Hours after members of the Turkish military staged a coup and tried to seize power with tanks and aircraft, some Bay Area travelers were forced to make a decision.
At San Francisco International Airport Friday, some people weren’t able to catch flight to Istanbul because of the unrest that unfolded as travelers checked in for their flights.
Turkish airlines did not cancel flight 80, leaving it up to passengers to decide if it is safe to fly.
Faced with the choice of heading into a country in chaos or rescheduling their trip, Irem Radzick decided to stay stateside.
“If I land there, is it safe to be around when we get out of the airport?” and will there be “guns firing,” Radzick wondered.
Hazem Ghaith went to the airport to cancel his son’s flight.
“I'm worried about my son,” Ghaith said. “I don't understand how people are going. Turkish Airlines should inform everyone and take responsibility for everyone going to Turkey.”
The plane departed around 6:30 p.m. with passengers on board – Liza Kaufman wasn’t one of them.
“I decided to stay here because it’s dangerous and I had a long layover,” she said.
Kaufman said a friend in Turkey who was supposed to meet her during her layover helped make her decision.
“He's saying people are freaking out, long lines at ATMs, people are buying food, it's crazy. He's not coming to Istanbul,” Kaufman said.
She and others are now trying to get to their destinations on airlines that don't require a connection in Turkey.
Passengers said Turkish Airlines told them they could reschedule their flight with no additional fees.
When asked how many people were on board flight 80 when it left and how many people canceled, the agent in charge declined to answer.