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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Class differences

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......................................................................


SUNDAY MORNING...continued.

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.

10 comments:

  1. It is so good to hear you have had such a pleasurable journey back to the UK. I have only ever travelled business class once ( well twice, because I came back business class too ). It was when we went to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year and recognised that a 24 hour flight, after my surgery was a non starter...so we bit the bullet and paid a fortune for what was...as you have discovered......a complete different world. I actually got fed up of being offered champagne ( words I never thought i would say ! ) and got quite angry at the sheer luxury of it all......something between economy discomfort cattle class and over the top river of champagne surfing would be nice !
    Have a wonderful time Ayak, and look forward to that lovely comfortable trip home...and then another round trip of enjoyment when you go back for the boys birthdays again. Thinking of you and hoping you have a fabulous time. J xxxx

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    1. Thankyou Janice. Yes the difference in the classes does seem a bit extreme, although Turkish Airlines have introduced another class between Economy and Business which they call Comfort class..but I'm not sure how that works.

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  2. You deserve a bit of luxury....and it will prepare you for the busy time ahead. Enjoy your visit...i know you will!
    Fresh strawberry juice....heaven!

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    1. It's a long time since I enjoyed such luxury Helen, so I did enjoy it. Now 24 hours later I am exhausted but happy to be spending time with my lovely boys xx

      (I am looking forward to that strawberry juice on the return journey!)

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  3. If any one deserves this pampering it's you Ayak. I'm so glad you had a good flight. Enjoy the time with your family.

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    1. Thankyou BtoB. I am having a lovely time xx

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  4. Savour every moment....you deserve a little luxury.
    (You will soon be back at the village and all that it entails.)
    Hopefully you will be able to catch up on much needed sleep.
    and of course make lots of "special moment" memories with your family, to put on your memory shelf.
    Kind regards
    Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan. Lots of special memories already being made, and I am certainly getting some sleep. Although my body clock is still on Turkey time and I'm awake around 3.30 am! xx

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  5. I'm another who thinks you really deserved some real pampering, Ayak. I hope the return journey was equally enjoyable. My only experience of luxury flight was a weekend trip to New York with DS, who had accumulated so many air-miles he could upgrade us to First for free! Talk about another world....

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    1. Thanks Perpetua. Yes it was enjoyable. I know exactly what you mean about "another world" x

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