And so, in attempt to keep to schedules and consistently present to you trip reports I have the next installment of the Summer 2018 series, as I look to winding this up and moving forward. Unsurprisingly, it was Turkish Airlines back to the United States. Surprisingly, for two weeks in August 2018 TK sent Airbus A330-300s instead of the usual ex-Kenya Airways Boeing 777-300ERs. The assumption was that TK were finally going to return these back to Kenya Airways so that KQ could have their own expansion plans. Turns out, even now in February 2020, TC-LKA/B/C still operate for TK, and are still very much deployed to New Delhi & Mumbai.
Like the Delhi - Istanbul flight, this is one of the last medium/long haul intl departures out of Mumbai, with TK721 departing at 0625 hours, and arriving in Istanbul at 1040 hours, in time for the USA bank among others.
In addition to a cheap fare thanks to the multi-city trick, there was also the avgeek ulterior motive to get back to the USA in Atlanta. The IST-ATL flight would be on the A330-200, a plane that TK have a very small fleet of dedicated to very long flights, and so have them refurbished. More on this in the next part.
T - 24 HOURS
TK720 on 13th August 2018 diverted to Karachi due to a medical emergency. This delayed TK721 by about 3.5 hours. My layover would be 3.5 hours. Hmmm…. these are rare, but could happen and has to be dealt with. Seats were booked through TK's call center, I got my desired window seats. Once again, they were quite inhospitable, but what can you, they seemed to have bad days 30 days apart…. I got my desired seats, and did not want to change them at all. I proceeded with the online check in 24 hours prior. No boarding pass issued. Hmmm, the SSSS check then? BOM-IST
Ah sweet, I see.
A random flightradar24 filter search for A330-300s in Istanbul yielded an airplane just having pushed back from the new part of Ataturk Airport. Yes, TK720 had made an on time departure to head to Mumbai! Nice, nice. She would be operated by TC-JOA, a 4.5 years old Airbus A330-303 (GE CF6 engines) named Pamukkale, after the mineral rich town in western Turkey. Would've been nice to have gotten the 100th aircraft livery, but beggars can't be choosers.
I took a quick nap before heading for the airport. I had caught TK720 descending down through FL370 from FL330 over Pakistan. Greeeeeeeat! A repeat of last night, I thought. With all kinds of nerves, once again, I headed for the airport. Left my relatives’ place at around 3am for what would be quick drive over, seeing as most Europe & Asia bound flights had departed, the MEB3 were being checked in & security, while the domestic bank would just be opening up, keeping international empty. The 0625 hours departure, as I mentioned earlier, would be alright.
Terminal 2 is always a pleasure to be at, more so on this day: August 15th India celebrate the Independence Day, and the saffron white and green lights donning the pillars. A beautiful sight indeed. ID check was quick, and I was in the terminal looking for the check in counters.
CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION, SECURITY
Check in opened 3 hours before departure time. It went by quick, with the dreaded SSSS showing up on my boarding pass. Oh well, I saw this coming anyway.
Security & immigration did take a better part of 20 minutes, but nothing terrible of course. Was airside at 0348 hours IST - with 2hr37min to kill. Time for my routine of walking concourse to concourse, in addition to spotting some of the international planes too I suppose. Let the pictures do the talking…
ET used to operate 2 flights from BOM to ADD, a combination of 737s, 777s, 787s, 350s… This being a 787 on the day
QR557 often switches between a 777-300ER and 777-200LR, but more often than not the former
EY205. I took this flight 14 months prior, on the B777-200LR. It was honestly one of the worst flights I have taken… :(
The relaunched Jazeera, J9 402 to Kuwait
Completing the Middle East Big 3 trio, the mighty Emirates A380! Dubai bound EK501, and it would go full.
Air India had one B787-8 flying between Mumbai & Heathrow. Just the one BOM-LHR flight for them back then…
Spotting & whatnot for about 30 minutes, before heading to the two domestic concourses, the one I like to call the Air India/Jet Airways concourse, and the Vistara concourse. Of course, this has changed significantly since April 2019.
Domestic: looking at this picture you'd think it is Spring 2019, just one 9W among several AIs. As I mentioned in the earlier parts, initial reports of Jet's troubles surfaced when I was in India during this trip…. But nothing cut, yet.
(Come 2020): Grounded redefined - Jet Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8. She was BLR bound.
Intl & domestic 'swing' gates
Private full service carriers of India…
There was some more intl activity around, but I decided to take a quick nap of sorts before departure, and the long flight(s) ahead. As I saw TC-JOA pull in in the distance I knew everything would be okay.
As with all naps, it ended much too soon. I made my way towards gate 77 for boarding. In fact, I was a little late if anything - it was already on to the last call! I made it quick to take a picture of the A330 taking me over to Istanbul.
…..not before some more spotting! Mahe bound
DMK bound 737-900ER
Never miss an opportunity to spot an A340-300! Mauritius bound.
AI B777-300ER, probably came in from Jeddah.
9W A330, in happier days, with a smile on it's face…
Ah, hello Pamukkale!
I was onboard at 0600 hours, with 25 minutes to departure. Business class was in a 2-2-2 configuration, while economy in 2-4-2, standard for an A330.
I was a bit surprised to find the IFE to be similar as those on the leased-from-KQ 777s, and not exactly the new IFE I found on TC-JJY. No big deal though. I took my seat 22K, the cabin filled up pretty quick. It would be a full flight. Being the summer, the sun slowly started to peak through the horizon, the day got brighter and brighter: the sunset would be in Atlanta!
The First Officer came around with an announcement - I appreciated the information I got from the cockpit before the flight itself on all 4 flights I’d have. 38000 feet, 6hr25min: this should be an easy one, I said to myself. A Jet Airways 777-300ER from LHR pulled up, VT-JET. The flagship 77W. I hoped for a better situation for the airline given the news reports of summer 2018, and boy did it all change!
Newspapers were handed out from a cart to several passengers who requested it. Nice! The crew seemed to be in and around: nothing warm, but there to be of service. I couldn’t tell you if they flew in from IST on TK720 the same morning, or the night before and had a layover. Hmm…
Everything sorta ‘died down’ a little, then again I was on the airplane for only 20 odd minutes. I felt the tug push us back at 0619 hours, 6 minutes before time. Not bad! The new Turkish Airlines safety video played: the one with Lego! It has seemed to have been quite the hit with most, but I do agree with Batman (who also was my childhood super hero, so it checks out :D ): the catchy song has since been stuck to my head…
…both GE CF6 were started up with no issue, we taxied towards Runway 27.
This airplane also had an onboard camera, nice nice! We were lined up and ready to go for 0637 hours, just 12 minutes after departure time. Took off westbound for a while before changing course to the northwest. It was a smooth climb up to 36000 feet.
They handed out a water bottle, as was the case with the IST-DEL flight: I have come to notice that most international airlines hand out a bottle of water on India bound and Indian departure flights. Striking!
As with both Turkish Airlines flights so far however, an amenity kit was handed out: I gave the first two over to my parents for their travel needs, seeing as TK is one of very few airlines that hand this out, especially on a flight of under 6 hours in length!
Like the other 2 Turkish flights, WiFi was pretty shoddy. Horrendously shoddy. It would not load past the payment info page on all 3 occasions so far…
In preparation for breakfast they announced that the in flight entertainment would have to be reset: I was glad they did, it was very glitchy, but then it worked just fine afterwards. Breakfast was served soon after, the options being the typical vegetarian or non vegetarian. I went for the latter with a cup of Turkish’s amazing homemade lemonade. Breakfast contained a cheese plate, some nice and lightly sweetened porridge, fresh bread (with butter & sour cherry jam) and water.
Unfortunately however, the main course was not quite up to standard. The only thing that was non vegetarian about it was 2 very small pieces of turkey bacon in the sandwich, and some Turkish savory pastry which I liked. Overall, all the sides were good, the mains not so much. A little surprising given catering was in fact loaded up at Istanbul, Do&Co.
Biber… Pepper… Piper?! :P
Cheese plate was alright.
Porridge was awesome! Sides > mains.
We were overflying Dubai as I dug in to the breakfast. Timely: the IFE started to work just fine! Unlike the last flight on TK, the headsets on this flight worked wonderfully as well. I decided to watch the Martian, Matt Damon at his best!
Headphones - yay, they worked!
Some time in to the flight I decided to take my lavatory break and stretch my legs: restroom was clean, no issues. A self service bar was set up with the usual juices, water & aerated drinks, in addition to a yogurt based drink which I thought was interesting, so I took a cup of that.
Not a whole lot happened for the rest of the flight, lights were turned off as most others tried to catch up with sleep: my strategy was to sleep after lunch on the next flight: HO BOY WOULD THIS BE AN ERROR!
About an hour and a half before arrival: another round of service! Guess the flight westbound from BOM is just that little bit longer to warrant a snack service before touchdown: just a sandwich, and a fairly unimpressive one at that. Whatever happened to Do&Co's awesome food?!
DESCENT & ARRIVAL
A timely announcement from the flight deck 40 minutes prior to landing: we’d be on the ground for 1030am, barring any traffic delays, with a bit of a long taxi to the parking gate.
Hello again, Turkey!
Beautiful day innit?
A slight northerly wind for us, meaning a slight crosswind on landing seeing as runway 5 was being used for arrivals. Slowly we made our way down, by flying the downwind for 5, giving me a fairly decent view of Ataturk Airport, and the city itself. Did have to extend downwind a bit because of traffic, but we did not have to hold prior to it.
Was a relatively smooth landing for the most part I think, touching down after a flying time of 6hr23min in flight. Pretty smooth, a nice & quick way to get to Europe from BOM. :)
Taxied away from the terminal itself. Not a surprise, I was mostly expecting a ramp/bus arrival. Besides, they are more fun anyway.
Is IsTaNbUl TuRkIsH's HoMe BaSe??
Was nice to see the SQ B777-200ER: a long flight back to SIN for her!
Spotted Aegean for the first time @ MUC 2 summers ago.
Atlas Global is also a goner now…
Got to the stand & engines out at 1035 hours, 5 minutes before time. Of course I took my time. Did not want to spend any longer at IST than I had to…
Disembarking. Only through the front door this time.
Thank you, Pamukkale! She'd head to Madrid as TK1859 next.
GE CF6. Turkish have A330s with all 3 engine types.
Finally! Spotted the A318 for the first time ever!! :D
We were taken to a different arrivals hall, at least compared to what I had seen when coming in from Miami. 'Oh joy', I said to myself. 'Lines at transfer security.' Oh well, it was a good thing I had over 3 hours to kill in Istanbul Ataturk, before the beast of a flight to Atlanta….
Mumbai - BOM
Istanbul - ISL
Some commons themes showed up on Turkish this around, now it just had to be reaffirmed on the flight to Atlanta. The good? On time, #smoothoperation, crew were generally pretty courteous, IFE had tonnes of content despite being glitchy in the beginning. Amenity kit, even for this short a flight, was awesome. The only thing that made this flight the outlier was the food. Not sure what happened there! Ground experience at BOM was fine as always. On to TK32!
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