frequent flyer membership but I don’t suggest anybody to fly with Turkish airlines anymore after all. I am not going to fly as well.