As these flights are reported you would be able to click on the sector to see the FR. Not reported flights would be written in italic.
As I would go to Washington, DC this August, I consulted all the connection options and found this smart BA deal for $1500 ( IST-WAS in J, WAS-IST in Y ) which equaled to the price of a TK Y round trip ticket. Also, I was going to achieve a Executive Club Silver membership ( Oneworld Sapphire ) after the first two sectors of this trip so I chose British Airways for this trip. I would also like to make a note that premium economy on the way to DC was expensive than Club World, and the difference between World Traveller and Club World for the first leg was slightly less than $300. Also BWI was $400 cheaper than flying to IAD so BWI was my final destination. So I'll hope you would enjoy this report series.
Route Overview ( IST-LHR ):
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There are four carriers which flies between Istanbul and London but only two of them flies from Atatürk and Heathrow, these two carriers are Turkish Airlines & British Airways. TK has 5 daily flights each way and some passengers may be lucky to fly on the A330 or the 77W which is equipped with the newest TK cabin which includes free wi-fi for Business Class passengers. On the other hand, British Airways, after cancelling BA678/679 for this summer they operate two daily flights each direction with an A320 aircraft. They used to fly 767-300 on this route which would be better because I've never seen the 763 with %100 pax on this route. In addition, there was a laptop ban for BA flights when I have flown this flight so that I was asked to put my electronic devices to my checked luggage, and they didn't accept powerbanks on board at all circumstances. As all the other carriers who operate an ISTall-LON route allowed personal electronic devices onboard, BA didn't. If I'm not wrong BA lifted their electronic ban for IST & DLM flights starting from the 3rd of September which was 14 days after my flight.
It's my 4th time flying IST-LHR and all of the four times, I had flown British Airways for this route ( 3 times with their A320, once with their 763 ). And, it's my second time on BA675. I have flown this flight at November 2017 but I was at their Euro Traveller cabin.
Pax for this flight
The flight was fully booked except one seat (3D) at the Club Europe cabin.
Club Europe: 11/12 passengers ( %90-95 ) Euro Traveller: 150/150 passengers ( %100 )
Last november when I flew IST-LHR-MIA due to my visa status, I wasn't able to check-in online for my flight so I called the call center to arrange me a seat for both flights. This time, the online check-in process was completed without any issues.
My original seat for this flight was 2F but later on due to my EXEC Bronze (OW Ruby) status, I was able to choose the first row for free at online check-in. As a 30' pitch for a Business Class is not acceptable, the seat 1F wasn't that bad and it was alright.
I haven't changed my seat for the LHR-BWI section, which I've chosen 7 days before my flight. As they don't offer First on this route, the aircraft type of this flight had a chance to change to a 789 with F seats so I kept my seat which was 1A.
Before the confirming my seats. 1F was considered as a middle seat for A320, that's pretty interesting.
I was able to issue a boarding pass for both of my flights but I was requested to see a representative at the airport for visa checks as also the BA staff at Istanbul doesn't prefer mobile boarding passes.
Later on, online check-in was completed.
Also the hand baggage restrictions ( laptop ban ) was posted at ba.com
Probably it would be my last flight departing from Atatürk Airport as the new airport would open in October, 2018.
ISTANBUL ATATÜRK AIRPORT - IST
Entering the airport:
I have entered the airport from gate C today which I was in the building within 5 minutes. There were not so much people at that time.
Normally BA has 4 check-in desks for their flights but most of the passengers were checked-in at that time so two of the desks were open at that time. Due to the electronic ban, a aviation security officer asked me to present all my electronic devices and he told me that powerbanks were not accepted onboard in any circumstances, by the way there was no explanation at the hand luggage restriction article that powerbanks ( portable battery devices ) weren't allowed at checked luggage. Luckily, I had one of my friends which dropped me to the airport so I have handed my powerbank to him so he can hand it back at a future date.
Also, there was a problem with the passport scanner at the desk so the check-in process took longer than usual. I was handed both of my boarding passes, a lounge card, and a fast track barcode which was sticked to the rear of my IST-LHR boarding pass.
Passport Control & Security:
This barcode was sticked to back of my IST-LHR BP in order to use the Primeclass fast-track lane. There was no-one in front of me so I was in airside within 5 minutes.
After the security check, I didn't have much time, so I went to the Millennium Lounge for some bites.
LOUNGE - MILLENIUM LOUNGE ISTANBUL
After BA closed their Terraces Lounge at Istanbul, they contract Millennium Lounge for their passengers. Since my visit there a quality decrease was visible. The seating areas wasn't that comfortable as the furniture was old. There was a kid zone at the lounge and also TV's which monitored CNN International.
The Lounge Invitation. As I entered the lounge the attendant reminded me that my flight was boarding at that time ( 1h05 min before scheduled departure ). As I knew that call is for that passengers go the gate earlier than usual so the additional security processes can be cleared earlier than usual, I used the lounge for a while.
There was some fruits&vegetables, cookies and packed sandwiches at that time. In addition bread, butter, jam was also present. The buffet contained less food since my last visit which was before a LH flight 3 or 4 years ago. Just a quick note that LH contracted this lounge before sending passengers to the TK lounge.
Cold drinks available. Some Turkish & International newspapers were present.
I have left the lounge 45-50 minutes before scheduled departure and started heading to gate 504. While I was walking to the gate I saw G-EUYE waiting for me at a remote stand.
GATE AREA & BOARDING
Today our boarding gate would be gate 504 which is the fixed gate for BA675. The escalators which takes passengers to gates 501-504 had an AtlasGlobal ad.
As I arrived to the gate 35 minutes before departure, boarding had already started and the last call was being made at that time. There was a hand search for electronic devices and there were many powerbanks that were confiscated as I saw. After the search, I boarded the bus which would take me to the aircraft.
Just a quick note that due it was a bus gate, boarding wasn't made by group numbers. Also, the ground staff asked me to keep my boarding pass visible while boarding to the aircraft.
A baggage vehicle was waiting there so people could check their hand luggage in case they forgotten their electronic device.
While on the bus, TC-LOD arrived from Beirut.
And then I saw our aircraft which was parked at remote stand T12.
BA 675 ISTANBUL-IST to LONDON-LHR
I was welcomed onboard by the crew and headed to my seat 1F
Actually, this seat is a standard economy seat instead it has more legroom than other rows so I was asked to put my belongings to the overhead compartment.
Legroom was quite good at row 1. By the way, pillows & blankets were provided
ULS Cargo A310, TC-LER was parked
The overhead panel
TC-LOA, arriving from Amman as TK813
This time an A321 arriving from Baku as TK337
Libyan Airlines A330 heading to the runway
Our route today
The safety video was shown before pushing-back.
TC-JSY was parked at stand T11
Two KK aircraft and a TK 737-900ER which would operate TK4948 to Dalaman as an additional flight due to high demand.
TC-LJE would also fly to Heathrow
A KK A330 getting ready for his flight to Arbil
9V-SVN waiting for his flight to Singapore.
TC-JOY parked at the apron and TC-JIZ at the runway line getting ready to fly to Helsinki
TC-JIZ & another TK A330 ( TC-JOJ ) which would serve TK2508 to BJV today.
TK 662 to Tunis would be served with this A321
The runway queue, TC-JHM which would serve TK1879 to Naples at front.
TK2468 to Adana would be operated by this 738 aircraft TC-JVN
TC-JMK would fly to NUE today
TC-JOI getting ready for his flight to Dalaman as TK2554
A TK 737-900ER preparing for takeoff as TK1365 to Marseille
TK 653 to Algiers would be operated by this 737-800
Another 737-900ER, this time to Toulouse
Then, it was our turn to takeoff
Final view of IST
İSTOÇ industrial area
Başakşehir Fatih Terim stadium
The new airport surrounded by clouds
After the seat belt signs has been turned off, the cabin crew provided hot towels for J passengers, and menus were distributed.
This menu is only available at this flight BA675.
BREAKFAST - BA 675 ISTANBUL-IST to LONDON-LHR
Breakfast was served 10 minutes after the seatbelt sign has been switched off. I chose the omelette option. In addition to the photo, there were more bread and pastry selections that I haven't took.
Mozarella and basil omelette with grilled tomato, sautéed king oyster mushrooms and rösti potato
Route map as breakfast was served. By the way, no pre-departure drink was offered but drink refills were offered during the meal service.
A quick visit to the toilets. Which were clean earn I visited.
A photo of London was present at the toilet.
IFE - BA 675 ISTANBUL-IST to LONDON-LHR
No personal screens, no tablets, laptops, e-book readers allowed onboard and also no movies on the overhead screens as they used to show one last year. But, there was the route map on the overhead monitors.
Instead, there were lots of content to read at the seat pocket. Let's start with the M&S onboard menu which didn't concern J class passengers
The safety card
The High Life Magazine, The Business Life Magazine and The High Life Shop catalogue. Inflight duty-free shopping was available during this flight
BA Europe Route Map
Some short haul destinations and their flight time
It's interesting that BA doesn't offer priority baggage handling for OWS and OWE members when they fly Y or Y+
The Flying Start envelope was also present
Both of the cabin crews serving the Club Europe cabin was nice to passengers and did their work professionally. One of the crews was shocked when she figured it that I could drink black tea without any milk or cream.
I have woken up when the outside view was like this
And, the route map was like this
Then we started our descend to Heathrow. Some photos of London before landing
We were almost there at Heathrow
The first visible aircraft was a DL 330 which arrived from JFK at that time
As we taxied, BA aircrafts became visible, G-RAES which arrived from Boston this morning
G-ZBJH, arrived from Baltimore as BA228
BA 175 was delayed that day so G-CIVX remained parked at Terminal 5C
BA296 from Chicago was operated by this A388
Another A380-800, which would operate BA213 to Boston
G-ZBJJ getting ready for his flight to Chennai as BA35
G-YMMG parked at the remote stand after arriving from Houston as BA194
Two AA aircraft in sight, the one on the left had arrived from Miami as AA56
And a 747 with the OW livery (G-CIVK) had also arrived from MIA.
As we parked to a remote position we were transferred to the terminal by bus.
A final look at the aircraft
Buses waiting for passengers to leave the aircraft
So we were transferred to Terminal 5A arrivals and then I followed the purple signs for transfer. Thanks for reading
Istanbul - IST
London - LHR
IST (+) Fast immigration & security process (-) At check-in, my passport could be scanned after several attempts because the device at that counter had issues (-) Strictly no powerbank rule which was applied ( it is not indicated at the BA website or UK travel website ) (-) Hand search for electronic devices at the gate, instead baggages could be searched by an X-Ray device Millenium Lounge (+) Quiet and not crowded (+) Soft drink selections (-) Old and not updated furniture (-) No hot selections for breakfast (-) Sandwiches and breads are served with the plastic bag BA675 (+) Breakfast tasted very good and the dish was well prepared (+) The crew was professional (-) No welcome drink and aperitif service before the meal for J class passengers (-) Middle blocked economy seats for a 4 hour flight. ( Compared to TK ) (-) No movies were shown from the overhead monitors, ba.com indicates that a movie from their selection would be monitored. (-) BA insists to have a personal electronic ban on this route ( lifted at 3/9/2018) LHR (+) Arrival buses didn't wait until the bus is full
In my opinion, this flight experience was good and I was satisfied and happy with what they offer but I need to be realistic and objective when reviewing this flight so I compared this flight to other 3-4 hour ranged Business Class flights. The electronic ban which BA applied was one of the worst factors for this trip and in addition, one of my baggages was dented when I picked it up at BWI ( More information on the next report ). Also, in this time period almost all airlines (except some European carriers) has changed their J seats on an A320 to a 2-2 configuration except a 3-3 middle blocked configuration. The IFE wasn't that surprising as only the route map and some magazines were available. I have read a news article on an aviation website that BA waited permission to function onboard Wi-Fi on their narrow body aircraft, which the onboard Wi-Fi would definitely make the flight experience better. Also no USB ports or power supply is served on BA shorthaul flights. On the other hand, the meal was fantastic and it was nice that they have two selections for breakfast as TK shorthaul J product only offers one selection for breakfast meals. The reason that I dropped points from the meal section is that neither an aperitif service nor a pre-takeoff drink was offered. Also, I would like to thank the crew because they were fantastic. And, when it comes to talk about the lounge, I would advise to use the lounge if you have an invitation ( it won't satisfy the passenger expectations ) but avoid paying money to use the lounge.
Once again, thanks for reading and hope to see you at the next report which would be a report of BA 229 LHR-BWI in J class with a review of the Terminal 5A south lounge, the Terminal 5B lounge and the Terminal 5B Elemis Spa facility. And also, I would also post "flashback reports" which includes flights that are operated several years ago and have limited content and photos.
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