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Report No: 2019-204E
It's an honor to share this Flight-Report which would be first to include an international flight departing from Istanbul Airport ( ISL ). As a Turkish av-geek I am following the progress of this airport very closely and I had the chance to fly this flight by shortening my vacation for a day. I have went for it and now I would share a detailed review of Istanbul Airport, including this international flight to Paris. Once again welcome to this report and enjoy. Feel free to ask me any questions about the airport or anything involved to this report below in the comment section. This report would also include a small Istanbul tourism bonus from December 2018.
Just a reminder that as I have already reported the first flight and a similar one to the second, I had used the chance to video report the first part of this serie for a test of YouTube flight-reports that I would start to post soon but things didn't go as well as I expected. It's really hard to capture good quality videos on a phone camera so I won't compile them as a video and present it to you, but I would share some parts of the flights as a video as well. Because that some photos were taken from the videos, they are not in their usual quality. However, these reports are complete Flight-Reports and I apologize for the bad photo qualities in some images and give the signal that I would start video-reporting soon as I have the chance to buy a motion camera. Once again, thanks for your understanding.
The routing for this serie would look like this First Part
I have completed the online check-in process around 22 hours before scheduled departure time. As Turkish Airlines doesn't offer exit seats during online check-in and asks money for exit row seats ( even from their own Elite & Elite Plus members ), I had sticked to my pre-reserved seat 10A.
The day before the flight I have downloaded the IGA application and that day, late night I had the notification of my gate which was assigned for my flight.
The application looks like this. Unfortunately, it takes more than 15 minutes to reach the airport as the "estimated time of travel to the airport" section is not working properly.
Flight details in the application
Early next morning, I have used the H-2 bus from Mecidiyeköy to reach the airport. The bus journey took around 25 to 30 minutes as there were no traffic.
Istanbul Airport - ISL ( LANDsIDE )
As you would remember from my last reports, the arrivals level wasn't opened in early January. Now the arrivals level is open and the taxis are waiting for passengers in the arrivals floor.
The massive terminal
I have cleared the first security checkpoint within less than 5 minutes. After clearing the checkpoint, the first visible things were this Qatar Airways ad and the ask me machine
As I had the time, I had checked if the non-TK self check-in machines are working but most of them were frozen and this one had the blue screen.
FIDS for the day - 16 flights would be operated that day
Later on, I have proceeded to the check-in island F where the Turkish Airlines Business Class check-in is located for the moment. After the construction is complete, there would be a special priority check-in island. At check-in I asked if there were available window emergency exit seats. Seat 8A was taken so I asked for 21A. Although seat 21A has a missing window, it has enormous legroom. Later on, I was handed my boarding pass and meal vouchers as the international lounges weren't opened yet.
It was now time to explore the landside. Starting with the food court area.
Burger King, Popeyes and Sbarro would open stores to the food court located between the domestic and international security checkpoints.
Turcuisine, one of the restaurants operated by BTA, was already in service.
Now, it was time to explore the western side of the terminal. The landside YOTEL was ready but it has not yet opened to service.
Seferi, a café operated by BTA, was also open to service near check-in island P.
The A concourse seemed ready, I missed the chance to visit there by one day. This concourse had opened to service on the 19th of February while I was flying on the 18th.
More Qatar Airways ads in the terminal, I wish they open a lounge here in ISL as at least one of the oneworld members would have it's own lounge in one of the worlds largest airports.
E-passport-gates are also available for Turkish citizens but they are not opened to service yet. Also as you notice, the Turkish Airlines fast track immigration lane is closed at the moment.
As, London flights need extra security checks, check-in for these flights are made at check-in island K.
The famous istanbul sign
And now it's time to clear passport control and security.
Boarding passes and Meal Vouchers - Two meal vouchers ( each worth ₺35 ) which are valid in most cafés and restaurants after clearing security and passport controls.
I also had the chance to spot the incoming flight for our aircraft. That day I was going to fly TC-JRZ for the third time. In the past, I have flown this aircraft once from Simferopol to Istanbul ( I was lucky to visit Crimea before the invasion ) and once from Istanbul to Geneva.
ISTANBUL AIRPORT - ISL ( AIRSIDE )
After a quick passport check and security control, I was in the airside within 5 minutes. I was first going to explore the western duty-free are but the security guard didn't let me as that area was closed to passengers.
So I have headed to the east duty-free area. Most of the luxury boutiques aren't opened yet.
As you would notice, the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge is not ready yet. The Miles&Smiles Lounge is located in the eastern side of the terminal and reserved to Star Gold and Miles&Smiles Elite passengers. Also this would be the Star Alliance Gold Lounge in this airport. On the other hand, the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is located in the western part of the terminal and only TK Business Class passengers and Miles&Smiles Elite Plus passengers would be able to use that lounge. In addition, there would be a Turkish Airlines Exclusive Lounge in the airport but nobody knows what it's going to be used for.
One of the large duty free stores were open - These are operated by Unifree & Heinemann.
M&M stand for Istanbul
Inside the store
A special zone by Toblerone which isn't opened yet
The Old Bazaar store operated by Atu Duty Free
As you see, the escalators and the entry lounge to the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge is closed.
As these signs are darkened, it's not visible but SkyTeam and Emirates would have their own lounge in Istanbul Airport.
As well as the IGA Lounge, which would be available for all premium passengers on other airlines.
HQuick lounge is one of the cafés which were open at that time
I have decided to try the MoodUp café with my meal vouchers and with ₺70, I was able to buy a pepperoni-cheese toast, a marble cake, a mocha, a bottle of water and a box of cookies to-go. The prices are expensive for Turkish standards but they are affordable compared to European or North American airports.
Another proof that Turkish Airlines would have separate lounges for Star Gold's and Business Class passengers.
After finishing my meal, it was time to explore the concourses. Starting with concourse D.
From concourse D, it was visible that the construction in concourse B had came to an end at it was ready for operations.
However, concourse C was still under construction
There are smoking terraces, which would probably allow spotting. TC-JRZ which would take me to Paris is visible in this photo.
The day I was flying, the British Civil Aviation Body was at the airport for inspections. I have seen them while they were heading to the gate of the London-LGW flight.
Another view of TC-JRZ from the terminal
I don't know why but arrivals FIDS were present in some part of the departure hall.
Gloria Jean's Coffees had also a store in the eastern part of the duty free area.
Now, it was time to head to concourse F, where my flight would depart
Starbucks had rented a huge area in concourse F.
TC-JSD which would head to Ankara that morning was visible.
Burger King would open a store in concourse F.
Small duty frees are also available throughout the concourses.
The old Turkish Airlines temporary international lounge. At that moment, it was locked
There was also a play zone in concourse F.
At that time TC-JSD had already pushed back and it was heading to the runway.
GATE AREA & BOARDING
Our aircraft from the gate
Before entering the gate, visa checks were made by the ground staff. As gate F8 is one of the gates which has a special zone for screening, that area was used for the visa check. By the way, visa checks were made by TGS agents, not by Gözen agents.
Boarding had started 40 minutes before scheduled departure time. Even though, there was a priority lane, they were not respected and boarding was made in a random order.
Our aircraft from the jetbridge
And fuselage shot
TK 1101 Istanbul Airport TO PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT
After being welcomed by the crew and the flying chef I had took my seat 21A which was an emergency exit seat missing a window. Pillows and blankets were available in the overhead bins. As well as earphones were provided at each seat. Just to mention that this aircraft had the Weber seats instead of the Recaro ones like the previous flight.
Enormous legroom at seat 21A.
TC-JVG which was going to head to Frankfurt was our neighbor.
The remote control. Today this aircraft was equipped with the Panasonic ex2 IFE system.
The IGA app while I was waiting the doors to be closed.
The overhead panel
Just before pushing-back the old safety video, the Star Alliance ad and the Istanbul Airport ad was shown on personal screens and overhead monitors.
At that moment something funny had happened, a man in the back of the cabin was kicking the front seat. The passenger sitting in the seat which was being kicked hit the call button and asked to change her seat. The cabin crew had arranged another seat for her.
Later on, we had started our push-back 5 minutes before our scheduled departure time.
IFE - TK 1101 Istanbul Airport TO PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT
As I mentioned before, this aircraft was equipped with the Panasonic IFE system.
I have decided to watch a movie for during this flight.
As newspapers weren't available at the terminal, nor at the jet bridge, the cabin crew had distributed newspapers both in Turkish and English after takeoff.
The seat pocket looked like this
Our aircraft in the fleet section
TK route map from Istanbul Airport - London is not marked but Astana is marked. However TK operates flights from ISL to LGW but not from ISL to TSE.
And the news article that the number of destinations being served from ISL would increase to 18. In March 2019, this number would increase to 23.
Pressreader is also free for those who have downloaded the app before hand and entered the necessary information via their website.
BREAKFAST - TK 1101 ISTANBUL AIRPORT TO PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT
There were no menus distributed and there were no choices for the service. The tray contained a main dish, cheeses, olives, vegetables, a small yoghurt, a strawberry jam, a butter and a small bottle of water. Bread was served warm by the cabin crew.
Scrambled eggs with cheese alongside with Turkish pastry "Su Böreği". This dish is one of the repetitive dishes of TK which hadn't changed for more than 10 years.
Route map as the breakfast was served
After the trays were collected, the cabin crew served tea & coffee for passengers.
Later on, I had the chance to visit one of the lavatories, which was clean at that time.
A photo over the Alps
The route map once last time before landing.
We had landed to Paris CDG 30 minutes before scheduled arrival time and parked to gate 45 in Terminal 1 next to this Thai A380-800. Most of the passengers have applauded the captains. This is the Turkish way of saying "Thank you" to the cockpit crew.
After saying goodbye to the crew, I have left the aircraft.
PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT - CDG
Norweigan Dreamliner, which was named after Greta Garbo, at gate 47 waiting for its flight to Los Angeles as DY7097.
Before exiting the concourse, the border control officers have made a documentation check which is a routine application for flights arriving from Turkey.
Later on, I have first went to the main building of Terminal 1 for my onward flight.
This report has came to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
Bonus : Click here display hide
As this report is one of the most exclusive reports that I have shared, I would make it more exclusive with this small Istanbul tourism bonus. I would like to mention that this is only a small part of Istanbul and the city has much more to see. As Istanbul being my hometown, I have decided to make a touristic visit to the Hagia Sophia and Hagia Irene museums in December 2018. I am sharing the photos I have taken below.
Starting with the 15 July Martyrs Bridge and the Bosphorus
The Topkapı Palace from the seaside
The Imperial Gate for Topkapı Palace
The Hagia Sophia
Once it was used as a church, also as a mosque and now it's a museum
Photos from the inside
My next stop was the Hagia Irene Museum, which is less known by tourists but it's a really impressive museum. By the way, this museum was used as a church in the past.
Photos from the inside - If you're interested to classical music I would suggest to attend one concert here which is completely a different experience.
Unfortunately, the tourism bonus had came to an end. In the future, I would continue to share more touristic bonuses from Istanbul as well as other cities all around the world.
Istanbul - IST
Paris - CDG
Thank you, one more time, for joining this exclusive report. To conclude, I am happy to tell that Istanbul Airport is becoming better and better every day and would be one of the best airports after its completion. However, I would miss the emptiness of the airport, especially the waiting times for checkpoints, which are short like a breeze. Also, I can't imagine the chaos after the grand movement from Atatürk Airport. For now on everything seems perfect. If we return to the flight experience, the boarding order wasn't that satisfying as priorities were not respected. However, I was lucky to get an exit row seat for this flight which as enormous legroom. In addition, the Weber seats are much more comfortable than those Recaro seats. However, there is no USB ports or power sources on this specific configuration of TK A321's. Also, the breakfast service is repetitive for almost 10 years. But, the IFE content is super good for a 3 hour flight and the crew was perfect. Literally, they have responded to all call button calls within less than a minute. Also the flights took of on time and arrived early so that is another positive point to mention.
ISL (+) Security and passport control waiting times (+) Restaurant options and the amount of meal voucher (+) Friendly employee at the check-in desk (+) Easy to navigate around the airport (-) Priorities not respected during boarding TK 1101 (+) Exit row seat pitch and the comfort of the seat (+) On time departure and arrival (+) Tasty meal (+) Toilets were clean during my visit (+) A fabulous crew that responded to every call made by the call button within a minute (+) Distribution of newspapers even for Economy (+) A great IFE for a 3 hour flight (-) Small portions for the meal and they are repetitive CDG Nothing special to mention
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