Jetsetter of the Month: Turkish Airlines GM Fatma Yuceler
Fatma Yuceler grew up on Turkish hospitality, a signature cultural emblem of Turkey respected throughout the world. After studying at Istanbul University and continuing her professional development and education in the marketing, corporate agreements and negotiations, and public relations fields, she realized she wanted to share this hospitality with the rest of the world. Fatma determined there was no better way to do this and impact the lives of so many people than through the airline industry, which is why today she serves as Turkish Airlines’ general manager in the Western United States region.
“If there is one thing I have learned over the course of my career in the airline industry, and specifically with Turkish Airlines, it is the world is a beautiful place with so much to teach us,” Fatma says. She urges people to make the time to travel throughout their lives—and to make sure Istanbul is on their must-visit list. The Turkish city, she says, is a luxurious, lively location perfect for both the laid-back tourist and the avid adventurer. “Turkey in general, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, brings together a wide range of cultures and stories that every tourist can witness and enjoy,” she explains.
Fatma’s career in the airline industry has taken her all over the world, from Europe to Asia to the United States. The self-proclaimed avid traveler loves to explore. “Different cultures, nature, mingling with the locals, these are all important to me,” she says, adding, “Every destination has something to offer and the more you see a destination, the more you learn and appreciate.” She gushes about Turkey, describing it as a nation steeped in rich culture and tradition that has been a bridge between Europe and Asia for centuries as well as a major player in the history of Western civilization.
Fatma says people most often inquire about safety, holiday travel, and tourist attractions when traveling to Turkey. While she says Turkey is one of the safest countries in Western Europe in which to travel and its crime rate is relatively low, she and Turkish Airlines encourage travelers to exercise the same precautions they would elsewhere and keep aware of security concerns that affect international travelers.
The most favorable time to travel to the country, Fatma says, is between early April and late October. It is during this time that visitors can experience milder weather and smaller crowds. No matter when you visit, you’ll find exciting activities and historical sites, such as the Bosphorus Strait, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and the Grand Bazaar.
Not only has Fatma learned what it takes to achieve brand recognition and increase sales on a global scale, she says she has also been able to see things from a passenger’s perspective during personal travel, giving her a better understanding about what makes a quality flight. And as social media and consumer technology continue to become a greater part of our lives, Fatma stresses the importance for the airline industry to better integrate these tools and amenities into their marketing strategies and flight services, something she says Turkish Airlines has already done.
“We treat our passengers the same as we would our guests visiting our homes, and we try to do whatever we can to make them happy,” she says, noting the friendliness of the cabin crew and all Turkish Airlines employees, the richness of in-flight food and treats, and the emphasis on strong customer service. “We put our heart and soul into making sure our passengers experience Turkish hospitality from the moment they step on to our plane to the moment they set foot into our country.”