I'm not talking about the difference in class between people here. In fact class is something I rarely refer to, except perhaps to argue the point that we were all born equal, and "class" depends on money and circumstances. Basically we are all human beings, good and bad, rich and poor, etc.
I am referring to class in terms of air travel. As I write this I am in fact sitting in a comfortable armchair in the Turkish Airlines business class lounge in Ataturk airport, Istanbul, awaiting my connecting flight to London.
I'd rather the word class wasn't used for the different levels of service and price in airline travel. It somehow gives the impression that some people are better than others. I would prefer the labels "basic/no frills" ticket, Economy ticket, and perhaps "luxury ticket" instead of Business class.
Having said all that I am so far enjoying the luxury of a Business "ticket" thanks to my saved airmiles and a promotion, and for once finding dates that suit me.
I only ever travelled this way once before, with Turkish Airlines, years ago when my father was dying, and the only ticket available to get me home quickly was in Business, so I had no choice. It was certainly a very nice way to travel, but the reason for flying to the UK really didn't enable me to enjoy the experience.
I'm going to log the differences in service in this post, for my own reference really. Many years ago I would always keep a daily diary of my travels, and it's good to look back years later.
In Economy on the domestic flight from Bodrum to Istanbul, which takes around one hour, passengers are given a small picnic box containing a sandwich and cake.
In Business this morning, before take-off I was served with a choice of juices. I opted for fresh strawberry. Breakfast was served on proper plates and dishes, with metal cutlery as opposed to that served in Economy. There was cheese, olives, tomatoes. Fresh fruit...melon, oranges, kiwi, grapes. A cheese and pepper omelette, served with mushrooms. Fresh bread rolls, and little pots of jam. And a large cup of delicious coffee.
I was first off the plane in Istanbul, and discovered that there is a separate Passport Control for Business passengers...no queues.
Now I'm in the Lounge. It's very peaceful, has excellent free wifi, and lots of food and drinks to choose from, also free.
You can read about it HERE. I'm on my second cup of delicious filter coffee, but after the substantial breakfast on the flight from Bodrum, I can't eat another thing....although the quality of food on offer is very tempting!
.........................I'm going to stop here to go and catch my flight to London, and will continue my experiences later......................................................................
The flight from Istanbul to Heathrow was very enjoyable. We set off an hour late, mainly because of security checks. Even when we were ready to take off several security men entered the cabin and did a check of everyone's hand luggage. I personally don't mind delays of this kind. I have always felt safer in Turkish airports because they are pretty hot on security, and it reassures me.
Before take off Business section passengers are served drinks. Our seats are comfortable, with lots of leg room, and on some aircraft can extend into beds. On this flight that wasn't the case, but the seat did recline sufficiently, and there were also extendable leg and foot rests. Individual screens were concealed in the large space between seats for each passenger to use for watching videos, games, etc.
In Economy, food is served in those small sectioned trays...all in one go, and drinks at the same time. I've always been impressed with Turkish airlines food, but the meal in Business was so much more impressive.
A menu was brought to us and a drinks list. The drinks on offer are pretty much the same as for Economy, with the addition of champagne...which I decided to have. (I don't often get the opportunity to drink champagne, so this was a real treat).
The menu consisted of 5 courses. Again everything served on real plates with metal cutlery. The starter was a selection of mezes, followed by stuffed aubergine. A choice of three main courses. A mango dessert, a selection of cheeses, and coffee. And it was waiter service for each course.
All in all a very pleasant experience from start to finish.
It is certainly worth doing your sums when you book flights. It's all too easy to opt for the "cheap" deals, but always take the hidden extras into consideration. I have often found that once you add all these things up, it can work out as much, if not more, expensive than a scheduled flight, where baggage allowance, and food/drinks on the flight are included in the price of the ticket.
I have also discovered that occasionally, if you book well in advance online, there are special promotions with Turkish Airlines. For example, I have made a reservation for next April to visit my grandsons for their birthdays, and noticed that for just a bit extra I could fly in comfort and luxury again, because there is a promotion running at that time for Business class. It's a non-refundable/non-changeable ticket of course, but if, like me, you are sure of your dates, it's worth paying a little extra.
One of the flights necessitates a 9 hour stopover in Istanbul airport, which I would absolutely hate if I was travelling Economy, but with Business you can spend a very relaxing day in the Lounge. Alternatively you can take advantage of Turkish Airlines guided tour of Istanbul. This is also free, and includes entry to museums and historic places, lunch, and transport from and return to the airport for your flight.
Read more about Tour Istanbul HERE.
And finally I've managed some sleep after being awake for 20 hours. I spent a few hours with my daughter and grandsons last night, and can't wait to see them again today. A busy couple of weeks ahead.