Review of Turkish Airlines flight Amsterdam Istanbul in Business

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK 1952
Class Business
Seat 1F
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 03:30
Take-off 12 Oct 16, 11:10
Arrival at 12 Oct 16, 15:40
TK   #12 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 572 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 2282
Published on 19th October 2016
Originally i was planning to just buy a one way on KL for this segment, but upon finding that TK operated an A330 on this route and just asked for 15,000 miles for an award in J, I opted for the latter instead. But at the last minute I was dealt with the blow of disappointment. Oh it happened again! My second attempt to get into the A330 has resulted in another change of equipment at the last minute. My first try was last November CPH-IST and now on this AMS-IST flight the A321 returns again like a recurring nightmare. As chance would have it, I would finally fly on the A330 by TK, but not in the right cabin and expected route.

My schedule so far looks like this:

SFO-MSP on DL Y - click here
MSP-YYZ on DL Y - will not report.
YYZ- FCO on AZ J - click here
FCO-AMS on AZ J - click here
AMS-IST on TK J -you are here.
IST-ATH on TK Y - clich here.
ATH-CPH on A3 J - click here.
CPH-ARN on SK J - click here.
ARN-HEL on AY Y - will not report.
HEL-JFK on AY Y+ - click here.
JFK-SFO on AA J - click here.


I arrived early at AMS airport and the TK counter was not open yet, so I used the check-in kiosk. When I looked at the seat map it was evident by the 2x2 configuration in J that the A330 was substituted and I became disappointed. I had a separate IST-ATH reservation and decided to wait until the check-in counter opened in order to get the connecting boarding pass for that flight. About 20 min. later I was helped by a smiling agent and received the boarding passes for both flights in addition to a printed lounge invitation. However, I noticed that even thought my TK frequent flyer number was entered, the status showed as "clsc" on the boarding pass. I inquired with the agent and she stepped aside to check with her colleague. When she returned she said that my elite gold status was showing in the reservation, but could not explain why it was not printed on the boarding pass. I thought that maybe when I made this reservation my status was not matched at the time and the frequent flyer number had to be deleted and re-entered again, but I was carrying my TK Gold card just in case and did not pursue this further. Anyways the AMS-IST portion was an award ticket so it didn't really matter. I would take it with the CIP lounge upon my arrival into IST to rectify the IST-ATH leg.

Arriving at AMS.

photo dsc03933 - copyphoto dsc03934 - copy


So far my interactions with the Dutch have been great and I found the majority to be friendly and engaging, but the passport control agent was just a sour one who was disinterested and did not respond to the most basic courtesy greetings. I guess there is always a rotten apple in every basket. Security was quick and I headed to the Aspire lounge where I was warmly welcomed by the lounge agent there. This lounge had a good view of the tarmac with mostly DL planes but was not really big and felt crowded already. I noticed that there was an area set aside for SQ passengers in the back and an agent was there to check for credentials.

Aspire lounge.

Entrance and reception area.

photo aspire lounge  ams 1 - copyphoto aspire lounge  ams 2 - copy


Interior.




The SQ corner.

photo aspire lounge  ams 15 - copy


Buffet.

There were pastries, cereal, fruits, sliced cold cuts, cheese, yogurts, some hot Indian items and a soup.




My selection.

photo aspire lounge  ams 14 - copy


I found a table in the back and sat down to have my breakfast. I noticed that the lounge got more crowded as time went on so I decided to leave and walk around the terminal. I was interested in getting to the observation deck but when I checked with information they advised me that I couldn't access it from my area and I had to leave the terminal, so I did not bother.

in the meantime, I did some spotting.




I returned to the gate 40 min. before dept. and asked the agent if the flight was full. I wanted to see if there was a chance to get an empty seat next to me and she informed me that seat 1F was available without a neighbor. I went ahead with the change of seat and thanked her. A few minutes later pre-boarding started and i soon followed.

There was a cart with newspapers by the door and after the FA greeted me I went to my seat. At least these were real J seats instead of the Y row with the blocked middle seat.




FA's distributed periodicals and offered pre-dept. drinks.




Door closed and taxiing to the runway.




I wonder what version of the 747 is this? :P

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 17 - copy


Surprise! SQ's newest airplane.




A few more players lining up for take off.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 26 - copyphoto tk 1952 ams-ist 27 - copy


Bye AMS.




After take off the sound releasing the FA's was heard and the chef started the service with hot towels and distribution of menus.




Beverages.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 34 - copyphoto tk 1952 ams-ist 35 - copy


Potpourri of Turkish mezes - beautifully presented with a variety of morsels to start the meal. A fitting appetizer from "Europe's Best Airline". This was followed by the bread basket with a variety of warm breads to accompany the appetizer course.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 48 - copyphoto tk 1952 ams-ist 43 - copy


The Turkish beans with tahini had a "pasty" texture that I did not find inspiring.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 46 - copy


For the main course, I inquired about the kebab and the chef advised me that it was a mix of lamb and beef. Another round of warm breads was offered and I chose a simit. The dish was flavorful and delicious. The small pot of yogurt with its tangy taste complemented the robustness of the meat nicely. The broken pieces of pita at the bottom of the casserole absorbing the drippings of the kebabs was brilliant.

Main course was served using the trolley.




Cheese and dessert.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 45 - copyphoto tk 1952 ams-ist 57 - copy


Once trays were cleared the tea service began.

photo tk 1952 ams-ist 60 - copyphoto tk 1952 ams-ist 61 - copy


Descending into IST.




Upon landing there was an agent in the middle of the jetbridge that was checking for connecting passengers. Those with connections had to show the boarding pass and were allowed through another exit on the jetbridge that led directly into the gate area without passing through security as before. I went directly to the CIP lounge to prepare myself for the next journey to ATH.


***BONUS***

This was my second trip to AMS since the mid 1990's and although lots have changed, I still found the city as charming and friendly as before. I did not stay at any 5-star properties, just a humble 1-star canal house in a superb location with lots of character.



View from my room.

photo hotel prinsenhof 20 - copyphoto hotel prinsenhof 23 - copy


Some sights of AMS.




The other side of AMS.


See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

8.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering10.0

Aspire Lounge

7.1/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.0

Amsterdam - AMS

9.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Istanbul - ISX

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

The Aspire lounge provided acceptable catering and the presence of hot items was appreciated, although the Indian choices it featured might not be to everyone's liking. I happen to like it so it was not a problem for me. However, the amount of traffic at this lounge can sometimes be overwhelming and it can get very crowded. That is why at one point I decided to leave and relax in the terminal instead of fighting for a seat inside.

It was disappointing to have a last minute substitution, especially when it is form a wide body to a narrow one. However, I was able to secured a row without anyone sitting next to me which is a plus, considering that the rest of the cabin everyone had a neighbor as far as I could tell. Service was polite, professional and I was addressed by name. There were a few minor lapses in the service, like not offering sweets or lokum with the tea service when these were on the trolley, but apart from that it was fine.

Catering is always a strong point with TK and my meal was another culinary success. The courses were well presented and most importantly they were tasty and delicious. When you fly TK it is not uncommon to want second servings.

I personally did not find any "propaganda" as others have mentioned regarding IST's most recent political events.

Information on the route Amsterdam (AMS) Istanbul (ISX)

10 Comments

  • Comment 371071 by
    indianocean SILVER 6585 Comments

    Bad luck. Second swap of aircraft. You know what we say in France: "jamais deux sans trois". So if you want my advice, don't try again ^^

    Even on a narrowbody aircraft, cabin crew uses a nice cart to do the service. That's very nice as well as the catering.

    I love the sushi socks. No space cakes?

    Thank You Adan

    • Comment 371181 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2296 Comments

      Hi Bernard.

      "You know what we say in France: "jamais deux sans trois". "
      - And you know what they say in the U.S. "Third time's the charm". ;)

      It's nice that on my flight they used the cart to do the service. Some people will object and will equate that with laziness, but when it is done right and the cart is nicely presented, then it becomes an elegant component of the service.

      "No space cakes?"
      - Maybe next.

      Thank you my friend for your comments and support.

  • Comment 371073 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 9383 Comments

    Thanks Adan !

    Not A330 for this leg but a brilliant catering indeed ! That's the first time I see a cart service in a narrowbody and I can just say I find this top notch.

  • Comment 371280 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Adan!

    I think TK changed the aircraft on my ATH-IST-ATH sectors at least 5 times in the 3 months between purchasing the tickets and boarding the plane. I saw everything from A321 to B738 to B739 to A330 listed.

    That’s hilarious that SQ has its own private corner in the lounge. Did all the *A carriers use the Aspire Lounge?

    You were lucky to get a real J cabin, their narrow body fleet is still a mix of hard products so you didn’t completely lose out ;) Do these seats have power? The catering looks excellent as usual on TK. Desert is maybe the only area of improvement (it’s not too much different than what they give in Y).

    Great bonus of Amsterdam, didn’t venture out of the city while there?

    • Comment 372097 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2296 Comments

      Hi Michael.

      Since there is no *A lounge at AMS, I believe that all *A carriers or most of them use the Aspire lounge. There used to be a SQ one from what I've read. Personally I don't like third party lounges.

      "Do these seats have power?"
      - I believe that they do. I didn't need to use them since my electronics were fully charged.

      "Desert is maybe the only area of improvement (it’s not too much different than what they give in Y)."
      - So that means that Y desserts on TK are really good. :P

      "Great bonus of Amsterdam, didn’t venture out of the city while there?"
      - Not really. I decided to stay in AMS and there are still places that I didn't get to see.

      Thanks for your comments Michael.

  • Comment 371333 by
    KL651 TEAM 4454 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Though not as good as the one found on A330 at least you did not get an A321 with european style C class.
    The meal looks indeed of very good quality.
    Unfortunately we all the events in Turkey lately and the way TK praised their dictator of a prime minister I no longer consider them as an option.

  • Comment 371480 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    "When I looked at the seat map it was evident by the 2x2 configuration in J that the A330 was substituted and I became disappointed."
    - Definitely a mood-breaker :(, sorry to hear this happened again.

    Beautiful spotting shots at AMS!

    Thankfully you got the actual J cabin on this flight, after all.

    Stunning aerial shots.

    The catering and service level is really impressive on this flight, one amazing thing with TK.

    Wonderful aerial shots before landing and nice spotting shots at IST.

    Thank you for the stunning bonus at the end.

    It looks like you had a great flight with TK, a shame that the aircraft got swapped to an A321 but seems to be really normal with TK (and many other carriers) on some short-haul routes (probably because of changes in demand or something else). I have a VIE-IST flight that has already been changed twice one month before departure, could possibly change again.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 372099 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2296 Comments

      Hi RI 777.

      Aircraft swaps happen and with TK it is expected, especially on short hauls operated with widebodies. :P

      I seldom have a window seat, but when I do I try to take full advantage of it. ;)

      Good luck on your VIE-IST flight. Look forward to it.

      Thanks for your visit.

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