Airports & Travel RetailersBlogPotpourri

Please indulge me for a few minutes. In this blog TR stands for Turkey Removals and the good, the bad and the ugly of 24 hours of Travel & Retail en route to TFWA Singapore.

I simply could not have planned it worse. A major house move 5 days before Singapore. We actually had no choice as we could not complete until the first week of May.

Now, for those that know me, you will recognise that, with over 35 years of experience in producing award-winning films, the logistics of successful pre-planning form an integral part of any production. Sadly, because I have not fully mastered the Turkish language yet, all arrangements were left to Banu, my partner.

She excelled in getting everything buttoned down. Painters, carpenters, electricity, gas, water, telecoms etc. And removals.

Or so we thought. The Turkish removal company, of some 40 years standing, had come in and assessed the house and provided a quote that we were happy with. And then the key removal day came along and, well, it all went horribly wrong. We had signed a contract for everything – the price for the removals and delivery, the crane for retrieving the furniture and household goods, the timing, the packing and the insurance.

However, when the team of 8 turned up, the manager took a sharp intake of breath and immediately said that he had underquoted and wanted to double the price. He also stated that there was too much to pack (we had already packed much of the material ourselves, except for the heavy lifting). He then said that the crane was only booked for 2 hours (naive in the extreme) and that the price needed to double.

We had insisted that comprehensive insurance was part of the deal and that proper cartons were to be brought along for our hanging clothes and that everything else was to be bubble wrapped.

Banu and I looked at each other when he asked for the increase and then gave him ‘the look’. And, in no uncertain terms, we were not shy in letting him understand that he was in breach of contract and that his company needed to honour what was signed. We also reminded him that he did a comprehensive tour of the apartment before he quoted. We asked where the insurance document was and, after 4 hours and continuous pressing from us, something surfaced.

So what happened? Well, because we were so stretched for time, we had to agree to pay a nominal amount for the crane to be used for extra hours at the new home’s destination.

They managed to break two glass chandeliers in transit, two windows, plus a table and a number of other items. There was no bubble wrapping, no clothing cartons and worst of all, no meaningful insurance. They just dumped the majority of the goods in the reception room and left. Worse still, they also didn’t complete the work in time, so we had to use another outfit the following day!

Regarding the insurance, it transpired that the only insurance they actually put in place was one if they were involved in an accident in transit. I know, I am not normally lost for words, but this had me utterly dumbfounded! And livid. If I had any more hair to lose, I would be completely bald.

Are we going to pursue them? Answer in one word: no. This removal company, like many in Istanbul, are part of a Kurdish group of family companies you simply may not want to cross. Know what I mean? However, we did ask for a note on letterhead agreeing that they were at fault for some breakages in the apartment so that we could at least appeal to the insurance company separately. We are still waiting, of course…

So much for the ugly and the bad. Now for the good and just a little of the bad.

A couple of days later we are on our way to Singapore via Abu Dhabi. Leaving home at 0415, check-in at Istanbul airport was a breeze, as was immigration and security. This airport has really got this part of the journey right.

What was not so good was looking at some of the prices at the f&b outlets. This Pierre Hermé Paris is newly opened. Would you pay 17 euros for a croissant and an orange juice? Just outrageous.

I walked through one of the large Unifree duty free stores. The exterior digital screen is really eye-catching and the new layout is impressive, as is the outstanding Macallan zone inside.


Outside I really liked the Tom Ford/La Mer conjoined pop-up.


But the discounted area in front of this Unifree store is not to my liking at all.

But I liked this simple touch from Unifree

We then got onto the Etihad plane. I have not travelled with Etihad for many years, but they certainly appear to have turned things around. They were excellent in constantly forwarding useful information regarding the flight before arrival and whilst in the airport. The tone of voice was excellent – friendly, not functional. I am not a fan of their house colours inside the plane, but the seats were very comfortable and the breakfast was pretty good.

The one downer was that the plane temperature was just too cold. Banu asked one of the cabin crew to see if the temperature could be raised and the response was that this request would not be actioned for one person. But Banu persevered and spoke directly with the Cabin Service Director, who immediately put it right. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

We arrived at Zayed International Airport Abu Dhabi on time. Our onward journey was 8 hours later, so it was a little frantic racing around trying to get briefed and capture the essence of this remarkable airport’s airside offerings. You will see the fruits of my labour in the forthcoming Travel Retail Touchdowns video series which is producing in association with Portland for airing soon. My thanks go to Ross McMahon, Adrian Bradshaw, Renee Mallia, Daniel Coad, Anass al Anouch and Stephanie Gunn for all your support in pulling everything together with such little notice. All good just got better!

And so to TFWA Singapore and what is going to be a very busy week for us all. After the trials of the Turkish Removals, being here will seem like a Travel Retail holiday. Well, maybe filming 8 interviews and 31 meetings may seem busy, but at least I am in my comfort zone.

We return to Istanbul on May 17th. And to this view. Some things are worth waiting for.

Peter Marshall

Founder: Arts
Back to top button