This is my first trip report for airliners.net on my summer vacation to Northern Cyprus. Sorry if it is a bit too tedious.
15th August, Flybe. BAe 146, BE912
My family and I arrived at Guernsey an hour before the scheduled departure, the average time needed for domestic flights. Check in was swift with only a few other people in front of us. Soon after it was time for a customary pre-flight drink. The flight was called at approximately 14.30 and soon after this we had proceeded through security and were ready for boarding.
Today onboard the Flybe. BAe 146, I forget the registration, we were assigned seats 11 A, B & C and also 12 A & B. The aircraft was pretty full and just around 10 minutes late we were ready for departure. We rolled down the runway and when airborne headed northeast towards Alderney and the French coast, however, views were sparse due to low cloud. A drink service was offered but I declined to buy anything because I do not see the point on a 35-minute flight. We were cruising at 18,000ft and over the Isle of Wight we began descent on to runway 08R at Gatwick. Soon after we collected our luggage at the South Terminal and were heading up the M25 to our hotel.
I spent two days in London doing all the tourist things such as shopping and visiting museums. Our hotel in the suburbs of London had excellent departure views out of Heathrow, which was quite a bonus.
Heathrow-Ercan via Izmir
18th August, Atlas Jet International (KTHY), YK838
We arrived at Heathrow Terminal 3 at around 10 a.m. and already the cues at Zone C were heavy. Swiss Port had only put one check in agent on service so the lines moved very slowly, however, after 45 minutes more agents arrived and we were soon moving. After check in we went upstairs to security, which was actually very easy and efficient as the lines were moving quite fast, not what you normally come to expect. Terminal 3 I think is very ugly, it is so dark and the departure lounge is very small and cramped. I bought a few last minute holiday essentials such as books and went for the some lunch.
An hour later our flight was displayed to be boarding at gate 50, this was at 14.30 an hour late. I should have felt honoured that it was such a short delay, people at Manchester were having 3 to 4 days added or taken off their holidays because of two aircraft down in Northern Cyprus, an A310 and 737-800. We went down and made the mistake of taking the moving escalator that bypasses the gate and adds extra time compared to if you had walked. Our aircraft today was visible, an Atlas Jet International 757-200 (TC-OGB?) on behalf of KTHY. I was slightly disappointed, as I had expected the A310 though a new airline to travel compensated.
Around two hours late now we finally pushed back and headed to runway 27L with a lot of strange and exotic aircraft visible to me, a contrast to the normal Saabs and Trislanders that I see. We roared down the runway and after take off were up over the M25 and then heading east towards Holland. Here, at 36,000ft, we were served lunch. It consisted of a cucumber salad, curried chicken, apple crumble and cheese and biscuits. It was tasty and hopefully soon you will see the pictures on Airlinemeals.net.
Our journey today took us over Southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria before entering Turkish airspace. The crew were pleasant though their English poor. They served water, tea/coffee and free soft and alcoholic beverages. Over Eastern Europe we hit some turbulence that lasted an hour. It was not scary but more so annoying as you couldn't read or sleep.
At 21.00 we arrived at Izmir and where our flight after an hour became a domestic Turkish flight (YK138). Due to political reasons all flights entering Northern Cyprus must go via Turkey, which is an annoyance but well worth it. Here, Turkish passengers entered and soon after we headed south out of Izmir over Dalaman and the Mediterranean to Ercan in Northern Cyprus. Fruit juice was served on this hour-long flight with nuts, quite sufficient.
On landing at the Northern Cypriot airport, I forget the name of this secondary airport as Ercan is actually closed for repairs, we were greeted by immigration and finally we received our baggage. By midnight we were on our way to the resort to enjoy two weeks in the sun.
30th August, Atlas Jet International 757-200, YK055/YK855
We were picked up at 8.30 for a departure of 11.45. When we arrived at the airport the check in area was closed. On enquiry we were told the security and desk area would open in 10 minutes. A long lined grew that went out of the terminal building due to its size. What happened next is any travellers’ worst nightmare; we were missing a bag. It had been left under a seat on the coach. We rang the tour operator and our hotel and were lucky to get in touch with the coach company who dropped the bag back 30 minutes later. We were last to go through departures where we had a 45-minute wait in the small yet airy area.
Boarding commenced at 12.30, our seats were 15 A, B & C and 17 A & B. We were concerned now that we may miss our connecting flights, the last of the day. We flew northwards to Antalya with no drink service served at all, which left many passengers parched. On arrival at Antalya there were many Soviet aircraft, IL-86s, TU-154s, TU-134s etc and also an EL AL 747 and Martinair DC-10.
After take off we headed out southerly over the sea and then northwards over central Turkey towards Istanbul. From here there were fantastic views of the Bosporus. Lunch was also served at the cruising height of around 34,000ft. It consisted of beef and rice, a sweet corn and carrot salad, cheese and a chocolate chip cake. It was tasteless and disgusting. I stuck to eating a cheese roll. The routing was generally the same as before and lucky enough I had views of Brussels National.
Just over the North Sea descent began and we headed on the pattern into Heathrow. I saw many major attractions and the turn over Canary Wharf was splendid. On arrival at 16.10, we headed to Terminal 3 where we had to rush to get to the connecting flights. However, it is always your luck that your baggage is the last out and also you have a very slow taxi driver.
30th August, Flybe. BAe 146, Gatwick-Guernsey
My judgement about the taxi was totally wrong in the end as we arrived at Gatwick at 18.30, 35 minutes on the motorway. Quickly we checked in and then hastily ran down to the gate where boarding had commenced. We were all split up though just happy to be on the flight. We headed down towards Southampton and on to Guernsey. I bought a Pepsi, which I quickly supped at before landing at Guernsey.
At last after two weeks I was home, on landing it was great to see the lights of home flickering, which gave it a very special feeling. Being so far away in a different culture takes its toll and in the end it is just great to be back.