And so we arrive at the end of this trip which has taken in Pakistan,Thailand and last stop Istanbul. Today I am on my way back home to Manchester and hope you have enjoyed all the related trip reports so far.
To remind you of my itinerary for this trip - A Star Alliance Dream !
The Contact Centre Services was ultra poor as always. I called on 9th December at 2105pm GMT ( 0005am Turkish Time) and got through to an Indian Contact Centre.
I gave my PNR ( passenger name record or booking reference ) and was still asked my payment card info,date of birth,how much I paid and my email address.
I’m all for doing security but it seems to increase on every call to TK. Having worked in Airline Reservations 2-3 questions is more than enough but this guy just kept going !
The agent told me he is assigning my seat but that id be moved if a passenger with a baby got booked on the flight.
The usual aircraft for TK1995 is an A321 but quite often the 737-800 and in the summer an A330. I have yet to see bassinetts on the bulkhead row on any Manchester flight !
As per the TK714 dilemma 6F is a window seat on the 738/739 but on an A330 it would mean being sat with 3 other people !
Late last night whilst browsing movements at IST, I came across this. TC-JND must be a Superman-esque A330-300 if it's doing Shanghai and Bogota on opposite ends of the world at the same time ! Also note TC-JTO for Kuwait ( the A321 which brought me to Istanbul Ataturk at the start of this trip ; see report for TK1994 28th February 2017 ! ) !
After a lovely overnight stay at the Wow Istanbul Airport,just a stone’s throw from IST and a short drive with the complimentary transfer service, I arrived at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. My hotel room overlooked one of the runways and the constant take off noise really irked me..yes there is too much of a good thing !
You would never think that this world gateway was witness to such a tragedy in summer 2016. God rest the souls of all who lost their lives that fateful day in June 2016.
Upon entering the terminal building,your entire hand and checked baggage is scanned and a body scan is carried out.
I then headed upstairs to checkin.
Last stop for souveniers ! Well,until you get Airside !
Not needed today but where I would have had to go to pay for the excess baggage which I "thought" I had !
Flight Information Screens
I took some time to find the right desk as the one I had believed to be for Manchester actually said London Heathrow ?
I went past another 2 times until a staff member told me that for UK flights there is a common checkin !
The queue control was great ; in front of the check in desks, passports are checked by Security staff and unbeknown to me they also stamp your exit ( read on ! ). The gentelemen from security was really nice and caring and helped me as if he was helping a friend or family member. Once my passport had been checked and stamped ,I got called forward to the checkin desk. I said “Bismillah” ( in the name of God ; said by Muslims in time of need or when commencing something ) as I placed my, by now, heavy suitcase on the scales and the check in lady also said “Bismillah”. I was dismayed when the scale showed 31kg but then was so happy when it jumped to it’s actual weight of……………….29.1 kg ! So I had travelled halfway around the world and still stayed under 30kg ! What an achievement ! But the Boarding Pass and bag tag still rounded off the weight to 30kg ?!
Boarding Pass - The last one of this holiday but with proper TK branding :)
Return of the paper bag tag :(
Free WiFi again !
As I say, I hadn't realised that my Passport had been stamped with an Exit Stamp. When I arrived at the Passport Control point,the Immigration Officer had an earphone in one ear, hadn't smiled since he was born and appeared abrupt. When I appeared at his counter, he walked off and told people to move back, as if to assert authority. He then came back,stamped my Boarding Pass and as I was stood next to his counter after being seen, I asked him if he needed to stamp my passport. With hos sour face, he opened my Passport on the relevant page and said " What is this ?" My answer was that I was just asking a question and there was no reason to be rude. To think that such people are one of the last impressions of a country battling to keep dwindling tourists from abandoning Turkey altogether. What a disgrace to all the great staff at IST and the friendly people of Turkey when they are tarred by such incompetent and rude individuals.
Let's hang around the Departures lounge for a while and do some spotting !
Newspaper Stand for free newspapers ; I didn't need to show my Boarding Pass this time ! All but 1 of the newspapers were in Turkish.
Atlas Air 747 - can't tell whether it was coming or going…most likely going !
Also, at this point I haven't established the gate for the Manchester flight or the aircraft. By chance, look who is on the next gate ?! It's TC-JTO who brought me to Istanbul from Manchester on 28th February 2017 ! I wonder where she is going next……….
Saudia seem to have a very busy day,every day at Istanbul Ataturk and their A330s just keep landing and taking off !
TK-LKC just landed from Mumbai and taxying to a remote stand
The aircraft on the airbridge is TC-JOJ, an A330-300 which arrived earlier from Singapore and being readied for her next flight to……Washington DC
Qatar Airways still manages to fill daily Airbusses from Istanbul to Doha and onwards to the Eastern world…..not an easy task to take thousands of passengers each week from the TK Global Hub but they are somehow doing it !
Triple 7 twins !
Last year, the afternoon Azerbaijan Airlines flight to Baku flight was operated by an Embraer 190 - this year it's a 767 with winglets ! Exclusively for FR readers, I went to the gate to photograph " Koroglu"…the things I do for my FR friends :) I absolutely love thsi stunning livery of Azerbaijan Airlines and it is one of the best along with Qatar Airways,Estonian and PIA upto 2003.
Seferi - Snack Station next to gate 215
So I found out that gate 215 was being used for Edinburgh but was now the Manchester gate for TK1995.
And on gate 215….having arrived earlier from Kuwait is….TC-JTO !!! Guess where she is going next !
She is taking me back to Manchester after helping me start this trip on 28th February 2017 ! Note Onur Air A321 TC-ONS just pushed back for Dusseldorf and also the BEA ( Bosphorus European Airways ) A300 family in the background !
BEA ( Bosphorus European Airways ) Apparently their A300s fly to London, but this is news to me. The underbelly looks like the old Airtours livery before it became MyTravel Airways.
The A300 sure has had and continues to have a long and productive life in Turkey with BEA and MNG !
No photo but I also saw TC-JSL taxi by, the A321 that brought me to Istanbul Ataturk last year.
Gate 215 waiting area - not all these passengers are for Manchester by the way !
Boarding would be conducted by zones. At 1325pm, passengers were being sent to line up in the zone rows 9 A,B,C,D) ; the friendly security officer from checkin signalled me over for Zone C. and also let me know that 6E hasn’t been assigned meaning EuroBusiness Class space ! Whilst queuing, I saw a passenger with a shaved head and what looked like bloody patches all over his head. I thought maybe he had a skin condition ? At 1345pm priority boarding commenced for Business Class,passengers with babies and special assistance. Some passengers of zone B felt that all those in zone A were in a “free for all” I boarded at 1355pm and two smiling female Airhostesses were at the door . No newspapers in the airbridge. Funny to see that most priority boards were actually sat in Economy !
I said Merhaba to the Airhostesses and the one who was Cabin Chief said “ Hosgeldiniz” ( welcome in Turkish).
Those first few moments of boarding are crucial ; the welcome aboard message delivered with a smile is deeply important as that is the impression which stays with the passenger as does the farewell when disembarking. Crew must give full attention to the boarding passengers ; it looks very bad when crew seem disinterested or have no eye contact with passengers. No passengers means no flights and no jobs. The Turkish Airlines welcome is nice.
The new boarding music was playing and still sounded lovely after 4 flights !
During boarding I went to an Airhostess to request my suitjacket to be hung up ; she asked what my seat number was and I said 6K and she smiled and said there is no 6K on this aircraft 9 I still had TK65 on my mind clearly ! ) I then advised that it is in fact 6F ! She took my jacket and hung it in the closet.
A few moments later a gentleman arrived to sit on 6D and said hi. As he sat down I told him 6E would remain free and he seemed happy ! He then asked if I had been in Istanbul on business. I advised I had been in Istanbul a few days on holiday and he advised he had been in Istanbul…….for a hair transplant and he advised someone else on the flight had also been ( explains the chap I saw earlier before boarding). As soon as he said this, 3 other male passengers sat around him became intrigued and spent around 10 minutes asking him all sorts of questions about hair transplants and how they may recommend this to their male family members ! If this guy was on commission for promoting hair transplants in Istanbul,he would have made a tidy sum right here !
The Seat and Cabin
Woohoo ! Middle seat is free; meaning EuroBusiness for me !
Just to show this space is now mine, my tablet holder finds a new home for a few hours !
The Seat pocket had Skylife and a new Shop&Miles brochure although quite why a brochure is loaded when the only way to buy is online is a mystery. The seatpocket also had a sickbag,something not noted on a few different TK flights. The bulkhead seat was super comfy and the tray table could be stretched out away from my stomach ( TK’s A321 is so comfortable compared to the 737-800 ; see TK714 trip report).
The legroom…..the lovely lovely legroom ! Now why oh why can Turkish Airlines not use the A321 in Winter to Pakistan ?
Boarding was completed by 1400pm. The Captain then made an announcement and then there was a welcome aboard announcement from the Cabin Chief.
Manchester here I come !
Earphones handed out whilst parked at the gate
Pushback was at 1410pm and instantly the safety video started playing on seatback videos and unlike on the TK1994 flight on the same aircraft a few weeks ago, we didn’t need to pull out our inseat monitors as a drop down screen came down at the bulkhead row to show the safety video, first in Turkish then in English. The screen went up and then came down again to show the Morgan Freeman video then went up and came down again to show the Star Gold video. The sound of the screen coming down is like nails on a blackboard !
Mr Zach King gets another showing !
. Heading to the runway
TK1995 taxied to the runway and we were number 5 in the departure queue. It felt like we were already in Manchester with the rain showing no signs of stopping !
At 1435pm, we sped down the runway and into raincloud but then all seemed calm. Until around 40 or so minutes later over Bulgaria where the aircraft was being tossed about in the sky. I was holding on to my inseat video screen stand for dear life and praying for my family should I never see them again as the turbulence was really bad. And I mean really bad.
Up and Away…into clouds and turbulence…..
Things then started to calm down and meal service was due to start soon as per the delicious aroma filling the cabin. I had a feeling that Chicken would be one of the options. A video presentation of the proposed meals should be shown just after takeoff.
A bright smiley Airhostess then came and asked me if I would like Chicken or Pasta. I asked for Chicken and then asked,if she had spare for the Pasta option and she said “Sure”. My neighbour had the Pasta which didn’t really look that appealing after all.
Tray Table nice and far from my stomach to allow me to enjoy my meal properly..
Today's Menu from Istanbul Ataturk to Manchester International, was eaten onboard TK1995
Warm bread roll with butter Satay Chicken with Buttered Rice and Roasted Vegetables ( same meal as TK1995 last year and still delectably delicious ! ) Salad with Olive dressing Vanilla Cheesecake Choice of drinks
Tea/coffee was offered as mealtrays were collected
Again no Turkish Delight or Menucard. But this meal was THE best I have had on all 4 flights in the last few weeks. The lettuce of the salad was fresh whereas on TK1994 and TK714 it looked a bit stale.
I asked the lovely and happy Airhostess if,when she has served all other passengers,if I can also have the pasta option. She said sure,no problem. I then saw my neighbour on 6D having the pasta which looked unappealing. A little while later the Airhostess brought me the Chicken option but I was so so full I had to politely decline and she still smiled ; luckily a passenger on 7D took the extra meal ! I have to say the Satay Chicken meal would be more suited to the Pakistan routes due to it’s spicy nature and Pakistani Biryani-esque style.
All done !
I didn't head straight to the washroom after the meal lol but here it is anyway :)
I love the 3D Airshow maps ; earphones for audio/video IFE were given whilst at at the gate.
IFE was the same content as BKKIST and earphones still of poor quality. I guess as the IFE is free something has to give eh ? But as seen in TK65's report, brand new headsets are on the way, albeit in longhaul Economy. I do hope that the shorthaul flights will also see proper headsets instead of the cheap tacky earphones currently on offer.
Skylife Magazine Highlights
Cover March 2017
Fleet At a Glance
Free Istanbul Transit Tour
Istanbul Transit Guide
Europe's best from East to West
Turkish Airlines World Map
Non Transferable ; a movie made by Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Ministry of Tourism ; one to watch ! Based loosely on a true story where a couple split up and one half of the couple sought someone to travel with who had the same name as the former partner !
USB port - the first one to work in all 4 flights !
Let's keep an eye on where we are ;
And Layla is back by Mr Murat Dalkilic ! Memories of TK65 on 15th March 2017 !
And the Boarding Lounge
This aircraft had been on the ground for over 2 hours after arriving from Kuwait….the tv screen was very dirty and looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a while.
Ben Olsaydim..oh yeah ! Turkish Disco In The Clouds !
All female cabin crew,looking smart and professional,full of smiles and excellent hospitality and care skills. Very good with young children especially one little girl who kept going into Business Class and with a baby boy sat in my opposite row,
7BC ( as shown )or 7DE if you want to recline with ease ! No window views though :(
The seats in my area
The end of the trip
Once passengers had settled down I gave a letter to the Cabin Chief requesting a photo with the crew as I was blogging the flight and also as a mementoe a sit was my last flight. I further had noted that the photo won’t be posted online. The letter talked about hwo much of a TK fan I am,how I only choose TK and how I had just been to Pakistan,Thailand and Turkey with TK.
I waited quite a while and then the Cabin Chief apologised and said in a very friendly manner,that “Company rules forbid onboard photography or any part of the cabin”. I showed the Cabin Chief my snaps on my tablet with other TK crews. She said she would speak to the Captain again,upon my request.
I presume that other bloggers who blog for Turkish and 1 or 2 who get paid must be taking pictures with crew and putting them online secretly ? Come on. What security breach is taking place by posing with crewmembers ? Would I pretend am a crewmember ? By photographing the cabin,of which there are thousands of pictures online already, exactly what breach would take place ?
I didn’t feel valued at all however considering I had had snaps with crew on other TK flights ! The Cabin Chief even said that all those crew are in the wrong. On the second visit to my seat, the Cabin Chief came back with a glass of Fresh Orange Juice and 2 packets of hazelnuts and a Business Class menucard for my TK collection and asked if I wanted anything else to eat or drink. She certainly did her level best to make me feel better by asking if she can do anything else or bring me more food. She advised she had asked the Captain a second time and said the Captain has said no. Clearly Mr Captain had his nasty hat on today. If I had wanted to sneakily take photos I could have done so. But why would I do that ? The passion and feeling in my letter was completely overlooked, assuming the Captain did see the letter. I know the world is a bad place with so much going on but there are more good people on this earth and those who support Turkish Airlines no matter what. Again this was ignored.
The "I'm Sorry" treats
The Cabin from behind
I returned to the UK on 19th March 2017 and to date, Turkish Airlines have yet to provide a copy of the official wording that “forbids” onboard photography.
Customer Relations,if you can call them that, claim I should email firstname.lastname@example.org, an email address which is never ever answered. Some TK managers have in the past seen my flight reports and praised me highly for my detailed reports. I am confused and disheartened.
So I taking all this into account,on 19th March 2017, that it is forbidden to photograph any part of the cabin or take photos onboard or photograph the crew with permission….
I wonder how Turkish Airlines would explain this then in April 2017……..a photo taken onboard a Turkish Airlines aircraft …in the cabin…. showing Cabin Crew ….and even the Captain.
This further affirms my belief that the Captain of TK1995 had his nasty hat on and just wanted to be difficult. In effect,that Captain has basically rubbished my efforts to promote TK and rubbished my loyalty. Taken from BBC News Online on 8th April 2017, this photo is from an online article which talks about a baby being born onboard Turkish Airlines . The birth took place soon after take off on a flight from Guinea's capital Conakry to Istanbul via Ouagadougou
And what was that about photography being forbidden onboard Turkish Airlines ???
Back to TK1995 on 19th March 2017 …..
The cabin was then sprayed with Airfreshener which smelt of fresh linen smell and was very pleasant. There was plenty of help for those with babies and they were given babyfood however there were no bassinetts.
My neighbours across the aisle appear to have a superstar tv screen with celebrity lighting !
The rest of the flight passed without incident and the weather went from glorious to disgusting over England !
There was was more turbulence near Bedford and then we began hovering over Derbyshire enroute to landing at Manchester's Terminal 1
You can tell we are heading into Manchester…the rain is giving it away !
And we safely landed at 1557pm
Skylife taken by me and will be replaced during the turnaround at Manchester
Taxying to the gate
Baggage trolleys are ready and waiting to be loaded on to TK1996
The cabin of TK1995 after landing
The Cabin Chief shook my hand as I disembarked and the ground staff were stood in the airbridge observing my very formal farewell ! I did mention to the Cabin Chief that of course I would fly Turkish Airlines again ( although the photography policy is still not clear ! )
Gate 28 Manchester Airport Terminal 1 - and TheWindowSeat's holiday ends !
After a swift immigration process ( which puts Istanbul Ataturk to shame ), I went to get my case which arrived just as I got to the belt
Last look at TC-JTO, my Manchester-Istanbul Ataturk v.v. SkyBus !
From The Basel Airport Timetable I always get sent to me….but will Turkish Airlines really "Widen My World " ? Watch this space !
Airports I have seen Turkish in or have flown with Turkish from/to
Some Fun TheWindowSeat Turkish Airlines Stats and Facts
* I usually fly TK1994 from Manchester to Istanbul * I usually fly TK1995 from Istanbul back to Manchester * I always have a Window Seat * I am often on row 6 ( seat A or F ) * On this trip I had matching end flight numbers ; MANIST TK1994 and ISTLHE TK714 and BKKIST TK1995 and ISTMAN TK1995
Exclusive….one last time ( for now )
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 !
Update to the made up rule about no photography onboard Turkish Airlines
On the 25th April 2017 , after waiting weeks for a further reply,I have been resent the below original pathetic ,poorly constructed and misspelt response to this made up policy which again shows no feeling towards my blogs on flight-report.com,my loyalty to TK or the fact that email@example.com NEVER respond.
Let this serve as a notice to all would be bloggers flying Turkish . Turkish Airlines doesn’t want passionate enthusiastic passengers who promote it’s services. Unless you are a celebrity that is. Then the Senior Management bend over backwards to please you.
Poor and very sad. Considering all that Istanbul, Turkey and Turkish Airlines have been through in 2016.
This is likely my last Flight Report for Turkish. All that effort I have made. And for what ?
All while others photograph Turkish Airlines crew and post their photos online ( Navjot Singh ) and whilst others photograph the entire cabin including security sensitive areas. I am fuming but I have already started looking elsewhere for other trips. Turkish Airlines has lost my custom ( and revenue ) for an upcoming Asian trip and a potential Middle Eastern one.
Please note that the person sending the below message on 25th April 2017 is the same one who recently told me I was not even on TK1995 on 19th March 2017. The email address given and the direct email address of the Press Officer are never answered.
We have received your message with file number, TK337xxx.
We would like to kindly inform you that your TK303xxx numbered feedback with the same case was replied on 23rd of March 2017 like below;
"We have received your message from our Cabin Crew.
As we have previously stated,we would like to express our sincere gratitude regarding your kind compliments which have boosted our pride.Your references ,as our valuable passengers,provide a strong guideline in our aim towards achieving world standart quality service and we anticipate to develop for the better.
On the other hand,the event you have experienced on your return flight has been cause of great regret to us. The necessary investigation has been conducted and we have been informed by the related department that under normal circumstances,a special permission from our Media Relations Department must be obtained in order to take audio –visual records or any camera records of our in flight cabin.The information given by the flight superintendant is correct.
You can notify your request to PRESS@THY.COM before your flight."
With hopes that we can offer you flawless service on your subsequent travels, we are respectfully yours.
In June 2017 and this news article appeared claiming Turkish Airlines Pilots and Crew are not allowed to post pictures in uniform to their own Social Media accounts but that the airline would use photos of crew in uniform on official platforms such as the airline's Facebook/Twitter pages….bizarre
As at November 2017, Turkish Airlines have sent ( from what I can count ) approximately 8 emails telling me to email firstname.lastname@example.org ; no one in management takes ownership of my complaint and there is still no clear process on the TK website or in the inflight magazine that photography is prohibited onboard. Meanwhile the airline continues to pay bloggers to fly Business Class and write good reviews.
Istanbul - ISL
Manchester - MAN
Amazing seat comfort and exquisite meal. I just wish Turkish Airlines would make their mind up about photography.
Working in a Security company myself and also having many many years experience of working in airlines,it is a mystery what one would do with a photo with the Cabin Crew and with a picture of the Cabin ??? I have decades of passion for the aviation industry and I am well abreast of the world we live in. But still, I am unable to work out why the Captain was so difficult and why the Cabin Chief also couldn't be convinced of my loyalty to THY. Sad. On the 17th April 2017, some clever person from TK Complaints that I was not even on this flight and that I don't know the spelling of my name. I hope this isn't my last ever TK blog. Lately I have had a London Law firm claiming they handle Turkish Airlines complaints in the UK. I have very very low patience right now and can only hope that any Senior member of Turkish Airlines management will read this and attempt to make contact to better the view I currently hold of TK.
That said, I really hope you have all enjoyed reading about my flights as much as I enjoyed writing them exclusively for Flight-Report.com.
Do please share your feedback :)
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