We stayed at the Villa Pera Suite hotel in Taksim - a property with a somewhat hidden location that was a little challenging to find but full of character and in a very local neighborhood. We woke up early, had breakfast and walked to the Havatas bus stop to take our respective shuttles. I said goodbye to Lagentsecret and boarded my bus. About 20 minutes later the bus maneuvered through the backstreets and I was on my wait to the airport. Then the bus slowed down and calamity struck - the bus had a flat tire. The driver frantically radioed his base and all passengers had to disembark. We saw a guy from a repair shop across the street run toward us and then he proceeded to change the tire. We were standing for about 15 min. and then a replacement bus parked next to us. The two drivers started to transfer the bags from the holding compartment of the broken bus to the new one. Some passengers stood around to make sure that their bags were transferred and then boarded the bus. In no time we were on our way to SAW airport and I must say that the bus company dealt with this situation rather quickly.
When you depart from SAW, you pass through the Asian side of Istanbul and the ride offers some very picturesque scenes, especially the Bosphorus bank with its historical houses, mansions and neighborhoods full of character. There is also a modern side represented by new buildings and recent constructions. There are about 4.4 million people living in the Asian side which accounts for 1 out of 3 Istanbulites.
I arrived at SAW about 2.5 hrs before dept. Compared to IST, this airport is less crowded and feels more relaxed. I checked in at the TK Business counter where an efficient and polite agent issued my boarding passes along with a business pass that allowed me to use the priority line.
I went through the priority line quickly since there was hardly anyone in line and the immigration agent stamped my passport. Then I went through security and this did not take long. Before I started this trip I searched everywhere to see if there was a lounge that I could use at SAW when flying in J. There is not much information out there and the only thing that I was able to find is a quick mention of a lounge for TK passengers without much description on the SAW airport site. At the *A official website, my query returned a Sorry, we could not find any lounges at the selected departing airport answer.
I am happy to report that there is a lounge for J passengers right after passing through security and it goes by the names CIP, ISG or LGM lounge. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? It is a contract lounge used by several companies.
The clients of the following companies can access it with the right credentials.
I took the escalator up and there was a desk with two agents next to the entrance verifying documents. I got a half enthusiastic greeting from the lady after I said good morning and after she checked my document she said ok sir or something to that effect.
The lounge was small and it seemed even smaller than the Atlantic lounge in MUC. It looked crowded but there were a few empty seats scattered around. There was a decent selection of snacks, soup, fruits and drinks.
There was an area with a few individual desks in the back with worn chairs.
I made myself comfortable in a private corner and enjoyed my selections.
Besides the size of the room, the disinterested attendants and the worn out furniture, I thought that the catering was OK. If you adjust your expectations accordingly, you will find this lounge acceptable.
I then made my way to the gate where I was met by a long line once I arrived. It turns out that there was an additional screening just like the flights to the U.S. I presented my passport to an agent and he asked me some questions about my trip and where I have been. I found it surprising that a flight to FRA would feature this level of additional security.
We started to board 30 min. before departure with priority given to passengers needing extra assistance and families with children. Then the J passengers were welcomed to board and inside the jetbridge there was already a cart with newspapers by the door of the aircraft. Upon boarding I was greeted by a FA holding a tray of lokums and offering them to people as they entered the plane.
My plane at the gate.
The seat featured footrests.
I settled down at the window and this plane was next to us.
A FA offered pre-departure drinks that were labeled by the swizzling sticks.
The door closed and the safety video was shown. We then taxied to the runway.
Take off - bye SAW.
Nice views of Istanbul.
At around 12:25P service started and FA offered hot towels followed by menus.
A nicely presented tray with appetizers, dessert and cheese was distributed along with warm breads from a basket.
Silverware with logo.
The main appetizer was varied and delicious. I then ordered the swordfish and it was cooked perfectly, not overdone. The texture was just right.
The rice pudding was out of this world. Creamy in texture with a rich taste.
After the meal service, the FA's rolled out a trolley and offered tea or coffee along with a serving of hazelnuts and lokums. A lovely ending touch.
The purser retired to the galley at the conclusion of the meal service. Once we got closer to our destination the seat belt sign was turned on in preparation for arrival in FRA.
LH Cargo facility.
Spotting while taxiing to the gate.
Once I exited the plane, I went to connecting flights and decided to explore the new AC Maple Leaf lounge.
Istanbul - SAW
Frankfurt - FRA
I enjoy leaving out of SAW because it is not as crowded as IST and the overall experience is more relaxing.
I was glad to finally find an official lounge for premium passengers at SAW. It is small and it can get crowded. It is just average and nothing compared to the airline lounges at their hubs. I guess that is often the case with contract or third party lounges. The catering is fine and that is the most positive aspect that I can think of.
Another great flight with TK. The purser was very attentive and smiled frequently. I appreciated the cart service at the end of the meal, although there was not a second hot towel service as on my MUC-SAW flight.
The meal I had was excellent and everything tasted great. The appetizers were generous, the main dish was done perfectly and the dessert was sinfully addictive.
0 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".