I’ve never had a great experience with a national airline. My memories of international travel have always been marred with a variety of incidences, thus I was only skeptical when the option of Turkish Airlines came up. Luckily, my luck changed.
Since May of 2008, I have traveled back and forth from the US to Turkey four times, including flights between Istanbul, Izmir, and Nevsehir. It wasn’t until my third trip that I chose to go with Turk Hava Yollari (aka Turkish Airlines), due to having the cheapest flight deal online. For $750 on a round-trip from New York City’s JFK airport to Izmir’s Adnan Menderes airport (non-stop to Istanbul), I couldn’t say no.
Now, having flown the airline a second time to Izmir, my experience continues to be great. There are several highlights to be mentioned:
1) Good food: The fast working staff spare no time in intoxicating you with food and beverage. The portions are more than fair, and the food is served very warm and fresh. Having eaten a variety of foods (kebab, chicken, pasta, salad, desserts), the food has been served perfect for each order.
2) Entertainment selection: The selection of entertainment options on airplanes has grown significantly since I was a child. I remember being 9 years old, and having to stand on my seat to see the one projection screen at the end of the isle. The movie was Rain Man, and I hardly saw anything. Now, I sit comfortably watching my TV monitor planted on the backside of the headrest in front of me with over 20 films, TV shows, and video games to choose from.
3) Service: The crew has always been quick to serve and never hesitant to accommodate.
4) Cleanliness: Seats, tray tables, and bathrooms all tidy.
5) Time delays: I have yet to have a serious time delay with Turkish Airlines. In fact, my last flight arrived early, providing me with enough time to reach the domestic terminal in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. To all those who know how long of a walk that is from the ‘International Arrival’ section, you’ll appreciate this bit of info.
Now, my one criticism of the airline would be that of the English speaking level of the crew. The thickness of the accents can at times be difficult, especially with the overhead announcements. Growing up in a multilingual household, I am very understanding of this issue, but I have also flown to several foreign countries, and I have never had a language barrier with the service. On my flight back to New York once, there was an airline hostess who didn’t even speak English. Lucky for me, my Turkish was up to par with what I needed. On my most recent flight back to Izmir, the passenger next to me was relieved that I spoke English, as it was her first time traveling to Turkey and not one person could really guide her. I was thankful that I had enough experience to provide her with the appropriate information.
I do plan on making each of my flights from here on out with Turkish Airlines, and highly recommend others to do so as well. You won’t be disappointed with the food, service, or quality of the aircraft. Now I, nor the airline, promise perfection, but after that second cup of Turkish tea, you may feel close to it!