Review of Turkish Airlines flight Istanbul Ankara in Economy

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK2150
Class Economy
Seat 10A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 01:20
Take-off 01 Jun 20, 10:00
Arrival at 01 Jun 20, 11:20
TK   #13 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 611 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 851
Published on 3rd June 2020

Report No: 2020-601E


Ladies and Gentlemen,


After not flying for 2.5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic; on Saturday, 30 May 2020, I've read the news that domestic flights in Turkey would resume on Monday, 1 June 2020. With this occasion, I decided to take this special flight to Ankara which would be the first scheduled flight in Turkey after the flight restrictions have lifted. That day, I was going to take 3 different flights in order to be back in the air.


The first report of this series would be the report of the first scheduled domestic flight in Turkey after the restrictions have lifted. This flight was TK2150 from Istanbul Airport to Ankara Esenboğa Airport and here is the Flight-Report of it.


Here is the routing



A video report of this flight would be served to a YouTube channel soon, when that video is posted, I would attach the link below.


Loads for this flight:

Business Class: No idea
Economy Class: %50-55

There was a total of 156 passengers onboard, the aircraft has 289 seats.


ONLINE CHECK-IN


Due to social distancing measures, online seat selection was unavailable. That might be the reason why online check-in wasn't available; however, having OLCI open, would reduce the amount of people using self check-in kiosks or the people using physical check-in counters.


This was the error I received


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Same situation for the mobile application, online check-in was unavailable and I was asked to check-in at the airport.


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However, the CEO of Turkish Airlines, Mr. Bilal Ekşi has encouraged people to use online services but at this point online services were unavailable.


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Never mind, the day of the flight, early in the morning, a relative dropped me to Istanbul Airport.


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I was really happy, coming back to IST after 77 days.


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And here we head to the departures level. There is a significant improvement in the construction of the airport mosque.


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Construction is still going on for the airport metro


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ISTANBUL AIRPORT - IST


As the airport was not at full capacity, only doors 1 and 3 were open for entrance.


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Sanitizers were available everywhere in the airport, including at this point.


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It's sad to see IST this empty.


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Before entering the airport, police officers checked my e-ticket and matched with my ID as no-body except passengers and staff are permitted inside the terminal. Later on, my body temperature was checked with thermal cameras. After that, I passed the initial security checkpoint, almost all lanes were kept open in order to keep the social distance as much as possible.


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Today's flights: Some military charters and 4 scheduled flights to Ankara, Antalya, Trabzon and Izmir


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And international flights: A repatriation flight to Uzbekistan and another one to Romania. That's all


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Check-in could either be made via kiosks or via desks. There were almost 20-30 desks open that day including 2 for Business Class and status passengers.


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Stickers regarding where to step were clearly indicated in the queue areas. All check-in staff was wearing masks and face shields for protection.


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At check-in, I was served by a friendly agent and all 3 boarding passes for my flights were printed. Also, I didn't hand my ID card to her; instead, I showed her and she entered the details; she also entered the necessary HES code ( health code ) to the system in order to fly. ( Turkish citizens require one, foreign citizens are exempt ).


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My boarding pass for this flight. Also a reminder that carry-on baggages are not allowed inside the cabin and +8kg baggage allowance is added to all passengers instead. Bags that fit under the seat ( handbags, laptop bags, etc… ) are still permitted.


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Later on, I did a mini-tour of the landside. Some parts of the landside area were closed with barriers and closed. Here is a photo of unused check-in counters.


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International departures area


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And, here is the domestic departures area. The café before security was already open. Chairs and tables were placed with attention to social distance.


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Security was fast and quick without any wait, there were many lanes open at that point. Every passenger was directed to body-scanners in order to avoid physical contact when a search is needed. Most of the stores were still closed.


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However, some of them were open.


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There was a desk allocated for the Ministry of Health but there was no medical staff present at that time. I guess that medical staff would be present later on and a thermal camera would be installed here.


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The food court was entirely closed


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However, Starbucks, Çay Saati, Simit Sarayı was open.


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I had my breakfast at Simit Sarayı and there, tables were allocated according to social distance measures and the necessary precautions were taken at the counters.


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After having my breakfast, it was time heading downstairs to the gate level. At escalators, disinfecting devices were placed for handrails.


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And, heading downstairs to the gate level


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The international terminal was empty with no flights at that time.


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FIDS


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And here is the aircraft that would take us to Ankara


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TC-LNG named Mersin, the newest Airbus A330-300 in the TK fleet, would be the one operating this special flight.


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While waiting for boarding, it's time to explore the terminal; here are the bus gates.


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And here is how an example jetbridge gate was prepared, floor markings are visible in order to maintain the social distance


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The podium has glass windows in order to protect the staff over there.


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And, the seating areas. Most seats are blocked and not available for usage.


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Many aircraft were parked at the terminal; these aircraft are waiting the day for when they would be back in the air.


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Gloria Jean's Coffees was opened to service.


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And most of you would wonder about lounges, the elevators for the lounge was working.


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However, the lounge was closed. Although, seats were placed in observance of the social distance.


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This applied both for the Elite&Classic Plus section and the Elite Plus&Business section.


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After heading back upstairs, I've headed to one of the toilets and it was kept clean with the necessary precautions taken.


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


And, now it was time to get back to the gate. The gate agents and supervisors were there 1 hour before departure. At that time, there were announcements reminding to keep the social distance and that boarding would be made with the observance of seat rows.


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The crew has arrived at the aircraft


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And catering is being provided.


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There were staff checking and warning people if they observed the social distance in seating areas.


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This includes this guy with a helmet that has a thermal camera measuring people's body temperature.


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Live music was available to celebrate the first scheduled flight after the restrictions have lifted.


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Mr. Kadri Samsunlu ( CEO of Istanbul Airport ) briefing Mr. Adil Karaismailoğlu ( Turkish Minister of Transportation ) about the precautions taken inside the airport. Owner of Onurair, Mr. Teoman Tosun is also visible in this photo.


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Mr. İlker Aycı ( TK Chairman of Board ) was also there with other government officials and protocol.


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TV reporters were also joining this flight.


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The TV reporters interviewing the couple that was warned because they didn't observe social distancing. The airport staff was super cautious that they even wanted people from the same family to maintain the social distance.


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Boarding was made with the respect of social distancing and passengers were called with their seat numbers. Boarding started with people sitting in the rear of the aircraft. No priority boarding was available for Economy Class passengers who hold status, however, passengers sitting in Business Class had a separate lane as they were going to use door 1L rather than door 2L.


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Mr. Adil Karaismailoğlu ( Turkish Minister of Transportation ) was the honor guest of this flight.


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A significant difference in boarding was that people were asked to scan their own boarding pass and the large part of the boarding pass was not collected.


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TC-JGT was there next door, which was going to operate a military charter to Van, later in the day.


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People maintained the social distance, even inside the jetbridge


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At the gate, the hygiene expert of the flight ( a dedicated crew for hygiene ) was asking people to take their complimentary hygiene kit.


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The hygiene kit contains a replacement mask and an antiseptic wipe. Also, it's mandatory to wear masks onboard all domestic flights within Turkey and inside all areas within the airport.


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TK 2150 ISTANBUL AIRPORT TO ANKARA ESENBOĞA AIRPORT


After being welcomed by the crew at the door, I took my seat.


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A photo of the cabin


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As this aircraft is originally designed for long-haul flights, the seats are comfortable


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And, the legroom is decent


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Also, it's noticeable that onboard magazines were not available. There were announcements made before departure that the Pressreader application is free for Turkish Airlines passengers and asked to download it before the electronic sign has been switched on.


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Most seats in the aircraft were empty including the seat next to me.


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The news-reporter of Show TV was also going to join this special flight.


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A view from the window


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The IFE system was open throughout the flight which is actually a nice point, however, people should bring their own headphones for domestic flights ( this was the protocol before COVID ) and live TV is not available.


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After boarding was completed, the safety video was played


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And we're leaving on time, the doors are closed.


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But wait a second, the captain realizes a minor technical issue and the technical team has came onboard.


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The issue was fixed within 5-10 minutes and we were all set to go.


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And then, the TK TV ad, and the promo video of the Zero-Waste project were monitored like all TK flights.


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And, the stairs are gone.


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And we're pushing back


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While taxiing, all these grounded aircraft is visible. Some of these aircraft are still used for cargo operations.


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And I'm in the air, after 77 days.


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And finally over the clouds


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The Wi-Fi network was working on this flight


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Internet connection was available


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However, it was not working and I was unable to connect to the internet.


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Shortly after takeoff, a video about coronavirus was played.


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And, news-reporters have started filming after departure.


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A view from the window


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And shortly after takeoff, the service has started.


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Only, water was served and trash was not collected to minimize the contact between the crew and passengers.


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And shortly later, we were descending


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And we've landed to ESB, many TK and AJet aircraft were still parked.


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And after our taxiing, we have parked at gate 107.


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And deboarding was made according to seat numbers, first, Business Class passengers left the aircraft, then passengers seated in rows 6-10 were asked to deboard, other passengers were asked to wait at their seat.


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ANKARA ESENBOĞA AIRPORT - ESB


As there were many protocol greeting the Minister of Transportation Mr. Karaismailoğlu, the jetbridge was a bit crowded.


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The final photos of our aircraft


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However, in the terminal, the social distance was easily maintained.


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And, now, it's time to follow the transfer flights sign for my next flight to Izmir.


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Some other news reporters were interviewing passengers at the baggage area.


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The transfer desk was unaccompanied, however, there was a security checking boarding passes.


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After my boarding pass was checked, I've headed to the departures level for my next flight.


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Now, this report has came to an end. This series would continue in the next report.


Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.

See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

7.5/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering4.0

Istanbul - IST

9.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Ankara - ESB

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

This was a really special flight for me and it was my first time flying with masks. I actually find the precautions in place, however, in some places things are exaggerated. Both IST and ESB were prepared for post-COVID travel and I have nothing to criticize the airport operators. For the airline, it's ununderstandable why a CEO encourages online services and closes online check-in; it's probably because they don't want people to choose their seats and they want to maintain social distancing as much as possible. It's also acceptable that the meal service is removed on domestic flights, although the hygiene kit is a nice touch.

IST
(+) Minimum wait at security checkpoints
(+) Hand sanitizers available throughout the terminal
(+) Many check-in counters were kept open
(+) Social distancing measures were taken within the terminal
(+) Boarding made in respect of seat numbers
(-) Social distance measures were taken at lounges but it was closed
TK 2150
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom
(+) IFE system on
(+) The distribution of hygiene kits
(+) Deboarding made with respect to social distancing
(-) Reduced service due to COVID-19
ESB
Nothing special to mention

Information on the route Istanbul (IST) Ankara (ESB)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Istanbul (IST) → Ankara (ESB).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Turkish Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 23 minutes.

  More information

8 Comments

  • Comment 555520 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5273 Comments

    Hi ISTFlyer! Good to see you back in the air and thanks a lot for posting this special report on TK's return to the skies post-Covid-grounding!

    All of the measures in place on this short 1h domestic flight seem reasonable, though it is weird they didn't allow for OLCI, which forces people to go to the ticket counter for a BP. If it's to ensure social distancing measures, they could have just blocked seats on the seat map...weird.

    It's also acceptable that the meal service is removed on domestic flights,

    While I agree that removing a meal service from a short domestic flight is fine in times of Covid, I really hope that the post I saw on FT about cold box meals on long-haul, even in Business class, isn't going to actually happen. I just can't imagine TK going from the best Business class catering to the worst 😶
    I haven't seen anything official yet, so I hope the new cold box catering concept for long-haul is just that, a concept, and doesn't come to fruition.

    Thanks again for this awesome first-hand inside look at the 1st TK domestic flight!

    • Comment 555521 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 237 Comments

      Hi Kévin and thanks for your comment,

      All of the measures in place on this short 1h domestic flight seem reasonable, though it is weird they didn't allow for OLCI, which forces people to go to the ticket counter for a BP. If it's to ensure social distancing measures, they could have just blocked seats on the seat map...weird.

      - Indeed, they could have done something like BA does ( theoretical seating ) and block some seats. I assume that, they would re-open OLCI and advanced seat selection soon as there would be people willing to pay for a front row seat in order to disembark first.
      While I agree that removing a meal service from a short domestic flight is fine in times of Covid, I really hope that the post I saw on FT about cold box meals on long-haul, even in Business class, isn't going to actually happen. I just can't imagine TK going from the best Business class catering to the worst 😶 I haven't seen anything official yet, so I hope the new cold box catering concept for long-haul is just that, a concept, and doesn't come to fruition.

      - That was my post and I got it from an aviation news website. Although this time, it seems real that TK would serve cold box meals in long-haul J. Also the Chairman of Board of TK Mr. İlker Aycı has mentioned on some interviews on TV that hot meals would be removed for a while. However, with the current market, this won't last long and they would lose customers to other airlines especially Qatar Airways, which still maintains a good hard and soft product at this time. We'll all see what would happen.
      Thanks again for this awesome first-hand inside look at the 1st TK domestic flight!

      - You're very welcome. Take care.

      • Comment 555523 by
        KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5273 Comments

        That was my post

        I had noticed 😊 - It does look legitimate, but I'm still in disbelief, until I see something official. Catering has always been TK's pride...the one thing they do consistently well. It would be such a shame!

        • Comment 555524 by
          ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 237 Comments

          I also hope that information is not true and TK would continue a solid catering service, especially on long-haul flights.

          I would try to be on a TK international flight in the near future and report it back. This time the ECN trick would not work as it's under 2 hours ( only water served in both cabins ) so I actually need to find a country that accepts Turkish citizens with no quarantine/self-isolation requirement and it should be affordable.

          I would possibly need to travel transatlantic next month, but TK would not be my top choice as both they have high fares and they are not offering their full product.

  • Comment 555558 by
    JW19 121 Comments

    Great to see people flying again, these gentle beasts are not meant to sit on the ground.

    Though with all the emphasis on social distancing I can't hell but realise that many governments don't practise what they preach. Why are the ceos and bosses not walking a distance apart during the inspection and why are people allowed to gather near each other during boarding only to socially separate after going on board.

    Food for thought.

    • Comment 555561 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 237 Comments

      Hi JW19 and thanks for stopping by,

      Great to see people flying again, these gentle beasts are not meant to sit on the ground.

      - Yes, it was a great pleasure flying.
      Though with all the emphasis on social distancing I can't hell but realise that many governments don't practise what they preach. Why are the ceos and bosses not walking a distance apart during the inspection

      - That was an interesting situation, passengers were always trying to maintain the social distance and they were warned by airport staff when they didn't; however, the minister, his crew and other executives joining were very close to each other ( in terms of distance ).
      why are people allowed to gather near each other during boarding only to socially separate after going on board.

      - TBH, they weren't; even people from the same family were warned when they were not maintaining a social distance

      Once again, thanks for your comment and stay safe.

  • Comment 555604 by
    NewYorker SILVER 95 Comments

    Hey ISTFlyer, and thanks for sharing. Istanbul's new airport looks absolutely incredible, even when empty. I flew from Ataturk in 2013, and the new airport seems like quite an improvement. It's interesting that TK is flying domestic flights which an aircraft as large as the A330 in these times. Was that just a one-off, or will they keep flying the A330s domestically? The service certainly leaves a bit to be desired, though it's understandable thanks to the pandemic. The hygiene kit is definitely a nice feature. I hope more airlines will offer that, too. Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to reading about the next flight!

    • Comment 555607 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 237 Comments

      Hey there NewYorker and thanks for your comment,

      Istanbul's new airport looks absolutely incredible, even when empty.

      - I'm used to seeing it empty from preliminary flights and I always enjoy IST when it's empty rather than being crowded.
      It's interesting that TK is flying domestic flights which an aircraft as large as the A330 in these times. Was that just a one-off, or will they keep flying the A330s domestically?

      - Generally A330's, 777's and 787's operate domestic routes at busy hours during the regular schedule. However, from 4 June, the IST-ESB route would be operated by 3x A321neo's and most domestic routes would have 737's, A321's and A321neo's rather than wide-body aircraft. The A330 for this route was only scheduled for 1, 2 and 3 June. However, things could change in the future.
      The service certainly leaves a bit to be desired, though it's understandable thanks to the pandemic.

      - Indeed, it's understandable for domestic flights but the new TK catering offering for international flights disattracts me from flying TK on longer routes until they understand their mistake.
      The hygiene kit is definitely a nice feature. I hope more airlines will offer that, too.

      - Yes, it's a nice touch.
      Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to reading about the next flight!

      - It's almost ready, I would share it soon. Hope to see you there.

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