Turkish Airlines

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In 2020 Dave and I had plans to spend our wedding anniversary in Istanbul, followed by a 16 day trip to Croatia. Turkish Airlines fly directly from Cape Town to Istanbul so it was a no-brainer to use them as the carrier for our trip.

View From The Turkish Airways Plane
View From The Plane
Why I will never take a travel voucher from Turkish Airlines

Of course, at the time of booking our flights the word Covid had not entered our vocabulary. Our flights were cancelled by the Airline and we were offered the choice of a cash refund, or vouchers. In hindsight I should have taken the cash! If I had, we would have been refunded the Dollar amount we had paid (all flights are priced in US Dollars). The Rand was strong against the Dollar, and we would have lost a small amount of money. But, under advisement, I took the voucher. Still at the reduced price, but with a condition of using the voucher within a certain timeframe. In 2021 I re-booked our flights. This time in Business Class as they had a really good offer. I paid the difference in via credit card as our vouchers did not cover the entire cost.

Take a look at this post on Turkish Airlines from Lavender and Lime #LavenderAndLime Share on X

When our flights were cancelled, the credit card payment was refunded, and the voucher portion was reissued. Again at a loss! We were given another 2 years to use our vouchers, but we could not book our tickets online which meant we could not book at the lowest price class available. Nor could we pre-book seats without a hefty $99 fee per seat selection.

Istanbul From The Sky
Istanbul From The Sky
Flying to Italy

Because we had vouchers to use, Dave and I decided to fly Turkish Airlines when we went to Italy last year. As I mentioned, we could not pre-book our seats without paying an extra R7000, which was not going to happen. And, unlike other airlines we travel with, there is no free seat selection at the time of check in. On our first flight we were seated on the middle and aisle seats on the right window side. This would never have been our choice. As we had ‘change’ left over on our vouchers, we went to Italy again this year with Turkish Airlines. This time we spent the money and paid for seats, which had come down to $39! When flying a 3-4-3 or 3-3-3 configuration we take an aisle and the next seat in the middle of the row.

Naples From The Sky on Turkish Airlines
Naples From The Sky
The pros of flying Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines flies to a total of 126 countries which means from Cape Town we have a lot of choices. My observations are all based on flying economy class. The seats are really comfortable, with a fair amount of legroom. Amenity kits include socks, slippers, an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste. The pillows are some of the best I have ever used, and the blankets warm enough, and big enough. The food for the most part on all of the 8 flights we have taken was really good. Hot rolls are served with each meal and the only bad meal I had was one breakfast. We were served su börek and the pastry was wet. And I left the eggs and yoghurt after seeing Dave’s reaction to them. The bathrooms are kept clean, and the amenities in them make you feel like you are travelling business class.

Meals on Turkish Airlines

 Istanbul Airport and Tour Istanbul

Istanbul Airport is the largest airport in the world, and it means you will do a lot of walking! Depending on your layover time, there are various options. Other than on our return flight from Rome this year, we have used the IGA Lounge for all our layovers. The shower facilities are excellent and we used them before going back to Cape Town, and on our way to Rome. Departure gates are shown 90 minutes before your flight leaves, which will give you ample time to get from where you are to your gate. We chose a long layover on our return from Naples so that we could take advantage of the free TourIstanbul offer. They offer 7 tours during the day, and evening, and ours included a meal.

The cons of flying Turkish Airlines

The flight leaves Cape Town at 16h35 and there is a rush to be served dinner. Lights off is at 19h00 and knowing we would be landing at 04h40 I took a sleeping tablet then. I set my alarm for 2 hours before landing meaning the most sleep I would get was 7 hours. This sleep is never of a good quality, and waking up so early takes its toll. This year I spent my entire holiday feeling exhausted. The return flight leaves Istanbul at 01h40 which is 4 hours past my bedtime. Last year Dave and I were both wiped out by our long day before the flight and we napped in the afternoon! This year was not as bad, but bedtime could not come soon enough for me. This is one of the reasons we won’t choose Turkish Airlines in future.

IGA Lounge

See the links below for blog posts I published on June 27:

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10 thoughts on “Turkish Airlines

    1. I have some amazing sunset photos from plane windows, and I love taking landing photos. When coming into Istanbul you feel like you are flying right next to the apartment blocks and mosques 🙂

  1. I recently flew in Turkish Airlines and had a good experience. The airlines also served me gluten free food. That was actually the best part.

  2. I remember your travel plans being disrupted during the pandemic. We lost money too, on not re-booking some flights in time for a family trip (didn’t realize our kids had less time than we did bizarrely). And, I hate the fatigue from long flights too. We actually did a double vacation when we went to Hawaii–took a 7 hour flight to Arizona and spent 4 days there, then home, rather than a 13 hour trip all the way home.

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