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
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.
After clearing transfer security, I head towards the main lobby.
My first time in IST. It’s very crowded, but the wood floors are visually nice.
Off to the TK Lounge.
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.
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.
FIDS indicating my plane is leaving from Gate 307.
When your gate is below the main terminal level, that means you are doomed to paxbus.
The paxbus terminal was a zoo.
Boarding is eminent so I just take a seat to the side until the first bus is almost finished loading.
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.
Reaching our TK B738, which will be in *A special livery.
KK A319 nextdoor.
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.
An older TK cabin, with traditional European J seating.
My seat in Row 6 is in the last row of the flex zone, so it has increased seat pitch.
Generous seat pitch in the J flex section with a fold down leg rest (it’s listed as 35” in the magazine).
No IFE in this older cabin.
Only overhead monitors.
Safety card for this B738.
The specs of the TK B738s in the fleet.
Audio controls are in the armrest along with the audio jack.
It’s a soft bulkhead in front of my row, so that means there were 5 rows of J on this flight.
Earbuds were already on the seat when I got in.
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.
TK A330 in *A special livery.
We have no one in front of us and get a rolling take off.
Revolting night shot of Istanbul on departure.
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.
The overhead monitors played an episode of Top Gear.
As soon as the trash was collected, we were dropping into ATH.
Touching down slightly late.
We pull into our gate on this quiet night at ATH.
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.
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.
And as I head back into Athens, I leave off this series.
Turkish Airlines Lounge
Istanbul - ISX
Athens - ATH
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.
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