Review of Turkish Airlines flight Istanbul Athens in Economy

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK 1843
Class Economy
Seat 6A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:35
Take-off 22 Mar 16, 19:00
Arrival at 22 Mar 16, 20:35
TK   #12 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 581 reviews
NGO85
By 948
Published on 21st October 2016
Background:

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] – Here
Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – You are here
Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here
Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – Here

Tourist Bonuses:

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 IST to ATH. 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.


Pre-flight:

After clearing transfer security, I head towards the main lobby.

photo 1

FIDS.

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My first time in IST. It’s very crowded, but the wood floors are visually nice.

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Off to the TK Lounge.

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Entering the Lounge, I scan the boarding pass on my phone and walk in. I stop by the front desk and ask if they can reprint my boarding pass, which is quickly done.

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The lounge is huge, but very crowded near the entrance, I found it to be much quieter downstairs in the back corner.



I found a seat and then explored the food offerings. The food was all very good and I like how most of it is freshly made by chefs. What I don’t like is how spread out everything is, it was very hard to find things and I felt like I made 4-5 trips from my seat to find different things whether it be food or drinks.



After 2 hours in the lounge, I went in search of my gate.

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AT B738.

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QR A330.

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FIDS indicating my plane is leaving from Gate 307.

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When your gate is below the main terminal level, that means you are doomed to paxbus.

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The paxbus terminal was a zoo.

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Boarding is eminent so I just take a seat to the side until the first bus is almost finished loading.

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My boarding documents.

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————————-

Turkish Airlines, TK 1843
Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [TC-JFH “Iğdır”, delivered October 1998]
Departure: 19:00 (ATD: 19:40)
Arrival: 20:35 (ATA: 20:38)
Flight time: 0:58


As soon as the last bus was almost full, I quick got in the priority line to get on. This bus ride was one of the worst I have ever been on. The driver had 2 near misses with other ground vehicles and I was thrown up against the window at last 3 times as he swerved and braked heavily.

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Reaching our TK B738, which will be in *A special livery.

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CFM turbine.

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KK A319 nextdoor.

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After the masses boarded, I was the last one up the stairs and into the plane. Two FAs were busy in the galley preparing, but at least turned their heads to greet me.

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An older TK cabin, with traditional European J seating.

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My seat in Row 6 is in the last row of the flex zone, so it has increased seat pitch.

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Generous seat pitch in the J flex section with a fold down leg rest (it’s listed as 35” in the magazine).

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No IFE in this older cabin.

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Only overhead monitors.

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Seat details.

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Seatback contents.

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Safety card for this B738.

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The specs of the TK B738s in the fleet.

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Audio controls are in the armrest along with the audio jack.

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It’s a soft bulkhead in front of my row, so that means there were 5 rows of J on this flight.

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Earbuds were already on the seat when I got in.

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We taxi out about 30 minutes late because it took forever for the 2nd bus to show up.

TK A321 in Borussia Dortmund livery. I’ve seen this plane at FCO before.

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TK A330 in *A special livery.

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MB A300.

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TK B77W.

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We have no one in front of us and get a rolling take off.

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Revolting night shot of Istanbul on departure.

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As before, as soon as we level off, the crew is in the aisle with the cart to do service on this 60-minute flight. My snack box is delivered and I ask for a cup of coffee. This time we get a tuna sandwich, chicken salad, and apple cake for dessert.



Cutlery and oshibori.

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The overhead monitors played an episode of Top Gear.

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As soon as the trash was collected, we were dropping into ATH.

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Touching down slightly late.

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We pull into our gate on this quiet night at ATH.

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Deplaning.

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The next report will feature A3, “Europe’s best regional airline.” I guess JU doesn’t qualify anymore with long-haul service to the US.

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Off to the exit through the baggage claim.



If I had planned properly, I should have spent the night at a hotel near the airport. Instead, I have to take the 40-minute subway ride back to my hotel, only to return the next morning for my 8am flight.

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And as I head back into Athens, I leave off this series.
See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

7.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering10.0

Turkish Airlines Lounge

9.3/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Services9.0

Istanbul - ISX

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Athens - ATH

8.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

My second time on TK was also good, minus the IST experience. IST is not a very fun airport to transit through (not taking the TK Lounge in consideration). The catering was still excellent, but the older Y cabin wasn't as comfortable.

Cabin comfort: Old Y cabin without IFE. Seat pitch is very good since I was in the J flex section. Again, the cabin was on the warm side (is this common on TK?).

Crew: English ability was acceptable, no worse than Asian carriers. They just do their jobs, so from the perspective of an American, they seemed fine to me and didn't do anything that I would consider a negative.

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. No IFE, just Top Gear playing on the overhead monitor.

Information on the route Istanbul (ISX) Athens (ATH)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 5 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Istanbul (ISX) → Athens (ATH).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Turkish Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 24 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

  • Comment 371296 by
    ashleyyau 212 Comments

    Thanks Michael for sharing this report! I finally have time to catch up the reports since it is typhoon day in HK…
    IST was so many people, maybe it’s the time for all connecting flight depart?
    The aircraft has an old cabin with no personal IFE, but personally for a 60-minute flight it doesn’t matter and it features a foot rest with good seat pitch^^
    TK’s Y meal services on both legs are impressive for such flight length. The quantity and quality are so good.
    Look forward to next report!

    • Comment 371343 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by to avoid the rain!

      "I finally have time to catch up the reports since it is typhoon day in HK…"
      - No tunnels to dig?

      "IST was so many people, maybe it’s the time for all connecting flight depart?"
      - I'd imagine this has something to do with it, IST probably swells at certain times right before large waves of planes bound for the Americas or Asia depart.

      "TK’s Y meal services on both legs are impressive for such flight length. The quantity and quality are so good."
      - Importantly, TK doesn't sacrifice quality for quantity. And you are right, for any flight less than 3 hours, the seat really doesn't matter a whole lot.

  • Comment 371482 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    "FIDS."
    - I can see TK712 to Dhaka, nice shot of this FIDS!

    "My first time in IST. It’s very crowded, but the wood floors are visually nice."
    - I remember it being crowded when I connected there back in 2011/12. Wonder how it is now, the wooden floors are indeed really nice.

    "The driver had 2 near misses with other ground vehicles and I was thrown up against the window at last 3 times as he swerved and braked heavily."
    - Oh crap.

    Beautiful shots of your bird, really cute KK 319 too.

    Unfortunate to get a bird without IFE. Some of them do (as the 739s), some have an even nicer IFE system (latest) and some don't have them at all (no PTVs). It was also probably not the most important thing on a short flight like this one.

    Fantastic spotting shots! Wonderful shot of Istanbul after departure.

    Catering looks great as always with TK.

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 371864 by
    NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

    "I can see TK712 to Dhaka, nice shot of this FIDS!"
    - I still like my FIDS shot at IAD before Part 2 of this series :)

    "Wonder how it is now, the wooden floors are indeed really nice."
    - As Ashleyyau mentioned, the crowds in IST are probably based on flight timings since there is a lot of coordination for departures to Asia or the Americas. Lots of wide-bodies = lots of people.

    "Beautiful shots of your bird, really cute KK 319 too."
    - It's always special to get a *A special livery plane.

    "Unfortunate to get a bird without IFE. Some of them do (as the 739s), some have an even nicer IFE system (latest) and some don't have them at all (no PTVs). It was also probably not the most important thing on a short flight like this one."
    - I think the cabin matters more in J. It's a bigger difference going from the Euro J to a real J in between the different TK models. The Y seating seems about the same in all cabins, IFE is the only difference.

    "Catering looks great as always with TK."
    - It was nice to see a change to the salad and the dessert. The sandwich was essentially the same on both flights. The full drink service to accompany the snack box is also well done by the TK crews.

    Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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