Report No: 2019-306E
Ladies and Gentleman,
Welcome to this exclusive series that I would present Istanbul Airport, one last time before the grand movement as flights from/to Atatürk Airport would move to Istanbul Airport on the 5th & 6th of April. This Flight-Report is the report of my latest flight from Istanbul Airport. To view the progress in Istanbul Airport, I have bought an overnight discounted roundtrip Business Class ticket to/from Ercan for €109. Even though the airport would be completely different that this report at the moment, I would like to present you the progress of the international terminal of Istanbul Airport from mid-March.
The first report of the series would be a report of a Turkish Airlines flight to Ercan onboard an ex Kingfisher Airbus A321 in the Business cabin. Unfortunately, I was unable to report a lounge as they were not open yet and meal vouchers were being handed to eligible passengers like my previous flight to Paris. However, I have lots to share about Istanbul Airport in this report. Enjoy.
Pax for this flight
Business Class: %40-45
Economy Class: %90-95
I had completed the online check-in process for both segments of my journey at once at the TK mobile application. For both flights, I have sticked to my pre-reserved seats.
The night before the flight I have requested notifications from the IGA app for my flight and I have realized that the gate of my flight has changed 3 times, the day before the flight.
A screenshot from the IGA application
The day of flight I have used the bus H-2 from Mecidiyeköy to reach Istanbul Airport. There was traffic on our route so the journey took around 1 hours and 1 hours 15 minutes.
The entrance of the terminal. I would definitely miss the emptiness of this huge airport.
No-one in the arrivals level as well
After clearing the first security checkpoint within 5 minutes, I have checked the FIDS for today and there were only 3 international flights remaining.
As well as 4 domestic flights
After being checked-in by the agent at the Business Class counter, I was handed both of my boarding passes and as the international lounges at Istanbul Airport were not open at that time, two meal vouchers, each worth ₺35, were handed that I could use at any food retail outlet after the passport control.
Boarding passes and lounge vouchers
A view of the check-in hall from the food court area that only one restaurant was open.
As I did wanted to explore the airside, I have cleared passport control just after my short visit at the food court and as there were no waits both the security checkpoint and the passport control took less than 5 minutes. However, the security control was a bit crowded as most of the Turkmen passengers at the checkpoint at that time, had liquids in their hand bags.
FIDS after clearing the checkpoints. Like Heathrow, gates at Istanbul Airport would also be shared just before boarding. For now on, boarding gate information could be seen on the boarding passes but I don't think we would be able to see our gates until 1 hours 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time.
Most of the luxury boutiques weren't open at that time
The Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles lounge was furnished and construction sounds were coming over there.
On the other hand, there were no movement at the Business Lounge and I haven't heard any construction noise when passing through.
Turkish Airlines Lounge directions were added to the information signs.
The YOTEL was not opened yet and even though the IGA Lounge ( contract lounge ) was ready, it didn't accept passengers.
So I have went to MoodUp café to use my vouchers, like I did in my past ISL-CDG flight and with the voucher I was able to get a pepperoni-cheese toast, a brownie, a magnolia and a cup of coffee as well as a bottle of water.
As you see, Istanbul Airport was not crowded at that time but there were unattended pets inside the terminal.
Later on, it was time to go to our gate which was B6b. At the entrance of the concourse, free newspapers were distributed to passengers.
Starbucks would open a huge store at the entrance of concourses A and B.
As you see, concourse B
Which had an unready pop-up duty free store
I have arrived to the gate 55 minutes before scheduled departure time and the aircraft was still not there.
Few minutes later, the A321 that would take me to Ercan had arrived from a flight from Erzurum.
As Erzurum is in Turkey, arriving passengers were bussed to the domestic terminal
After the passengers deboarded from the previous flight, the jetbridge was connected to the aircraft.
Later on, boarding started with priorities being respected. I was one of the first ones to board the aircraft.
Our aircraft from the jetbridge
After being welcomed by the cabin crew, I had taken my seat 2A
The seats had pillows and the legroom was enough for a regional business class seat.
But the remote control and the seat functioning buttons were unupdated. The seats were the exact old Kingfisher seats.
The seat contained a personal screen that didn't work and an electrical power source that didn't work as well. Luckily the one at the seat next to me worked properly during boarding.
Shortly after boarding was completed, welcome drinks were served. I have opted for an orange juice and a glass of water.
Later on, menus and nuts were distributed
Before doors were closed, I had visited the lavatory which was clean during my visit.
Just after I took my seat, doors were armed but something strange had happened. There was something wrong with the aircraft. There was a smell coming from somewhere in the cabin. First, the cabin crew asked passengers having powerbanks to check if they are overheated. However, none of the passengers power banks or their electronic devices were overheated. There were no announcements made about the situation at that time, however, the jetbridge was reconnected and the doors were disarmed.
While technicians entered the aircraft, buses and stairs were kept ready around the aircraft.
The Turkish Airlines application showed the flight as delayed at that time.
Few minutes later the issue was solved and doors were armed again and we were on our way to the runway. At that time the cabin crew made the safety demo manually. There were still no announcements from the cockpit regarding the delay.
Soon, we had took off.
The magnificent Istanbul Airport tower while taking off.
Shortly after takeoff, oshiboris were distributed.
And the captain has made an announcement that they were sorry about the delay and the delay was related to a false signal in the inflight entertainment system that needed a check by the technicians. So, the IFE system was closed during the flight and the power sources were not working as well. So, the only option was to look at the literature in the seat pocket to entertain ourselves.
After the flight I have noticed that this aircraft is the aircraft that the Asiana A330 ripped of the tail at Atatürk Airport last year.
Shortly after, meals were distributed by the cabin crew alongside with a drink of choice that was asked before departure and a selection of bread.
Mozarella & Tomato Salad
Grilled Turkish Style Meatball
Passion Fruit & Mango Mousse
Shortly, trays were collected and drink refills or tea&coffee was served to passengers who wish.
Later on, I have visited the lavatory for the second time and it was still clean; but I haven't noticed the Molton Brown amenities during my first visit.
Later on, we had landed to Ercan few minutes later than our scheduled arrival time.
A Freebird A320 at Ercan
And we are parking next to that bird.
Ercan Airport is the only airport within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
After arriving to our parking position, I was one of the first ones to disembark the aircraft and I had the chance to take a photo of our aircraft TC-JMM.
After an immigration which was a breeze I have headed to the departures area to wait for my return flight.
So, this report has came to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
As I wanted to fly once more from Istanbul Airport before the movement, I have decided to fly to Ercan and back to Istanbul the same night and I have seen progress at the airport. There was work going on at most of the stores and boutiques and the Turkish Airlines Lounge's had progress since my last visit a month before. Even though the IGA Lounge ( contract lounge ) was ready at that time, it was not opened to service and I have learned that it would open to service with the grand movement. However, after a quick check-in process and an immigration & security check which was breeze; even though, none of the restaurants have been opened yet, there are decent amount of cafés that I could spend my meal vouchers at. Like last time I had went to MoodUp café and enjoyed my meals there. The boarding process was organized, however, there was an unannounced delay in addition to the technical problem at the aircraft. TK wasn't good informing passengers throughout the process where the issue is being solved and all passengers waited silently. When I have asked one of the crew what was going on, they said that they didn't know as well. However, after the issue has solved and we had took off with a closed IFE that led to a delay, however, the delicious meals were enjoyable so I didn't feel the lack of IFE, however, the portion of the meal was too small like an appetizer. Although, we had landed to Ercan few minutes later than our scheduled arrival time and after clearing immigration which was a breeze, the journey had came to an end.
(+) Passport and security checkpoint waiting times
(+) Priorities were respected during the boarding process
(+) There are decent options to spend meal vouchers
(+) Delicious meals at the MoodUp café
(+) Fast & efficient check-in
(-) No lounges available at the time of travel
(+) Comfortable seats
(+) Delicious meals but a small portion
(+) Toilets were clean throughout the flight
(+) Cabin crew
(-) Unupdated old cabin
(-) Broken IFE which didn't work
(-) Delay due to a technical problem
(+) Immigration wait time
(-) Not enough facilities open overnight at the landside of the airport