Report No: 2022-503E
Dear Flight-Report community, welcome to this report
I was absent a little bit due to time constraints but now would continue to publish Flight-Report's for future trips and those in the past that I have not reported.
My first series in 2022 would be a domestic Turkish Airlines series which would start with a flight onboard the Turkish Airlines A321-200 from Istanbul Airport to Mardin with a review of the iGA Domestic Lounge in Istanbul and the Turkish Airlines Lounge Domestic as well.
The routing for this short series is as following;
Loads for this flight:
Economy Class: 100% - The flight was fully booked
The morning of the flight, the journey has started with bus H-2 from the city to the airport. As I was traveling on the 19th of May, which is an official holiday in Turkey, public buses including this ride was free of charge.
About 2 hours before scheduled departure time, I have arrived at Istanbul Airport. The security check when entering the airport was empty and there wasn't any wait.
Just after a couple of seconds after clearing security, I was at the TK Business Class check-in counters at the terminal. Despite, all three counters were occupied at the time I arrived, one got vacant within a minute; I was helped and my boarding pass was handed.
As Turkish Airlines doesn't sell Business Class onboard most domestic routes, the first rows are blocked for VIP's ( government officials, governors, university deans and provosts, etc… ) and they are only available upon request at the check-in counter. I asked for a seat in the first row and was promptly given 1B although I was warned that my seat could be given just in case a VIP decides to show up last minute.
While heading to the security, there were some celebrations because of May 19 which is the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkey in attribute to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stepping at Samsun on May 19, 1919 which is the day which Turkey's journey to independence started.
Security was a breeze and I was airside without a long wait at security.
While walking towards the gate areas, I have realized that I had time to do some lounge hopping while waiting for my flight.
The first stop of the day would be the iGA Lounge Domestic.
I have accessed this lounge via PriorityPass although it also offers complimentary access to iGA Pass members and several other lounge membership and credit card holders. Paid entry is also possible. The lounge was quiet and multiple tables were available at the time, I was at the lounge.
Despite, the Turkish Airlines Lounge Domestic not serving alcoholic beverages, this lounge had varieties of beer, wine and some spirits.
Soft drinks, tea and coffee were also available
The buffet had some hot options such as su böreği, soup, and thymes.
Cereal, bread, cheese, olives, yoghurt, fruits, salami and mini-sandwiches were also available as breakfast offerings
Here is my breakfast selection for the day
After my initial round, I had another cup of tea with some cookies.
After a while, I have headed to the Turkish Airlines domestic lounge and it was packed and it was very difficult to find a seat. Due to people getting the Friday off and enjoying a 4 day holiday, there were multiple additional flights to Bodrum, Antalya and Dalaman which mostly had wealthy families traveling inside them which made the lounge jam packed.
The lounge has two sections, one for Miles&Smiles Classic Plus, Elite, and partner Star Alliance Gold passengers and another one for Miles&Smiles Elite Plus and Business Class passengers.
This review would cover the Miles&Smiles Elite Plus and Business section
One good thing about this lounge is that pre-COVID offerings have returned back. During my last visit a couple of months ago, only pre-packaged food was available.
Hot soup, fresh thymes, simit and butter was also back. However, some features like warmed chocolate & vanilla cake and the handcrafted espresso bar has not yet made its return.
Tea and filter coffee was the only hot beverages available at the time of my visit.
As cold beverages, water, soda, coke, juices, milk and ayran was available at that time.
The lounge was packed, thus people were also sitting inside the conference rooms.
The photo below was taken after some flights to Antalya, Dalaman and Bodrum have boarded thus the lounge got emptier at a later stage.
One of the biggest advantages of the TK Lounge Domestic is that it offers lounge boarding and a private bus transfer to the aircraft, as well as curbside drop off with dedicated check-in desks and security checkpoints without entering the main terminal. However, as I have arrived at the airport using public transportation, it wasn't feasible for me to use that entrance on this occasion.
Lounge boarding was called for my flight about 25 minutes before departure and due to the number of Elite and Elite Plus travelers on today's flight, a large bus was assigned. Apparently, there was a festival and the opening ceremony of an art biennial at Mardin at that time.
After a short ride, we have arrived at gate G2b where our aircraft was parked.
Today's ride was going to be operated by TC-JST which I was going to fly on for the first time.
Upon boarding the crew reminded everyone to wear their mask as TK still requires masks onboard their flights despite not being mandatory at Turkish airport terminals. People were also handed hygiene kits which contains masks, antiseptic wipes and gloves for those who wish.
After wearing my mask at the jet bridge like most other people, I have headed to my seat 1B. Despite, I was in Economy Class, Business Class is not sold on this routes and once an aircraft with a proper J cabin is assigned to these routes, passengers might get lucky with Business Class seats.
Obviously, the legroom is much better than a standard Economy Class row in this case.
The seat has a wonderful recline and a footrest which is ideal for short flights like this one.
TK doesn't provide any written literature onboard their flights anymore but the Pressreader app could be used free of charge -24/+24 hours from the flight and passengers could download unlimited content.
This aircraft is also equipped with an inflight entertainment system. However, the overhead monitors were not working and the crew has asked us to open our individual monitors for the safety video.
Shortly later, we have taxied for about 10 minutes and then took off towards the north, after the seatbelt signs have been switched off, I decided to look at the IFE content, however, only the route map was available for today's flight with no other content being available.
The remote was also not functioning
However, as the seat features power outlets and USB ports, I was able to charge my personal devices onboard this flight. If I was sat back at an Economy seat, then I would only have the option of USB ports as power outlets are exclusive to the Business cabin onboard Turkish Airlines A321 aircraft.
Shortly after the seatbelt signs have been switched off, the meal service has begun. TK now continues to offer their pre-pandemic service on domestic routes which consists of a hot kaşar cheese sandwich alongside a choice of drink. For today's flight, I opted for a cup of tea.
Here is a more detailed photo of the sandwich which is decent for these kinds of flights in Economy Class.
Later during the flight, I have visited the lavatory which was clean at that time.
For the rest of the flight, I spent time on my phone playing some games and watching the route map.
Later on, we have started our descent to Mardin.
Passing next to Kızıltepe
And later on, we have landed at Mardin Airport on time.
After a short taxi, we have parked at the remote stand and disembarkation started from both the front and rear doors.
Some photos of TC-JST named after the city of Sinop which is located at the Black Sea region.
A view of the Mardin Airport terminal building.
After a short walk, I was inside the arrivals hall.
As I had no checked baggage, I have proceeded straight to the exit. Here is the arrivals hall.
And later on, I was outside.
After taking a final photo of the terminal building, I have left the airport
And this report has come to an end. I hope you enjoyed this trip report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
To conclude this report, I would say that it was a smooth ride with Turkish Airlines and the Business seat onboard this flight have improved the experience.
Welcome back! Nice to see one of your reports again :-)
Seeing airports and lounges so full is definitely a sign that things are getting back to normal for air travel.
Wow, the first row of Y has an actual legrest! A proper recliner seat in Y...that's cool!
Along with free food, IFE and power sources, makes for a very good flight by shorthaul Y standards...hell, it's good by longhaul standards these days.
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Kévin and thanks for the warm welcome!
- Indeed, I can't imagine how airports would be crowded when schools are closed at most of the world with a lot of people traveling.
- I was lucky that the aircraft had a mini-J cabin for flights that have a Business Class cabin sold. As TK is almost out of aircraft as they operate their high-density single-cabin configured A321's for Russian charters at this time, the odds getting a J cabin equipped aircraft on a domestic flight is much higher than it was.
- Indeed, I realized the same thing, especially when flying the return leg back to Istanbul. I'm glad that the new TK CEO didn't get into cost-cutting business but focuses on improving and normalizing service standards onboard.
Once again thanks for stopping by,
Really ? I thought only caoch shuttles were going to the airport , not regular buses
Ohh i forgot that one
Thats a useful information, i never flew a TK route where they dont sell J , so it is a surprise for me
good to know , but i dont like the fact that all lounges (except TK domestic and part of TK international) are open-air , and therefore you get the noises from terminal
Also this IGA lounge seems to have better catering than TK domestic lounge
Where is the Miles&Smiles Elite Plus and Business Class section ?
You just answered a question i had , how to get there after arrival with havabus ... now i know i should arrive to IST by car
Hi fiftytwo and welcome to this report,
- Since the new airport opened, regular municipality buses were always operating bus services. There are about 5-6 lines to/from the airport.
- Believe me or not, in this occasion, the TK domestic lounge was very busy and much noisier than the terminal. As the TK Domestic Lounge has low ceilings the voice around would echo a lot.
- I would totally agree with this comment. According to the signs for lunch/dinner service, they also served a chicken dish at non-breakfast hours thus at least there is a decent lounge with proper hot food inside the domestic terminal.
- If you use the elevator from the terminal, it's located at the left side of the desk where they scan your boarding pass. The right side is for Classic Plus, Elite and Partner *G members
- I'm glad that I was helpful on this occasion.
Thanks for your comment and stopping by
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