This is part two of a CDG-ZRH-IST trip. The whole itinerary is:
BOG-FRA on LH, not covered, just like this flight which was already covered. FRA-CDG on LH CDG-ZRH on LX IST-ASR on TK NAV-IST on TK IST-FRA on LH FRA-BOG on LH, not covered neither…practically identical to this FR
So we had around 1h30m to spare in ZRH, we went through the duty free and check out something to eat, but my travel mates found everything very expensive and nothing worth eating anyway. I told them we would get something to eat anyway on the plane..
We bought a Lonely Planet travel guide for Istanbul so we could profit the most of our trip, also for learning some basic Turkish words.
Having that settled out we passed through the Police control at the B gates on to the D gates…the policewoman who checked me was very interested with my passport, something about my hairstyle…she even showed it to her partner. I was between angry and scared. Eventually she let me through.
And on we were on the D gates, I had hoped to depart from the E gates, but tough luck.
The terminal is very modern but it is somewhat lacking IMO. Not much to buy or eat (affordably).
While waiting on the full boarding gate, we made use of the free WiFi to call our families in Colombia and report our status and check how everything was back home…in no time we were being called aboard.
While queuing a girl approached us and asked us if we spoke Spanish, we said yep…and she asked us if we knew if she needed a passport or a visa into Turkey. I told her a passport is most likely as Turkey is not in the EU. She got really scared and asked us if she could stick with us since she didn't spoke anything other than Basque and Spanish. How irresponsible of the guys at Barcelona (where she began her trip) to let her in without a passport. I had a little small talk to her and told her we would see each other at IST.
A BA A320 coming in (I suppose) from LHR
And into my first A321 (gee 2013 was a year of a lot of first for me! great year) HB-IOM named after the bilingual city of Biel/Bienne.
The cabin was practically the same as the one in the A320 we had come from CDG, but it had the latest interior. It also seemed to have a last minute malfunction:
And on we went into RWY 16, where heavies take off from…it seems. We were being followed by a company A333
Take off allowed for nice views of ZRH and its suroundings:
I had had brunch on this hotel during the summer, awesome views of planes taking off, little would I've known then that I would get to be on the other side eventually
We then passed by other little towns in Zürich Canton, and eventually over my adoptive Swiss hometown, Winterthur
Grüetzi Winti! I could even see the street where I stayed, how exciting is that!
Cabin view meanwhile…
By the time we where almost into Austria the sky filled with clouds and the show was finished.
So I checked the magazine… and found this really funny. Had to check for the Swiss Canton's shields displayed on the magazine so my GF would understand why.
Nothing much to see or do…so I dozed for a while, till I smelled food. And soon it was served. No choice, no menus handed. One serving for all: tortellini.
It was very hot and I burnt my tongue…that happens when you rush to eat. How infuriating…. but it was ok. Downside: the size of the serving was nearing miserable.
Desert was a nice tasting cake..but it crumbled a lot. So no fun to eat.
After the eating was done…the crew practically vanished. We were left to our fates watching a lousy laughs for all show. GF was entertained but I chose to doze.
The view was consistently hazy and did not allow for nice viewing. Really disappointing since Switerland was the eastmost that I've been at the moment, so everything was new sights for me. The lack of moving map, didn't make up for it either.
So more sleeping it was…
Till out of the blue we were told we were on approach pattern and so on…but what I was seeing didn't make sense, we were over the sea, but over the city at the same time, I guessed we were going to land on RWY 24…but then we moved into the sea again. The view was very hazy and the sun was setting. It was something very weird, at one point I thought I was just dreaming or something.
Then things begun to make more sense..we were landing on RWY 06
Hello you…weird to see you
The lighting felt so martian.
I liked this
The vast amount of planes around is mesmerizing, welcome to the Turkish (airlines) empire!
After leaving the plane I understood why IST was considered as insufficient. The biggest crowd I've ever seen, not even in AAs midday bank at MIA. The girls wanted to visit the WC so we waited, but it was so full they told us to rush and check for other one. Not only the crowd was impressive, the amount of people hailing from all around the Middle East and Africa…really awe inspiring.
Sadly, we missed our Spanish acquaintance, and I never knew what was of her fate. Hope everything turned OK for her.
Now something really weird happened. For the first time having a Colombian passport turned to be better than others, and we were on the line directly to immigration, other nationalities needed to do a previous line for visas. The line was extremely long though, but it moved fastly. The guys at the booth found it funny to see so many Colombians at the same time, one asked the other if we were OK without visa, the other one said yep…and we were stamped into Turkey!
We had enough time to spare, as our flight to Kayseri was leaving afterwards, so we changed some currency to get us through the following days and claimed our bags. And then on to our next flight!
Zurich - ZRH
Istanbul - ISL
I had expected LX product to be better. In a nutshell is OK, not horrible, but not the best thing I've ever had. My previous flights had been short so I attributed that to the lack of a proper experience. But this one was long enough to test them. I've noticed that European carriers seem to give the same standard service on continental flights regardless of the duration, I thing that's wrong. Compared with Avianca, TACA, Delta or AA on similarly long sectors LX did not surprise positively.
LX: IFE was mediocre at the most, Catering while nice tasting was really cheap, and the fact that the crew scurried away for the rest of the flight is a big no no IMO. Seats were comfortable though.
ZRH: Not the best place to connect, not many shops or restaurants a traveller without a big wallet could afford or be interested in. Maybe in the future when I'm no longer a student my view will be different.
IST: Modern and big, but not big enough for the size of TKs ops.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the rest of the trip!
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