(Image retrieved from Airlines and Destinations)
In June 2013 I flew from Toronto to Istanbul from Istanbul to Belgrade, and back, with Turkish Airlines. In today’s post I will be reviewing the airline based solely on my personal experience.
Toronto to Istanbul and back
I would rate the service on board as the best I have had on any airline! At your seat, you are greeted with your own personal comfort kit that includes slippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, earplugs, and an eye mask, as well as a pillow and blanket.
The seats are equipped with your own personal touch screen that has lots of entertainment options for you to choose from.
Food is delicious and you will not go hungry. There are several choices to choose from, but I selected the salmon meal which I recommend if they still offer it. Food was served twice, with an additional snack and bottle of water before they dimmed the lights. You will not go hungry! There was also a chef on board, but I think he was only there for the business and first class passengers.
Flight attendants were friendly, but if you are being difficult (there was a lady on my flight to Istanbul that was the most difficult passenger I have ever seen), they will not tolerate your nonsense. To learn how not to be a difficult passenger, read my post about Airplane Etiquette.
Istanbul to Belgrade and back
This was a much shorter flight, but we were served sandwiches, with two salads, and a dessert so even on the shorter flights you will be satisfied with the food. The service was great. This flight is not equipped with a personal entertainment system so be sure to bring something to make the time go by faster.
From Toronto to Istanbul, and back, I flew with the Boeing 777 aircraft. For a tall person, this is not a very comfortable aircraft as there is not very much legroom. If you can get a free upgrade (or pay for one) you should take it. Also, consider getting an isle seat. I felt really squished by the window.
From Istanbul to Belgrade, and back, I flew with the Airbus A319 aircraft. Same leg room comments apply as above.
Both aircraft were relatively clean, except for the washrooms (see below).
The washrooms on all four planes that I flew with were disgusting. On the Toronto to Istanbul flight, not even two hours into the flight the washrooms ran out of soap. Same thing happened on the way back. They were also filthy because passengers threw their paper towels on the ground. This is not something that is the fault of the airline, but it is something they can easily clean up to make it more clean. Especially on the 10 + hour overseas flight! My advice: bring travel sized hand sanitizer or wipes.
The flight from Toronto to Istanbul, and back, is really long (10 hours there, 11 hours on the way back). If you are flying to another city in Europe, I would suggest paying the extra money to fly with another airline company that has a shorter flight time if you do not enjoy flying. If you don’t mind the length of the journey, this would airline would be my first pick.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being horrible and 10 excellent, I would give Turkish Airlines a 9, only because the washrooms were gross.
Don’t forget that Turkish Airlines is part of the Star Alliance frequent flyer program. Be sure to use your Star Alliance card to collect points. I got 11,000 miles on this journey! If you don’t have one, sign up for free with an airline you fly frequently with that is in the Star Alliance group. Click here for a full list of Star Alliance members.
While you are waiting for a connecting flight at the airport in Istanbul, you can sample many different kinds of Turkish Delight in the duty free shops. This is what I did to pass the time 😉
Strong word of advice: Do not drink the tap water at the airport or in the airplane (you never should drink from the tap in an airplane anyway). The Government of Canada Travel Advisory site does not recommend the consumption of tap water while in Turkey as there is a risk of traveler’s diarrhea. Also, avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables on flights from Istanbul. I had the unfortunate experience of getting traveler’s diarrhea on my way home. Was not a fun flight at all!
Have you flown with Turkish Airlines before? Let me know what your experience was like and how you would rate them on a scale of 1 to 10.