After a few hours of sleep at the Marriott Courtyard IST, lagentsecret and I headed to the airport with plenty of time to spare. First I had to stop by the Miles & Smiles desk to get my TK card. A pleasant agent helped me and within 1 minute she issued my new card. I then stopped by the ticket counter to see if TK could change my SAW-FRA to IST-FRA on my return date but no luck. We used the kiosk to get my boarding pass and then it was time to visit the TK CIP lounge courtesy of lagentsecret who took me as a guest.
I was excited to revisit the lounge and see how it looked with the new expansion. The last time I was here was in March 2012 on a J tkt with OS. Back then I remember being very impressed upon entering this lounge where I enjoyed a great lunch before my flight. This time I was under the guidance of an expert and pro and I made the most out of my stay here.
We used the special entrance for J and Elite + passengers where we had a security check and presented our passports to the immigrations officer.
Once inside I was mesmerized by the iconic sphere and the staircases connecting the two floors. That is a clever use of space and design.
We descended to the ground floor which was almost empty and found a cozy corner to drop our belongings. After settling in, we visited the different counters and gathered our breakfasts. I took advantage of the gozleme station and got a simit from the cart. I did not see these additions on my last visit and wanted to sample these specialties. Of course, what is simit without a side of country butter? I loved the aromatic and crunchy texture of the simit and much prefer this over bagels. I also got some servings of the robust lentil soup along with eggs, grilled panini and a few viennoiseries. I guess it was worth going on a diet while flying LH.
Some of the seating areas.
The only annoying thing in the lounge was the presence of a DYKWIA (Do You Know Who I Am) type who was speaking loudly about his business over the phone and made sure that everyone heard what a big shot he was. During moments like this I wish I would have purchased a signal scrambler.
After a very satisfying breakfast and even greater company, I rested a bit and explored a bit more of the lounge. There were some game stations and one end of the room along with a virtual golf tent and a racetrack.
In addition, if you want a message, you can request an ambulant masseur as I witnessed here:
The TK CIP lounge can certainly live up to its reputation as one of the best business class lounges in the world. However, the staff working there is not at the same level as the club. As a boarding pass collector, I wanted a better copy of my pass. I mentioned that I checked in using the kiosk, but the prinout was a little misaligned so I requested it to be reprinted. The agent at the club took my boarding pass and looked up my reservation. She advised me that everything was fine and that only one copy was permitted. I replied that I did not want my original boarding pass and would appreciate a new one, but she insisted that she couldn't do it because it was printed already. What kind of nonsense is this? I gave up because apparently she did not understand my request and decided to try my luck at the gate instead.
When lagentsecret presented his boarding pass to her to confirm something, she automatically reprinted it and gave him the new one without asking for it. What the heck? I must bring up one issue about dealing with TK personnel in general that I have often encountered with my limited interactions with them. It seems that their English skills is not the best compared to other parts of the world and they often misunderstand you or don't have any idea what you are talking about, so I find myself explaining things in greater details. This sometimes can add an extra layer of frustration that is not necessary, especiall with a company that advertises itself as a global carrier.
We proceeded to the gate with a little more than half an hour before dept. and thankfully it was not that far from the lounge.
Exit from the ground floor passing through the lockers. Monitors are handy.
Once there, there was a line and an agent was matching the passport against the boarding pass before entering into the gate area. Kind of a pre-screening if you will. After the screening there were different lines to board according to the priority letter on your boarding pass. I decided to not bother with the boarding pass reprint and just boarded the plane. A flight attendant welcomed me onboard and I took my window seat quickly. My neighbor arrived right after and gave me a nod as a greeting. The flight looked full and every seat seemed to be occupied. There was a big group of Turkish businessmen who greeted each other at the front of the plane.
FA's were busy helping people settle and there were 3 of them in the front assisting (2 in the front and 1 at the door greeting)
Door closed and we taxied to the runway.
Once the flight leveled off, service started with the FA offering a tray of lokums. Menus were distributed before take off and I placed it on my seat pocket. These two touches truly make the Y experience outstanding, especially for such a short flight. In addition, I must comment that TK is the only airline that goes through the trouble to offer fresh squeezed orange juice in the back. Most airlines reserve this feature on the breakfast service in premium cabins if they bother to do it at all.
I chose the stuffed eggplant with a glass of water. Lagensecret was sitting in front of me on the bulkhead seat and when I heard him ask for a lemonade, the FA told him that it was not available. To her credit, she came back bringing him a glass a few minutes later.
The tray with the still covered main dish.
Great smoked salmon appetizer. I love smoked salmon and serving this increases their score with me ;)
The main dish was delicious but it was a bit greasy for me as you can see from the pics.
A warm bread was offered after the trays were delivered.
The panna cotta was outstanding with real specks of vanilla, a testimony to the high level of catering that TK offers.
A cup of hot tea to finish the meal. The FA handed me the cup and advised me that she will be back with the sugar. I take my tea just plain so I told her that I didn't need it.
Pretty soon we started our descent into TXL.
Landing in TXL
Spotting at TXL.
We exited the aircraft and first impression of TXL was not favorable. It seemed small, lacking space and old. At this point my carry on gave up and was torn. Thankfully salvation was a few meters away.
And I purchased this replacement for EUR 29 with the same compartments as the previous one. It was meant to be.
My stay was wonderful and I enjoyed Berlin in great company. I will include the bonus on the next report.
Turkish Airlines Lounge
Istanbul - ISL
Berlin - TXL
TK offered a consistent product on this segment and it still amazes me that little touches reserved for premium cabins are extended to Y.
The food was delicious as is often the case with TK.
It is always a pleasure to step inside the TK CIP lounge in IST and enjoy its amenities. I would try to avoid contact with the counter staff if possible and keep it at a minimum.
TXL is a small and old airport. It needs a replacement badly or at least some renovation.
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