An LA man says his trip to the Middle East is in jeopardy because of a state department terror warning, but the airline refused to give him a refund.
Rich Bloom booked a trip that goes through Turkey, not expecting there to be a terrorist attack a few weeks ago. Now that the state department's put out a warning not to travel through parts of Turkey, he's postponed his trip, but that leaves him having paid for a ticket he can't use.
A tradition for more than three decades, Bloom makes a point to visit his grandparents in Israel every few years.
"(I) was planning to go, until I started hearing about these terrorist incidents in Turkey," Bloom said.
Deadly terror attacks led to the U.S. Department of State issuing a warning saying "tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations. U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans and remain vigilant at all times."
Bloom booked his flight on Turkish Airlines and has a layover in Istanbul.
Because of the State Department's warnings, Bloom refuses to fly into Turkey. He still plans to travel to see his grandparents, just on a different airline with a different route. He's asking Turkish Airlines for his money back.
"Because of the risk, there should be a refund that's issued by Turkish Air," Bloom said.
Travel agent Tama Holve said you can purchase insurance that covers acts of terrorism if something happens within 30 days of your trip.
"You have to look at what the insurance policy covers," Holve said.
But Bloom didn't buy any insurance.
"He basically is beholden to the rules of the fare he purchased on Turkish Airlines," Holve said.
NBC4 reached out to Turkish Airlines, which told us "the travel warnings published on U.S. Department of State website are not prohibitions and not binding on airlines since they are mostly for advisory purposes for the travelling passengers. Therefore, such warnings do not create a general valid grounds for re-booking or any other travel arrangements for travelling passengers."
Meaning no refund, Bloom's choices are eating the cost of his ticket or paying a $300 cancellation fee so the ticket price can be credited at a later date.
"It made me somewhat angry. I mean, quite frankly I'd rather go through this process than place myself at risk and go to an area that is where terrorist incidents have occurred," Bloom said.
Turkish air pointed out the travel warning does not specifically mention Istanbul airport, which it said has "has tight airport security standards."
Holve echoes that, and said she's travelled through Turkey many times without incident and says many of the state department’s warnings are focused on travel in Southern Turkey, near the Syrian border but says travel insurance is a must if you are squeamish about travel warnings and advisories.