Review of Turkish Airlines flight Istanbul Lahore in Economy

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK714
Class Economy
Seat 6A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 05:05
Take-off 28 Feb 17, 21:45
Arrival at 01 Mar 17, 04:50
TK   #10 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 665 reviews
thejetflyer
By 3780
Published on 7th April 2017
photo tk714photo mylahore

Having brought you Flight-Report.com's FIRST PIA report, FIRST Shaheen Air report and the FIRST Lahore report, I am very proud to present the web's first Istanbul Ataturk-Lahore Flight Report !

As mentioned in my TK1995 flight report of April 2016, I had planned fly with Turkish Airlines to Pakistan one day.

This thought was confirmed in July 2016 when as I would need to go to Pakistan for a family event and as such thought why not discover more of Asia so had a look at combining Pakistan and Thailand
( I would have to stop in Istanbul anyway to revisit this beautiful city and as my main carrier throughout this trip was Turkish Airlines).
It was exciting to be visiting three different countries and cultures in one trip,a first for TheWindowSeat !

My Itinerary - A Star Alliance Dream !

  1. Manchester MAN ✈ IST Istanbul Ataturk |Turkish Airlines, A321-200, Economy
  2. IST Istanbul Ataturk ✈ LHE Lahore Allama Iqbal |Turkish Airlines, B737-800, Economy
  3. LHE Lahore Allama Iqbal ✈ BKK Bangkok Suvarnabhumi |Thai Airways, A330-300, Economy
  4. BKK Bangkok Suvarnabhumi ✈ IST Istanbul Ataturk |Turkish Airlines, A321-200, Economy
  5. IST Istanbul Ataturk ✈ Manchester MAN |Turkish Airlines, A321-200, Economy


Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Lahore service commenced in November 2014 on a 737-800 but due to the high passenger loads for the flight,this service was soon upgraded to an A330-200. TK714 codeshares with PIA as PK1764.

In April 2017, it has been announced that Pakistani Actor Jawaid Sheikh's next movie " Wajood", which he is directing,is being sponsored by Turkish Airlines.
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The movie will have actors/actresses from Pakistan,India and Turkey. A large part of the film will be shot in Turkey, including a few songs and some integral parts of the film.

The Launch of Turkish Airlines to Lahore in 2014
http://enewspaper.com.pk/turkish-airlines-operates-its-first-flight-to-lahore-today/

When I booked this flight,I really welcomed the opportunity to A) fly to Pakistan on Turkish Airlines for the first time and B) to fly on a Turkish A330 aircraft, my first Turkish widebody experience.

However, not long after making the booking,Turkish decided for some bizarre reason,unbeknown to the world, that for the Winter 2016/17 schedule,all Pakistan services would be downgraded from the A330-200 to…………………………………………………………………………….. a much smaller 737-800 ? Really ? A 5 hour+ flight crammed in a 737 ? And TK is trying to compete with the Emirates and Qatar Airways on the Pakistan routes ?

Bear in mind that Islamabad,Pakistan’s Capital City was Turkish Airline’s top performing destination in 2015 and was due to be upgraded to a 777-300, so it was with some dismay that I learned I would be flying ISTLHE on an aircraft which normally flies in and around Europe.

Further proof of how Turkish Airlines Pakistan routes are a success ( Baku almost got connected with Islamabad…but this never materialised )
http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/249378/turkish-airlines-expands-pakistan-service-from-august-2015/

On 30th October 2016,the first day of the Winter 2016/2017 schedule,Turkish Airlines operated the flight with a 737-800. However from the next day, I was surprised to see that the 737-900 was being used. This was exciting as I have been wanting to try Turkish Airlines 737-900 as it features the immaculate Boeing Sky Interior.

Over the following few weeks Turkish used mainly 737-900s to Lahore and occasionally the 737-800. Imagine my surprise on the occasional flight also being operated by the A330-200 and even the A330-300 !

Although I booked the Turkish Airlines ticket in July2016 ,I would have to wait until the 21st of November 2016 to prebook my seats for MANIST and ISTLHE as this function is not available at turkishairlines.com…in 2016……………………….…no joke.

Istanbul is 3 hours ahead of the UK in Winter so at 2015pm on the 20th November 2016, I called the Turkish Airlines Contact Centre ( in India) and was surprised that I could assign my seats even though it was only 2315pm in Istanbul/Turkey !

Initially I booked 6F for the ISTLHE sector. I was told that the flight,TK714, starts Economy Class on row 5 ( meaning a 737-900 or so I thought as per online seatmaps which now mean nothing ).

However with Turkish constantly using mixed aircraft such as the 737-800 / A330 200/300, I decided to rebook my seat number. I was told row 5 is fully blocked off an only for those with infants. I told the agent that in April 2016, I had had bulkhead ( front row of Economy ) seats on both flights to/from Istanbul and no infants were on that row.

When I called back to the Contact Centre I got a helpful enough lady who would only state her location as Europe due to a security risk ?? What exactly would someone do on knowing the location of a TK Contact Centre ?

Anyway,the lady had no notes from the Indian contact centre and had to rebook me ( I know she did this as I then went through to complaints to have a chat with a lovely gentleman in Ankara and he told me that my seats had been assigned by her). The lady had also told me that 5A and 5F had since been assigned ? Queue TheWindowSeat being a little annoyed ( to put it lightly) as to how thesseats had been assigned before seat allocation had ever begun.

Turkish then used an A330 on some TK714 flight and whilst this was a dilemma,it was also a blessing in disguise. If Turkish operate TK714 with a 737-800 or A330 aircraft,then my assigned seat will be a window on the first row of Economy( so I believed ). The only time I will be on the second row of Economy is when the TK714 may be operated by a 737-900 ( again as per information available from TK).

So just to clarify a bit further, if 6F is on a 737-800 then I will have a window seat in the front row of Economy.
If I would be flying on a 737-900 then 6F is the second row of Economy Class, so it would be a win win for me really flying on a 737….my how wrong I would be.
If TK714 was to be operated by an A330 I would have no window and be wedged between 3 others ( I was told the flight is not so busy).


TK714 FastFacts

Aircraft
737-800 winglets born May 2016
Registration
TC-JVT
Name
Cekmekoy, after a district in the Asian suburbs of Istanbul
Previous flight Istanbul Ataturk to Izmir and back
Next flight I can't remember but it was St.Petersburg or Tallinn
Pushback 2110PM
STD/ ATD 2105PM/2146PM
STA/ATA 0435AM / 0457AM
Flight Time 5 hours 12 mins

Airports I have seen Turkish in or have flown with Turkish from/to

LHR/IST/AMS/LHE/JFK/BKK/KWI/JFK



After landing in Istanbul Ataturk from Manchester and as I had my onward boarding pass for Lahore I could go straight into Departures.

After freshening up, I just happened to take a seat at gate 211 where I had arrived from Manchester and where the A321 which had operated my TK1994 flight,was parked and waiting for it’s next flight.
I could hear various dialects of Dutch being spoken and as a Dutch speaker my ears pricked up !
It turns out that my ex- Manchester aircraft would soon be heading off to Amsterdam as TK1955.

Gate 211 where I landed from Manchester on TC-JTO, an A321 that would soon depart for Amsterdam Schiphol !
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Wandering aimlessly without knowing my gate !
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Miles&Smiles members get a free newspaper at the Turkish Airlines newspaper desk by showing their boarding pass so I got a copy of the New York Times.
When I went to the desk to ask if the newspapers were free, I was asked to show my Boarding Pass.
I put my handluggage on the very edge of the counter and the guy sat there said something in Turkish. He then gestured with his hand as if wafting a smell away. Turkish Airlines should really train some staff at IST in customer care,manners and English. Like the poor contact centre service, several staff are robotic at IST with no manners,smiles or people skills. See TK1995 flight report of 19th March 2017 for yet another change to this rule for newspapers.Aaaahh !!!

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I availed of the free wifi and checked emails,called family/friends and also notified the folks in Pakistan that I am halfway to them and also downloaded my mobile phone photos into my tablet as well as ( trying to) charge my mobile. If there are awards for Male Multitasking,then I surely would have won this evening !

At approximately 1940pm ( boarding for Lahore was due to commence at 2005pm) I thought I would check which gate TK714 is departing from.

Imagine my shock ( own fault ) when I saw that the gate was………………………..501 and I was still sat at 211 !
Queue me walking very very fast through IST ( trying not to look suspicious and to reach my gate on time whilst also taking photos for the report and holding a,by now, heavy piece of hand luggage ! ).

After almost 15 minutes walking, I started to calm down a little as I could see gate 501 was nearing ( just as well as I was starting to inhale deeply ! ).

Don’t stop Mr TheWindowSeat…just keep walking !
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Escalator down to gate 501 and a nice advert for AtlasGlobal !
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At the gate, I asked the groundstaff member which aircraft was operating as flightradar24 was not yet showing the model or registration of the aircraft being used for tonight’s TK714. I was surprised when the rather nice staff member told me confidently and with a smile ( a rare thing in IST) that the aircraft was a 737-700 !
I poiltely asked him to check again please and again he advised that the aircraft was a 737-700.
The thought of a 5 hour flight now on a baby Boeing did not seem appealing ; however it’s slightly bigger brother the 737-800 which actually operated the flight would be no better ( read on).


Boarding



I then heard an announcement that boarding would commence for passengers in rows 1-16 ( which includes Business Class passengers) and boarding would be via front and rear doors of the aircraft ( ended up being through the front door ) however as the passenger load were all firmly sat in their seats in the seating area, I kept an eye and eventually at 2035pm I joined a queue that was forming to board a bus to the remote stand. Way to go IST on a foggy cold night to bus us to an aircraft heading for warmer climes ?
I was asked at the gate if I have a Pakistani ID card ? I said yes but this was never checked. I presume as the agent at MAN had checked it ?
I took a picture of the bus and a male ground staff member asked “Sir what are you doing, are you making a photo of me ?” I immediately showed him my phone and asked why he would feel I would photograph him ?

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And to the bus we shall go. I did not like being bussed to the aircraft. By not using airbridges,TK shows no importance to Pakistani passengers who have chosen TK over Emirates and Qatar Airways.

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I spotted some passengers who had flown with me from Manchester !
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All Aboard for the bus to Lahore ! I sincerely wish that TK would have used an AirBUS 321 !
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On the way to the stand, I saw A330 Kushimoto which I believe may have been going to Bangkok. Eventually we arrived at our 737 and left the bus to board the aircraft which thankfully (so I thought) was a 737-800.
Whilst standing on the queue for the stairs into the aircraft, a lady let me go ahead of her ; she was so polite that I let her go ahead of me ( my gentlemanly deed of the day) ; she had flown from San Francisco to connect to the Lahore service.

And there she is - TC-JVT "Cekmekoy" the way, sorry I mean, the wedge to fly to Lahore ( not ! ) I wouldn't even recommend the Turkish 737-800 on shorthaul flights !

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Passengers were welcomed aboard by the Cabin Chief ; no Flying Chef again. I heard at least 4-5 passengers talking amongst themselves in Urdu and mentioning their disgust that this flight is usually operated by a much bigger aircraft ( A330-200 for FR readers). Imagine my horror when I got to my row and found that the overhead lockers were full to the brim on both sides of the aircraft. I then asked a lovely Airhostess if she could find me space for my hand baggage. The Flight Dispatcher happened to come onboard just as I said this and immediately stowed my hand luggage in Business Class ( what a shame I didn’t get “stowed” onto a Business Class seat ). I was however unhappy that my baggage,which had cash for my entire trip to Pakistan,Thailand and Turkey was out of view for the flight ( more on this later). I was dismayed that I would be on row 2 of Economy when seatplans online show row 6 to be the first row in Economy Class on a Turkish Airlines 737-800.

Business Class luxury to Lahore ..so near yet so far !
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The all female crew were busy helping passengers stow baggage and get seated in a polite and efficient way.
I noted that the seats all had pillows ( blankets would only be offered if requested ; strange for a 5 hour flight). I then noted a lady in 6B ( I was on 6A) wanting to get up to let me in as did the gentleman on 6C. I thought to myself,how bad can a 737-800 be from Istanbul to Lahore ?
The answer ; the worst seat I have sat on in 32 years of flying. I was wedged into my seat for the entire time I was seated.
As a 6 foot built guy, I appreciate that aircraft seats can’t cater to larger passengers however the hell I endured for the 5 or so hours was shocking.
At one point during the flight my pen dropped onto the floor and I had to roll it with my feet upto the wallpanel to retrieve it. I cannot believe TK would use such a small aircraft on a flight where passengers have connected from several longhaul destinations and have chosen TK over other airlines.

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Wedge with no edge…The WedgeSuite on Turkish Airlines 737-800 - do not book a seat with a row in front on this aircraft if you are tall or big build unless it's on row 11 where there is a bot of extra legroom.

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As this 737-800 was a newer model,the seatback pocket was directly under the seatback video screen and further down was a netted seatpocket to hold the oversized and overhanging safety card as well as earphones ( I didn’t see the earphones until landing as was not in the mood for IFE at all. There was zero space for my tablet or personal items and my Brussels Airlines tablet and cover spent the entire flight on my armrest as shown. Skylife magazine and Shop&Miles were in the seatpockets.

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During boarding, I asked crew if I could change seats for a more roomier seat and was taken to 11DEF where 11E was free but the two chaps sat on 11D and 11F had made themselves at home and were not happy to move at all . On seeing this and not to be a nuisance, I then went back to 6A and prayed the flight would be over quickly.

At 2110pm we pushed back and the Captain advised the flight route etc and that take off would be delayed due to severe weather and our number in the queue for take off. The fact that the flight is PIA codeshare was also mentioned in the Cabin Chief’s welcome message.

The safety video then played in Turkish then English followed by Mr Freeman's " Delight in our differences" advert and the Star Alliance Gold advert. After the cabin secure check,the lights were dimmed ; note this aircraft is fitted with mood lighting.
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No Dua E Safar – Sefer Duasi ( pre travel prayer ) despite the flight being operated to a Muslim country. Very very strange considering Turkish Airlines does play said video and prayer announcement on all Saudi flights.
At 2125pm the Captain made a further announcement and apologised for the delay.More taxying. More queuing.


Take Off



Heading to the runway….and taxying…..and so on !
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Allahaismarladik Istanbul…see you in a few weeks..Gule Gule !
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Like mysterious red eyes,the 15th July Bridge looked eery as we steadily climbed out of Istanbul.
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Sleep Kit



After we levelled out, sleep kits were handed out which included eyeshades,socks,earplugs. As this is an overnight flight,why not replace the socks with a dental kit ? I mean surely people do wear their own socks ? I like the listing of every country that Turkish Airlines flies to.

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I dropped my amenity kit and asked the lady behind me if she could pass me it please . Instead she gave her own kit and I initially refused but she insisted. I was humbled.
After landing however, I managed to make a little family of amenity kits from those that were unwanted by passengers around me !
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Inflight Catering


If I thought the seat was a tight squeeze,then meal time would not be any better. The meal tray dug into my stomach and I had to be very careful in how I manoeuvered my arms to eat my meal in case the tray flipped over and so as to not invade the personal space of my neighbour,a lovely lady from Uzbekistan.

Meal trolleys waiting to unleash the same meals as from Manchester to Istanbul !
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Note the seatpocket under the tv screen and earphone jack…only enough space to hold the SkyLife, Shop&Miles and a sick bag
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The inflight meal was the same as from Manchester earlier in the day ( Chicken or Pasta ) but had a different ( Coffee flavour) mousse ; there was no dish liner with Seljuk design.

I had to ask for butter and salad dressing as none were on the tray. The Airhostess struggled to understand me. Babyfood was offered through the flight as a flexi dining option to those with babies.

Again no Turkish Delight,no menucard but the trayset and meal excelled ; on this flight I’d have rather had a spicy dish as the chicken was ok but not spicy at all.
I was surprised to see alcohol being offered to Pakistan. Luckily I didn’t see anyone take any alcohol.

It is unbelievable to be served the exact same meal twice in one day in different parts of the world ( just a different dessert). Surely THY Catering knew that they are serving the same meal from Manchester to Istanbul as from Istanbul to Lahore as Inflight Cateirng is planned months ahead ? The Coffee Mousse was so nice I even had my neighbour's who didn't want hers !

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Text Messages received when flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan
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Inflight Entertainment



The USB port didn’t work and I reported this to the Cabin Chief ; I just watched the Airshow and was again surprised to see the medium sized town I’d be visiting in Pakistan appear on the map !

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If this is Amsterdam then my name is Mickey Mouse !
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After the meal service was over, dual language landing cards for Pakistan were distributed ( Urdu and English ).

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Skylife Magazine Highlights



Fleet At a Glance
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B737-800 stats ( not mentioned is the tight awful seating )
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Free Istanbul Transit Tour
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Istanbul Transit Guide
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Europe's best from East to West
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Turkish Airlines World Map
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There was severe turbulence over Turkmenistan and again when we were 1 hour from Pakistan.

The Cabin Crew


For any airline, the Cabin Crew are the face of the airline and instrumental in making passengers return which in turn increases revenue. The crew of TK714 were all female, lovely and friendly and very generous as well as very well groomed. Whilst chatting in the galley I was offered a Lemon Mousse,Turkish Delight,Water and Coffee ! I felt like a VIP !

The Lemon Mousse - Delightful way up here !
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Hazelnuts - Turkey's number 1 nut and Turkish Airlines pre meal snack. Not offered in Economy, but an exclusive from TheWindowSeat !
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The Cabin



Just as I went to take a back facing photo of the cabin…the lights dimmed to to allow everyone to sleep !

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The Boeing Sky Interior
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The Washrooms



The washrooms ; immaculately clean !
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Pre landing Refreshment



Just under an hour before landing, I was surprised when the cabin lights went on that a pre arrival beverage service was offered. I chose Tea with Lemon and an Ice cold Coke.
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My choice of prearrival drinks ! Tea with lemon and a separate Coke !

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I then changed my mind and refreshed my Coke cup with tea infused lemon !

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Lights dimmed after Cabin Secure Check
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TK714 landed smoothly in Lahore at 0457am Pakistani time and the announcement again mentioned the codeshare with PIA. I was surprised to learn that the crew stay overnight in Pakistan, the only European Airline’s crew to do so in Pakistan which shows that confidence in the country is rising. I pray to God that Pakistan will rise high and airlines will once again add Pakistan to their networks
( Karachi used to be the Gateway to East and West, a little like Dubai,Doha and Istanbul today…hard to believe but true ! )



The cabin after landing at Lahore
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Adios TC-JVT…wish your seat had been nicer :(
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Some parting gifts from the flight including a Business Class menucard,Packet of Hazelnuts and funnily Skylife Business featuring Bangkok, my next flight !

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Baggage Reclaim at Lahore

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Immigration were lovely and friendly ; just before exiting the airport, a nice gentleman from Dnata Handling requested my bag tag receipt ? Apparently they have to give this to Turkish Airlines in Lahore ?

After exiting through arrivals, I immediately went to the Turkish Airlines office on Departures level to see the Station Manager and tell him of my most uncomfortable flight and for Turkish to not deploy such small aircraft on a flight where the bulk of passengers have connected from longhaul destinations.
I felt embarrassed that I have promoted TK's Pakistan fares and service so much. I appreciate that the 737 is only used in the Winter but it really is unacceptable to cause such discomfort to passengers who have chosen Turkish Airlines over bigger,globally known Arab carriers,who may I add, use mainly widebodies for the approximately 3 hour flights to/from Pakistan. The Station Manager was not on duty so I was given an email address by a staff member.

The old Turkish Airlines Ticket Office at Lahore Airport
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And the new one

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I emailed the email address when I got home and finally got a response 2 days later from Mr Erol Kurt, Station Manager THY Lahore Airport. He said he would investigate and get back to me.

I waited 5 further days before and as I got no response, I emailed again to then receive a "fluffy" response claiming I am valued as a customer and that if I wanted extra comfort I could buy an extra seat ( no offence taken ; I am not so big that I can't fit in my seat) yet I realised that I would not get any further.

A request for an upgrade on upcoming flights was fobbed off by telling me to join Miles&Smiles ( even though I am a member). In short, the Station Manager showed showed he has acknowledged what I have said but that he has zero influence over the Lahore operation. Surely as Station Manager he must be aware that the bulk of passengers on the Lahore flight from Istanbul have connected from the US/Canada/UK/Europe and that comfort is a key essential in retaining customers ? I certainly would not ever fly Turkish Airlines to Pakistan in the winter if they continue using a Baby Boeing.

Flight Information Screen at Lahore showing a rather dated TK logo. Its like Turkish Airlines 1990 all over again !
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Turkish Airlines splendid new Boarding and Landing Music for you to enjoy ! ; although the video is not shown,it would be a great visual during boarding !

Boarding Music

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V7gOpNLG5HE

Landing Music

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tnL4Ogvbsp0


Flight-Report.com Bonus for my lovely FR friends !!!



Serene Air is a newly launched Pakistani airline operating with modern 737-800s and a focus on superior passenger service. I can’t believe I am even writing that after the above review and hope I never ever fly in a 737-800 again unless in Business Class or in an exit row with legroom )
Photos courteousy of Richard, Serene Air and glosslips.

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I contacted Serene Air before arrival in Pakistan to show my interest and was told I could pick up some goodies from their office in the Arrivals level at Lahore Airport.

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I thought I will probably get a pen and neckstrap at most………………………………………………………

But clearly my interest was given a lot more value, see for yourself !

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Married couple onboard Serene Air on 27th March 2017
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Amazingly just weeks later, Turkish started it's summer schedule and lo and behold,the A330 is back !

TC-LOF an A330,kicked off proceedings on 26th March 2017,flying from Istanbul to Islamabad,Lagos,Berlin. On the 28th March 2017, TK714/715 operated to/from Lahore and on TK1995 to Manchester !
It was nice to see Lahore-Manchester passengers on 29th March 2017 flying the same aircraft all the way home !

I hope you enjoyed the first ever Istanbul Ataturk-Lahore flight report…Despite the seat/aircraft and same catering as Manchester, I feel the experience was generally good. TC-JVT operated TK1993/1994 Istanbul-Manchester-Istanbul on 16th January 2018. I felt bad for anyone tall or big.

Join me for flight TG346 from Lahore to Bangkok soon !
See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

6.5/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering5.0

Istanbul - ISL

6.3/10
Efficiency5.0
Access10.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Lahore - LHE

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Looking at the 99.9% Pakistani passenger loads, prerecorded Urdu announcements and newspapers , Dua E Safar and an alcohol free zone would mean a more personal flight experience in order to capture the massive ( and I mean massive ) Pakistani travellers worldwide who choose Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines should NEVER EVER use a 737-800 to Lahore or Pakistan and instead use the much comfier and spacious A330 or even A321 but never the 737-800.

TK must be losing crucial revenue to Emirates and Qatar Airways as they use much more comfortable widebodies. This may seem a little thing but if TK lost 10 passengers from this flight ( myself included) then imagine all the lost revenue over weeks,months and years.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 392680 by
    LostLuggage 67 Comments

    It's been a pleasure reading your TK reports WindowSeat, especially before I fly PRG-IST-IAD with them tomorrow. It's indeed a shame that some of their longer routes get operated by narrowbodies but I suppose that's what their business model allows and gives them a versatility advantage over other ME3 carriers. I'll also be flying from Bishkek to Istanbul with them in July and the prospect of almost six hours in a B738 isn't appealing. At least you had the Sky Interior and newest IFE - some of their 737s still look they fly for LCCs!

  • Comment 392681 by
    thejetflyer AUTHOR 119 Comments

    Hi Lost Luggage and I am touched by your kind comments !
    In my honest opinion, Turkish should either increase legroom in all it's 737s or replace those aircrafts with the A321 as it is simply a lot more comfortable and covers the range of flights where the 737 can fly.
    I hope you fly on newer more spacious aircraft and look forward to your report !

  • Comment 392756 by
    thejetflyer AUTHOR 119 Comments

    Hi LostLuggage,
    Depending which flight you have taken from Prague to Istanbul, I see it would have been an A320 or the newest A321s !
    I really hope it was a new one and look forward to your review :)
    Happy Travels !

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