Turkish Airlines – not the best but not the worst

1043 Reviews

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June, 2023

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Turkish Airlines

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We flew Turkish Airlines from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to the Azerbaijan capital, Baku, via Istanbul.

Checking in online 24 hours beforehand, gives you the opportunity to swap seats for a small fee. As I hate window seats, I paid £15 each for same row aisle seats: we were happy with our allocated seats on the second leg. Check in at the terminal the following day at 5.45am was straightforward, the gate number came up 90 minutes beforehand, and although we boarded in good time, we took off 30 minutes late.

The complimentary breakfast was a tortilla slice, roll with jam, and cake, with juice, water and hot drinks being available. The leg room was reasonable, the entertainment system easy to navigate, and there was a good selection of films including recent releases.

In Istanbul, we had five hours to kill and found a casual Italian restaurant, Obica. We were unfamiliar with the Lira exchange rate, but thought how expensive can a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a small bottle of San Pellegrino, and a simple shared tomato and mozzarella pizza be? Well, it was nearly £90, in what we later discovered, is often regarded the most expensive airport in the world.

The second longer flight, set off on time, food and drinks arrived and, although there was a choice of meatballs or pasta, we declined the complimentary tray as we were full of expensive pizza, and stuck with wine and water. We landed only 15 minutes late.

Flying home a month later from Tbilisi in Georgia, again via Istanbul, check in, security and immigration impressively took only 45 minutes. We boarded early and set off on time, having paid £37 in total to change seats on both flights.

Transiting in Istanbul involved a huge hike, so we were pleased to have only two hours and no time for extortionately priced pizza. Bags were scanned and after passport control, we found our gate. Here, passports were checked by three different people in close proximity, with the third man determining whether bags would be manually searched. Fortunately, we were both waved through. The meal again was a relatively tasty vegetarian pasta with the option of beef.

The staff were friendly and all in all, it was a reasonable, but not outstanding service.

Helen Jackson

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