We live in Iceland and we decided to spend our November holidays in Oman. There are up to 13 flights a day between Keflavík and London, so the obvious choice was to look for flights from Heathrow or Gatwick. While the direct flights to Muscat would have been too expensive and all the connecting ones had poor schedules there was an outstanding deal with Turkish from Gatwick to Dubai for only 235 pounds return. We rented a car in Dubai and drove to Oman – note that taking a rental car across the border requires a lot of advance paperwork.
This flight report is about the flight from Dubai to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen. This airport is Turkish Airline’s secondary hub in Istanbul and I was curious how a flight to this airport would compare to the flights to Atatürk, Istanbul’s main airport.
Traffic in Dubai is legendary. If you drive or take a cab to the airport leave twice as much time as you think it’s necessary. We stayed at a hotel in Ajman and while we got to the airport in 70 minutes it can also be much more. But anyway once we got to Terminal 1 all was nice: a lot of space and no queues at all at check-in
Terminal 1 is used mostly by legacy careers other than Emirates
A nice view on some of Emirates’ aircrafts.
Both passport and security controls had a reasonable waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes each. We had to take then a train to the gates
The gate area had a few nice shops and felt very relaxed with no crowds around this time of the day. Not a lot of eating options however.
No crowds at the gate neither. Boarding time was shown 1600 on the boarding pass for a departure at 1700. I was sceptical about it as this flight was on a narrowbody. And yes, boarding only started at 1630 and was quickly completed in maybe 12 minutes. Load was only about 60% on this flight.
This flight was operated by a B737. As Sabiha Gökçen is TK’s secondary hub only in Istanbul I didn’t have high expectations but we had a brand new looking aircraft. I expected Eurobusiness seats with the middle seat blocked but there was a proper 2+2 configuration in business class.
But we travelled in economy class this time. These seats looked also good.
Economy had a standard 3+3 configuration with new, comfortable seats and built-in IFE screens. Legroom was definitely good for economy.
Generally speaking the cabin was quite pleasant.
The in-flight entertainment offered a good choice of movies and music. Note that the choice is not the same on all Turkish aircrafts.
An amenity kit was distributed
Turkish Airline’s route map in the in-flight magazine
And the fleet
Turkish offers complimentary food with full bar service in economy as well
I pre-booked a seafood meal which was reasonably good: a small shrimp salad plus (probably) cod with vegetables. The salad was OK, the main was really good. The white wine was good too. Here is my meal:
The normal choices were beef or pasta. I haven’t tried to beef but the pasta was really bad.
They came once again with water, tea and coffee shortly after the meal service but one more water service would have been appreciated. A few words about the cabin crew: they did their job correctly but they strictly didn’t do anything extra – an experience that I had on most on my flights with Turkish. I spent anyway the rest of the flight watching movies and reading until we approached Istanbul.
We landed on time in Istanbul, and as there were no other flights arriving at the same time we were through immigration in a short time. We stayed overnight near the airport at a new hotel called Nearport. The next morning we went back to the airport for our flight home (no report). While our first impression of the airport was good (see the photo below) and the queues were reasonable the airport didn’t eventually make a very good impression as it was really very crowded airside.
Thank you for reading my flight report.
Dubai - DXB
Istanbul - SAW
This flight was as good as economy class can get: a new and nice interior, reasonable legroom, full bar and meal service, good in-flight entertainment and the flight was on time.
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