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Turkish TK 16: 29/APR/09: GRU-DKR-IST: J Cabin  
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 077
Flight Category: J-ILR (See Report End)
Date: 29 Apr-09 (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Dur/Delay: 2345/2020/14:35 hrs
Flight: Turkish Airlines TK 016, 3275+3306 = 6582 miles
Routing: GRU-DKR-IST
Aircraft: 332
Seat: Business, 1K

I > Background:
Ever since TK had announced this routing, I had publicly mentioned a desire to fly this routing and as one consulting “engagement” ended, I managed to sneak in a week of vacation and buy myself a ticket to experience this unique route. This is the first trip report on TK’s GRU-DKR-IST and I believe the first to feature DKR. Moreover, there seems to be a continued dearth of TK J reports as well and this contributes to that list for this fast growing airline.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Turkish Airlines (TK) is the “flag carrier” of Turkey, and was formed in 1933. It is owned primarily by private investors, with the government retaining a large (40%?) share in the company. A member of Star Alliance since 1st April 2008, TK has been on a consistent rapid growth path which would finally capture on its strategic location and take advantage of its membership into the world’s largest alliance. On a personal note, TK is one of the few airlines that I strongly think is poised for long-term growth. IST-DKR-GRU is a plethora of newly opened routes and was greeted by wild skepticism.

Ticketing for the flight was done on the recently updated Turkish Airlines website at www.thy.com. The site is pretty clear and crisp and bookings are done easily. You can also view and modify your PNR later. The only thing it does not provide is advanced seat selection. The other small issue is the inability to add any FQTV information outside of TK.

b) At Airport:
I love the chaos of Guarulhos. While airports have modernized elsewhere, there is a certain 1970s/1980s charm to GRU that can be replicated by very few airports. After arriving in GRU, I went to the TK counters with separate queues for Business and Star Gold members. Check-in by the nice agent was a breeze and we talked briefly about the flight and my unique Liechtenstein passport. Along with my boarding pass, she also issued me a GRU lounge card (yes, they ALSO use the GOL/Varig lounge). However, she was perplexed when I asked her for the “Fast Track” card at IST and had to check with the TK station manager before coming back and saying they had none. After check-in, I proceeded to the hour-long madness of GRU’s security and immigration process. A Frenchman who had checked-in for the TK flight bitched and moaned about him being a “J class pax” and having to do the line with “commoners” and how it was unacceptable. He complained to everyone who would listen. I was close to giving him a piece of my mind on CDG … but refrained and prayed that he was not sitting next to me.

After immigration, I poked around the dreary terminal before making my way up to the “Smiles” lounge run by GOL. For the past three times I have come here, it has sported a new look and new name and the “Smiles” livery was actually fresh and uplifting … and much better than the short-lived “new” livery of erstwhile Varig. Interestingly, I met the same old attendant and he immediately welcomed me with open arms. You can read of my exchange with him during a TAP flight last year [url= TAP Portugal TP 192: 10/JUN/08: GRU-OPO: J Cabin (by Abrelosojos Aug 18 2008 in Trip Reports)]here[/url] and see how right I was .

At the lounge, I struggled to connect to the internet and wondered at the absurdity of having to register a full set of contact information. I was also amused that 85% of the lounge users were Indians ... either on the Turkish Airlines flight or the Emirates flight to Dubai. Strange indeed. Who would have thought this was possible a few years back? Striking up a conversation, I gathered that the J class travelers were to BOM and DEL and been in Brasil to invest; the Y class passengers (who had contracted lounge access) were oil workers from MAA in fields of Rio.

Boarding was called an hour prior and I bid adieu to my lounge friend(s) – old and new - and headed to the gate. Surprisingly (perhaps because of time of day?), boarding was relatively fast and while there was some pushing and shoving, it was still a gentle version of “ILBST”. Entering a packed J class, I got no greeting from the crew, and no assistance with my bags. The crew looked frazzled as they dealth with a J load of 100%; Y load was also 100%. Pretty impressive for such a new flight ... who is betting with me that this flight will go nonstop by the end of 2010?

Airport - External:

(GRU)


Check-in:



Airport - Internal:



(FIDS)


(Post Security)


Scenes of the tarmac:

NONE

Lounge

(Smiles lounge by GOL)






Boarding:



III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
An impressive service schedule overall – and a good positive impression as soon as you walk in (with a bartender!). Pre-take off, champagne/OJ/water service directly from the bar and distribution of amenity kits. Post-take off, head phones are distributed, menus are distributed (more on that later), hot towels, beverage and dinner service, duty free service. Prior to landing at Dakar, cold towels.

At Dakar, passengers have to wait inside the aircraft with cleaning crews coming in. As we joked and bonded amongst ourselves, it felt like being in the 1970’s with an exotic stop in an exotic country en-route between two exotic lands. Perhaps being in Dakar with no other aircraft on tarmac added to the aura of mystery. At Dakar, 2 of the J pax got off (including the Frenchman) and probably around 30 Y pax got off. Interestingly, they were replaced by an equal number of people making loads remain at an impressive 100%.

After take-off from Dakar, hot towels, and welcome drinks followed by a breakfast service. Snacks offered prior to landing in Istanbul along with cold towels.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Turkish Airlines 330 was immaculately maintained in the J class … including the lavs. The mood lighting enhanced the cabin was made it very soothing. Also, the pale pink curtains actually do not look as bad as some in A.Net had initially thought … one hardly notices them as it blends pretty well with the cabin. I was surprised actually given I was one of those skeptical ones on A.Net.

The lie-flat seat that Turkish Airlines uses is the average lie-flat seat you’d find on other Euro carriers (KL/AF/LH/etc.). Interestingly, these are Sogerma seats (and not the near identical Sicma seats of the 343’s). Perhaps it was in my mind, but I found the overall comfort and space to be greater than the 343. It is extremely comfortable to sit on and you can get nice crouched/recline positions while watching TV, etc. However, in sleep mode, it goes the way of other lie-flat seats with way too many pronounced “breaks” and folds that ultimately lead to not the best sleeping experience. Thus, in fully reclined position (like its counterparts at the Euro carriers), the back of the seat moves down, however is at an angle which is not the same as the rest of the seat or the leg rest … thus 3 different angles or “breaks”. I am not a big fan of lie-flat in general … though, the old Raffles lie-flat is pretty good as far as lie-flats go. Having said that, TK’s lie-flat is still better than say Air France as there is plenty of legroom which allows you to sit in various positions and not have your knee bang up with the seat in front.

Aircraft:

(A.Net photo courtesy of Gordon Gerbert Jr.)


Views from Aircraft:

(Dakar)


(Dakar Airport)







(Dakar coast)


(Somewhere over the Algerian desert)


(View as per downward cam)


(Location on the map)




General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(Seat control)


(Legroom – row 1 is definitely the best to have)


Seat Recline + Angle View:





Cabin:

(Bar)


(Bathroom)







c) Meal + Beverage:

While on the ground, a beverage service is done where you can chose from OJ/champagne/water. It is all done in front of you – one attendant pours the drinks, the other delivers. Soon after take-off, menus were distributed. Now, these were high quality menu holders and had a section on the breakfast where you made your selection and the crew later picked it up. Not bad!

Post take off, there was an exotic drink service – which included various mixed champagne based drinks (ex: Belini) and some exotic non-alcoholic juice mixes. Presentation from the tray, and the proper way of serving (holding your other arm behind you) added to a level of panache about the service. Table was set up and bread rolls were distributed. Soon thereafter, the actual dinner service (from tray) commenced. It was an elaborate affair with plenty of sumptuous options (see menu). For the main course, I elected the Kebab/rice combination which was absolutely wonderful. Seriously, outside an Indian airline, I have never tasted food so good in a very long time. After the brilliant dinner, a lavish dessert service followed with excellent Turkish baklava, a really tempting coffee vanilla bean panna cotta, chocolate soufflé, and sorbets. I usually avoid on-board desserts … but this was just an absolutely lavish affair. Finally, the post desert trolley rolled by including tea/coffee, a collection of digestives (including some kind of special Turkish wine), and some awesome “petit desserts”. Adding to the atmosphere was the genuineness Turkish hospitality by the crew who insisted on making you eat … again, very reminiscent of service on board Indian carriers.

After dinner service, plenty of further alcohol runs were done, and finally bottles of water were distributed as people began to doze off. I got some shut eye prior to landing in Dakar.

After taking off from Dakar, breakfast service commenced. I had pre-selected the fresh made smoothie (or you could have fresh squeezed juice … how wonderful!), had a fresh fruit plate, and then topped it off with a great spinach “borek”. Again, just really delicious food and served with a smile. Another impressive thing was that you could order as much as/or as little as from the menu. A lot of items were listed as “and” and not “or” options.

Finally, prior to landing, a brief sandwich service for those of us who were still hungry.

Water and beverage runs were done throughout the flight … even at the oddest hours where most people were sleeping. All together, very impressive!

(Menu)


(Pre-take off drink)


(Post-take off cocktail service)


(Dinner)






(All food was from the trolley)


(Drinks after departing from Dakar)


(Breakfast service)




(Sandwich snack an hour prior to arrival)


d) Inflight Entertainment:
This is where TK probably disappointed the most. While, Turkish Airlines has a fully equipped AVOD system with around 30 movies, TV shows, games, an awesome interactive 3D flight map, and cockpit/camera view, their AVOD selection is below average. Their English movie selection is limited and I found it amusing that most movies were from Korea and India. Also, their ENTIRE English movie collection were not available on the GRU-DKR leg! The head phones were good noise-cancelling quality ... however, the quality of the video was not as crystal clear as it could have been.

There was a very generous and diverse stock of English and Turkish newspapers and periodicals and the in-flight magazine was excellent … very reminiscent of older Lufthansa in-flight magazines.

(AVOD system)








(Post Dakar, you get some English movies)


(Routing)












(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)




e) Crew:
Turkish Airlines crew have come in for criticism in the past from many frequent fliers, and on this board. However, my experience was completely contrary to previous discussions. I was impressed by their professionalism and “grace under fire” attitude as they were able to carry out a large service offering to the 100% load. At the beginning of the flight, they did look a little stressed … and overall, they lacked the finesse of say MH or 9W crew, but this I attribute mostly to inexperience … and something that can be learnt with time. What was great was the genuineness of their hospitality, and small touches like proper eye contact when serving, making suggestions for food, convincing passengers to eat more, asking several times if you needed refills, hand back when serving alcohol, checking-in on passengers, all along smiling with a genuineness that is missing even from more fancied carriers. Some of the female FA’s were a little reserved … but one of them was absolutely brilliant. I wrote her a good complement letter and hopefully seniors at TK will reward her for it … or, perhaps they will read about her service here and reward her! Good job TK … I was pretty impressed. Interestingly, the only odd-person here was the lead flight attendant ... this elder woman was not the best brand ambassador and could learn a few things from the people she supervised. Another interesting note ... for the first time, all attendants in J were women and in Y men. Is this a new TK policy? Perhaps someone at TK can let us know

IV> Post-Flight:
Landing in Istanbul was smooth and after thanking the crew for a wonderful flight, I made my way to a quick immigration with a smiling agent and onwards to my hotel in 20 minutes. The “fast track” lanes definitely help.

(Tarmac action @ IST)


(IST Arrivals FIDS)


V> Impressions + Scores:
THY won me over by their service standards. The food was top notch, and besides the purser, the crew was excellent. An above average seat coupled with relatively good ground handling at ensured a really positive flight. If there is an area that needs to be addressed soon, it must be their poor AVOD selection. It seems a relic from the past and far worse than many of its competitors.

I had an excellent experience on TK’s JFK-IST flight and wrote that they need to do it consistently. This flight proved that they do indeed have the capacity to follow-through. They should now keep their focus on building their IST hub and implement the 9W hardware throughout the fleet. I had written earlier that they should embrace a F-cabin and am happy that they are following up with that strategy. TK does not yet have the brand recognition it deserves … and most high-value fliers would fly over reliable LH than TK. The only way for TK to crash this party and differentiate themselves is by adding a better product. Of course, back this up with consistency that is the hallmark of LH. However, just being consistent is not enough … as inertia would mean that current high-value fliers chose the perceived safer option.

In regards to the IST-DKR-GRU link, I am sure TK is looking to drop DKR as soon as suitable aircraft come online. The DKR option not only adds to flight time, but is also inconvenient from a passenger perspective. You get roughly a 6.5 hour flight – where after meal service, you can only sleep for around 3 hours. Your sleep is then broken with a ground stop, and you have another 3 hours or so to sleep in day-time flying conditions. Many of the J passengers I spoke with actually preferred the LH link via FRA because one could get a full night sleep in between GRU and FRA.

I am convinced that Star Alliance made the absolute right decision by inviting Turkish Airlines to join. Like Turkey, THY has come a long way and is poised for sustained growth. While not flawless, their product is FAR FAR superior than most Star carriers and indeed much better than most current Star members. In fact, this is the second time, I would rate THY miles better than Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, SAS, bMI, etc. and my choice for flights to Europe and to connect to Asia.

Without a doubt, I give Turkish Airlines two thumbs up and recommend it as the preferred carrier for a plethora of routes.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(Amenity Kit)



Live, and let live.
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2461 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hello Abrelosojos,

Thank you for sharing this TR. I have read a less inspiring J class experience with TK. I am glad you prove the opposite.

GRU-DKR-IST is indeed an exotic route. I just thought that the flight to GRU had already been a nonstop one.

GRU has proved to be profitable. I wonder whether TK will drop DKR as the nonstop GRU bound flight materializes.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
but refrained and prayed that he was not sitting next to me.

I hope your prayer has been heard.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I met the same old attendant and he immediately welcomed me with open arms

This kind of reunion can always be an added nice travel experience.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 1):
Thank you for sharing this TR. I have read a less inspiring J class experience with TK. I am glad you prove the opposite.

= I have had only good experiences on TK's J product thus far.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 1):
GRU-DKR-IST is indeed an exotic route. I just thought that the flight to GRU had already been a nonstop one.

GRU has proved to be profitable. I wonder whether TK will drop DKR as the nonstop GRU bound flight materializes.

= It is indeed an exotic routing - and, as soon as suitable aircraft comes online, I think this will go nonstop ... though, I do think the 340's have range to do this. Someone can correct me here?

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 1):

I hope your prayer has been heard.

= Yes, I did not sit next to that man  Smile.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

TK has been garnering very good reviews of late and your report on cements this trend further. I truly believe the grouchy TK of the past is now... well... in the past and they have seriously upped their game. This has left me very impressed with their tenacity and drive to push themselves out of the doldrums and improve. The results are awesome.

I wonder how is the reception to their newly introduced (9W) First Class product? I trust TK will eventually morph into their own TK-branded First Class once the 77W is returned to 9W.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineDL752 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 174 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Your reports never fall less than excellent!
Reading them is like buying a whole travel guide book.
I always expect them to be great from your previous reports and they never fail to impress.
Amazing work and effort.
DL752 Smile


User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4427 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks again for your TR. TK should hire you as their spokesperson!!!
Great photos and tons of good info on this very new route. Very surprised to hear the 100% load on this route.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
for the first time, all attendants in J were women and in Y men. Is this a new TK policy?

I don't think so, just a coincidence. I just flew JFK-IST recently and out of 12 FA's only one male, rest were women.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 3):
I trust TK will eventually morph into their own TK-branded First Class once the 77W is returned to 9W.

As far as I know, when the new 333s and 77Ws arrive next year, they will not have the F class, instead TK will introduce an Economy Plus class. So J/Y+ and Y in couple of years.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25198 posts, RR: 48
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for the TR. As always done very professionally.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 2):
though, I do think the 340's have range to do this. Someone can correct me here?

Technically Eastbound it can, however Westbound its a bit limited as IST runways are performance (distance) limited.

Anyhow Turkey(and as result TK) have had a recent push to develop business ties with Africa, so the DKR stop helps with that.

Quoting TK787 (Reply 5):
they will not have the F class, instead TK will introduce an Economy Plus class. So J/Y+ and Y in couple of years.

 checkmark  correct. No F class.

The 9W product was taken as there was no time to refit the planes. Combine that with the terrible global decline in premium travel the timing was simply poor.
One day, I suspect they can probably try it again as they had a good concept for the product but for now they have opted to go with a J, Y+ and Y line up instead.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Alex! Great TR as usual! Guarulhos is quite the chaotic place, but I can't help but enjoy passing through everytime I go back to the motherland of Paraguay  Smile

Your stopover in Dakar reminds me of my trip from IAD-DKR-JNB that I took in '06 and wrote a trip report on. We also were not allowed off the plane as ground crews came in and inspected seat cushions, overhead bins, questioned each pax about their carryo-on, followed by the FA's spraying the cabin profuously upon departure. DKR seemed like a cool place to visit, but maybe some other time!

Again, thanks for the TR! Turkish looks like an awesome airline.



Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Abrelosojos,

Really great report with lots of information and very nice pictures. I especially liked your photos of Dakar. Good to hear that TK performed well and that they seem to be successful on this rather exotic route.

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineBasefly From Denmark, joined Apr 2007, 205 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report..... Thank you for sharing.

I must admit the food looked mouth watering.....



757/777-A340/A380, Love them.
User currently offlineCityofAthens From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Loved it , thanks for spending money on our behalf . Big grin

The show they put on really puts other carriers to shame; ironic that some airline companies from emerging economies can beat their more established competitors hands-down when it comes to hospitality.

I am just LOVING the bar on-board ....

rgdsur


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32663 times:

Hi,
once again, a very positive report on TK. They're doing well these days! I'm surprised to see such good loads on this, maybe odd, route.
Food presentation is very nice, and I like that kind of bar in front of the compartment.

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32241 times:

First off, thanks a lot for the kind words. One of the advantages of being in Latin America is the ability to take these rather exotic pairs ... after having done CCS-DAM, GRU-DKR-IST, I think next on my agenda is the LY flight at some point soon.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 3):
I truly believe the grouchy TK of the past is now... well... in the past and they have seriously upped their game. This has left me very impressed with their tenacity and drive to push themselves out of the doldrums and improve. The results are awesome.

= Ya. I think they have sneaked in under the radar and is an airline to watch for the future. And, why not? Turkey is a historical gateway, IST is arguably a much better airport than most points in the Mid East, and the country has a O&D base unlike some of the connecting points further south.

Quoting TK787 (Reply 5):
TK should hire you as their spokesperson!!!

= LOL. Why don't you recommend the same? As long as I can fly ID00 in their J class  Smile.

Quoting TK787 (Reply 5):
Very surprised to hear the 100% load on this route.

= Interestingly, load was 100% in both cabins on the flight back as well.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Anyhow Turkey(and as result TK) have had a recent push to develop business ties with Africa, so the DKR stop helps with that.

= Agreed. Perhaps a terminator service to DKR ... or coupled with a IST-CMN-DKR link? GRU going nonstop.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
The 9W product was taken as there was no time to refit the planes. Combine that with the terrible global decline in premium travel the timing was simply poor.

= Yes. I saw some incredibly cheap F class fares to LHR, BKK, and HKG ex-IST.

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Reply 7):
Your stopover in Dakar reminds me of my trip from IAD-DKR-JNB that I took in '06 and wrote a trip report on. We also were not allowed off the plane as ground crews came in and inspected seat cushions, overhead bins, questioned each pax about their carryo-on, followed by the FA's spraying the cabin profuously upon departure.

= Now, in our case, there was no inspection whatsoever of people and their bags by DKR ground.

Quoting CityofAthens (Reply 10):
Loved it , thanks for spending money on our behalf . Big grin

= Haha. LOL.

Saludos and thanks for reading again,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6780 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 31274 times:

Hi A.,

another great report about a somehow special flight. TK's product looks great, I'm particularly impressed by the food.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Also, their ENTIRE English movie collection were not available on the GRU-DKR leg!

That's odd! Did you get an explanation for that?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineDanVS From Brazil, joined Jul 2009, 254 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 30929 times:

Thanks for your comprehensive trip report!

I wonder how many people on Y would use IST as a hub and how many had IST as their destination.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The only thing it does not provide is advanced seat selection.

That's a no-go for me.  thumbsdown 

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After check-in, I proceeded to the hour-long madness of GRU’s security and immigration process.

I've read (on a Brazilian aviation forum) several comments about the chaos that GRU has been in for the last weeks. However, I didn't notice anything when I took my flight to Canada on May 25th nor when I came back on Jun 8th.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
en-route between two exotic lands

I'm surprised that you, a Venezuelan (AFAIK), consider Brazil an exotic place. (I don't think Venezuela is exotic, do you?)

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
and my choice for flights to Europe and to connect to Asia.

TK would hardly be my choice to go to Europe and to some places in Asia.
By arriving at 2020LT, you have to spend a night at IST to go to basically anywhere in Europe. Would you really take these "two flights" GRU-DKR and DKR-IST, spend a whole night in Istanbul and then another one IST-Europe?
The same applies to NRT, BOM and DEL.
As a matter of fact, as per TK's timetable, they only fly to LIS on 2457, and to NRT on 1246.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8536 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 30852 times:
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Hi Abrelosojos,

Great stuff, really good TR, thoroughly enjoyed, thanks for posting this.

Sure looks like your TK J experience is a standard they follow to the book.

I'm seriously thinking about using them the next time I travel to HKG, their J fares are very good.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 30591 times:

Nice TR, TK seems to offer a really good premium product judging byt the TRs around here.

User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 30432 times:



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
That's odd! Did you get an explanation for that?

= Nope. I did not really seek an answer.

Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):
I wonder how many people on Y would use IST as a hub and how many had IST as their destination.

= I cannot tell you the breakdown of local vs. connect, but from the connecting gate information, people were flying mostly onwards to DEL, BOM, BEY, TLV, and ICN.

Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The only thing it does not provide is advanced seat selection.

That's a no-go for me. thumbsdown

= My friend, you would not be able to fly a majority of airlines unfortunately.

Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After check-in, I proceeded to the hour-long madness of GRU’s security and immigration process.

I've read (on a Brazilian aviation forum) several comments about the chaos that GRU has been in for the last weeks. However, I didn't notice anything when I took my flight to Canada on May 25th nor when I came back on Jun 8th.

= Arrival is usually fine these days at GRU. During the evening it usually takes me an hour to do check-in, security, immigration. BTW, were you on AC on the 8th from YYZ to GRU? I was on that flight  Smile.

Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
en-route between two exotic lands

I'm surprised that you, a Venezuelan (AFAIK), consider Brazil an exotic place. (I don't think Venezuela is exotic, do you?)

= Well, I am of a mixed heritage - my dad is half Spanish half Venezuelan. And, I think I use the word "exotic" in the context of the routing.

Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
and my choice for flights to Europe and to connect to Asia.

TK would hardly be my choice to go to Europe and to some places in Asia.
By arriving at 2020LT, you have to spend a night at IST to go to basically anywhere in Europe. Would you really take these "two flights" GRU-DKR and DKR-IST, spend a whole night in Istanbul and then another one IST-Europe?
The same applies to NRT, BOM and DEL.
As a matter of fact, as per TK's timetable, they only fly to LIS on 2457, and to NRT on 1246.

= TK is my choice to Europe and Asia of course depending on where I connect. From GRU, I would not mind arriving at 8-9pm to connect to a NRT/DEL/BOM flight - even for work - if that means avoiding EK. If service is good, I usually can suck up a longer layover ... besides, IST is a great hub and have one of the best lounges in the world.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
I'm seriously thinking about using them the next time I travel to HKG, their J fares are very good.

= Would be curious to hear of your opinions ... and the HKG flights would be on a 9W 777 anyways  Smile.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineDanVS From Brazil, joined Jul 2009, 254 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 30344 times:

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 17):
My friend, you would not be able to fly a majority of airlines unfortunately.

Of course, you're right if we consider that most of the airlines in the world are small ones which do not allow seat reservation (many using turboprops). However, I think most of the major airlines (such as TK) allow it.
For example, so far I have travelled with the following airlines, always with my seat reserved:
Brazilian: RG (ex), TAM, Gol, Ocean Air
Foreign: AC, AF, AM, AZ, BA, KL, LA, LH, LO, TP, SA

AFAIK, one can also reserve a seat in major USA airlines such as AA, UA, DL, CO...

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 17):
were you on AC on the 8th from YYZ to GRU? I was on that flight  

 
I left YYZ on the 7th, arrived on the 8th. May be you left on the 8th?

[Edited 2009-07-20 12:07:57]

[Edited 2009-07-20 12:12:45]

User currently offlineLipeGIG From Brazil, joined May 2005, 11437 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 30125 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

wow , impressive report !
Incredible the power to attract travellers from Asia to both Sao Paulo and Rio as you explained. It's just another fact that Brazil needs more flights to Asia.

By the way, off-topic, You board on the same day i travel from New York to Sao Paulo on AA951, but i just arived by Apr 30.



New York + Rio de Janeiro = One of the best combinations !
User currently offlineHardiwv From Brazil, joined Oct 2004, 8780 posts, RR: 50
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 29576 times:

Thanks for the excellent trip report. It is always good to read reviews about GRU.

TK will upgrade IST-DKR-GRU from 3 weekly to 4 weekly in November 2009.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I love the chaos of Guarulhos. While airports have modernized elsewhere, there is a certain 1970s/1980s charm to GRU that can be replicated by very few airports

The same here.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A Frenchman who had checked-in for the TK flight bitched and moaned about him being a “J class pax” and having to do the line with “commoners” and how it was unacceptable. He complained to everyone who would listen. I was close to giving him a piece of my mind on CDG

I wold also love to share my experiences of being bussed around in CDG...in the case of CDG is what I call unorganised chaos...

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
was also amused that 85% of the lounge users were Indians ... either on the Turkish Airlines flight or the Emirates flight to Dubai. Strange indeed. Who would have thought this was possible a few years back? Striking up a conversation, I gathered that the J class travelers were to BOM and DEL and been in Brasil to invest; the Y class passengers (who had contracted lounge access) were oil workers from MAA in fields of Rio.

Many Indians also fly with BA via LHR and SA via JNB in addition to DL service.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In regards to the IST-DKR-GRU link, I am sure TK is looking to drop DKR as soon as suitable aircraft come online. The DKR option not only adds to flight time, but is also inconvenient from a passenger perspective.



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 1):
GRU has proved to be profitable. I wonder whether TK will drop DKR as the nonstop GRU bound flight materializes.

This has been mentioned by TK Director in Brazil IST-GRU nonstop while GIG tag-on would then be considered. IST-GRU could be introduced in 2010.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Many of the J passengers I spoke with actually preferred the LH link via FRA because one could get a full night sleep in between GRU and FRA.

No doubt here, LH offers far more attractive timetable.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 17):
= Arrival is usually fine these days at GRU. During the evening it usually takes me an hour to do check-in, security, immigration. BTW, were you on AC on the 8th from YYZ to GRU? I was on that flight



Quoting DanVS (Reply 14):
However, I didn't notice anything when I took my flight to Canada on May 25th nor when I came back on Jun 8th.

I connect in GRU (international) at least 10 times a year and never had a problem. Okay, I had a major problem 2 years ago at the time of the aviation chaos but it was an exception.

I also think it largely depends on arrival times, if flight arrives after 9am the airport is usually a breese. Normally I use KLM and therefore arrive off peak times and my experiences have always been excellent to very good both on arrival and departure.

Quoting LipeGIG (Reply 19):
Incredible the power to attract travellers from Asia to both Sao Paulo and Rio as you explained. It's just another fact that Brazil needs more flights to Asia.

Interesting enough I got information that the destination TK connected most pax to / from GRU has been from Central Asia and the top destination in the list is Astana, Kazakhstan! TK has a solid comparative advantage regarding connections to Central Asia.

Rgs,


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 29047 times:



Quoting DanVS (Reply 18):

I left YYZ on the 7th, arrived on the 8th. May be you left on the 8th?

= Nope. We were on the same flight  Smile. I sat on the first seat in the middle row.

Quoting LipeGIG (Reply 19):
Incredible the power to attract travellers from Asia to both Sao Paulo and Rio as you explained. It's just another fact that Brazil needs more flights to Asia.

= Yup. And as ties between Brasil and Asian countries develop, there will be an ever increasing demand.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 20):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I love the chaos of Guarulhos. While airports have modernized elsewhere, there is a certain 1970s/1980s charm to GRU that can be replicated by very few airports

The same here.

= People look at me funny when I say I love GRU  Smile.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 20):

I wold also love to share my experiences of being bussed around in CDG...in the case of CDG is what I call unorganised chaos...

= Or, when FIDS show a flight leaving from 2E, endlessly going through the shuttle bus to 2E and then figuring out last minute it was actually from 2F. The director of AF in a major Latin country (hint hint) had a nervous fit when I told him that connecting in AMS vs. CDG is not even comparable.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 20):
Many Indians also fly with BA via LHR and SA via JNB in addition to DL service.

= Delta ... really?

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 20):

I connect in GRU (international) at least 10 times a year and never had a problem. Okay, I had a major problem 2 years ago at the time of the aviation chaos but it was an exception.

= No - I meant, arrivals at GRU is fine - but departures (especially in the evening bank) takes an hour for formalities to finish.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineHardiwv From Brazil, joined Oct 2004, 8780 posts, RR: 50
Reply 22, posted (5 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 28806 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 21):
The director of AF in a major Latin country (hint hint) had a nervous fit when I told him that connecting in AMS vs. CDG is not even comparable.

Isabelle Birem is being replaced in the coming weeks, this is being delayed a bit because of the AF accident. And she even recognised what everybody already knows KL FAs are far better than AF and this led to the recruitment of Brazilian FAs for AF flights to/from Brazil.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 21):
= Delta ... really?

At the time DL operated the daylight in GRU not anymore. EK offers great connections between Brazil and India.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 21):
= No - I meant, arrivals at GRU is fine - but departures (especially in the evening bank) takes an hour for formalities to finish.

Perhaps the evening bank of US departures, because formalities for the late afertoon departures to Europe is always fine (normally 15/20min or so for formalities). This is the time flights such as LH, KL, AF (1st flight), BA, AZ, LX, IB (1st flight), TP (1st flight), TAAG, etc operate.

Rgs,


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5089 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (5 years 1 month 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 28581 times:



Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 22):
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 21):
The director of AF in a major Latin country (hint hint) had a nervous fit when I told him that connecting in AMS vs. CDG is not even comparable.

Isabelle Birem is being replaced in the coming weeks, this is being delayed a bit because of the AF accident. And she even recognised what everybody already knows KL FAs are far better than AF and this led to the recruitment of Brazilian FAs for AF flights to/from Brazil.

= Isabelle is leaving ... fascinating. Ya - the Brazilian FA's of AF should work on ALL AF flights. Or, just have the KLM crew work AF flights. I would fly AF again  Smile.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 22):

Perhaps the evening bank of US departures, because formalities for the late afertoon departures to Europe is always fine (normally 15/20min or so for formalities). This is the time flights such as LH, KL, AF (1st flight), BA, AZ, LX, IB (1st flight), TP (1st flight), TAAG, etc operate.

= That is my problem. I always end up taking the second PM departure bank.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineHardiwv From Brazil, joined Oct 2004, 8780 posts, RR: 50
Reply 24, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 28404 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 23):
just have the KLM crew work AF flights. I would fly AF again

Plus switch AF hub from CDG to AMS. I would also start flying AF again...

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 23):
= That is my problem. I always end up taking the second PM departure bank.

I see.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 23):
= Isabelle is leaving ... fascinating.

Yes, although she wanted to stay longer. She came from EZE just about 2 or 3 years ago and her replacement was postponed because of the AF accident. AF and KL have an unified office and check-in counter in Sao Paulo.

Rgs,


25 YYZRWY23 : Abrelosojos, I have been viewing your TR's for a long time and finally joined, and am glad I can finally say they are brilliant. The detail and effort
26 Post contains images Abrelosojos : = Jason, way too kind. Thanks a lot! = I heard rumors that the KL guy from EBB might be going to GRU. I would be surprised if this actually happens b
27 Post contains images Ryu2 : Why did you censor part of the menu
28 Abrelosojos : = Why do you think ? Saludos, A.
29 Ryu2 : Is your name or FF number or other personal data written on the menu???
30 Abrelosojos : = You got it . Saludos and thanks for reading, A.
31 Hardiwv : Very nice touch of TK to inlcude the name of passenger on menu. Rgs,
32 Post contains images Tk747 : Wow, what a fantastic report on such an interesting airline and routing! Great photos from the tarmac at Dakar airport. TK J class looks great as does
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