Istanbul VIP airport transfer charges Japanese tourists astronomical price
Two Japanese tourists who visited Istanbul on April 21 were charged an astronomical price for 20-minute journey from Atatürk International Airport to the Sultanahmet neighborhood via a VIP transfer vehicle.
The two women arrived in Turkey at 3:30 a.m. on April 21 as part of a tour organized by tourism firm MSI, but could not find the MSI representative who would arrange their transfer to Sultanahmet.
They then reportedly came to terms with another transfer company at the airport, which demanded an extortionate 1,550 Turkish Liras (around $380) for the 20-minute journey.
The same trip in a taxi costs between 60 and 70 liras.
Following the journey, the tourists sent the bill to MSI, questioning whether it should be so high.
“For the 20-minute trip the firm took 1,550 TL from the tourists via their credit cards. They understood that something was wrong so they sent us the documents. We then contacted the company that made the transfer, which said ‘we pay $35,000 dollars for rent. Should we ask you how much we should take for the transfer?’” said MSI chair Ertan Demirbaş.
Demirbaş added that they have made complaint about the company to the Turkish Travel Agencies Union (TÜRSAB).
The firm that demanded the astronomical price from the Japanese tourists confirmed the fee and said it “provided VIP service.”
“We provide VIP transfer service. Our vehicles are very luxurious. Our drivers can also speak English and serve in suits. We clearly stated the price and the tourists agreed. At the same time we are a company that gives the possibility of transfer with a helicopter. We do not do any secret business in any way. Think about it this way: You pay more for the same fish when you eat at Ortaköy instead of Bakırköy,” its representative stated.