Review of Turkish Airlines flight Vienna Istanbul in Economy

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK1890
Class Economy
Seat 27F
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 3:25
Take-off 02 Nov 16, 07:00
Arrival at 02 Nov 16, 11:25
TK   #12 out of 111 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 434 reviews
Rl 777
By 726
Published on 4th January 2017
Hello everyone, happy new year to you all! Welcome to the third part of this short series covering my quick trip to Istanbul, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest back in OCT/NOV 2016. This FR should have been online a while ago but I accidentally killed my laptop's battery which delayed part 3 and 4. I am sorry about that! Here is part 3 about the first leg of the return from Vienna to Stockholm, namely flight TK1890 from Vienna to Istanbul.



Background:
On one random day in September my dad noticed he needed to stay 3 additional nights at a hotel before the end of 2016 in order to upgrade his membership level. Staying at one of their hotels in Stockholm was feasible but not too interesting for my dad. He asked me to look out for cheap fares to Europe in late-October/early-November when I had a week of holidays. I did what he asked for.

A few days pass and I come across an interesting fare from Stockholm to Vienna, a fare involving TK, two early-morning departures and a stopover at IST. Dates were 30 October - 02 November. The fare was at $110 R/T per person and I know a piece of checked baggage and food is included with TK. The other carriers (LH, OS, ET) etc were ranging from $170-250 R/T per person, the fare with TK was definitely the cheapest. I immediately told my dad about this, he seemed skeptical and was not pleased with the flight timings, 06:35 departure from ARN and 07:00 departure from Vienna. There were other flights but those ones were too expensive.

Anyways, after a few discussions we booked the tickets despite the timings and just went with it. Both of us had never been in Austria before us so it would be a new country for both. However, upon further inspection we obviously realised we had a 6 hour layover at IST, the thought about visiting the city popped up (country number 2 for the trip). I also forgot how close Slovakia was to Vienna, I had a thought about renting a car in VIE and then driving to Bratislava, Slovakia. Dad thought it was a good idea and agreed to it, that was the 3rd country for the trip. That was not all though, afterwards I saw Budapest was just a 200km drive away from Bratislava and told my father about it. Dad immediately agreed to it and a 4th country was added to the trip. The original plan was just to visit Austria but now it expanded to Turkey, Slovakia and Hungary. From one to four countries in a period of three days. All of this required extensive amount of planning but in the end I was still skeptical about it ever materializing, I told myself not to be disappointed if we only managed to visit Austria as that was the original plan.





NOTE: Pictures used in this report were taken with my camera and my phone.





Itinerary:
Part 1 - ARN-IST, TK1792, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A320-200, TC-JPR - Here
Part 2 - IST-VIE, TK1887, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A321-200, TC-JSV - Here
Part 3 - VIE-IST, TK1890, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A321-200, TC-JRH - You are here
Part 4 - IST-ARN, TK1795, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A321-200, TC-JSA - Here







04:10 AM local time. Vienna, Austria on 02 November 2016. It was time to head back home to Stockholm, Sweden. Me and dad woke up at around 4 AM, did our final checks and left the hotel at around 04:30 AM.
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A horrendously blurry picture of our ride to the airport, the plan was to arrive at 05:00 AM.
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Driving out of the city center.
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On the motorway/freeway towards the airport. Our driver was of Turkish origin, he was happy to know we were flying with TK today. My dad and the driver were having quite a few conversations about various things in life throughout the ride.
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Arriving at the airport, a little bit too early. It was just 04:45 AM, the drive lasted for just 15 minutes. I don't think me and my dad thought about the fact that roads are pretty sparsely populated at this time…


TK departs from the D gates at Terminal 1, luckily our driver dropped us off at the entrance closest to the TK check-in counters.


TK check-in desks. A friendly agent got us checked-in for the flight. We had one medium-sized bag to drop off.
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FIDS. Our flight to Istanbul scheduled to leave at 07:00 AM. There was also a flight heading to Stockholm at 06:50 AM, a much more convenient way of going home.
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We went airside after the quick FIDS check, there was not much to do.
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Quick automated BP control.
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Duty-free shopping, nothing of interest for us momentarily.
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It was only 5 in the morning and boarding wouldn't start until 06:10. This is when we realized we should have booked the cab at 05:00 instead of 04:30.
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Passing the empty passport control.
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The majority of this area was empty at this time, we were definitely early. Dad suggested to have some breakfast, mostly just to waste time.
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A light breakfast at 05:10 AM. Most of the remaining time was spent here browsing through our phones.
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You may have noticed that I never talked about a security check, that is because there hadn't been one earlier :). The security check was done before entering the gate area, gate D21 for our flight. The entrance opened at around 05:55 AM. There also seemed to be more people around this place at that time.
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The gate area, waiting for boarding to commence.
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Flight information:

Airline: Turkish Airlines

Flight no & route: TK1890 VIE-IST

Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A321-200

Scheduled time of departure (actual): 07:00 AM (07:00 AM), UTC +1

Scheduled time of arrival (actual): 11:25 AM (10:38 AM), UTC +3

Scheduled flight time (actual): 2h 25 min (1h 38 min)


TC-JRH, An A321 delivered to TK in January 2008.
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Boarding for passengers in Y started at 06:23 AM local time, it was time to enter. I noticed a very small amount of passengers in the waiting room at this time.
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Walking through the jetbridge.
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An FA greeted passengers upon boarding.
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Walking through the cabin of this A321. This flight was originally scheduled to be operated by an A320, then A321, then A320, then A321 Sharklets (if you count it) and finally back to a regular A321. All of that happened in a timespan of 30 days.
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This plane features an older cabin, unlike the last A321.
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Made it to row 27.
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Seat pitch seemed to be normal, the legroom was alright for me. I am 179cm tall (5ft 10,5in). I am not a big fan of these older seats though, they are not made with the most comfortable materials IMO. Although It is okay for a flight of this length.


The plane did not feature any kind of personal IFE system but it did have these overhead screens installed.
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QR 788.
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Niki A319 painted in AB livery.
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Boarding was completed by 06:32 AM, it seems like we are having a really light load today.
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This resulted in a free middle seat for me and my dad, it definitely made things much more bearable.
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FAs closing the overhead bins.
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Niki A320.
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Headphones were distributed by the crew before pushback.
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The safety video popped up at 06:50 AM.
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Pushback commenced at the same time.


Taxiing to the active runway for departures at VIE.


And there is the ET 788 heading out to Stockholm ARN.
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Rolling down on runway 29, a 3500m-long runway.
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Climbing out, goodbye Vienna!


There was not too much going on after departure until the inflight service. The cabin was quiet, a good chunk of the few passengers onboard were sleeping once we took off.
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Cruising.
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The tray table.
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Charging my phone using my powerbank, it is also time for some breakfast roughly 40 minutes after departure.
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The breakfast was similar if not almost identical to the meal I had on TK1792 ARN-IST. The main consisted of spinach, something I don't know the name of and a small toast with turkey. I felt like it was of high quality, the main was very tasty as expected. The meal also consisted of a small bowl with cheese and some vegetables, an almond cake, a bun and some water. Strawberry jam, butter and a wet towel were also found on the tray. OJ was my drink of choice. The bun was your typical kind of bun from the grocery store and the cake was slightly dry but not too bad. Overall the meal was tasty and quite filling, TK is definitely ahead of most of the competition when it comes to catering. It feels even more impressive when I think of the fact that this flight only lasts for around 2 hours.
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The FAs on this flight were decent, they just did their jobs rather efficiently. That is however expected with a light load.
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The remainder of the flight was spent relaxing for the most part.


Safety card of this A321.
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Inflight shopping magazine.
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A coffee/tea service was made 1h 12 min after departure, 26 minutes before arrival or 30 minutes after the meal service.
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Lavatory visit 22 minutes before landing at Istanbul.


I counted the amount of passengers on the way back to the seat as I was up anyway. There seemed to be around 50-55 passengers onboard today which would yield a 26-28% LF in this 194-seater. The flight was very calm, pretty appreciative at this in the morning.
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Back to seat 27F, descent for IST was minutes away.
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Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport, a military and public airport in Çorlu. TK (AnadoluJet) operates flights here from ESB in case you are interested.
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Descending.


Lining up with runway 05.
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Short final.


Landed at 10:38 AM local time (08:38 in VIE) on this 2580m-long runway.. Our scheduled time of arrival was 11:25 AM, we were early by 47 minutes in other words.
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Vacated 05, taxiing to our gate. My guess was a bus gate.


TK B77W.
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TK A333.
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W5 A310.
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SV A333.
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I was wrong, we would be docked at a jetbridge today!
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Final stop for TK1890 at 10:47 AM local time.
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Leaving TC-JRH two minutes later at 10:49.


A last look at the ride from VIE.
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Interestingly we were dropped at the departures level. This meant there would be no security at all. We could have probably made it with a connection of 30 min, even though the minimum connection time for internationals to internationals is 60 minutes (I believe). Now we had 3,5h to kill before taking flight TK1795 to Stockholm-Arlanda.
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Speaking about 30 minutes, this AtlasGlobal flight leaving for Stockholm at 11:30 wouldn't have faired bad. Unfortunately for us we didn't have any tickets for that flight, a shame indeed. Anyway, I'll leave it there where we begin our now 3,5h connection in Istanbul before heading back on TK1795 to Stockholm. Thank you very much for taking your time to read this FR :). Have a good one!
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See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment5.0
meal/catering10.0

Vienna - VIE

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness9.5

Istanbul - IST

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

This was a pretty good flight with TK, decent service, excellent on-time performance and great catering. The cabin comfort was definitely not the best in this older A321 but does the trick for a quickie. We also had a free middle seat thanks to the minimal load, increasing the overall cabin comfort despite of the rather uncomfortable seats.

Cabin - Should have been a 6,5. Increased to 7 because of the free middle seat.

Cabin crew - A standard cabin crew that did their job efficiently, expected with a LF of 26-28%.

Entertainment - Window view.

Meal/catering - High quality meal with TK as always, excellent in most parts. Impressive for a short flight.

Related

18 Comments

  • Comment 380309 by
    martin1405 34 Comments

    Thank you a lot for your amazing FR! :)

    Don't worry about your "delayed" FR, my friend! I even haven't posted my 1251 FR... I should rather apologize.

    I really like VIE. It seems so clean and modern. I hope you enjoyed your French croissant!

    It's kinda sad that you didn't get the Airbus A321 with Sharklets and an A321 with IFE. You had a nice flight. though!

    Amazing spotting at VIE! Lovely pics!

    "And there is the ET 788 heading out to Stockholm ARN."
    It's sad that you didn't take this flight. It would be amazing!

    The breakfast offering looks very good. I wish I had a similar meal on my flight to Stockholm.

    The LF was very low... Like on our flight to Göteborg, haha.

    The cabin looks pretty okay!

    "Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport, a military and public airport in Çorlu. TK (AnadoluJet) operates flights here from ESB in case you are interested."
    Hahahahaha

    Great shots upon arrival!

    I hope you had a great experience with TK again. You're a big TK fan, I guess ;)

    Have a good one mf! See you!

    Can't wait to see your next TK FR!!!!! :)

      0
    • Comment 380543 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

      Thank you for your very nice comment :).

      Thanks for the understanding and don't worry about that!

      The airport was quite nice.

      It's alright that I got an older bird, the flight was very short and pretty empty which made it more comfortable :).

      It would have definitely been interesting with that ET flight haha.

      TK's catering is excellent :).

      Thank you very much for all the nice comments, I appreciate it a lot!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have a good one, see you!

        0
  • Comment 380314 by
    TheWindowSeat 34 Comments

    Superb report as ever ! Did TK not offer post take off Turkish Delight and printed menucards ?

      0
    • Comment 380544 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

      Thank you for your very nice comment :).

      TK has stopped offering paper menus and the Turkish delight. It was part of a cost-cutting program last year, TK has been hurt a lot by the recent events in Turkey :(.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have a good one, see you!

        0
  • Comment 380423 by
    Thurya 47 Comments

    Thanks for yet another great trip report! TK looks like the best when it comes to intra-european flights. Nice spotting at both ends.

    Thanks again... Cheers!!!

      0
    • Comment 380545 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

      Thank you for your very nice comment :).

      Flying with TK on these short flights have been a great experience, especially when you get a new bird with IFE. The main problem is about the major backtracking when flying within Europe (most pax won't use TK for these routings though). However, I guess that's not a problem when you're into aviation :).

      Thank you very much!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have a good one, see you!

        0
  • Comment 380438 by
    NGO85 1581 Comments

    Thanks for sharing the return FR!

    Although you got there early, it's always better to err on the safe side since you don't know what passenger fluxes will do as you approach the main morning departure windows, but if security is at the gate, that may not matter after all.

    Getting the old cabin on a medium length flight is not the best for sure, but I think very few European carriers offer PTVs in their narrow-body fleet so you can't blame them too much. That said, DY would have offered better entertainment!

    Flying twice in the same month always runs the risk of repetitive catering, but twice of a good meal is not necessarily a bad thing.

    The load factor might be the start of the unwind in TK as more people avoid them for the political issues in Turkey.

    ET's VIE-ARN fifth-freedom is weird, but might be a chance for them to shuttle *A passengers between the OS and SK hubs. I'd imagine the fares wouldn't be too bad either. LAX-DUB on ET is usually very cheap, almost half of the EI fares.

    Nice spotting throughout. TK catering is again the bright spot covering up just an above-average carrier, see you!

      0
  • Comment 380547 by
    Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

    Thank you for your very nice comment :).

    That is true, good point. I was pretty bad at ARN at around the same time, I guess it was worse at the area where OS' short-hauls depart from.

    Absolutely, I have to remember about not getting spoiled by their new A321s. That is one thing DY excels at when it comes to short-haul flights in Europe, for now at least!

    I believe this particular meal has been served for a long time, I have seen it on reports that are a few years old if my memory isn't getting too bad. As you are saying, it's not a problem when it's a good meal anyway.

    The only reason they're flying here is probably because of the decent African diaspora here. More than 50% of my friends in Stockholm have roots from East Africa (including Ethiopia). However, there probably hasn't been enough demand for a non-stop hence a stop in the way, VIE in this case. With that said though, ET has decided to cut VIE-ARN this summer (OS increasing ARN from the same time) in favour of a new routing to OSL via ARN (ADD-ARN-OSL).

    I did not know that about LAX-DUB, good to know!

    Thank you very much, appreciated!

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Have a good one, see you!

      0
  • Comment 380549 by
    TheWindowSeat 34 Comments

    Hi RI 777 !
    It is my understanding that menucards are still being handed out on Istanbul-UK-Istanbul and all longhaul flights ! I guess I only have to wait a few weeks to find out !

      0
  • Comment 380564 by
    DiegoSS02 42 Comments

    Excellent report! It's good to know that some European carriers (TK, LH , and some others) are still offering free meals with such quality. Star Alliance airlines are known by offering excellent food service.

      0
    • Comment 381750 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

      Thank you very much for your nice comment :).

      I am definitely a fan of TK's meal, as many other ones :). LH's snacks on short flights haven't been of the best quality IMO but their long-haul meals have been pretty good from my experience. However, I haven't done too much flying in my life so the experience is limited haha.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Have a good one, see you!

        0
  • Comment 380665 by
    jetsetpanda 2139 Comments

    Hi RI777 and thank you for sharing this great FR.

    That early morning dept. to the airport is just brutal. I shouldn't talk because I have an upcoming trip next month and my flight leaves at 06:25. But as NGO85 said, better to err on the safe side than be sorry.

    Great serials shots and spotting. Two 787's in a row - QR & ET. Interesting to see that Niki plane with the AB logo. I think the planes looked better with the silver fuselage and the fly - as odd as that was.

    It's always a treat to board an empty flight, something that is rare these days. Catering is top with TK as usual, but the cost cutting is evident with the lack of lokum and printed menus. They say that TK might post a loss this year so i am not surprised if more cuts are implemented. As it is, TK gives much more than competitors.

      0
    • Comment 381752 by
      Rl 777 AUTHOR 683 Comments

      Thank you for your very nice comment :).

      06:25!! That is early.... Definitely true, valid point.

      Thank you very much! I appreciate it. I agree with you, it was more unique IMO.

      The light load made the flight much more bearable at that time, cost cutting is indeed visible. I fear the same with them, time will tell I presume.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have a good one, see you!

        0
  • Comment 388728 by
    marathon 7492 Comments

    Nice dusk lighting in IST for the tarmac shots.

    Haha, now I have photographic confirmation that the ET aircraft I see each time in ARN does stop in VIE on the way to / from ADD ;)
    (And thanks for the information about the upcoming new routing of the ET flight - I knew it would become direct to ADD, but not that it would become ADD-ARN-OSL)

    Thanks for sharing !

      0

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