Report No: 2021-304
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this short domestic series inside Turkey with AnadoluJet ( a trademark of Turkish Airlines ) from Istanbul to Antalya for a short trip. As this trip could be considered as a last-minute trip and with the domestic service within Turkey not being different among all three carriers that fly this route ( from IST/SAW to AYT ) - ( AnadoluJet, Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines ), I chose the cheapest which was AnadoluJet. Actually, Pegasus Airlines was at the same price with AnadoluJet, but as I am a TK*G, AnadoluJet has slight benefits so I decided to fly them on this occasion. For information purposes, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul Airport was twice the price of flying out of Sabiha Gökçen so it was definitely not worth to pay that difference. As you would notice, the service between Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet is pretty the same these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This flight would be onboard the AnadoluJet 737-800 from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Antalya on a short flight that took less than an hour. As the Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge in Sabiha Gökçen is still closed due to the pandemic, there would be no lounge covered in this report.
Here is the routing for this trip
Loads for this flight
Economy Class: 90-95%
I have arrived at Sabiha Gökçen Airport about 1h30mins before the flight. As the East Entrance closer to the AnadoluJet check-in counters and is usually less crowded than the other two entrances, I have used that entrance to enter the terminal.
The wait for the initial security check was less than 5 minutes
After that I was inside the terminal. If we look at the FIDS, it's nice to notice that there are plenty of both domestic and international flights. If I'm not wrong, according to Eurocontrol statistics, SAW is one of the airports in Europe that have the most daily take-off and landings during this season of the year.
Even though I have checked-in online as I was going to request an exit-row seat, I needed to wait at the line for the check-in counters. Unfortunately, despite having status or not; seat selection is paid for every-one in AnadoluJet and if you don't pay for a seat, you would be auto-assigned one. As a goodwill gesture, check-in agents tend to assign exit-row seats upon request so I waited about 5-10 minutes at the check-in queue. A reminder that the dedicated counters for Elite & Elite Plus passengers are no longer available since the pandemic hit and there is a single queue for everyone. Also, the kiosks doesn't allow you to change seats without paying so that didn't work for me as well; although, as the lounge is closed and other than to wait for the flight, I had nothing to do, I decided to wait for an agent at the queue.
Here are my boarding passes for this trip. As the arrival time of the outbound and departure time of the inbound flight is less than 24 hours, the friendly agent was also able to print the boarding flight for the return leg and assign me an exit-row seat for that flight as well.
After that, it was time to head towards security for the flight. The security check wasn't empty, however, with 5 or 6 lanes open, the line was flowing really quick so I was airside within 5 minutes.
After I cleared security, I decided to have a coffee from Starbucks as I had received a notification that some of my stars would expire on the end of the month. The best value to use Starbucks stars is at the airport as airport prices are mark-ups.
So I used 15 stars and got a latte for the morning.
Here are the FIDS for the day. Our flight was going to depart from gate 212 which is located at the newer part of the terminal.
As I don't have PriorityPass, I was unable to access the Plaza Premium Lounge at SAW, so I just headed to the gate. I have arrived about 40-45 minutes before scheduled departure time at the gate and boarding had already started with row numbers higher than 20.
Due to the pandemic Turkish Airlines and its trademark AnadoluJet does not offer priority boarding for elites, thus everyone needed to wait for their row number to be announced to be allowed onboard.
About a 4-5 minute wait at the gate, rows 15 and higher were called onboard, so I did head towards the podium and boarded the aircraft.
Here is a photo of TC-JZR ( an ex-Norwegian bird ) which would be the aircraft taking me to Antalya.
After being handed an hygiene kit at the aircraft door, I have headed to my seat 15C for this flight.
On these 186 seat ex-Norwegian configuration, the Recaro NEK seats are being used which I find them really comfortable. The legroom is also generous at the exit row
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic no written literature is offered, however, passengers could benefit from the Pressreader app for free for the day of the flight with their flight information.
The overhead panel
Here is the hygiene kit which was provided upon boarding, it contains replacement masks and two antiseptic wipes.
Boarding was completed on time, the cabin crew did the safety briefing and the exit row reminders as usual and we had took off 5-10 minutes later than our scheduled departure time due to the queue at the runway.
When we reached our cruising altitude, the water service has begun. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only water is being served on all Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet flights and nothing else is being offered.
For the duration of the flight, I have read a book and at some point, I visited the rear lavatory which was clean.
In addition to soap, the lavatory also had an hand sanitizer.
After a while, we have landed at Antalya Airport and after a short taxi, we have parked at gate 5. As many people stood up to the aisle after the seatbelt signs have been turned off, no deboarding by row-by-row was applied, however, the deboarding process was quite fast.
Before heading downstairs, here is the last photo of TC-JZR.
It was time to head towards the exit.
As I didn't have any checked baggage I directly headed towards the exit, however, I would like to admit that the ground staff was really efficient in Antalya as bags from our flight were at the respective carousel within 5 minutes after parking at the jetbridge.
It's also interesting that the sign "Happy New Year" was still there at the third month of the year.
So, this trip report has come to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
The Flight-Report for the return leg would be posted in a short while.
To conclude this report, I could tell that this flight experience was a good one but not a remarkable one. The ground experience at SAW was acceptable, the security wait times were reasonable, the boarding process was organized, the food&beverage outlets have wide variety; however, it's sad to see that the TK Domestic Lounge in SAW is closed almost for a year and to see that there are no more dedicated counters for Elite & Elite Plus passengers when flying AnadoluJet. The flight itself was an ordinary domestic flight within Turkey, however, I would like to admit that an exit row seat makes real difference in terms of comfort, especially on a flight that is close to full. The lavatories were kept clean and the crew was friendly on this flight. There is nothing special to say about Antalya Airport but it was nice to see that bags for our flights arrived at the carousel within 5 minutes after we parked at the jetbridge.
(+) Reasonable wait for security checkpoints
(+) The food&beverage alternatives at the airport
(-) No priority check-in desks for top tier elites
(-) The lounge was closed
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom
(+) Friendly crew
(+) Lavatories were clean during my visit
(-) Nothing except for water being served
Nothing special to mention