Thursday, November 14, 2013

Turkish Airlines Economy Class (SIN-IST-SIN)

Last July, I need to make another trip to Toronto (YYZ).   I decided to try something else.  In April, I took Cathay Pacific (CX) to Toronto, as they have the "best" schedule ex-Singapore (SIN.  However, I found CX long haul in flight service is just so so.  I also do not like their economy seat with touch screen PTV.  Couple with recently CX has just been upgraded their system.  In April, my OLCI was cancelled and CX told me I did the cancellation which I did not and I think it was their system problem.  So with another system upgrade, I am avoiding them at all cost.

It is not so easy task to find an alternative flight to Toronto from Singapore with reasonable price around CX pricing.  There are few alternative such as LH, AY, BA, EK, EY and TK which involes long layover in their hub.  I was contemplating to fly AY, as it will be intereting to do stop over in Helsinki (HEL).  However, the "cheap" price does not earn much in CX Marco Polo Club (I think only 50% or even 0) and as MPC Silver only, I will have no lounge access in HEL.

After doing a bit of research, the choice came to Turkish Airlines (TK).  Few reaons that I decided to try TK:
- In term of transit point, Istanbul (IST) is the best transit point between SIN and YYZ.  It breaks the journey almost into 2 equal halves.  SIN-IST is about 10-11 hours and IST-YYZ is about 9-10 hours (depending on which direction)
- I never been to IST, hence this is a good chance for me to do 1 day transit in IST to explore the city
- TK offers Comfort Class, which is Premium Economy in their B777-300ER which is used between IST and YYZ and the price is quite competitive, just  extra EUR100-200 and the total price is still cheaper than CX M class.

But there is 1 draw back.  The layover in IST is quite long, 7.5 hours for SIN-YYZ leg and 9.5 hours for YYZ-SIN legs.  TK only gives free hotel is the connecting flight is within 10 hours (for Y class) and 8 horus (for C class).  Please note this is not based on your flight schedule but rather on the next scheduled flight (based on timetable).    So, if your connecting flight is 12 hours because you cannot get into the earlier flight (flight full or your own choice), no hotel will be provided.

Here is my flight schedule:

So on 16-JUL, I went to the airport, checkin for my flight.  I want to credit the mileages into my SQ Krisflyer, but I only a Silver status with KF.  I showed my A3 Gold, however, the agent said he cannot issue me a lounge access as it is a third party lounge,  unless I want the miles goes inton my A3.    I told him fine, I still want my miles into KF and he said no issue with Priority Tad.   I think the issue is becuase TK does not have lounge in SIN and they are using SATS lounge.  As I remember correctly  actually Star Alliance rule should allow access to the third party lounge.  Since SATS lounge is not so fantastic and I can use my Priority Pass to acess it or even other lounges, I did not bnother to make any fuss out of it.    I decided to hang around at Sky Lounge instead.
TK 66 route is actually CGK-SIN-IST, but TK does not have any right between CGK-SIN.   The flight was quite full as there were a big group from Jakarta going to Brazil (GRU?) attending the Youth Conference.  It also seems to me that TK may offer the "best" fare to Europe also from CGK, as I saw many people with connecting flight to Europe. 
Here is the A330 plane that will bring me to Istanbul, TC-JNI, name Konak. Later on, I found out the same plane is used for my return flight to SIN.  Here is the plane waiting in Changi for my Istanbul flight.

Here is the plane when arrive Istanbul in the morning,

The same plane is waiting in Istanbul to carry me back to Singapore.

Personally I found the TK A330 is on par with SQ A330 if not even better.  I found the seat recline further in TK rather than SQ.  Seat pitch is also decend (I am 6" tall).  The IFE is good, although selection-wise SQ may still win, but it is still good enough.


Here is the airshow taken somewhere above India

A peak of the Business Class seat

I like this sign board when you board the plane.  It looks very nice

TK is generous enough to give the amenities kits even on economy class.  It contains lip gloss, body lotion, comb, tooth brush, ear plug, eye mask, and socks.  On the return flight, they put it in the tin container which make it very interesting.

Foodwise is OK as the food selection is a bit Mediteranian taste.  Put a side the preference, I found the food quality is good.  The serve supper after take off from Singapore and breakfast just before landing to Istanbul.  What is interesting, they distribute bottle water right after the supper service.  This come very handy for long flight.  I think many other airlines should learn this.

Supper on SIN-IST.  Unfortunetly I did not take the picture of the breakfast


On IST-SIN, they also served dinner right after take off and breakfast just before landed, although it is too late for breakfast based on Singapore time.

Personally I think TK is a good airlines.  I will fly them again, as the service is good and normally their price is quite competitive.
 I will break here, and will continue with coverage of TK Lounge in IST and Comfort Class on the next post.  Stay tune..