Hello to all of you dear readers ! It´s been few weeks again since posting some FR here on the site so back here I am to share my latest experience with you.
It was April 2014 when we both me and my girlfriend started thinking where to go by the end of 2014. Ideally a place where we can enjoy some sunshine for the last time in the year. I thought of Istanbul for quite some time already and when we found out that Pegasus (Turkish low-cost carrier) offered Vienna - Istanbul flights for about 120€, we decided to go for it. Pegasus offered two daily flights, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The evening one was arriving SAW at 22:55 which was way too late for us so we settled for the afternoon flight arriving at 17:30. As probably many of you know Pegasus usually doesn´t fly to Istanbul´s main airport Ataturk. Instead the airline is based at Sabiha Gokcen airport or SAW which is located about 40km east of Istanbul.
It was Student Agency bus as usual when it´s needed to get from Brno to Vienna Schwechat airport. Return fare of 25€ per person with both cabin and checked baggage is a solid price. 2 hours journey with PTV in each seat is quick and comfortable start of the day. We arrived on time at Swechat leaving us some 2,5hours before departure.
Once entering into terminal I felt as usually at VIE - somehow not comfortable, not pleasant. Added to my previous experiences the airport was busy this time, not making our stay any better.
We had a look around and with no dramatic action outside we went to find our check-in desks
At the FIDS we found out that we need to go to so-called Terminal 1A ..
.. Which is outside the main terminal building. I don´t know if I ever felt so low-cost.
In this terminal there were only low-cost carriers´ check-ins.
After checking-in our baggage we went back to the main terminal building.
Then there was a bit of dramatic action as the part of the terminal was evacuated and blocked by police. Simply due to an unattended baggage on the toilet. In about 15 minutes everything got back to normal.
We got past passport control and when reaching our D65 gate it started feeling like we will be bused to our aircraft.
And I was right, just as I found out later after passing security a arriving at our gate.
We took a seat for 40 minutes in 3 or 4-gates area. Unfortunatelly there were scheduled flights from all these gates with similar departure times so it was cramped with people. One of the flights was to Istanbul too with the same STD.
Boarding started on time. There were many planes visible from the bus (like QR 787) but I was unable to picture them. Only this A320 Swiss taxiing past our bus and aircraft.
And here is TC-AAJ, a six years old bird in the service of Pegasus Airlines.
Sitting in the row 22 we boarded through the rear doors where we were welcomed by 2 FAs.
At the first look I was a bit disappointed with the interior look, mainly the seats but in the end Pegasus is a LCC right?
Nonetheless view of the wing is always great, no matter how the interior looks.
Legroom was fine.
Things got quick after boarding was completed. Start of the engines was not followed by pushback. Instead we started right with taxiing.
The weather was bad day at Vienna. We had just a short taxi towards runway 29 from where we heavily accelerated for take off.
We quickly started disappearing in clouds just to find out there was a nice and sunny day some hundreds meters higher.
I was a little thirsty so I ordered myself this Fanta for 2 or 3 euros, which was kindly served to me together with refreshment towel.
I started thinking what is that what I get for my money this time. 120€ is a bit more to what I´m used to spend on an intra-european flight (ok, SAW is located at Asian side of Istanbul :-) ). I´m flying on not so old but definatelly little bit tired aircraft with not a top interior, no free snack or seat reservation. So am I really about to recommend Pegasus? Probably I am. Flying a two hours flight, sitting comfortable and having a really trouble-free flight is probably worth it. But I can still imagine that FR or W6 would make this 30% cheaper. Without checked baggage and with worse legroom, that´s right.
When flying to Istanbul just a month earlier (on my trip to Seoul) I was amazed by views of the city. This time I didn´t have high expectations due to a cloud cover over the whole Europe. It started getting better over Turkey, but it still didn´t promise too much.
Only the asian end of the city was visible on our approach.
And Sabiha Gokcen airport as well! We´re landing in 10 minutes there.
And the Istanbul racing circuit is visible too! It´s a place where Formula 1 races were hold in the past.
Lined up with SAW´s runway 24
It was a normal touchdown, but followed by the heaviest braking I ever experienced. Even some bags in the overhead lockers were moving loudly.
We arrived on time at SAW. Immigration took some 10 minutes and then we went for a small dinner at the airport´s Burger King. Then we went at the bus stop to catch a HAVATAS bus service to Taksim square. I knew from my friends experience that time of the trave to city can vary from 40 to 140 minutes. Sadly the later was to fit our experience more. Traffic situation around Istanbul at Working day evenings is simply crazy. Next time I´ll post some shots from the city itselt!
Thank you for reading up to here. Michael
Vienna - VIE
Istanbul - SAW
I had a nice and calm flight with Pegasus. Although Pegasus is a bit more expensive compared to other LCCs, I think they did their job just as what I paid for.
Vienna Schwechat airport was as usually dark, far from warm and somehow uninteresting. Spotting possibilites from inside are quite poor too. On the other hand I was always quick there with all procedures - security, passport control, check-in.
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen is a low-cost airport. Pegasus holds the most the airport´s operations. Our arrival was smooth with quite quick immigration providing the fact we weren´t the only aircraft that landed at that time. Poor side is the access as there is no train linking airport to the city. You can only use buses or taxis which requires a lot of nerves and spare time at certain times of the day.
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