As many of you guessed, this leg is bound for Hong-Kong. Now this is neither our destination country nor our final destination. We are in Asia for a total of 28 days (including flights) and we will be spending about a day and a half in HK before moving on.
Going back in history alittle, as you know, 007 was the culprit behind me choosing TK, but obviously I wasn't going to fly this long flight in Y considering other options would be available… No, I chose TK because of the very high reputation of its Comfort class product, praised extremly high on this website as well as on others. I am sad to learn this product is being scratched from TK's 777 fleet, for the record, the class on our flight was 100% full.
I had a budget of approximately 1,000 euros per person for this flight, and I heard that you could get on with this product for about that much, so doing abit of Ita Matrixing and coordinating with the dates I wanted, we ended up with a multi city round trip from BUD to HKG and return to Europe (not BUD) for the meager price of 942 euros per person. For a product touted as the best premium economy experience in the world, I felt it was a good deal. Was I right? Let's find out?
the night before our flight i had checked us in and my seats were already pre selected as 12J and K. But I was not satisfied with this, I wanted row 11. 007 made it clear in his reports that row 11 made for an even more comfortable flight. I called TK several times between the time I bought our tickets and the day of our flights, row 11 was taken according to them. Of course this wasn't true as the seats are just blocked in case parents with bassinets need to use them.
The evening preceding our flight came and I prepared to check in online and low and behold, 11J was available! I quickly made the switch but was unable to select 11K though it was available according to the screen. Called TK again, no dice… i figured I would either try to change it at the airport or try to change with the culprit once on board ^^
This is the little miracle the check in agent in BUD was able to do for me as she actually informed me that 11K was the LAST seat available in the cabin and after typing a few things on her computer, she handed me this:
I was elated. I knew these seats weren't easy to get. by the way at this point my wife knows nothing of the comfort class and as far as she was concerned, we were flying economy the entire way.
Anyways back to the report. So we just got off our flight from BUD, we have to walk to the transfer area of IST, it's a rather long straight walk from the point where the bus lets you off, about 5-10 minutes depending how fast you walk, sadly it was dark so not much room for spotting, and you could tell people were scouring through to try to pass as many people as they could.
when we got to the transfer area there weren't that many people actually and we cleared security in less than 10 minutes. then we were let back into the terminal via an escalator. I didn't take photos of the terminal but i have to say it is quite nice, we had to walk awhile to get to our gate and when I so the escalator, I knew instantly that it meant a boarding by bus as 007 and Numero_2 had experienced a few months ago. I was actually quite happy about this because it meant I would be able to take photos of our plane without windows blocking the view!
As always we waited until the final boarding call to get on the bus and the ride took quite a while actually, based on the direction we were going I figured we must be in the maintenance section of the airport which was odd, there was only one plane sitting there, ours, TC-JJJ named Erzurum, about 2 years of age I believe. A beautiful 777-300 ER, my first ride on this type.
Some pics I snapped before boarding
Misses posing for us, a good indication of how massive this masterpiece of a plane is
These engines are so… Well so impressive! Their size is definitely intimidating… I'd be scared if I were a bird!
A glimpse of J class
As we boarded, I was keeping both boarding passes in my hand and walked through the comfort class cabin, as expected the only 2 seats remaining free were 11J/K. As we got to the economy section there were still some seats available, I paused for a moment, then turned around and said 'Well, this doesn't look too comfortable for a 10 hour flight… Let's go sit overthere (pointing at the front of the plane)' and I made my way back into the comfort class cabin all the way to the front and showed the boarding passes to my wife, It was already late so it took her a second to realize what was going on, but she was pretty happy about it, obviously not as much as me but it was a nice surprise :)
Misses posing in the best Y+ seat ever made!
My throne with slippers already there. The noise cancelling headset, pillow and blanket were there also. The amenity kit was handed personally to each passenger after boarding was completed.
Boarding being completed, the engines started with the roaring sound and vibrations many of you flying this bird are used to, no pushback since we were already sitting on the tarmac and we proceeded directly on to the active.
Takeoff was quick and powerful as you would expect. You can't help but feel like the plane is way overpowered and wonder if it really was necessary. When you compare the speed of the acceleration between the 777-300 ER and a plane like the A340 or even the A330, the difference is surreal. Did they need to fit this plane with such big engines? I'm wondering now if on the Triple 7 LR if the feeling of power is even more pronounced since the fuselage is shorter!
I did not film the takeoff roll because A) it was night time and B) the Flight Attendants did not dim the cabin lights so visibility wasn't good.
After takeoff we received an Osihori and then it took quite a while for the service to begin. Menus were handed out shortly after takeoff and you can view it here
The misses playing around
I was really happy about the selection, of all the food options TK offers in Y+, this was my favorite starter and favorite entree (main dish). I was really excited although still not super hungry after our meal on the flight ec BUD. My wife was already sleeping and I was worried she would not want to eat the meal :/
Soon the amuse bouche came, dolma which is minced meat wrapped in a vine leaf, served with hummus and the delicious turkish hazelnuts (hazelnuts are my favorite nuts so was definitely happy). Served alongside the most amazing lemonade I have ever tasted. It is seriously that good, made with mint, sadly they run out after 2 cups :(
Hummus and dolma with warm hazelnuts and lemonade
Then everything came in one tray as is the protocol on Asia flights ex IST so that pax can go to sleep sooner.
You can see we were well across our path over Turkey when they amuse bouches came along
Assorted Turkish Mezzes, I am not sure what everything was, there was a salmon tartar and other delicacies but everything was outstanding, fresh ingredients, lots of herbs, I absolutely loved it and so did my wife (who woke up when the food arrived^^)
Selection of cheese
Almond cake for dessert
The tray as a whole, the presentation for a Y+ product was excellent, I did not want to eat it, I just wanted to take photos and immortalize this moment of fine dining 39,000 feet above the sea!
Grilled minced beef with bulgur. This was delicious. As an Armenian, Turkey is not really our best friend,, quite the contrary, but our food is very similar and this tasted like what my grand mother would make us growing up. everything was outstanding.
Salt and pepper shakers, olive oil, oven fresh bread (better than the one on the first flight)
I am a big guy, 220lbs and i love to eat! I was not able to finish this feast and God knows I tried. It was just too much food combined with our first dinner just 4 hours ago…
After the trays were cleared the flight attendants came buy offering some pralines which I quickly gobbed up before going to the bathroom. Here you can see the amenity kit which i did not photograph but you will see its content on our return flight, i promise :)
The first thing you notice when entering the lavatories is how spacious they are, they were quite clean too as you can see from these photos
When I returned to my seat, the cabin lights had been dimmed and a bottle of water was handed to every passenger for the night.
Seat comfort: While the seat doesn't lie flat, it does recline a fair amount and with the leg-rest plus a cabin bag, you can reach a pretty comfortable position. Sadly for me though, I was not able to fall into a deep sleep. Maybe I was too excited, I don't know, I slept about 3 hours. One thing that was quite uncomfortable was a part of the seat connecting the recliner to the cushion itself, some sort of thick bar is there and your behind really feels it when the seat is fully reclined. Because I am heavy I probably felt it even more! My wife slept a whole 8 hours though, so I'm going to assume it was just excitement that kept me from sleeping :) I loved having all this room though, it really felt like flying business class, 3 windows to yourself, no one reclining in your personal space, it was literally perfect, I never wanted it to end… The free wifi worked flawlessly whilst not over China and I enjoyed surfing the web while charging my phone.
The flight path taken on this route is rather odd as when you reach India, the way is not straight. and there's this weird detour by Kunning each time, what's up with that?
Before long we were 2 hours before landing and breakfast was served. I have to say that for a Turkish airline, I was disappointed with the coffee, I am unsure of whether they do serve some real coffee Turkish style, I should have asked.
Seasonal fresh fruit
Turskish style scrambled eggs and pastry filled with spinach. The eggs were absolutely divine, the pastry was good but I would've been ok with just the eggs, absolutely delectable.
Some views from my little haven
wingtip doing its job
Interesting cloud formations
More legroom please! ^^
Someone did end up needing the bassinet in the end. Makes me feel even more fortunate to have been able to score these seats.
Our very indirect route
The sexiest engines around
Alittle tour of the cabins, comfort class from the rear, full to the brim
Front economy cabin
Rear economy cabin
Economy didn't look half bad, especially with the 3-3-3 layout. Take that Air France! (and all the others)
Business class with a young Asian wondering what the heck I'm doing
For a few seconds we lost gravity on board and this was the result ;)
Back to my seat in full recline mode
Pardon the mess, I made myself at home as you can see :)
Cabin from the front
as all good things must come to an end, and what goes up must come down, we soon started our descent into Hong-Kong and this wonderful flight was coming to a conclusion after a journey of close to 5,000 miles. I'll leave it to Saraoutou to tell me what we were flying over cuz I'm completely clueless!
The sea was a beautiful blue color and the weather was actually really nice which i believe is rather rare for HK at this time of the year.
I am guessing this is already part of Hong-Kong but not sure which part?
The mountains here look interesting…
Some sort of telecom center?
Almost there, only a few seconds away from my Asian baptism!
Touchdown! (Landing video at the end of this report)
Perfect weather greeted us on Lantau island, Hong Kong. It was stunningly beautiful. I always had a special place for mountains and I was happy to be surrounded by them. As we taxied to our gate, they were everywhere
Jet Airways A330
Jet Airways B777-300
Those apartment buildings certainly do look interesting, very tall!!
I forget the name of this airline, Hong Kong airlines or Shanghai airlines A320?
Another CX Triple 7!
Last turning point next to this sexy neighbor
Deplaning was interesting. Flight Attendants pulled the curtain on us so the J passengers could disembark first. then we deplaned using door L1. I was immediately stunned by how spacious and clean the terminal was, it kind of reminded me of Canadian airports with the carpet. the toilets were super clean (You probably thin I'm weird for mentioning the toilets alot but I have this fear of going to the bathroom on a plane so I go as little as necessary, I can usually manage going only once on a 10 hour flight) so it is nice to be greeted by clean premises upon arrival :)
It was weird seeing airport personal wearing masks, especially at immigration, but aside from that we had no issues, collected our bags and I made my way to the Airport Express counter so I could buy my Octopus card and find my way outside to the bus terminal where we were greeted by super humid heat!!!
Bus E11 took us to the Wan Chai district of HK where our hotel was, it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes and although longer than the MTR, much cheaper at 27 dollars! Here are a few shots of the E11 trip to downtown
Does anyone know if these apartments are spacious? There are so many of them all over Hong-Kong, I can't imagine people living in such small quarters as I know real estate is not cheap in HK…
Name the bridge…
Lovely view. I could live here
We stayed at a hotel in Wan Chai, does anyone recognize it? It was a great place to stay and a bargain! Highly recommended. I'll mention it again in a future report if no one finds the name.
And here we are in Hong-Kong! We had a day to explore before heading to our next destination, sadly what I wanted to do most, Victoria peak had a 3 hour wait :( So we just walked around the city instead. Hong-Kong is a cosmopolitan thriving metropolis, everything can be found there and the selection of restaurants is overwhelming!
Lots of people
This is what the locals call the mid levels escalators, a series of escalators which take you quite high above the city. They go down in the morning and up in the evening
A mosque in Hong-Kong
More tall residential buildings
The sun is setting
Hong-Kong by night is a different world, the city seriously never sleeps! Here you can see the amazing double decker trams which are even cheaper to use than the bus!
Some final shots of downtown as we enjoy this beautiful day!
And here ends the 2nd part of our journey! Video below with the landing in HK
Istanbul - ISL
Hong Kong - HKG
Airline: There's really not much I can say about this flight, everything was literally perfect; the food was amazing, the seat was super comfortable, the personal light was broke though. It wasn't possible to angle it, it kept just falling, it needs to be fixed by TK maintenance. The crew was excellent throughout, professional, my only complaint is that dinner took too long to arrive for an overnight flight. The IFE is excellent, nice large 10 inch screen, I did not watch anything else but the flight path and went on the internet and that to me was perfect! We arrived early after departing on time. Solid marks for TK!
Departing IST: Same comments as the arrival, no free wifi, transfer abit chaotic, but I've seen worse, the departures area of the terminal is actually pretty nice, with the duty free area etc.
Arriving in HK. The airport is flawless, it is clean, functional, free wifi, helpful staff, clear signage, the way a true international gateway should be, I regret not taking photos of the arrivals hall, overall an extremely positive experience.
So this concludes one of the highlights of our trip, here's a hint for our next destination: A Christian cross was planted here by Portuguese and Spanish explorers upon arriving in the 16th century
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