Turkish Airlines abandons 22 Nigerian kids at Istanbul Airport

Students and teachers of Glisten International College, Abuja are presently stranded in Istanbul, Turkey, over the inability of Turkish Airlines to airlift them back to Nigeria as scheduled.

The students between the ages of 11 and 15, according to our source, were made to sleep at the resting area of the airport terminal over night with just blankets provided them by the management of the airline rather than hotel accommodation.

The team, which had gone to the United States to represent Nigeria in a competition few weeks ago, were forced to part with the sum of $40 each, totalling $880 before they could be allowed to sleep in the frozen condition at the airport.

A source close to the school, who confirmed the sordid development, said that the team had boarded Turkish Airlines flight from Abuja to US with a stopover at Istanbul Airport.

But woes of the students started on the return leg, US-Istanbul-Abuja of the flight.

Information gathered by Independent indicated that the flight from US to Istanbul was delayed for an hour by the same airline and as at the time the flight eventually departed US and arrived at Istanbul for the connecting flight, the Istanbul-Abuja flight had already departed.

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The source said that when the team contacted the management of the airline in Turkey for a better accommodation, the airline declined, saying that they could not be responsible for their accommodation despite the fact that the flight miss was not their own making.

Since the students had been stranded at the airport they have been responsible for their own feeding and other expenses, the source said.

“Our pupils, students and instructors went to the US to represent Nigeria and were supposed to return on Monday but missed the leg to Nigeria because the flight from US, which is equally Turkish Airlines delayed their flight by an hour and by the time we got to Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had already departed.

“When that happened, we approached them for accommodation for our team, but the airline said they won’t be responsible for accommodation or feeding of our team. Rather, we were told to sleep at the resting room of the terminal and we had to pay from our purse, which negates the international standards.

“These are children between the ages of 11 and 15 years and are exposed to this harsh treatment. Could they have done that with their own citizens? Or, will they allow any Nigerian carrier to do that to their citizens in Nigeria? I am begging our government to take up this challenge because these kids went to represent Nigeria in the US.”