Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Turkish Airlines ~ Flight Review

I recently experienced flying in Turkish Airlines and it demanded a consumer review on my behalf! No, it really did, seriously! Our journey was really long, about 15 hours in total. The route was from Washington DC to Istanbul (9 1/2 hours) and then from Istanbul to Karachi (5 hours). The overall experience was just 'okay'. I might give it a 3/5 ranking maybe? MAYBE! It really was a mixed case of good and bad. I traveled through the Business Class by the way!

Let me get into the good part first, just for the sake of being kind to the Airline people. What I liked most was the breakdown of the journey. The transit stop at Istanbul was timed perfectly so that we felt like our journey was divided into two halves. My mum has back issues (and after all the work my sister and I have been doing lately our backs have been killing us too) so for us the breakdown was awesome. I also liked how the flight from DC to Istanbul was enough for us to sleep like we normally would at home without any disturbances. So before landing in Istanbul we slept very well, and were fresh. All of that was nice and a thumbs up from me!

If you travel through the Business Class of Turkish Airlines you'll enter the airplane to find a bar like setting at the very front of the compartment. The air hostess and steward keep standing there, making drinks and God knows what else behind the bar. Also one of the stewards was dressed like a chef even though I doubt he had cooked all that food! When the flight landed he was super duper quick in changing to normal clothes and all the other air hostesses were laughing at him! You know those annoying giggles? I found this was a little unique of Turkish Airlines, however the bar was simply a breach of privacy for the people sitting in the very first seats and the chef was just silly, really!

The food was good; decent amount of choices to select from, ample quantities, good taste, and nice presentation. Ill be doing a detailed food review, I mean REALLY detailed, very soon on my Kitchen Blog. So I'll save that stuff for later!

Now let's move on to things I did not like, because there's more negatives than positives in this review, haha!

The most important part: the airplane. NOT NICE. They're using old used airplanes, there's no doubt there! The seats were a little shabbier than what I was expecting (being used to travelling on Qatar Airlines), they were spacey but I've sat in spacey-er Business Class seats before, and the appearance is a little cheap to be honest. I sound like a buffoon; but that's what honest review sound like. When you Google Turkish Airlines Business Class they show pictures that are seriously luxurious, with bed like seats that would become flat so you can sleep, compartments for your privacy, etc etc. That however is not the case; I have no idea which airplane that is because it certainly isn't the one you find on this very long journey! (and I thought they must have reserved their best for their longest flights?)
While the seats in the first part of the journey from DC to Istanbul at least worked to the extent that I was able to make them lie down (not completely flat but decent enough), the seats in the second part from Istanbul to Karachi simply did not work. The controls were jammed at first and then when I tried punching them because I was tired from sitting upright I figured they just don't function! The foot rest isn't the best either; firstly it doesn't come all the way up so your legs, even though they are raised will not be straight. For someone with back issues like my mother this was really a negative point because she's not supposed to make her feet hang down for so many hours. Secondly, there is a very annoying something like a roller that keeps spinning at the very edge of the foot rest, so that each time your feet reach the edge they will roll down and slip! What was that roller for? I never understood!

Next is the bathroom on my list of negatives. The bathrooms were not nice; SERIOUSLY small, I mean literally too small and definitely not for disabled people, obese people, or for people who are tall and wide! I was stuck inside and it was dirty too! The floors have sort of unfinished (or maybe unkempt?) edges around the place where should be crowning, and there is always stinky water filled in that space! The sink has no space to place anything more than a tooth brush, no extra tooth brushes or tooth pastes ... just too small and shabby.

Another main issue with the airline was the staff! They were plain rude, horrible, and acting as if they're doing us a favor by bringing stuff to us. One of the stewards asked an old lady with a kid WHY she gave birth in such old age and what will become of the child! I mean .. seriously? She was furious! And another steward told her, "Next time either carry the baby or the bag!" The woman wasn't the child's mother, she was the grandma and she was disabled so she needed assistance. The air hostesses we tried to get in touch with to request wheel chair assistance for my mother were making faces, they made faces if I asked for ice in my diet coke; which was necessary because they serve you room temperature drinks instead of chilled ones. Plus the staff takes HOURS (and I'm not exaggerating) to serve all the food. You get an appetizer and then you're done, and the next course is brought to you after hours! My sister & I had planned to watch LOTS of movies through our super long journey but food took up most of the time.

Speaking of movies, I'll make my last point now. The on-flight entertainment is so so as well. They had only TWO Bollywood movies <--- Blasphemy! And the other ones (depends on your taste) were just fine. I mean, I didn't go OH MY GOD YAY when I checked the A-Z list of movies.

Turkish Airlines overall is just okay. The breakdown is really awesome for the route I traveled on, the food is nice but all of that is offset by the rude staff, the shabby aircraft, super small bathroom, and the no-Bollywood flight entertainment list. I would say one thing for SURE: The flight is just NOT fit for disabled people; the aircraft isn't, the staff is too rude to assist, and the washrooms are pathetic. So if you're disabled don't even give it a second thought. If you're not disabled, maybe keep it as a second option in case you can't book another better flight.

My final recommendation for the DC to Karachi route is still QATAR AIRWAYS! Turkish Airlines, for the heavy price they charge you, is just not reasonable unless you absolutely can't find seats on Qatar!

- S. Ali

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