Flight-Report

Review of Turkish Airlines flight Nicosia Istanbul in Business

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK979
Class Business
Seat 02F
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 01:50
Take-off 13 Mar 19, 06:45
Arrival at 13 Mar 19, 09:35
TK   #11 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 544 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 753
Published on 5th April 2019

Report No: 2019-307E


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 second report of this short series would be my first international flight to Istanbul Airport onboard an older A321 of Turkish Airlines with the Euro J seating on Business Class. Also, I would review the Bosphore Lounge in Ercan Airport which is the only lounge in the airport. This was my last flight before the grand movement from Atatürk Airport to Istanbul Airport, so it was probably the last time that I would have seen a large airport like this really empty.


Routing


Pax for this flight

Business Class: %60-65 [Business Class until row 5]
Economy Class: %90-95 


ATTEMPT TO rEBOOK AND ONLINE CHECK-IN


As there was an earlier flight to Atatürk Airport, I have contacted the TK sales office in Ercan and requested a free change to the earlier Atatürk flight to experience the Arrivals Lounge that I always wondered but never went. The sales office agent told me that they need to deactivate my existing boarding pass at first. After deactivating my old boarding pass, he checked the system and told me that they were unable to offer a free change and if I prefer the earlier flight I could pay ₺410 for the fare difference. I simply rejected the offer and said thank you to the agent at the sales office. Then I learned that they could only change flights for free to an earlier one only for flights to Atatürk Airport or SAW. So, I have recompleted the online check-in; and waited for the check-in counters to open as I need to have a lounge voucher to access the lounge here in Ercan, as it's a contract lounge.


photo img_7961photo img_7962

ERCAN AIRPORT - ECN


Around 01:15 the check-in desks have opened for the Atatürk flight; however the employee rejected to check me in due to TRNC laws that does not permit passengers to enter the airside if there is more than 3 hours for the scheduled departure time of the aircraft. So I have to wait another 2 hours at the check-in hall and then got my boarding pass and lounge voucher. There was a dedicated desk for Business Class which was not photographed.


photo img_7963

FIDS early in the morning. Mostly flights to Turkey and some charters to Europe which would also have a technical stop in Turkey as most countries does not recognize TRNC and request passengers from TRNC to be re-screened at a Turkish airport before heading to its destination.


photo img_7964

Boarding pass and lounge voucher


photo img_7965

Later on I have headed to the immigration hall to go to the airside. First I attempted using the fast track service but the lady over there told me that fast track in Ercan is not available for Business Class passengers and only available for Bosphore Card holders and TAV Passport members. So after a short wait in the regular lane and another short wait for security control, I was in the airside within 10 minutes. Like most airports, the passage leads you to the duty free area.


photo img_7966

The duty free had some special discounts as: Buy 3 Get 2. However, the Turkish version of the discount indicated that the campaign was Buy 2 Get 3.


photo img_7977

BOSPHORE LOUNGE - ERCAN AIRPORT


Then it was time to head to the only lounge of the airport for a light meal and a rest before the flight.


photo img_7967

The food offering was limited to simple breakfast catering, eggs, pastries, bread, a soup and fresh fruit. Also some desserts were available. The lounge had a wide variety of both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.


The lounge was empty, early in the morning


photo img_7975

FIDS from the lounge


photo img_7976

GATE AREA & BOARDING


About an hour before scheduled departure time, I had headed downstairs for boarding and spotted our aircraft ( TC-JRI ) named Adıyaman from the terminal.


photo img_7979

Even though most of the seating areas were occupied, I was able to find a seat at the gate area.


photo img_7980-27711

Later on boarding has begun with priorities not being respected. Passengers requiring assistance boarded first, but then the boarding continued as first come first served.


photo img_7981

After a short walk, I took a photo of this bird that would take me back to Istanbul.


photo img_7982

This AtlasGlobal A321 was parked next door.


photo img_7983

Fuselage shot


photo img_7984

TK 979 ERCAN AIRPORT TO Istanbul Airport


After being welcoming by the crew, I had took my seat 2F which was a Euro-J seat with an economy class width and an economy class legroom of 31 inches. So I would rather prefer the newer versions of A321s to this aircraft. Pillows were available at each seat.


photo img_7985photo img_7987

This Freebird A320 was our other neighbor that morning.


photo img_7986

IFE - TK 979 ERCAN AIRPORT TO Istanbul Airport


Before taking off, let's look at the seat pocket literature; there were many content onboard this flight including the Wireless IFE system guide.


photo img_7988

The Wireless IFE system was activated after we took off and was deactivated prior to landing.


photo img_7989

Also, the Skylife magazine had interesting articles that Turkish Airlines would start a new kids club named High Five in the near future.


photo img_7990

As well as the Miles&Smiles cards would have a brand new look in the 30th year of the program.


photo img_7991

TK route map from Istanbul Airport


photo img_7992

And technical information about our aircraft, at the fleet section


photo img_7993

Shortly after boarding was completed, I have realized that seat 2D was empty and welcome drinks were handed out by the crew. I had opted for a homemade lemonade with mint.


photo img_7994

Later on, menus were distributed alongside with a package of nuts.


photo img_7995photo img_7996

As well as newspapers of the previous day was offered to passengers.


photo img_7997

Shortly after, before starting our push back, the safety video was monitored from the overhead monitors.


photo img_7998

After the safety video has finished, the cabin crew has distributed earphones for those who want to listen music from the audio system.


photo img_7999

Shortly after we took off, this Pegasus 737-800 was visible


photo img_8001

Such as this AtlasGlobal A321


photo img_8002

While taxiing to the runway, I have also spotted the new terminal which is under construction and would open in the next few years.


photo img_8003

And we were going to take off from Runway 29.


photo img_8004

And we took off towards north.


photo img_8005

Last view of the existing terminal


photo img_8006

The TRNC flag and the expression of M. Kemal Atatürk


photo img_8008-84644

Shortly after reaching our cruising altitude, oshiboris were distributed and our drink of choice was asked by the crew.


photo img_8010

Before the meal service, I have visited the lavatory to wash my hands. It had the same Molton Brown amenities with the previous flight, as well it was kept clean.


When I took back my seat, the meal was served. The breakfast was delicious and was of the greatest airplane meals that I had.


Fresh fruit salad
Homemade Carrot Jam from Beypazarı
Trabzon countryside butter
"Kaşar" Cheese Omelette
Regional Cheese ( Aged cheese from Kars and "Ezine" cheese from Çanakkale )
Smoked turkey breast
Marinated Turkish olives 


photo img_8014

Shortly after, bread and Danish pastries were distributed.


photo img_8016

Throughout the flight, the route map was available at the overhead monitors


photo img_8017

As well as the mobile IFE system worked


photo img_8019

It was my first time to see that the mobile IFE system worked. It has a large amount of content that could be streamed or listened. Also there is a route map available on this system


photo img_8020

The route map, however we are not going to Atatürk Airport as stated in the map; as ISL is the temporary code for Istanbul Airport, TK hasn't loaded information about the new airport to their route map system as probably they don't want to re-change it after the movement.


photo img_8021photo img_8022

Later on turbulence had occurred and the seatbelt signs were turned on so that meant that no drink refills were offered. As we started our descend earphones were collected and the mobile IFE system had closed.


photo img_8023

The first view of the airport


photo img_8024

The roads leading to Istanbul Airport


photo img_8025

Facilities including the operations center of Turkish Airlines


photo img_8026

The catering facility for Turkish Do&Co


photo img_8027

And we have touched down on time.


photo img_8028

The massive tower of Istanbul Airport was visible after we had landed.


photo img_8029photo img_8030

The VIP terminal


photo img_8031

And the passenger terminal


photo img_8032

This follow-me aircraft was taking us to our parking position.


photo img_8033

Which would be gate A3b for that day.


photo img_8034

Later on, after saying goodbye to the crew, I left the aircraft.


Istanbul Airport - ISL


I was the first one to get out of the aircraft


photo img_8035

And the last view of our aircraft, before it gets prepared for its flight to Frankfurt.


photo img_8036

After exiting the gate, a TGS agent was asking Gatwick and Frankfurt passengers to use the express transfer security checkpoint and redirecting them to there as the main transfer security checkpoint was not opened yet.


photo img_8037

After coming to the immigration level, another TGS agent asked if I had an onward journey. Passengers continuing on a domestic flight had a dedicated immigration agent at the international-domestic transfer area. However, I have used the regular arrival immigration lane and without any wait I have headed to the baggage claim hall.


photo img_8038photo img_8039

The baggage claim hall as the duty free across the escalators weren't ready yet.


photo img_8040

Arrival FIDS


photo img_8041

The carousel for our flight


photo img_8042

However, as I had no checked baggage I have headed to the exit. As there are only hundreds of passengers using the arrivals hall at the same time, all bags were scanned at the exit by customs officers. I have noticed that there were lots of duty free goods confiscated as some passengers does not obey the duty-free shopping limits. However, I was fine and I have exited the baggage claim hall 26 minutes after our arrival to Istanbul Airport.


photo img_8043

FIDS from the landslide


photo img_8044

Then I have headed to the Havaist shuttle bus station as there was more than 1h20min left for the bus to Mecidiyeköy; I have used the Havaist shuttle İST-19 to not wait the municipality bus.


photo img_8045

The buses were relocated to the lower level of the terminal on the 10th of January


photo img_8046

And fare charts were available at the bus stop.


photo img_8047

Also, there were machines for those new to Istanbul as only Istanbulkart and single use tickets are allowed both on municipality buses and both on Havaist shuttles. Cash is not accepted.


photo img_8048

Shortly later, the Havaist bus had left the airport on time and we were on our way back to the city.


photo img_8049

There was an IFE system in the bus but there was no options to watch. Also, each seat had a USB port which allowed to charge phones onboard the short shuttle ride.


photo img_8050

And the last view of Istanbul Airport for the day.


photo img_8051

As it is sad to say, this report has came to an end and this was the last time that I saw Istanbul Airport this quiet.
More reports from Istanbul Airport would come in the upcoming months and of course you could check the list of future reports in the coming up section below.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report. 

See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

8.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering9.5

Bosphore Lounge

7.2/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Services7.5

Nicosia - ECN

7.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness7.5

Istanbul - IST

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

As I have learnt my lesson, Ercan Airport is not the best airport to do an overnight stay as the strange rule that passengers could not clear the passport check 3 hours until departure is a bit stupid and this clearly is also bad for airport shop owners as they could earn more profit if passengers could access the airside 24 hours like most other airports. Also the lounge would earn money for pay-to-enter passengers who arrive super early. I have also seen a complaint about this in top of the suggestion and complaint box. However, if we return to the flight experience, check-in, security and passport control was a breeze and the lounge was an average airport lounge that included all the simple amenities. However, the lack of European power sources had affected a few passengers in the lounge; however, before leaving home in Istanbul, I had realized that I need an UK adaptor for TRNC. The boarding area is not well organized and has fewer seats than the passengers; however, I could have found a seat while waiting. Boarding was made without any priorities after passengers with disabilities or requiring assistance has boarded. The flight was a smooth flight for the first part and everything was normal. The food was delicious and the crew was friendly. They have also tracked J class passengers who were sleeping for a while and served their meals after they woke up. For the first time, I have experienced a personal device entertainment system working onboard a TK flight. It worked perfectly throughout our journey at our cruising altitude. However, drinks refills weren't offered from the cabin crew during the collection of the trays as turbulence had started. We had arrived to Istanbul Airport on time and immigration was a breeze. It was also a nice point that there were many employees ready to guide connecting passengers to the appropriate desk/checkpoint. After a comfortable shuttle ride back to the city, the short trip has came to an end.

ECN
(+) Reasonable security and passport check wait times
(-) Stupid rule that passengers can't access the airside until 3 hours before departure
(-) Priorities not respected during boarding
Bosphore Lounge
(+) Decent amount of food but it can be improved
(+) Comfortable seating
(-) All power outlets are British style, no European power outlet. ( At least I remembered my adaptor before travel )
TK 979
(+) A delicious, full plate of breakfast
(+) Friendly crew
(+) Mobile IFE system worked perfectly
(-) Old seating and legroom was tighter compared to newer TK A321 Business Class seats
(-) Drink refills can't be offered due to turbulence.
ISL
(+) Fast and efficient passport check
(+) A fresh arrivals hall, not like Atatürk Airport
(+) Transportation options to the airport
(+) The quietness that day

Related

2 Comments

  • Comment 496437 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 269 Comments

    I still wonder how that new airport is going to cope with a large number of pax. Yes, it has been doing well so far I reckon with a select number of flights, but changing all flights to there is something different... I'm also a bit flustered that the move is so soon without any proper connection to the city itself but a taxi and probably a bus? Thanks for your report though!

  • Comment 496442 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 166 Comments

    Hi ThomasDutch and thanks for stopping by,

    I still wonder how that new airport is going to cope with a large number of pax. Yes, it has been doing well so far I reckon with a select number of flights, but changing all flights to there is something different...

    - The first flight after the movement had just took off before I wrote this comment. During my visit, the airport wasn't ready for the movement; however, they have managed to prepare the airport for full operations.
    I'm also a bit flustered that the move is so soon without any proper connection to the city itself but a taxi and probably a bus?

    - Unfortunately, the only options is bus and taxi. However, there are 20 shuttle bus lines and 4 municipality bus lines from different areas of the city that would operate 7/24 which means a better transportation compared to Atatürk Airport which was served by a shuttle bus to Taksim until 01:00 and a metro until 00:00. At least, in Istanbul Airport, I won't need to pay a taxi for a late night arrival or an early morning departure.

    Once again thanks for your comment and hope to see you in another report.

Login to post a comment.