Hello everyone. Welcome to my first flight report here at flight-report.com. I'm very thankful to be here as this is by far the easiest to use trip report website out there. I have long be reading this site since the French only days. I was not able to post a trip report since I don't think my writing capabilities in French would have allowed it to be enjoyable. Anyways it's great to be here and enjoy.
This flight is a part of my annual fall trip to Europe. I did a trip back in 2012 to Southeast Asia and recognized the great benefit of having a diversified frequent flyer milage portfolio. Since then, I have been spreading out my travel onto different alliances instead of banking on 200K miles a year with Delta. I have congratulated since Skymiles 2015 is announced. Moving ahead always feels good.
Anyways, this year (well last year) I qualified for Gold on AirFrance about 3 months into the year on segments. BA silver was also achieved by the end of June thanks to a few JFK-SEA trips on AA and gold was on the way to be earned through an August trip to Peru. So I was naturally looking to book on Star Alliance in order to get Gold on UA. This trip ended up being booked as JFK-IST on TK and BRU-JFK on SN. Additionally, purchased a separate ticket for IST-LJU-VIE on the lovely Adria. Finally, Wien-Munich-Paris was completed by train.
TK's check in is pretty close to LH, where I took the picture above. Considering the fact that they were massively dropping code shares back in the fall, it was interesting to see how much competition there was within a single alliance.
JFK T1 has an interesting collection of airlines. Many of them are major western carriers but they are not co-located based on alliance/codeshare at all. Those airlines that together invested in the construction of this terminal must have never thought of what the picture of the industry is today when they first started decades ago.
TK's check in counter is fairly easy to locate. Seems like they use the normal KE check in counters. Given that they have three flights a day to IST I was kind of surprised at the fact that they didn't lease their own check in area. Seems like the famous premium economy class does't get priority check in with TK. In fact it wasn't even available on today's A330.
There was no line to wait in as I was relatively late to check in, though still perfectly before the cut off.
LH's F check in across the hall. I have never flown international F and probably never will. J is perfectly fine and if I wanted a luxurious experience I would have gone to Orient-Express or Explora. Personally I can't justify paying 10K for F when a J sells for 4K and provides 80% of F's comfort. Now with UA's award chart change, I will never have enough UA miles to do this in the future either.
Departure board - This was taken on the return trip. AT's sole flight to CMN was on an outrageous delay.
Before going on to security, I spotted the sad looking WorldPort to the side. I was surprised it was not preserved as an historical landmark like TWA's head terminal.
Security line was out of control. I was also unable to locate the priority security lane although TK's agent assured me that there is one. LOL.
Departure board on the day of.
It was a pity that AirFrance's lounge is not open at this early hour. I remember it from my trip to Amman two years ago and it had pretty generous food and beverage offerings, even compared to the salons at CDG. AZ's lounge does not have a very good reputation so I had very low expectations. I guess this is no fault of TK since the LH and AF lounges were both closed at this early hour and the JL lounge must be crowded with their TYO flight leaving around the same time.
The lady at reception must had a really bad day. She literarily did not say anything to me during the check-in process - not a word at all. I found this very odd as normally I'd at least get a hello somehow.
The lounge is pretty open and has nice views. It was not busy at all as AZ does not have any flights this early.
Wine offering is limited. No sparking today.
Snacks. I think this is worse than US Airways Club. Plastic cups and mostly junk food.
Back to the seating area. Only grabbed a sparking water.
A final look at the departure board
JL's flight for TYO.
Air China for PEK
Gate area is crowded
Boarding was soon called. I proceeded with priority boarding. There was not much trouble as everyone had a reasonable amount of hand luggage. It appeared that none of the gate agents could speak Turkish, which is kind of odd I think. The gate agent also told me that the arrivals lounge in Istanbul airport has opened and I should check it out. I knew this already and thanked her for her advice. It is defiantly helpful since showing up at the Grand Hyatt at 7am may have been somewhat unwanted by the hotel.
The cabin was not full at all. Load factor in J was closer to 50%. The older gentleman next to me who has always flown UA seemed to be particularly impressed with the cabin. He also made a comment about ever seeing slippers being offered. I was not expecting slippers since it's not a flight to Asia nor F. Nevertheless I was happy to know that it is available.
Legroom is massive with this new configuration. I have somewhat large feet so this works out great because I won't stuck my feet in a small whole. The seat could have be softer though.
Newspaper was offered.
Pre-departure drink came around shortly after. The crew seemed a little bit uncomfortable with English, which is understandable and not much of an issue. I think TK's management is well aware of this situation and made sure that everything is clearly labeled so that passengers will not be confused even if the crew could not elaborate. For example this orange juice says orange juice. Not that I would ever be confused over what this is but it's a good practice to be proactive.
Shortly after take off, menu was offered. Choices were plenty and they had everything. Upon talking to the chief later I learned that on several important routes they often load every item to seat capacity in order to ensure first preferences are satisfied. I suppose with the flights with premium economy, the leftover J meals could be used in Y+ given how similar those meals are?
Nuts. They were not warm.
Some snacks dropped off upon cleaning the nut bowls.
Flying away from MA. Since the flight departed just past noon, no one was in a hurry to sleep. This would have been bad if I were on JFK-LHR and just finished my nuts 40 minutes to Halifax.
Very pleasing view of the cape
A male FA came around and offered me another piece of newspaper since I had finished the one before. Job well done :)
Table is set. No trays.
Starters came around on a cart. Passengers are free to pick whatever they want like on AZ and many other carriers. The taste was nice and provided a nice preview of Turkish cuisine. Destination cuisine is another reason why I normally don't like to fly US carriers for leisure trips as I'd get the same entrees over and over again after a dozen business trips.
Lamb main was perfect
Cheese and fruit was nice as well. I passed on desert.
I had a very nice night of sleep despite the fact that the flight's departure time was just past noon EST. When I woke up we were already flying over France.
AVOD control shows time to Istanbul. Very similar function can be found on CX.
Seat in bed mode. Since the cabin was not full, the passenger next to me moved to the middle section so we could both have a seat and a bed to ourselves. Not much worse than the infamous first class cabin found in LH 744 F.
No buffet was set up on this flight. However on demand snacks were available. I was sleeping much of the time so I didn't see the crew in flight. However I got a new bottled water so I think they at least checked on the passengers once mid flight.
Cabin right before breakfast was served.
OJ to start the breakfast service
I thought it this was it for breakfast since I had misplaced my menu by this point.
And I soon realized how wrong I was
Landing was uneventful. Final peak at the seats before leaving the cabin.
Immigration didn't take long. Seems like TK has lots of red eyes coming from major western European cities. I was thankful that I was not on one of them as a 3.5 hrs overnight flight on a narrow body would have not been very pleasant.
As promised - The arrival lounge is ready. This lounge is for TK arriving passengers seated in J only. It is relatively small and it was not very crowded. The agent took a minute to confirm my ID with the passenger name list since I had lost my boarding pass. I apologized for this but she didn't seem to be bothered by my mistake at all.
The lounge is very similar in design compared to the main lounge.
A wall of TVs as well. However there is no private sleeping room unlike the main departure lounge.
Used the shower and pressing service. It was clean and efficient
Got some breakfast items too
Cooked to order eggs were also on offer
Finally at arrivals.
Casa Alitalia New York
New York - JFK
Istanbul - ISL
Overall I think TK has done a very successful job. Surely the service is not as polished as AF or BA, the crew was excited about their job and willing to help passengers. Aside from the rude AZ lounge agent who refused to say a word to me, I was treated with respect by all employees. Food was very good in flight, and above average on the ground at IST. I would not think twice about flying TK again in the future. I have been to Istanbul many times so I didn't take many photos. So no tourism bonus here this time. I wish you enjoyed my first flight report here on flight-report.com
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