Story by Manos Angelakis
In-flight photos by Barbara Angelakis
Aircraft image courtesy Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines or Türk Hava Yollari as it is known in its home country, was the carrier that flew us from JFK to Istanbul and then Izmir for our recent Turkish adventure.
It is the flag airline of Turkey and it connects the country to numerous destinations throughout the world. Türk Hava is a member of Star Alliance.
This was not our first flight with the company. About 10 years ago, we were invited to another press trip that took us to a very memorable journey that, in addition to a week in “The City” i.e. Istanbul also included a week in Cappadocia (see article in the archive) where we stayed in a luxury suite of a cave hotel and had a very memorable balloon ride at sunrise, over the “fairy chimneys” of the region around Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Aivali in Central Anatolia!
The story of Turkish Airlines started in 1933 when, as State Airlines Administration, the company’s 5 planes with a staff of almost 30 employees took the first inter-Turkey flights. In 1947 their first international flight took place, from Istanbul to Athens, Greece. In 1961, the first transcontinental flight of the airline happened, using a Fokker F27 turboprop connecting the USA and Istanbul (that flight took 30 hours). Today they have flights to 120 countries from Istanbul Airport, with a fleet of 395 aircraft and our flight was only about 10 hours, standard for a modern jet plane.
Pricing is very logical, with specials frequently offered depending on season and destination. Another achievement, is the airline’s culinary collaboration with Turkish Do&Co offering passengers delicious seasonal dishes specially made by flying chefs.
If a passenger has dietary restrictions due to health or religious beliefs, special meals are available in all flights offering food that has to be requested at least 24 hours prior to departure. We normally request them at the time when the tickets are purchased.
These meals include.
For health: diabetic and gluten free meals.
For religious beliefs: Kosher – sealed twice, Jain – Vegetarian Hindu, Vegetarian Asian and Hindu Non Vegetarian.
Additionally, Strictly Vegan, Children’s meals and Baby food in jars.
Both our intercontinental and domestic flights were smooth and easy.
On the outbound from JFK we were lucky enough to be upgraded to business class!
That meant a flight with a seat that allows passengers to comfortably spend the time in a reclined position and sleep, if one is so inclined. Plus a welcome amenity package that included a full sized pillow, a quality blanket and a bag containing necessities (red for women, brown tweed for men), plus comfortable slippers large enough for a substantial man and cozy enough for a petite woman. High grade head phones are also provided to access their sophisticated entertainment system with electronic games, current and recently released films and TV programs, music and an interactive route map that showed the planes position, mileage traveled, remaining mileage to destination, current time at departing airport and at destination and numerous other pieces of information. And, most important, in-flight Wi-Fi.
There are 2 daily flights during the winter from JFK to Istanbul and 3 in the summer.
The flight staff was very competent, polite, and seem to have answers to every passenger’s request and questions. It was a welcome change from the attitude of the crew of the US based airline I had flown to and from Athens three weeks before, where the crew was universally sour faced and considered a flier’s request an imposition. And the Turkish Airline food quality was far superior at this carrier than at the previous one.
Another benefit that is available for long layovers at the Istanbul hub is the opportunity to explore Istanbul with Touristanbul offered complimentary by Turkish Airlines. Another service offered free of charge, Stopover gives passengers a chance to both discover the city and have free accommodations, for a layover exceeding 20 hours.
All in all, it was an very pleasant experience!
For further information and on-line bookings https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-us/flights/ or see your travel professional.
© January 2023 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.
In this issue: