|I did a little test of the theory that domestic Turkish airfares are much more expensive if purchased outside of Turkey (or, rather, they’re much cheaper if purchased in Turkey.) |
As you can see, only Turkish Airlines flights were offered, and all the flights were priced at US$291.
Then I went to the Turkish Airlines website, chose my location as “Türkiye,” using the English-language version of the website, and searched for fares for the same flights on the same date. I got this result:
These fares are in Turkish liras. Converted to US dollars at the exchange rate on the day I did this experiment, these exact same Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul to Kayseri, on the same day at the same times, were priced from US$91 to US$132!
Then I went to the website of Pegasus Airlines, a major domestic carrier in Turkey, searched for flights on the same route on the same day, and found:
These fares on the same route on the same day are US$45 to US$52! And if I were willing to fly a day earlier or later, as low as US$31!
Which airfare would you rather pay: US$31 or US$291, nearly ten times as much?
So if you book your domestic Turkish flights via the airline’s website (you don’t need to learn Turkish), or through a good local travel agency in Turkey, you may fly for a mere fraction of the fare offered outside of Turkey! (Or, you can do it online yourself! )
A note on bait-and-switch: there seems to be a trend for airlines in Turkey to advertise cheap fares, but when you go online to buy your ticket, extra charges are added, and you end up paying substantially more than the fare that first attracted you. (Read this Pegasus page to see how it works. Other airlines may do the same thing.)
A Turkish travel agency may not be able to offer you the cheapest fare because airlines sometimes offer their cheapest fares only online, not through agencies. (And remember: a fare you see online may not include all of the extra charges that you will have to pay when actually buying a ticket.) But you will certainly save a lot of money if you contact one of my recommended travel agencies to make your reservations for you. (Of course, these agencies can also make any other sorts of travel arrangements for you: hotels, tours, car rentals, sleeper trains, private guides, etc.)