This series covers a two-week vacation to Europe that will feature stops in SOF, BEG, TIV, LIS, ARN, and ATH. For background and planning, please refer back to Part 1. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:
Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – Here Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – Here Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-200, Economy] – Here Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 8 – LHR-MAD [IB 3167, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Here Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Here Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – Here Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Here Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – You are here Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – Here
Sofia – Part 4 Kotor – Part 6 Belgrade – Part 7 Lisbon – Part 9 Sintra – Part 10 Stockholm – Part 12 Athens – Part 16
This report will cover the flight from ATH to IST. This was part of a round-trip ATH-IST-ATH booked in order to complete the TK *G status challenge requiring 1 international flight on TK during the first 3 months.
After 2 great days in Athens, I opted to spend my last afternoon jet-setting to Istanbul. Since Turkey requires visas for US citizens, my plan was to stay airside and spend the layover in the TK Lounge. I took the subway to the airport around lunchtime. The subway costs 10 euros to the airport and takes ~40-50 minutes. You have to be careful to take a car that is going to the airport, not all the trains go all the way and would require a transfer at the last station.
Arriving, just follow the signs to the terminal.
TK apparently falls under the “all other airlines” tab along with A3.
The inside is a bit more industrial feeling, but still new.
TK’s check-in counters. I used the business class line and was quickly stopped by the agent who was very confused by my routing. She had never seen someone do what I was doing (flying to IST and immediately returning without entering Turkey). I asked if she could issue my BP for the return flight and she said no. Thankfully, TK has online check-in so I used that to get a return BP for the transit security at IST. She handed my first BP and a lounge invitation voucher, she stamped my boarding pass with “Fast Lane” and pointed me in the direction of the gates.
My backpack was also tagged as cabin luggage.
Off to the non-Schengen gates.
No wait at immigration, so I was immediately through and faced with the duty free maze.
TK uses the SkyServ Lounge in the non-Schengen zone. I handed over my voucher as I entered and I was given a WiFi code.
Newspapers and baggage storage.
The seating area. There were just 2 other people in the lounge on the other side of the buffet.
The buffet: mainly soups, sandwiches, and pies.
Newspaper and WiFi code.
My boarding documents.
The lounge was very quiet until some Middle East bound passengers started arriving in preparation for all the flights in the late afternoon. I got up and headed to the gate to make the boarding time.
Boarding started on time and was a little chaotic. There was a priority line, but it was almost alternating with the normal line since the gate agent was taking BPs from both lines of passengers.
Down the jetbridge.
Newspapers at the end of the jetbridge.
A male FA greets me in the galley and checks my BP. I make my way back to my seat for this flight.
A view down my row. The plane would be very full on this sector.
These B739s have IFE.
The seat pitch is decent.
There were earbuds in the seatback pocket.
The rest of the seatback pocket contents.
The safety card on this B739.
TK fleet info.
The IFE had a really good interface and good selection.
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon! Childhood memories…
I was in the 2nd row of Y. J was clearly marked off.
Audio ports were in the arm rest.
TK logo on the seatbelt buckle.
Boarding took awhile, there seemed to be some passengers not familiar with flying that needed special assistance finding their seats. We push back past the pair of EK B777s.
MS B738 in *A special livery.
A3’s parking lot.
OA’s parking lot.
OA hangar and a pair of ex-OA A340s (I guess these are owned by the Greek government now?).
Turning onto the runway.
Lifting up over the Greek country side.
A glimpse back at ATH before we disappear into the clouds.
On this short flight, the FAs immediately hop into action.
Bi-folding tray table.
The snack box and a cup of coffee. It was a chicken sandwich, caprese salad, chocolate mouse, some crackers and cup of water. More than adequate meal for a short 60-minute flight. Even better than the JU snack box on SOF-BEG.
The condiments and utensils.
It was cloudy the whole way to IST.
The moving map is quite impressive with lots of options and information.
Flying over Istanbul.
Crossing from Asia to Europe.
Vodafone Arena, home of Beşiktaş J.K.
Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia was too far away to get a good aerial.
Final descent into the airport.
Touching down right on time.
Bosphorus European Airways A300s are all parked in the corner.
KLM B738 in retro livery.
JU A319, the plane that I took from BEG to ATH in the previous FR.
No remote stand for us, we pull right in next to a TK B77W.
Deplaning through the J cabin, which is in the 2-2 configuration.
The putting green jetbridge.
Last look at my plane.
Heading towards the exit.
I was going to try and go to the transfer desk to get a BP, but the line was sooooo long.
I went to the transfer area instead. I was harassed about the electronic BP I had, but they eventually let me through. They were also looking puzzled since they asked where I was coming from and I said ATH. Then they asked me where I was transferring to and I said ATH again. When in doubt, flash the US passport and they relent and just let me proceed on my merry way.
I’ll leave off this series here as I begin my 3-hour layover in IST before returning to ATH.
Skyserv Aristotle Onassis Lounge
Athens - ATH
Istanbul - ISL
My first time on TK and it certainly lived up to its reputation. Excellent catering and excellent hard product/IFE. Crews are average, but the service doesn't distract on this short hop.
Cabin comfort: New Y cabin with IFE. Seat pitch is good and the cabin was clean albeit a little on the warm side.
Crew: English ability seemed fine (often a criticism of TK crews). They didn't do anything special, just did their jobs professionally as is expected in order to feed an entire cabin in 60 minutes.
Meal and catering: Full drink service and a pretty extensive snack box on a 60-minute flight. The Do&Co catering is very good so there is very little to complain about.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE is excellent on TK.
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