Report No: 2021-305
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.
The return flight of this journey would be on the Boeing 737-800 of AnadoluJet ( but this time on the ex-TK version ) from Antalya to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen. Similar to the first report, there would be no lounge report in this journey.
Here is the routing for this trip
Loads for this flight
Economy Class: 90-95%
As I did already have a boarding pass, I have arrived at the airport about an hour before scheduled departure time. Before entering the terminal, HES codes were checked for Turkish citizens.
The security checkpoint to enter the terminal was empty and with no wait, I was inside the terminal.
Unfortunately, the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge in Antalya is closed at this time
So, I headed upstairs to the regular security checkpoint.
The wait over there was minimal, thus I was airside a few minutes before scheduled boarding time.
As it's not high season in Antalya, the terminal was empty.
As our gate was a bus gate, I have headed downstairs where the bus gates are located at.
While I arrived at the gate, there were no sign of boarding being started, and for 40 minutes, nothing happened. Boarding didn't start until then and the ground staff was replying passengers who asked about the boarding time that they would be starting boarding shortly as they are waiting permission. With no official delay being announced, it was impossible to predict when boarding would start. However, at 10:55 which is actually the scheduled departure time boarding started at the same time at two bus gates ( 209 and 210 ) to expedite the boarding process. There were 3 or 4 buses ready and as soon as the buses reached their capacity limit ( 50 people due to COVID-19 ), they left the terminal.
During our bus ride to the aircraft, I was able to spot SunExpress aircraft, as well as aircrafts of Russian carriers which is quite normal to see at AYT
After a short bus ride, our aircraft was visible. TC-JFG would be the aircraft taking me back to Istanbul. Originally being a Turkish Airlines aircraft and being moved to the AnadoluJet fleet in 2016, it was going to be my first time on this specific airframe.
A glimpse of remote stands, more XQ and some N4 aircraft were visible.
Boarding through the stairs, both the front and the rear door was operational during boarding.
After being welcomed by the crew and being handed an hygiene kit, I have headed to my seat 16A for this flight.
As I was seated in the exit row, the legroom is super generous.
The seats for this flight are the usual TK/AJet domestic TSI branded seats which are OK in terms of comfort.
View from the window. As some of the passengers decided to maintain social distance throughout the boarding process, it was possible to see people waiting outside for the stairs to be cleared so they could board.
Here is the hygiene kit that is provided. The hygiene kit has replacement masks and antiseptic wipes.
The overhead panel
As soon as boarding was completed and the final preparations were done, we have started our push-back, approximately 30 minutes later than our scheduled departure time.
And after a short taxi, we were at the runway.
As only 1 out of 3 runways were operational that day, we waited about 5 minutes for landing aircrafts and when it was our turn, we have took off towards the south.
Photos after takeoff
After the seatbelt signs have been turned off, the water service has begun. About 5 minutes later, the crew appeared one more time to collect trash.
A view while cruising in the air
After a while, we have started our descend to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport
The second runway is being constructed at SAW and would increase capacity when completed
Some more photos from the construction site
We have landed about 15 minutes later than our scheduled arrival time
The new ATC tower under construction
Some TK/AJet aircraft at the technic hangar
Ex-China Eastern ERJ145's are stored at SAW
In the apron, that day, there wasn't any interesting traffic other than AnadoluJet and Pegasus aircraft.
Pegasus A321neo that would be heading to Lviv that afternoon
More Pegasus and AnadoluJet aircraft at the terminal
After a short taxi, we were going to park at gate 206A.
Next to this, AnadoluJet Boeing 737-800 that was going to head to Urmia (OMH).
As you might expect in Turkey, nobody waited the people in front of them to leave the aircraft and everyone rushed as usual so deplaning was quick without the observance of social distancing.
Here is the last photo of TC-JFG before the bird continues to its next flight which is back to Antalya
As I didn't have checked baggage, I just directly headed towards the exit.
The landside arrivals level was a bit crowded but not that full.
Shortly after leaving the terminal, a relative has picked me up from the airport and this journey has come to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
Stay tuned for an international trip report which would come within the next few days.
This experience was an average post-COVID domestic flight experience within Turkey. Although the flight experience was pleasant and the seats were comfortable, as well as the legroom in the exit-row is perfect, the service is minimal due to COVID and there aren't any IFE options onboard except for the Pressreader app content which should be loaded before the flight. Although, the Pressreader offer is pretty generous, I am hoping that Turkish Airlines & AnadoluJet restores their tea/coffee and cake service on these domestic flights. I have nothing negative to say about the airport experiences, however, the communication style of the delay in AYT was a bit unprofessional with no delay being announced and the ground staff simply telling passengers that they would board shortly without any estimated departure time; if there was a foreseen delay, to inform the passengers, I prefer it to be announced or at least being displayed at the screens so passengers could roam around the terminal, eat, drink, shop, or remain at the lounge if it's open rather than staying in the crowded gate area . However, the ground staff was really efficient during boarding and with two bus gates being used for boarding, the boarding didn't took long and as soon as the aircraft was ready we took off.
As a conclusion for the general trip, for the price difference between using IST and SAW as the airport in Istanbul, it's definitely not worth paying the extra premium for paying for IST because when flying with TK as a top-tier elite, other than lounge access ( the lounge in IST is open ) and free advanced regular seat selection, there are no differences in the experience. When it comes, to choosing between AnadoluJet and Pegasus, due to my status, AnadoluJet has better perks like extra baggage allowance ( though I didn't have checked baggage this time ), free water ( or snack if we consider pre-COVID levels ) and mileage earning for *G status for the same price with PC so they are a step ahead in the race. If the prices between AJet and PC remain the same in the future, I'll mostly choose the former and I could admit that during this era they are a reasonable airline to fly within Turkey.
(+) Security wait times
(-) The communication regarding the delay
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom at the exit row
(+) Friendly crew
(-) Nothing other than water being offered on this flight
Nothing special to mention