Delta is suspending seasonal JFK-Istanbul service, which was due to start in May. The terse press release:
Due to increased security concerns in Turkey, including a travel warning issued by the State Department, and weaker demand for air travel to this market, Delta has taken the decision to suspend its New York-JFK-Istanbul service due to start in May 2016.
On March 29, 2016 the US State Department did issue a Turkey Travel Warning specific to southeastern Turkey areas near the Syrian border.
I read more weight into the ‘weaker demand’ part. My wife and I have been booked on that flight in late May and the seat map for both cabins has remained near empty. Known for the ‘Delta dartboard,’ Delta frequently starts and drops, or announces and drops services before they even start.
Both of us are Diamond Medallion booked on award tickets, she in business, me in economy. We are called by Delta reservations saying we were protected on KLM via Amsterdam, requiring a connecting and arriving 6 hours later than schedule. Not going to work for our short 2 night stay.
Paris on Air France was the next suggestion, that would get us down to a 4 hours but still with the connection.
I asked them to figure out accommodating us on the Turkish nonstop. I have no idea if Delta has an interline agreement with Turkish, having lost count of the ones Delta has torn up. I am supposed to hear back.
If they don’t accommodate us on Turkish I will then look to refund and compensation so I can book Turkish myself. I imagine they will claim the travel warning pretext as an excuse to not give anything, though I think they will eventually offer something. Even if we were to accept the KLM/AF options I would insist on something for the inconvenience. At a minimum the difference from 80,000 miles for her original business class award to the 62,500 lowest level for such a ticket. My economy ticket was already at the lowest 30,000.
Readers, what do you think? Is Istanbul off your travel plans? What should I try to get from Delta?