Hi Everyone and Welcome to my 2020 collection of flight reports. I was heading to Lahore, Pakistan for part 2 of my wedding where my wife would formally leave her family home ( In Pakistan "Ruksati" and in India "Bidaai").
Back in September 2019 I had had the Islamic Nikah which is the signing of the Register in front of witnesses and family.
Below is a flyer I got in January 2020 from the Turkish Airlines stand at the annual Destinations Travel Exhibition. Looks like someone doesn't know Geography or to check accuracy before sending for print. Embarrassing mistake to make.
Turkish Airlines Ticket Desk at Manchester Airport Terminal 1. Photo taken a few weeks before the flight
Since my last Turkish Airlines flights 3 years ago, the airline has refined it's logo ( old on left and new on right) although it is yet to appear on any aircraft.
And Turkish Airlines has a new homebase too
My baggage enroute to the Airport.
Bye Singy…will I see you again ?!
I arrived at MAN at 0910am and I was checkedin for 0930am.
British Midland bag - Turkish Airlines bag tag !
As I had recently lost my job at MAN,I managed to get priority security.
Great or so I thought.
For my transit at IST I had packed a GU Salted Caramel dessert in my hand luggage. When going through security,a female security agent decided that the dessert was bread and yoghurt and apparently both were a liquid. I wasn't going to spoil my mood.
20 minutes of swabbing later and only with the intervention of an officer who lives on this planet,my dessert was cleared for take off !
He even said he hoped I would enjoy my dessert ! What a waste of time and what poor training the original lady must have had.
SPOTTERS LIFE !
The gate showed up as Gate 26. Memories came back of 2002 when I worked for a handling agent and when an Emirates A330 was at this gate (which EK used religiously) where I asked one of the ground staff if he might bring me an inflight magazine. He immediately went onboard and got me the magazine and IFE guide ! How nice !
When I arrived at the gate,the inbound passengers had only just started to come off the aircraft. I noted cleaners wearing PPE then board the aircraft. The pandemic we now know was still in the early stages. I would be flying today on the first A321NEO of Turkish Airlines TC-LSA and on my first NEO flight !
Scandi Spotting !
I quickly checked emails and sent some WhatsApp messages. At 1020am I was the first to queue up in the Economy queue.
Until one of the ground staff told me that my Priority sticker on my Boarding Pass meant that I could board with Priority ! Very nice !
At the same time,several people in the Business Class queue were moved into the Economy line.
Gate 26 has dual airbridges and those of us who went through first,were made to wait by the first airbridge for a few moments. I had a chat with a lovely lady from the ground staff.
We were then ok'd to board.
I stepped onboard at 1030am to a smiling lady Cabin Chief and an Airhostess. As there was a small bottleneck during boarding,I told them both that I am flying Turkish Airlines after 3 years and that I am off to get married. They both smiled as I asked if I may sample the Business Class orange juice later !
As I arrived at my seat,an Airhostess named Ms Sanam smiled and I complimented her uniform. I have to say the new uniform really looks beautiful and is a huge compliment to the TK experience.
On seeing me take a pillow from the overhead locker, Ms Sanam offered another ! Wow that is so nice ! I am a big tall guy so any extra comfort is always appreciated.
As I settled in I noticed this huge thumbprint. Really made me feel sick ! In hindsight I would have wiped it off.
Signs of an impending pandemic - no Skylife magazine :(
Boarding continued. A family sat in front of me were off to Karachi. The 2 ladies behind me were going to Islamabad and I was going to Lahore !
The 3 major cities of Pakistan in 3 rows !
I was told at checkin that this is a full flight. Seated next to me were 2 Spanish or Italian ladies. The one next to me really did not seem happy to be sat next to me. So it was with some delight when she and her companion moved to a row with free seats.
A lady from another row came and occupied the aisle seat. The middle seat remained free.
The only Steward of 4 cabin crew, went round closing the overhead lockers just as boarding completed at 1049am.
Bear in mind this was pre social distancing times !
At 1050am the doors closed and there were dual language boarding announcements in Turkish and English.
Pushback commenced at 1054am just as the safety video had started playing.
First Steps video
As we taxied to to Runway 2, a short video was played about Coronavirus
At 1110am my first A321NEO adventure began. Take off was rather smooth for an A321 !
The aircraft banked right and flew over Salford, past the Manchester United stadium and also over my neighbourhood. Spot the Stadium !
Shortly after take off,a form and pen was handed to every passenger by a glove wearing Steward (Berat).
At 1120am an announcement was made that there was no Skylife inflight magazine onboard and that the Pressreader gives access to the magazine ( available 24 hours before departure and 24 hours after landing).
I somehow managed to tangle my earphones but Berat untangled them like magic in about 10 seconds ! A look at the IFE options which are too many for this flight !
A look at the IFE options throught the flight…. which are way too many for this shortish flight !
Enter text here…
You can even watch the safety video again ! How nifty and perhaps this may signal the end of the safety card one day if an aircraft is video equipped.
Listening to this remastered version of Seal's Killer was something else !
As you know from my previous Turkish Airlines flight reports, meal time on Turkish is always a party in the sky !
My friend had flown two days earlier from Manchester to Islamabad via Istanbul. I was rather dismayed when he sent me a photo of his Manchester meal which was breakfast. Really ? For a departure around 11am ?
On my flight,the meal was served 50 minutes after take off. This takes us into the start of lunchtime. But hey. Someone in Turkish Catering believes a 12pm breakfast is ok. Ok then.
The main meal was just 1 option. Grilled herbed tomato,scrambled eggs and a triangular toastie with a thin slice of turkey and feta cheese. I burnt my thumb on the grilled tomatoe and felt the pain for 5 days. Beware of the naughty tomato !
There was also a warm wholemeal bread roll served with butter and a delicious Sour Cherry Jam.
The tray had a cheese salad with a single olive, an almond cake,water cuplet and a separate cutlery pack with high quality steel cutlery,salt,pepper and a wetwipe with the airline's signature 1933 brand.
Trays were collected exactly an hour after being handed out. I love this about Turkish Airlines that meal service does not last an eternity (take note Saudia and Aer Lingus longhaul).
Post meal drinks were offered and I requested a Coke with ice and 2 "1933" wipes.
Talk about making yourself comfortable
That little chat during boarding ? This cute lil tray of treats arrived just for me !
The rest of the flight was uneventful. At 1715pm the cabin secure checks began. Descent for the very last part of the flight was, for want of a better phrase, "odd". The aircraft was in some sort of nosedive and it was really not a nice feeling. This soon sorted itself out thankfully.
We were on the ground in Istanbul for 1730pm and I looked forward to my transit as it would give me the chance to discover the new gateway between West and East !
At 1745pm we parked up next to a Turkish Dreamliner TC-LLC which had arrived earlier from Atlanta and was resting before her flight to Singapore a few hours later.
The lady who had occupied the aisle seat ? Wendy was a lovely lady and really friendly. She was transiting to Mombasa.
She allowed me to photograph her very African style bag and socks !
We had chatted on/off during the flight and she told me of when she transited in Saudi Arabia enroute to Malaysia and a fellow passenger had said he thought they were being bussed to Malaysia ! I had such a laugh as this exact thing happened to me (see my JEDKUL flight)
A lil bonus for those of you who missed Skylife magazine ! I got some copies from the Turkish Airlines Lahore office a few days later !
As I collected my bags,I thanked Ms Sanam for nice service and asked if she had ever been to Lahore. She smiled and said she had been many times but they only have 24 hours to layover.
I had a nice souvenier photo with the crew and disembarked.
A woman from the ground staff huffed and puffed as I took a photo upon exiting the airbridge.
But all other staff at ISL ( the new code for Istanbul which makes me want to say Islamabad !) were friendly and professional.
The new Airport is definately a treat for the eyes. The architecture,the aesthetics…allow The Jet to show you around on my next flight report !
Thank You so much for reading my review - see you at the Lahore report !
As always, flying Turkish Airlines is always a superior experience.
Not sure why the window was not cleaned during turnaround but apart from that the cabin was super clean.
Breakfast as the meal was strange as the meal is served well into lunchtime.
I hope Pasta or a Turkish option will return on TK1994.
The IFE truly is outstanding and the choice is phenomenal.
The Airshow moving map is ahead of it's time !
The cabin crew as always are deeply hospitable and friendly.
I look forward to many more flights with Turkish Airlines.