Our Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.
The first entrance in the top 10 from a European based airline in the Skytrax 2016 ratings, but falling short for its safety record, what does Turkish Airlines deliver for the family traveller?
Base: Istanbul, Turkey
Alliances: Star Alliance
Skytrax Rating 2016: 7
JACDEC Safety Rating 2015: 50
Turkish Airlines Pregnancy Policy
No health report is needed by expectant mothers until the end of the 27th week of pregnancy.
Between 28 weeks and 35 weeks, a mother with a single pregnancy can fly with a doctors report that must be dated a maximum of seven days before the flight. After this time they cannot fly even with medical clearance. The report must be written in Turkish or English and include doctor’s name, diploma number and signature.
Mothers with multiple pregnancies can fly up to the end of 31 weeks, with a doctors report required between 28 and 31 weeks.
Turkish Airlines Newborns Policy
No babies can fly within 48 hours after birth. If they are less than seven days old and need to fly for medical reasons they must receive medical clearance first that they are fit to travel by air.
Turkish Airlines with an Infant (under 2 years)
After 7 days and up to 2 years infants can travel with their parents; one infant only is allowed per adult lap. If you have a second infant you must purchase a child’s seat and request an escort hostess (see unaccompanied minors below).
Infants meals can be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. If not booked they only have limited supplies on board.
The mystery of Turkish Airlines Baby Bassinets
Of 30+ airlines we have reviewed, Turkish Airlines is the only one we have not been able to find out any dimensions or booking rules for infant bassinets; we know they exist and have inquired directly with the airline, we will update a response when available. I have flown on a Turkish flight and seen them in use.
Turkish Airlines with Children (2-11 years)
Child between 2-12 must purchase a seat. Information on any additional services or amenities provided to young flyers beyond children’s meals is limited.
On some aircraft, their in-flight entertainment system “The Planet” is provided with touch screen control. On some shorter routes programming is scheduled, but again little information is available in English.
Turkish Airlines Unaccompanied Minors
Children between 2 and up to 7 years old need to travel with their parents or relatives, but those without parents or relatives can travel with cabin crew (escort service).
Children from 7 to 12 years old may fly unaccompanied with the permission of their parents/guardians. Reservations for both these services must be made at least 48 hours in advance and the cost of cabin crew to sit with your child must be borne by the passenger.
There is a special check-in area at Istanbul Ataturk Airport for UM’s.
Turkish Airlines Baggage Allowances
General economy baggage allowance for adults and children’s tickets is 20kg (though various routes do allow additional weight and the piece system operates for flights to the Americas).
Infant tickets are allowed 10kg plus one collapsible pushchair – or 23kg on routes that allow the piece system. One car-type carriage (ie car seat) can come on board the plane if a child’s seat has been purchased.
Additionally, you are allowed 8kg of hand luggage plus a ‘bag-type’ stroller is considered a personal item – it must be able to fit in the overhead locker or it will be stowed underneath when you board.
Turkish Airlines Frequent Flyer Programs
The Turkish Airlines frequent flyer program is Miles & Smiles – open to all people over 2 years of age. They are part of the Star Alliance network so miles can be earned and spent with alliance members. Miles can be transferred between friends and family at a cost, but you cannot merge family miles.
The Globetrotters View of Turkish Airlines
I must confess to being slightly surprised but intrigued to find Turkish Airlines ranking so highly on the SkyTrax ratings – though less so from Trip Advisor customers. It has certainly made me delve further into their offering and look at the routes they offer, they are after all very centrally located in the world with Istanbul straddling between Europe and Asia.
I have only flown Turkish Airlines without children and had no issues, but nothing that blew me away. The family policies look fairly standard, though a little lacking in forward information about what families can expect onboard.
If the route fits so to speak – or even for a visit to Turkey itself I am keen to explore this airline further as an alternative to our local carriers, but opinions across different ratings systems seem very mixed, so over to you readers…
Don’t forget you can apply for a Turkey visa online before you travel, making it easy to hit the ground once you are in Istanbul, or perhaps you are interested in visiting one of the beautiful Turkish resort towns with your family?
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page should be used as a guide only. It has been gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (May 2015). Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of Turkish Airlines services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline.
Have you flown pregnant or with infants/children on Turkish Airlines? Do you have a review or advice to share with travelling families?
Related reading: Have you seen our articles on First Time Flying with a Baby or How to Fly Solo with Kids?
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