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TK Biz, IST-BUS (Batumi, Georgia). Not Again!  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3281 posts, RR: 12
Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 17199 times:

Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Batumi (Georgia)

This is part two (of three) of my trip report from London to Istanbul, and onwards to Batumi and Tbilisi in Georgia on Turkish Airlines and bmi British Midland in Business Class. Part one, flying TK Business from London to Istanbul can be found here.

“Sorry, the gate’s closed”

Oh dear, things keep going wrong…

A few photos of Istanbul

Kebab
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG1737.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG1944.jpg

Hagia Sofia (not my photo!)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG1782.jpg


Spice Market
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG1886.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG1891.jpg

Topkapi Palace
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2003.jpg

The Cisterns


Tukish Delight
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2102.jpg

The Blue Mosque
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2107.jpg

After my eventful journey over to Istanbul (see Part 1 here), it was time for me to continue on the relatively short hop to Batumi, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasian state of Georgia. I took the tram the metro from my hotel in Sultanahmet to the Airport, which whilst busy, was fairly easy, and very cheap. I arrived around 11am for my 1310 flight. When entering the terminal there is a full security screening. There was no queue at all for the Business Class check in, and a very friendly lady printed out my boarding card, a lounge card (not needed), and tagged my bag. Despite my previous issues with my ticket, I was actually able to check in for my flight online, which was handy for picking seats.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2115.jpg
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Business class passengers get priority access for immigration, which saved a 20-odd minute wait. I changed the rest of my Turkish Lira for Euros (no Georgian Lari available), then headed to the lounge. The designers certainly went to town in here! It was a weird hybrid of a Sultans Palace, a hotel lobby, and a cheap school buffet. There were chandeliers galore, and lots of comfy leather sofas, along with various portraits. There was a computer room (nicely decorated too, but with the desk way to high for comfort. Facebook was blocked. The buffet area, as I said, didn’t look very professional. There was a strange selection of food, including sandwich made with some disgusting looking Spam look-alike. There were some nice cakes though, and a coffee machine. The alcoholic drinks selection had Efes beer on tap, and a there were a few bottles of spirits (I noted vodka and raki, also a few more), but no mixers of any type. Also, no wine. There were bottle of sparkling water, but no still. Maybe I just missed them (but I don’t think I did). The toilets had some very ornate taps, but half of them were broken off. Also, there were far too few toilets for the size of the lounge. Overall, interesting, although far from the best lounge.
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I checked the screens frequently to see what was happening with boarding. I thought it was a bit strange that all the other flights leaving at the same time were listed as ‘boarding’, but mine was listed as ‘wait in lounge’. Now, without trying to put words in your mouths, but what assumption do you make with regards to if your flight was leaving on time?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2127.jpg

If you said, it would probably be delayed, then you thought the same as me. Nevertheless, I left the lounge and meandered through the shops and towards the gate. I took a few photos as I went (nothing terribly exciting, although there was an Iraqi Airways flight somewhere).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2131.jpg

Newspaper Point
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2129.jpg

Finally, the flight changed to ‘boarding’, and I started to make the long journey down to the gate, which was a bus gate. Annoyingly, dispute having gone through security earlier, there was a further screening point going into the bus gate area, and the place was packed. I joined the shortest queue, and waited. I could see the gate, and there were still a few people milling around. In Heathrow, when it says a flight is boarding, it means the airline want you to queue at the gate, and boarding might start in 20 minutes. In Istanbul, I discovered, it means that you’d better run. I pushed past a few people, and went to the front of the queue as I noticed the last passengers had gone. I ran to the gate, and the lady said I’m missed it. What!?? I was slightly stunned. Missed it? Me? But I’m so organised, I’ve never missed a flight! Having watched more than my fair share of ‘Airport’ and ‘Airline’ programmes, I knew that the situation was pretty hopeless. I implored the lady to get me on - “I’m a business class passenger”. She called someone, but no. I’d missed the flight. F**k!!!! My first thought was “I don’t think they fly to Batumi everyday. I’m going to be stuck in Istanbul for bloody days”. I was so angry. I hadn’t been dawdling, I followed the signs, I waited when it said “wait in lounge”, then went straight to the gate when called. And now I’m up S**t Creek without a paddle. I felt very hard done by. I mean, the signs (well, not the actual signs, but the read-between-the-lines type of signs) implied that the flight would be late. Why say ‘wait in lounge’ when all similarly timed flights were boarding?

Ah well. Angry, but understanding of the situation, I went to the transfer desk (which took some finding – at some point I ended up in a room full or women waiting to get into a mosque room). I was directed to another desk. I waved my now useless boarding card around saying “Business Class”, which meant I could skip the very long queue. I was escorted back through immigration (having my exit stamp cancelled in the process), and then went to the ‘Lost and Found’ to claim my bag, before going back upstairs to get rebooked. This is where the fun really began. I went to the TK Gold desk, and was told that as I’d booked it with BD, I’d have to ask them. “Oh, actually you can go to LH, it says something about them in the booking”. Really? To the LH desk! The very helpful guy there was completely confused. “You’re flying with TK, your ticket is BD, what’s it got to do with LH?”. I could see his point, but persevered. I waved my LH Silver card, and he found the bmi phone number, and gave me the phone (at first he found another company called bmi too – the lady on the other end had the real number handy so they must get a lot of wrong phone calls – when she picked up I thought something must be wrong as a) they sounded English and b) it took 2 second before being answered!). So, it was back to dealing with the ridiculous bmi call centre in deepest India. So as not to be too inconsistent with their service, it took nearly 45 minutes of being told be wait, and being put on hold. I spoke to one guy that said that the rest of my ticket was cancelled, and that I had to buy a new ticket. “What? I don’t think so. Supervisor please!” Eventually I got a supervisor to change dates to one day later (apparently against their policy to change dates after the 1st sector, but I mean, what are you actually meant to do if you miss a flight by 1 minute?), and reissue the ticket (so far I’ve flown 1 sector, and my ticket has been reissued twice!) and was charged GBP 20 for the change (I didn’t even bother trying to tell him that BD already owed me £50). Phew.

I went over to the TK checkin desks, and asked to check in. The lady at first said I’d been booked to somewhere else (I think the airport code confused her), but then managed to print out a boarding card for tomorrow. Hurray! Half of tomorrow’s hurdles already crossed. I now have a nearly identical boarding card, except for the date, and that now I’m in Group C, not Group D as I was before. Any idea of the relevance of these groups? Same seat number for both. I ask about a hotel, and am told to ask in the arrivals area. Back down I go to arrivals. I lie that someone said I would be entitled to a hotel. They consider me and my boarding cards and say I can’t have a free hotel. Fair enough, I’m not a misconnect, but I do blame TK/Istanbul Airport (and possible BAA too, for conditioning me to not believe that ‘boarding’ means boarding) for my situation. I’m offered a room at the Marriot for Euro 40 (turns out to actually be £31, not bad!).

TK Hotel desk
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2133.jpg

I take a seat as instructed, to wait for the shuttle. After 20 minutes I ask where the shuttle is. After conferring, I’m told the next shuttle is in 3 hours 30 minutes. “Say again?” Another argument later, and I get a cab. Of course, despite saying yes, and having a map, the taxi driver doesn’t know where to go. By this stage I’m not even remotely surprised or even angry, just tired. I get to the hotel, and play dumb that TK would be paying. They don’t take the bait, and take a deposit on my card. Ah well, good try! On the bright side the hotel has a pool, and the room is about 10 times bigger than the one the previous few nights, and costs the same. It’s in the middle of a motorway junction, but there we go. Oh, and I can see the runway from the room, although nothing much seems to be happening. However, as I begin to unpack I notice that the padlock from my checked bag has gone. Hmmm, in my stress at the airport did I take it off? Or not put it on? A quick search of my belongings later reveals no bright orange padlock. At this stage I’m even sure what to think. Nothing was missing, but still. Hardly encouraging. Maybe it’s a punishment from the baggage handlers for getting them to find my bag and offload it? Who knows. I try again tomorrow.

My Marriott Hotel room
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2134.jpg

Pegasus HQ from my window
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The Next Day!

After a filling breakfast, I finished repacking my bag, and heading down to the lobby for the shuttle to the airport. The drive took around 10 minutes, and after passing through the x-ray machines, I was back at the Business Class check in desks. This time, the check in experience wasn’t nearly as good. There were five agents playing on their phones. None of them looked up. I slowly walked down the line in front of them. Finally Nos. 4 & 5 looked up, and No. 5 waved me over. My bag was tagged, and I was given a new boarding card (so now I have 3 boarding cards for IST-BUS!). The economy queue for immigration was far less today. There was only one person in the queue for Business. Having discovered the delights on the lounge yesterday, I only went in, got a glass of water, then used the computers for a bit. With events of yesterday firmly in my mind, I made my way down to the gate a full hour before departure. I wouldn’t be taking ANY chances today!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2154.jpg

I think this ex-UA B737 is now the Iraqi Airways flight to Baghdad.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2155.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2157.jpg

Security at the bus-gate area was also a lot less than yesterday, so around 1225 was seated in front of the gate. Phew! Chances of being denied boarding reduced to satisfactory levels!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2159.jpg
There was one gate agent checking passports. At 1230, we were invited to board the bus, and shortly, I was sat on the bus. Hurrah! Chances of now missing the flight, close to nil. I texted my friend saying that unless there was some sort of calamity, she should expect me shortly. The bus slowly filled up.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2161.jpg

Interestingly, the Turkish A320 parked next to us still had passengers queuing to get into the terminal whilst the new set of passengers were boarding. I wonder what the hold up was for disembarking?


A few shots of the IST tarmac
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SQ B773 to SIN, and MH B772 to KUL
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2186.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2189.jpg

Today, SU was using their B767, as apposed to yesterday’s A330.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2190.jpg


Today’s flight would be operated by the B73G (yesterday would have been an A319), which was good news as they have proper Business seating (2 x 2). The A319s have economy seats with the middle left blocked.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2172.jpg
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I was assigned 1F, but decided that the legroom was a bit too tight. Also the armrest wouldn’t stay down (a problem with the tray table)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2177.jpg
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Once boarding was completed, I moved over to 3A. I had to make a choice: view of Batumi on arrival (an A seat), or views of the Turkish coast (F seat). I went with A in the end, but perhaps should have gone with F. A choice of water, orange or sparkling wine was offered before take off. Out of 12 seats, there were only 3 of us in Business Class today

Looks like they need to replace this taxi-light
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2192.jpg

October 2010
Turkish Airlines TK 392
Istanbul Atuturk (IST) – Batumi (BUS)
Boeing B737-700 (TC-JKO)
Scheduled: 1310-1605 (1h55m)
Actual: 1327-1603 (1h33m)
Business Class

After a bit of a wait we took off a bit behind schedule
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I was sort of pleased to see the Marriott after take off
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2203.jpg

The FA serving Business was very nice, professional and smiling. She handed out menus, hot towels and headphones
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2212.jpg


There was no choice of meal, but meal on offer was tasty, and totally adequate for a short flight
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My main gripe is that they brought out all three trays (individually), then came out and asked fro drink orders, then after that came out with bread (which was needed to eat the humus). I’m not sure how other people feel about that order, but especially with short flights, I like to have everything brought out at roughly the same time, not a 10/15 minute lag. I asked for some white wine with lunch, and was offered Turkish or French. I went with Turkish, and got a bottle of Pammukale wine, which in my amateur opinion was pretty disgusting.

Once the trays had been cleared (which took some time), I asked for some beer and water, which came out with a smile and a bag of nuts.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2219.jpg

Once that beer was dispensed of, I asked for another, along with some sour cheery juice (which was very tasty)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2222.jpg

Views
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2220.jpg


Why do they show boring, random documentaries on short flights? Where’s the air map?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2223.jpg

Plenty of room to expand!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2227.jpg

A Nazar in the galley
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2235.jpg

Views of the Turkish coast was pretty nice (from what I could see from the ‘wrong’ side)


Cabin before landing
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2234.jpg


Views of Batumi on approach
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2236.jpg
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Welcome to Batumi and The Republic of Georgia!
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I was second off, and followed the ground agent to the arrivals area.
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There were four immigration agents at the desk, and I was stamped in pretty quickly. My bag was the first out, and less than 10 minutes after landing I was in a taxi with my friend.
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A few photos of Batumi (more from Georgia in my next report, bmi TBS-GYD-LHR (Tbilisi-Baku-London Business)
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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Istanbul%20to%20Batumi/CIMG2295.jpg


The Black Sea
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Opera House
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My favourite Borjomi water, in it’s home country


Sheraton Batumi (check out the beautiful Georgian script)


So, the second leg of my trip was also quite eventful. I only accept part of the blame for missing the flight (although I’m sure one of you think it was all my fault!). The service on this short flight was good, no complaints. Batumi Airport was delightfully small!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 17082 times:

Interesting second report of your series. Too bad you missed the flight, but at least you got rebooked to the next day's service and got a good hotel for a relatively cheap price.
What boarding time was given on your boarding pass? Being at the gate in due time is essential - especially at airports which you haven't passed through before.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineWideBodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 17008 times:

Great report. Can't wait for the rest. We don't get to read TRs from this part of the world very often. Thumbs up!


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 16866 times:

Nice report, thanks for sharing. It seems like Murphy's law really struck you on this trip! Glad you made it in to BUS. Hopefully the return on bmi is better.


Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 690 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 16828 times:

Hi gabrielchew, thanks for this interesting and very well written report. Seems like you had quite an adventure there in IST, at least at the end everything was ok then. Also some nice pictures, I especially found the pics from Batumi quite interesting. Never heard of this city before, always nice to read about (for me) unknown places.
I hope you enjoyed your stay in Georgia and looking forward to the next parts of your reports.

CaptainRed


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27027 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 16703 times:

Great second part of the report. Shame you missed the flight , TK should have re booked you. There are a few reports lately of when things go wrong TK back up customer service is lacking.

Turkish Airlines Customer Service Ceases Operation?

http://www.eturbonews.com/19191/turk...-customer-service-ceases-operation

One reason I always give myself plenty of time to get to the gate even before it says boarding and if connecting I give myself over 2 hours. It seems when all goes well on TK its great but when it doesnt it can easily end in disaster.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Kebab

Yummy mouth is watering .

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
along with some sour cheery juice (which was very tasty)

Oh yes a must when in Greece and Turkey , I drink gallons of it when in Athens .  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
A Nazar in the galley

Another Turkish/Greek tradition the ''Evil eye''. μάτι ''mati'' Nice touch to see onboard TK.

Nice photos of the whole trip including some of Georgia . Look forward to the rest. Looks nice.


Philip  


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1942 posts, RR: 24
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 16358 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really nice report!

It's every traveler's nightmare when a person gets to a gate, and the agent says .. "you've missed it" .. I'm glad you were able to get a flight out the next day. That's so frustrating!

Food looks really nice on the short flight, and those J seats look like American Airlines' .. I wonder if this 737 is on lease or something?

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 16304 times:

Nice report and what a nightmare missing the flight. Nice to read that finally rebooking and hotel was not a big cost factor...

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6816 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 16028 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
and those J seats look like American Airlines' .. I wonder if this 737 is on lease or something?

TC-JKO is a former Aeromexico bird.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4441 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 15517 times:

Thanks for the report.
I had similar experiences. Just like you I waited till the last minute to go to my gate for IST-MXP, to find out these gates are downstairs and there is a long queue for security to get on the buses. I almost missed the flight. There should be a warning about these gates since the lounge is shared by 10 or so gates it might get crowded and you might get delayed. The ticketing agent should warn the pax.
But this can happen anywhere. My wife flying on DL SEA-NYC misses her flight due to Seattle traffic. Has to go buy a one way AS ticket and sit at the lounge. When the monitor prompts her to go to boarding she realizes the gate is pretty far away and by the time she gets to the gate, the doors are closed. She starts screaming that she is not missing two flights on the same day and they had to open the door and let her in.
I have to tell that you get your miles worth. If it is too good to be true to fly J on "bizarre routings" for 12,000 BMI miles and few hundred quids, it usually is.


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5100 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 15229 times:

Thanks for another report from your recent flight odyssey. As many know, I am an early convert of TK and truly believe in its long-term potential ... but also as you can tell from reading my reports, I think their ground operations is absolutely horrific! I have had all kinds of issues - especially when transferring at IST and having to run from one end to another due to clueless agents and unhelpful staff. It takes away from all their onboard refinements.

You're actually lucky that the call center for BMI in deepest India were able to do this for you. A missed flight should have been handled by TK - not the issuing carrier. During the LH strikes earlier in 2010, I was caught miserably in South Africa and it was a nightmare to get home thanks to it being in on an award ticket. United's Global Services desk (pretty good) was unable to do anything and I had to beg my way at JNB with SAA.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1282 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 14801 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

That was some ordeal you had with your flights, ride to the hotel, and the baggage! Interesting that both flights the next day to Baghdad and Batumi both said "Wait in Lounge", as well as the main FDS lol

I just love how TK presents their meals. Though the wait in between items seems to be quite long considering a short flight. They should learn from EK serving a fully loaded B773ER in Y class on a two hour KHI-DXB serving a full lunch!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
A Nazar in the galley

Wow, the belief in this must be really strong, to even put it on an aircraft!


User currently offlineSevernaya From Russia, joined Jan 2009, 1413 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 14600 times:

Really nice report!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Kebab

Yum!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Hagia Sofia (not my photo!)

Beautiful photos, what does it say in Arabic on those big boards?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I only accept part of the blame for missing the flight (although I’m sure one of you think it was all my fault!).

It's really a pity you missed your flight this way. I think you're nothing to blame. They should have their operations managed in that way that when it shifts from 'wait in lounge' to 'go to gate' exactly in such a time span that you're comfortably being able to walk to the gate. A real shame of TK and IST. (don't know whose to blame).

Batumi seems cozy.

Thanks for sharing!



Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит.
User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1459 posts, RR: 33
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 14542 times:

Crikey, what a story! I would have thought after all the trouble on the LHR-IST leg that you'd have had enough action for the whole trip.

The whole re-booking process sounds terrible. If you were dealing with ezy, I can understand them putting you on to the call centre and wating 45 minutes, but with a Star Alliance carrier on a C-Class ticket?

I'm paranoid about mssing a flight, hence why I'm always at the gate far too early. Nothing gets me more stressed than being in a rush. Here in ZRH they don't use the 'wait in lounge' expression, just 'go to gate' and then 'boarding', although you still have security to pass.

Nice to see some pics of Georgia.

Happy flying
Infodesk

[Edited 2010-10-26 01:53:23]


"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlinegardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1522 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 14465 times:

Hi, nice report and pictures.
What a drama you had when you missd youf flight!
Newspaper Point
I want one of those red shirts!

Batumi Airport sure has a cute looking terminal. Some amazing pictures of Georgia and the Black Sea, not a place one tends to see much of , so your report is a great insight!


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 14299 times:

Hi Gab,

What a story and adventure you had! I absolutely hate IST for this reason, the ground handling is always in shambles and the gate security lines can get quite horrific. Glad you managed to finally sort it out with not too much damage to your credit limit! That certainly is not a route one would like to get stranded on.

Great to see some pictures about Georgia, not the most well traveled of destinations nowadays (it used to be quite popular with Finns during the Soviet times, though, my parents went there back in the 80's for example).

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Kebab

Looks delicious!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My Marriott Hotel room

Oh, it was a Courtyard. I was a bit surprised at the prospect for having a genuine Marriott for that price tag, but this sort of explains it. Then again Turkey isn't particularly expensive and I get you got a special rate.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Once boarding was completed, I moved over to 3A. I had to make a choice: view of Batumi on arrival (an A seat), or views of the Turkish coast (F seat). I went with A in the end, but perhaps should have gone with F.

So I'm not the only one spending excess time pondering about what seats to pick!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Looks like they need to replace this taxi-light

Ouch! That looks like a case of FOD just waiting to happen!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My favourite Borjomi water, in it’s home country

Hey, I like this stuff as well. Featured at the water bar of BT lounge at RIX - I usually pick up a few bottles whenever I pass through.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3281 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 14032 times:

Thanks for all your comments! I've been in the middle of nowhere the last fews days, so haven't had any internet access, hence the slow reply!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Too bad you missed the flight, but at least you got rebooked to the next day's service and got a good hotel for a relatively cheap price.
Quoting reifel (Reply 7):
Nice to read that finally rebooking and hotel was not a big cost factor...

I know, what a pain, although it could have been worse!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
What boarding time was given on your boarding pass? Being at the gate in due time is essential - especially at airports which you haven't passed through before.

Boarding was there as 60 mins before dep (the same time as check in closes) so not exactly correct info.

Quoting WideBodyroga (Reply 2):
We don't get to read TRs from this part of the world very often. Thumbs up!

I know, I don't think that Georgia has been featured before - has it?

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 3):
It seems like Murphy's law really struck you on this trip! Glad you made it in to BUS. Hopefully the return on bmi is better.

Well, I sprained my ankle in Batumi, so things did get a little worse! Things seem to be going ok now though.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 4):
I hope you enjoyed your stay in Georgia and looking forward to the next parts of your reports.

Georgia is very nice (weather is fantastic right now), although challenging to travel around without speaking Russian or Georgian.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
Shame you missed the flight , TK should have re booked you. There are a few reports lately of when things go wrong TK back up customer service is lacking.

TK said they couldn't touch it, which I didn;t really understand seeing as they just needed to reissue a boarding card for the next day.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
along with some sour cheery juice (which was very tasty)

Oh yes a must when in Greece and Turkey , I drink gallons of it when in Athens .

Well, I only asked for it because I remember you got some on one of your TK flights.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
It's every traveler's nightmare when a person gets to a gate, and the agent says .. "you've missed it" .. I'm glad you were able to get a flight out the next day. That's so frustrating!

Very frustrating!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
I wonder if this 737 is on lease or something?

TK only got it a few months ago.

Quoting TK787 (Reply 9):
I had similar experiences. Just like you I waited till the last minute to go to my gate for IST-MXP, to find out these gates are downstairs and there is a long queue for security to get on the buses. I almost missed the flight. There should be a warning about these gates since the lounge is shared by 10 or so gates it might get crowded and you might get delayed. The ticketing agent should warn the pax.

There should be more info about when to go to the gate, not just change from "wait" to "boarding".

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 10):
You're actually lucky that the call center for BMI in deepest India were able to do this for you. A missed flight should have been handled by TK - not the issuing carrier. During the LH strikes earlier in 2010, I was caught miserably in South Africa and it was a nightmare to get home thanks to it being in on an award ticket. United's Global Services desk (pretty good) was unable to do anything and I had to beg my way at JNB with SAA.

I'm also lucky that IST-BUS always seems to have lots of award inventory in C, so being rebooked wasn't an issue (much). I still think TK should have been able to handle it.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 11):
I just love how TK presents their meals. Though the wait in between items seems to be quite long considering a short flight. They should learn from EK serving a fully loaded B773ER in Y class on a two hour KHI-DXB serving a full lunch!

The meals are bautifully presented, althought the speed that they are brought out is awkward.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 11):
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
A Nazar in the galley

Wow, the belief in this must be really strong, to even put it on an aircraft!

I think it's a nice touch! Looks pretty.

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 12):
Beautiful photos, what does it say in Arabic on those big boards?

No idea!

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 12):

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I only accept part of the blame for missing the flight (although I’m sure one of you think it was all my fault!).

It's really a pity you missed your flight this way. I think you're nothing to blame. They should have their operations managed in that way that when it shifts from 'wait in lounge' to 'go to gate' exactly in such a time span that you're comfortably being able to walk to the gate. A real shame of TK and IST. (don't know whose to blame).

Thanks! I'm glad people seem to agree that it is IST and TK mainly at fault!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
I'm paranoid about mssing a flight, hence why I'm always at the gate far too early. Nothing gets me more stressed than being in a rush. Here in ZRH they don't use the 'wait in lounge' expression, just 'go to gate' and then 'boarding', although you still have security to pass.

Well, I'm normally at the gate in plenty of time, so this was a first for me! Next time I'll be a lot more cautious!

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 14):
Batumi Airport sure has a cute looking terminal. Some amazing pictures of Georgia and the Black Sea, not a place one tends to see much of , so your report is a great insight!

The airport was very nice! Super small and efficient.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
Oh, it was a Courtyard. I was a bit surprised at the prospect for having a genuine Marriott for that price tag, but this sort of explains it. Then again Turkey isn't particularly expensive and I get you got a special rate.

To be honest, I thought the hotel was excellent (although the funny shuttle hours was a bit of a pain). Great rooms, very nice pool. Bargain!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
So I'm not the only one spending excess time pondering about what seats to pick!

No, I always do! I love ariel sightseeing, although getting it right is more a matter of luck.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
Hey, I like this stuff as well. Featured at the water bar of BT lounge at RIX - I usually pick up a few bottles whenever I pass through.

Well, i've now been to Borjomi, and so have ODed a bit on the stuff!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5100 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13808 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 16):
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 10):
You're actually lucky that the call center for BMI in deepest India were able to do this for you. A missed flight should have been handled by TK - not the issuing carrier. During the LH strikes earlier in 2010, I was caught miserably in South Africa and it was a nightmare to get home thanks to it being in on an award ticket. United's Global Services desk (pretty good) was unable to do anything and I had to beg my way at JNB with SAA.


I'm also lucky that IST-BUS always seems to have lots of award inventory in C, so being rebooked wasn't an issue (much). I still think TK should have been able to handle it.

= Yes. Lucky indeed. I checked with someone at Star HQ, and TK is most definitely responsible when there is a mis connection etc. They are responsible to get you to BUS.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3281 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13763 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
= Yes. Lucky indeed. I checked with someone at Star HQ, and TK is most definitely responsible when there is a mis connection etc. They are responsible to get you to BUS.

Saludos,
A.

So the lady on the TK First/Biz/Gold desk was just being lazy? I endured the 45 call to bmi for nothing? And paid an unecessary GBP 25 change fee? if so I'll take that up with bmi (whom STILL haven't processed my refund (cash or miles) from the downgrade from F to C on the LHR-LHR leg).



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2477 posts, RR: 53
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13493 times:

Hi gabrielchew,

What a story! I was shocked to read how slack TK handled your situation. It was already bad enough to miss a flight and getting such treatment as a premium passenger was just rubbing salt into wound. I hope that your room at Marriott was on TK's expenses.

Nevertheless, a great report and thanks for sharing the ins and outs of TK operation's in IST. I like your scenery pictures of Istanbul and the kebab. It reminds me of my own experience last March.

Cheers,
Suryo

PS. Did you find your padlock?



Friends forever
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 13270 times:

Hi gabrielchew

Thanks for the nice report. Since I was in Sochi a few weeks back, it’s nice to see photos from Batumi.

IST sounds a bit chaotic and I can’t see why you should be to blame. But I definitely understand what you mean by being educated by the BAA!

My wife and I have some BMI miles lying around as well (they are way too generous in giving them out). Going to IST in Business (didn’t think about first at all but that sounds like a good idea as well if you actually get it) on a TK B777 was one of the best value and most interesting options. If my wife wouldn’t need a visa for Turkey which is a bit of a pain to get, I probably would have booked it already. But your report makes me rethink.

Let’s see. MAN to MUC on SQ B773 sounds nice as well.

Looking forward to read the next part.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3281 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13040 times:

Quoting akhmad (Reply 19):
I hope that your room at Marriott was on TK's expenses.

Unfortunately not, but I tried!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 19):
I like your scenery pictures of Istanbul and the kebab.

Thanks! The kebab was good!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 19):
PS. Did you find your padlock?

No! I think someone cut it off to have a look through but for whatever reason didn't take anything (maybe I have nothing worth stealing!)

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 20):
But I definitely understand what you mean by being educated by the BAA!

If in doubt, blame BAA!

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 20):

Let’s see. MAN to MUC on SQ B773 sounds nice as well.

That would be a good way to try SQ First, although I still don't think you can make a redepmtion with SQ in Premium cabins...



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 43
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 12494 times:

Nice report but brings back very bad memories of IST.

I've missed a TK flight there 3 times - early gate closures, lazy idiots closing the security at gate, last minute gate changes to the other end. You were extremely lucky to get bmi to help you, TK WILL NOT, repeat WILL NOT help. I'm TK Elite Plus and twice had to buy a new ticket, once a supervisor somewhere upstairs helped once I threatened to cut that bloody ELPL card in half.

I'm not likely to buy any TK tickets until the ground services of TK and IST improve. They may be rather cheap in Y but not when you consider you may just need another ticket.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
Shame you missed the flight , TK should have re booked you.

He was lucky it was not a TK ticket... read above.


Regards,

Lufthansa747



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3281 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (2 years 9 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9522 times:

Sorry for the extremely late replies! A bit of end of year tidying up!

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 22):
I've missed a TK flight there 3 times - early gate closures, lazy idiots closing the security at gate, last minute gate changes to the other end. You were extremely lucky to get bmi to help you, TK WILL NOT, repeat WILL NOT help. I'm TK Elite Plus and twice had to buy a new ticket, once a supervisor somewhere upstairs helped once I threatened to cut that bloody ELPL card in half.

Oh dear, doesn't sound like TK are known for their customer service. Since I wrote the report, I think things have improved (at least in some respects).



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinesfflyer123 From United States of America, joined May 2010, 277 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 9 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9439 times:

Excellent TR! The food looked fantastic. The seat didn't look that great, but for such a short flight, it seems fine. Too bad no personal AVOD. I have never been to Georgia (only the one in the USA), but it seems like it would be a fun place to visit! Thanks.

25 ba319-131 : Nice read GC, not sure how I missed this one when first posted. - Odd sounding selection for sure, I have visited a TK lounge @ IST some years back, n
26 Post contains links gabrielchew : Thanks! It was pretty good Well, compard to most European short haul C seats, there were very good. I haven't been to the American Georgia, but I gue
27 UK_Dispatcher : Interesting report. Georgia is certainly somewhere I would like to visit. Did you see any other aircraft at BUS when you arrived, or any other movemen
28 gabrielchew : Thanks It's a safe and cheap country - lots to see as well No, we were the only movemnet at the time. I don't think there is much scheduled other tha
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