Skydrinking From United States of America, joined May 2009, 20 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 1 month 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13818 times:
Greetings everyone! Welcome to my first trip report. Sadly, I did not take any photos which in my opinion truly makes a trip report, however I felt compelled to write one anyway as I felt my experience needed to be voiced as there has been mounting positive feedback on TK recently.
Several months ago, my wife & I decided to cash in her US Air miles and treat ourselves to a two week vacation in Turkey, allowing us to see some of my relatives, and to take a side trip to Egypt to see the Pyramids. I was pleased to know that we would be able to secure our tickets with Turkish Airlines as they had a non-stop from the US and I had read many positive reviews of TK here on A.net
Upon arrival into JFK, via IAD on United, we transferred over to Terminal 1 for check-in at TKs counters. The signage at JFK is abysmal. Our UA flight arrived at terminal 7 I believe, and trying to reach the air train is like wandering thru some government building's basement - there are no signs for connecting passengers or terminals anywhere! Fortunately we found our way without too much confusion, but as my wife said, if she were alone, she'd still be searching for the exit!
Check-in was quick, no waiting, although the agent was not overly friendly. BP & Lounge pass in hand, we proceeded thru the priority lane at security and after the document check, merged right back into the general traffic. While waiting in line to proceed thru the detector, a husband & wife along with stroller and 2 kids stepped in front of us and began an utterly slow process of trying to get themselves "ready" to clear security. The whole time they kept looking at my wife & I as if we had tried to cut them, just because we didn't wait in the general line like they had too.
After security it was up to the KAL lounge to pass time before boarding. The KAL lounge at Terminal 1 is ok I suppose, nothing great. The furniture and carpet are tired and very worn and need of replacing. If I was a frequent business class passenger I would say it is borderline unacceptable. But they had free booze and the lounge was empty so I was happy.
We proceeded to the gate for boarding at the designated time only to find a mad house of passengers up and about. My wife and I snaked our way to the gate door just as boarding for premium passengers was being announced. A short walk down the jetway and we were welcomed aboard by a friendly FA who looked at our stubs and pointed us in the direction of our seats.
Onboard, no help was given with our hand luggage, but after sitting down we were greeted with a couple glasses of champagne, or maybe it was sparkling wine - who knows. Passengers filed in and the load tonight was 100% in C. Menu's were also handed out and after perusing I decided on the lamb chops for my entree. Soonafter I noticed that my seat was not "on" and I inquired with the FA to which her reply was that it would be turned on after the plane separated from the gate.
Glasses were cleared and pushback occurred a few minutes behind schedule. A ten minute taxi and we were airborne shortly thereafter. Oh wait, I had forgotten about my seat! After clearing 10,000 feet I flagged down a FA and she informed me that she would reset my seat. After 5 minutes with no luck, I was beginning to get upset especially with the possibility of a non-working seat on this 9+ hour flight. Fortunately the gods were on my side that day and the seat finally sputtered into action
During my seat debacle, dinner service was set-up and since my seat was being tended to, I did not receive a placement. The appetizer cart soon arrived and the bewildered FA could not understand why my tray did not have linen or silverware. She uttered an "oh" but kept looking at me as if I was playing a trick on her...no lady, I'm not hiding the place setting in the life vest storage! A couple of moments later all was in place and we were ready to taste what I had expected to be some of the best airline catering, courtesy of Do.&Co. After reading Abrelosojos report of this same routing, I was hoping to try the Sis Kebap...sadly it wasn't on the menu so I settled for the lamb chops, but first the mezze or appetizer cart. I had a few different things, borek (cheese filled pastry), cajik ( cucumber & yogurt) and a couple of other things of which I don't recall. Everything was quite delicious, it would have made my grandmother proud. Then came the entree - what a total disappointment! Dry to the bone! And such a small portion too. My wife's pasta was not much better. Fortunately desert was tasty, although I am not much of a sweets person.
After the meal service, an after dinner drink service was done and then it was a ghost town...until breakfast an hour and a half before landing. Breakfast was mediocre at best, eggs, sausage, etc. I was so groggy at this point it didn't matter, although I did manage to get a solid 5 1/2 hours of sleep. Despite the fact that many people complain about lie-flats, I found my seat to be very comfortable with no slippage downward. ANY business class seat is better than sitting in coach!
We landed at IST about an hour earlier than scheduled, found parking spot pretty quickly and deplaned, but my bag was the LAST bag out - so much for Priority tagging! A quick stop at the duty free to get some liquor and we were met by my mom and cousin to begin our time in Turkey.
Overall I was not too impressed with Turkish Airlines. I had high hopes that were quickly shattered by the mediocre flight crew. Service was professional up thru the meal, however they disappeared into the galley immediately thereafter forcing me to get up twice to have my pre-sleep beam & diet cokes. I found that many of the staff had limited English skills as we had to ask multiple times/ways for things. We never truly felt welcomed or special...blame it on the load factor or not. The IFE sucked - plain and simple. I didn't even watch anything except for James Bonds' Cars because I had to save the limited, and awful, movie selection for the ride back (IST-ORD). It's only saving grace is a decent Flight Map and clean cameras.
Well, that about covers my experience with TK in a nutshell. I wish I had photos to go along, but I hope you enjoyed reading it and let me know if anyone is interested in hearing my experience on TK short-hauls....oh how the service truly shines on these !!! Just kidding.
As my cousin told me after the flight - THY = They Hate You airlines
Yes, I was quite surprised with the language issue especially since the JFK-IST route is quite popular. However, I would say that 90% of the C class passengers were Turkish. Even on my intra-Turkey flights on TK, I still found the lack of good English skills to be on the same level as the long-haul.
Quoting TK787 (Reply 4): May I ask how many US Air miles did you have to spend for these flights?
It was 80,000 miles for each ticket. Not too bad, the only downside was that when I booked, United was taking us from CHS-IAD-JFK and ORD-CHS on the return and they did not have First Class seats available to us. Not really a big deal since they were short flights, but if your spending the miles, you expect to get what you pay for.