Turkish Airlines Singapore to Europe and Back Economy Class

Diskussion i 'Reserapporter' startad av guitarsingapore, 2 Juli 2016.

  1. On a recent family holiday to Europe, my family flew to Copenhagen via Istanbul and subsequently we flew London Gatwick back to Singapore on Turkish Airlines Economy class. Overall, it was a good experience. A few weeks after we came back home, the horrific attack at the Istanbul Airport occurred. Feels surreal, as we were there recently (though only in the restricted area). Condolences to the victims and the terrorist attack is a vivid reminder of the global fight against terror.

    Yet, life must go on. Is Turkish Airlines a good airline? Not bad. So let me do this review, while I remember the lives lost at Istanbul Airport.

    For our holiday, originally we planned to book Singapore Airlines SQ for the 4 of us, but the option of Turkish Airlines came along and we could save almost $2K Singapore Dollars for the 4 of us. So we decided to give Turkish a try.

    At Changi Airport, when we checked in, I was informed by the check-in staff that I could use the SATS Premier Lounge (even though I was flying in Economy) because I was Star Alliance Gold status. Well, I recently turned Star Gold and I don't even have my card yet, so I wasn't expecting this. Anyway, it was great, though I could only bring one guest. At the lounge entrance, I asked nicely if I could bring both my kids and the reception staff kindly agreed. My wife stayed outside though, she went shopping. Later on, I found out that SATS Premier Lounges were also Priority Pass lounges, so we could have used the lounge, albeit for a fee.

    Here is the video of the lounge, which is used by a good number of airlines. I guess this is called a contract lounge. They had a decent hot food selection, not as good as the SilverKris, but good enough for most. There was the signature laksa, which tasted good. Also they had 3 OSIM massage chairs at one corner. Cool!
    Brandten gillar detta.
  2. Our flight was TK55 and departed at 2200hrs from Changi Terminal 1. The plane was almost full, with a good number of passengers from Singapore, including some aunties (if you watch the video, you can hear some of their voices during boarding, exclaiming that 2-4-2 is good). What is 2-4-2? That's the seating configuration on the plane, 2-4-2. Flight time was 11 hours and two meals were served. Flight was smooth and we got to Istanbul slightly ahead of schedule.

    We arrived in Istanbul slightly ahead of schedule and the next flight was a good 3 hours or more away. We had already decided beforehand, and having read how busy Istanbul Airport would be, that we would park ourselves in a Priority Pass lounge. Both my wife and I are Priority Pass holders (get the card free from our credit card), but we have to pay for lounge admission at US27 per person. Well, since we had factored in this expense, we went for it, and it was a good decision because the airport was indeed crowded and the lounge provided a nice oasis to rest for a bit, with some food and drink. Here is a video of the experience.

    We enjoyed the peaceful time in the lounge, and when it was time to board, we made our way to the gate. We had to take a bus to the plane bound for Copenhagen which was flight TK1783. The bus ride was nice, could see many planes. When we boarded, we found the missing cushion that I had talked about earlier. Once that was fixed, everything was smooth. Flight was good and we got some food to eat. We arrived in Copenhagen about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
    Brandten gillar detta.
  3. We didn't really spent a lot of time in Copenhagen. The objective of going there was to board a cruise ship for a cruise to the Baltic seas. The hotel we stayed in was called Hotel Bethel, a 2-star hotel at River Nyhavn - basic but clean and one of the least expensive options we could find. We stayed one night.

    Since I have made the videos of the Hotel and surrounding scenes, let me share them here. First is Hotel Bethel.

    This next video shows you some scenes from Copenhagen, River Nyhavn, as we were walking around.

    Part 2 of scenes from Copenhagen.

    Before I go back to continuing the flight reviews, I show you a video on taking public transport from the hotel to the cruise port in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is not difficult to do. The important thing is to pack light and have luggages that you can drag (i.e. 4 wheelers or better still 8 wheelers). My dear wife does most of the research and planning for the trip. My kids and wife will drag the smaller bags. I will drag the biggest bag. My parents went with us for this trip so I got them to take the taxi since they are retired and they have earned it. Taxi from Airport to Hotel was about 280DKK or $55 SGD. Hotel to cruise port was about 200DKK or $40 SGD. For my family, we bought a 24 hour ticket which cost 80DKK per adult which cost $16SGD and kids travel free on the public transport with an adult. We could use this 24 hour ticket for our arrival into Copenhagen as well as the transfer to the cruise port the next day, as well as various bus rides in between.
  4. Ok, back to the flight reviews. When we disembarked from the cruise ship in Copenhagen, we immediately made our way from the cruise port to the airport for a flight from Copenhagen to London. Copenhagen airport was pretty nice, but we almost missed our flight because they put their passport control after all the restaurants and shops in the restricted area. What happened was that after we got past security, we thought we had plenty of time. So we went into a Priority Pass lounge and chilled out till about 25 minutes before flight departure, and then we made our way to the gates, only to be confronted by passport control! And there were only 2 counters opened with a fairly long line. Thankfully the lines cleared quickly and we still made it to the plane, even though boarding was well underway. Phew!

    Here are two videos, the first is the Aviator Lounge at the Copenhagen Airport, which is a Priority Pass lounge. We had quite a lot of time to spare so rather than wander around the airport, I decided to just bring the entire family into the lounge to get some rest. Nothing great in terms of food selection (as you can see in the video) but seats were comfortable and the coffee was good. I also did some plane watching.

    Again, thank God that we made the flight. If you fly out from Copenhagen, beware the immigration counters! Here is a video of the British Airways flight from Copenhagen to London Heathrow. Somehow, when we fly between Europeans cities, we end up going with British Airways. They are a bit more expensive than the low cost carriers, but I think we are happy with the product. On this flight, I asked for whiskey and coffee. Never had this combination before, but there is always a first time.
  5. We spent some days in London, just chilling out and having fun. Some random videos of our time in London before I resume the Turkish flight back to Singapore.

    Foyles Bookshop, a very beautiful bookshop in London. Enjoyed browsing. Frankly, I don't know how long such bookstores will survive but I hope they do.

    OKI Noodle and Sushi bar near Wimbledon Tube station. Had lunch here after visting the Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court Palace (home of King Henry VIII isn't at Wimbledon, but we were on our way back. From Wimbledon, we had to take some train to the Hampton Court Palace station, took about 20 minutes.)

    This building, which was a public library, looked a bit like the Sandcrawler from Star Wars. It is at a tube station called Canada Waters.

    A visit to Harrods at Knightsbridge, and I spotted this decorated Sari cake. Look at the price tag! Harrods at Knightsbridge is a very busy place so go early if you want a better experience. We were there shortly it opened. Didn't buy anything though.

    Some more food videos from our time in London. This is from a restaurant in London Chinatown called Young Cheng which serves wonderful Lobster Noodles. Oh, so delicious! We ate a lot of stuff and the bill was under 50 GBP.

    We tried the one Michelin Star Yauatcha restaurant's taster menu called 'Taste of Yauatcha' in London SOHO. The cost was 30 pounds for 2 pax, before taxes. It is a taster menu, so you get one piece each of the following: Har gau, Crystal dumpling wrap with pumpkin, Baked venison puff, Prawn shui mai with chicken, Mushroom spring roll with black truffle, Garden Dumpling, Prawn and beancurd cheung fun and Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and dried shrimp and choice of Chinese tea.
  6. Alright, after that distraction, it was back to air travel. First, we had to get ourselves to London Gatwick. At first, we thought of the Gatwick Express, but after some research realised that there were cheaper options that cost much less and took just as fast. So here is the thing - the train station at London Gatwick is a common station that is used by several train companies, and it is not monopolized by the Gatwick Express, unlike the Heathrow Express at Heathrow. So we ended up buying tickets for Southern Railway, one day in advance, for off-peak travel for the four of us. Cost about 32 pounds for the 4 of us, which was fine. However, the train was jammed packed! Reason was that many earlier trains were cancelled. So we had to squeeze into the train. Thankfully the journey was very smooth and after 30 minutes of standing, we got to Gatwick in very good time. Video footage of some clips onboard the train.

    Some scenes from London Gatwick airport. Checking in for Turkish Airlines was easy enough as there were no lines when we arrived. The check-in staff weren't particularly friendly, just got the job done. We got into the restricted area (after security checks) fairly quickly and had some time to spare. I was impressed with the way the security area flow was designed at Gatwick. Things moved more smoothly and there wasn't so much pressure to pick up your stuff quickly from the security boxes soon because they created a space in the middle area for you to retrieve your stuff. See 0:15 of the video. Here are some scenes from the check in and restricted area.
  7. Soon it was time for our flight. Hanging around in the Gatwick restricted area wasn't too bad. We quickly found our way to the gates for the London Gatwick to Istanbul service on Turkish Airways. I think they fly thrice a day, and ours was the third flight of the day, flight TK1998. It was a single aisle Airbus A321 aircraft. We were seated one row behind the emergency row seats and the legroom in that row was awesome. Not sure how to get those seats, maybe you got to pay more. The flight was about 3 hours and a hot meal was served - some Turkish minced meat on rice. Taste was not bad. After the meal, I settled down to get some rest.

    We arrived at Istanbul airport in good time. Our next flight (Istanbul to Singapore) was scheduled to depart at 0150hrs and we had arrived before 2300hrs the night before. So we decided to look for the same Primeclass CIP Lounge and hang around there for a couple of hours, just to chill. This first video shows us walking to look for the Primeclass CIP Lounge, which is also a Priority Pass lounge. The lounge was located at one corner of the airport, below a food court.

    Well, the lounge didn't serve burgers and my kids wanted some burgers. So the easiest way to get them was to step outside to buy some burgers from Burger King. Truth be told, the airport felt very different outside the lounge. It was crowded! Not sure why there was only one counter opened when there were so many people and the crowds looked to get a bit out of control, but things soon settled down. Anyway, I got my burgers and brought them back to the lounge. Definitely not cheap, but hey, this was an airport after all.
  8. Soon, it was time to head to the gate. This video shows you some footage of the walk to Gate 228A where Turkish Airlines Flight TK 54 would depart. Now, when I googled Gate 228A, I couldn't find it! It looked as if there were no gates beyond 226 based on the map of the airport, at the Istanbul Airport website. But the screen clearly said 228A, so perhaps the website was not yet updated. That turned out to be true. We walked and past Gates 225, 226, and then that area of the airport looked new. It must be a new wing of the airport, so Istabul Airport was expanding. Business must be pretty good!

    When we go to the gate, there were many passengers waiting, however it was not yet time to board. Once boarded started, it was quite smooth and we got onboard the aircraft and settled into our seats. It was the Airbus A330, similar model we flew on a couple of weeks back on the Singapore to Istanbul leg, with a 2-4-2 configuration. This video shows you the interior of the aircraft and the meals service. The food was very similar to what we had on the earlier London to Istanbul leg, so I didn't eat much. Overall, it was a smooth flight and we landed at Singapore Changi safely. Thank God for safe travels and thanks for watching!

    A video of the collection of kiddy and other stuff we got from the Turkish Airlines flight from Singapore to Europe and back. On one leg, the cabin crew gave a nice teddy bear to just one of my kid and not the other. Check it out!

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