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FLX

Joined:
26 Apr 2007
Number of messages:
2409
  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 26 Dec 11:15

After much research+planning of various flight options<Among lots of other things for this trip such as hotels+ground transport), I hv selected TK and BD for my upcoming biz trip to Ireland and the U.K. in late Jan2012.

Sectors:
1) HKG->IST->DUB on TK(Types: 77W+320)
2) DUB->LHR on BD(Type: 319)
3) LGW->IST->HKG on TK(Types: 321+77W)

Costs(Each much cheaper than I expected/budgeted):
TK: About US$1,500, all inclusive, PY class(TK calls it the Comfort Class)
BD: Eu50, all inclusive, Y class

Hv never flown either carrier so don't really know what to expect. So far, BD seems good according to captain bill and TK has just won a bunch of 2011 awards fm SkyTrax(Including the Best PY class in the world: www.turkishairlines.com/en-HK/passenger/index.aspx#ComfortClass ). Don't know why but I get the feeling that TK may be a little hidden gem for longhaul.

For the intercon sectors, I hv considered QF, KL, EK and even SU(Aeroflot). For DUB->U.K./London, I hv considered EI, Flybe and even the dreaded FR.

For the record, it was 16yrs ago when I travelled to Europe for biz last time so lots of things(Including my out-dated assumptions re traveling to/from/within Europe) might hv changed.

Pls feel free to comment.

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Mabel

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 26 Dec 18:45

TK has been expanding its long haul ops aggressively over the last 1-2 years. It recently began IST-LAX flights on a 343 3x/week and from what I hear loads have been decent. I've never flown TK but I'm glad to see they are daring to compete against EK/EY for Europe/Asia intercontinental traffic. Have a safe trip.


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CPH

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 26 Dec 19:34

Turkish is ok, I flew with them a few times CPH-IST-BKK (2x), CPH-IST-DEL (2x) and CPH-IST-NBO, service is alright!


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FLX

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 28 Dec 10:32

Frankly, almost all that I hv learnt about TK are fm the airline industry media THIS yr. This is the most unfamiliar airline that I've ever booked with for the 1st time in decades. U can imagine my anxiety. However, there seems to be a lot of goodies coming fm TK(Particularly its intercon flights) in recent yrs @ least on paper:
1) Best Airline-Europe_SkyTrax2011(E.g. Mostly positive comments re crew attitude+efficiency+friendliness fm the traveller comment section on SkyTrax)
2) Best Y Class Catering-Worldwide_SkyTrax2010(E.g. Onboard chef on every intercon flight to supervise catering for ALL 3 cabins)
3) Best PY Class-Worldwide_SkyTrax2011(E.g. 46 pitch, width equal to the best intercon C/J seat on AF,KL and LH.....At such dimensions, TK's has got to be the most spacious PY seat in the world by a wide margin. U also get upgraded meals that are diff fm the already excellent Y-class catering)
4) Excellent value for $. E.g., for the price of a slightly discounted Y seat on other premium carriers such as SQ,BA,CX,KL,etc., U can get a PY seat on TK.
5) Almost all of TK's intercon routes are now flown by its brand new 77W fleet(None is over 15mths old) complete with brand new cabin+seat designs.
6) Very good regional network coverage+frequency in Europe+N.Africa+MidEast(Very surprise that BA or any of its regional brands has NOTHING between its LHR intercon hub and Ireland....a bit akin to if QF has nothing between SYD and NewZealand or UA has nothing between ORD and Canada).

Things that I hv learnt so far about TK that are not so good:
a) Ground staff attitude @ TK's IST hub can be rude and transiting/boarding mgmt can be inefficient.
b) No priority checkin/boarding/baggage for PY pax(Typical PY perks on other premium carriers such as QF,BA,NH,JL,etc.)
c) Turkey is still not exactly a secured nation per se. A state of minor civil war still exists in the Eastern tip of the country(Basically, majority moderate Muslims in power fighting against the radical minority)...IST can be a hi-po terrorism target(As U know, I often sympathize with the majority moderate Muslim community but I'm not blind/ignorant).

My buddy and his wife flew TK's new PY class fm HKG for a vacation in Turkey a few wks ago and he enjoyed it a lot. This guy frequently flies CX's regional C/J class for work(He's a banker @ Citibank so such perks came with the territory....well, @ least until recently...) across S.E.Asia and commented that TK's PY seat is exactly as wide(2-3-2 abreast on 77W) as the regional C/J seat on CX(Also 2-3-2 abreast on 772/3) and the seat pitch is only a few inches shorter.

Although DUB->LHR will obviously be just a short hop for me, I do wonder what's it like to fly BD shorthaul. I know NOTHING about BD except that it's still a Star member(So I can earn Star miles) as of today. Anyone else has any experience or heard stories re BD? Will I be expected to pay for the use of the inflight lavatory? Seriously, after U add up the sometimes optional surcharges such as checked bags+priority boarding/seat assignment, I'm utterly surprised that the costs are so similar between BD, IE and FR with BD being slightly cheaper.

Will share my post-flight review here on this forum in Feb12.

Mabel:
Thx for your kind wishes. TK's IST-LAX is now 5x/wk on 77W(Since Mar11) with avg load factor still decent.

Yes, it's really nice to see carrier not fm the Gulf region to employ similar strategy as the Gulf Big3 and starting to succeed. Subject to my upcoming experience on TK, I foresee little-known TK may soon be upgraded to SkyTrax 5Star status just like how OZ, seemingly out of nowhere, emerged to become a 5star carrier 5-6yrs ago when practically everyone outside Korea thought KE was the only longhaul airline of the country. It's unlikely TK will ever be on the same scale, volume-biz as any of the Gulf Big3 but quality-wise, it'll likely become an even-match soon....a sort of quality boutique longhaul alternative to EK. The early signs are good.

CPH:
That's reassuring to hear. What's your experience during your transit @ IST? Was TK's hub terminal comfortable and easy to navigate(I hv never been to IST)? Chaotic boarding(That's what I've read fm a few travellers' comments)?


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captain bill

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 28 Dec 11:10

FLX i use BD a loton UK domestics and also LHR to Europe and they are very good. Allocated seats and good spacing between the seats. Cabin Crew are also very good and helpfull. Inflight service is pay as you go at reasonable prices. They are not a LCC but they offer a high quality LCC service apart from the allocated seat. You will enjoy.

EI offer a similar service but I think BD have the edge.
FR I think offeres the worst of all service on their routes out of DUB to anywhere in the UK.

Have a safe, enjoyable and successful trip.


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CPH

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 28 Dec 14:48

FLX: Transit in IST is not that bad, but with a touch of the orient, there are several nice lounges there where you can make use of your Priority Pass, and no feeling being in a Muslim country, Istanbul is a very modern and interesting city, by the way.


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FLX

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 29 Dec 4:56

captain bill:
Thx for your kind wishes and sharing your experiences re BD. Out of all 3 carriers, it sounds like BD is the closest in offering a traditional full service appoarch which is exactly what I'll need for this long trip. I don't expect nor need inflight service for a sector lasting only a bit over an hour(Even majors such as AFKLM and LH don't offer much of these within Europe these days anway) but pre-assigned seat and free checked bag allowance on BD are really handy features(Reduce stress upon boarding and eliminate the hassel of guessing how many kg of checked bag I need to buy online prior to flight) for this particular biz trip.

CPH:
Glad U mentioned about quality of the transit lounges @ IST. I'll hv upto 4hrs to kill @ IST on my return leg and it's great to hear that lounge quality is nice(I'm not looking for a fancy+plush clubhouse but just a space away fm the crowd where I can sit back with a chill beer in hand). Not a member of the PriorityPass program but luckily, 1 of my credit card allows free access to the Garanti Zone lounge @ IST. Doesn't look like a typical airport lounge at all:
http://gadarchitecture.com/garanti-zone-airport-lounge-istanbul.html

Being based in HKG and travel often to Malaysia+Indonesia for work or vacations, I'm already used to Asian/Muslim ambiance that is way more than just <a touch of the orient>. However, I'm guessing IST will still be quite exotic for me and diff fm anything in East Asia.


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CPH

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 29 Dec 10:38

FLX: Yes that GarantiZone lounge looks pretty fancy, at least not a lounge you would expect in a muslim country, tells you a bitt about the nitelife in Istanbul too!


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EI-DUB

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 30 Dec 10:08

Flew BD two weeks ago DUB-LHR-DUB and it was a pleasant experience. 83 return to LHR, which included a bag.


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captain bill

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 30 Dec 13:21

Hi EI-DUB

Good to hear from you again. We don't hear enough of you these days but I know you are hard at it for exams.

Good new year to you


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Spot planes

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 02 Jan 23:35

FLX: I frequent KUL, SIN and CGK at least twice a year, plus the smaller Indonesian airports JOG, SRG, SUB. Never been to DPS yet.

KLIA (KUL) being about the same age as HKG, it definitely lacks the ambience. I was there in March and the train was down and we ahve to use the buses.

CGK T2 international terminal would be at the bottom of the scales but has character. The lounges are not too bad.

SIN to me is too commercial and lacks tranquility.


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FLX

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 02 Jan 18:20

Spot planes:
I wasn't referring specifically to the airports in Malaysia+Indonesia but cities/towns across these nations in general. However, if U happen to pass thru DPS, U can't miss the Hindu style motifs/architectures and the abundance of praying lounges(More Islamic themed than multi-faith) in its terminals for example. The terminal @ AMI(Now closed and replaced by the brand new Lombok Int'l 3mths ago serving the entire Lombok resort island....dive sites there are even more exotic/frontier raw than those around Bali by the way) has similar ambiance but minus the Hindu influence of course. i agree T2 of CGK(Jakarta) is old school in terms of creature comfort+efficiency(That huge place never really hv a real renovation/modernization since it was built in the early 90s but, in my opinion, a very 80s terminal styling/layout concept) but it's clearly rich in Muslim style/motifs in the departure/secured areas.

Terminals in Malaysia are a lot more understated than Indonesia's in terms of Muslim/Oriental cultural influences. Except for its praying lounges and the rather large rain forest placed INSIDE its satellite/concourse, I 100% agree that the KUL terminals would never be out of place if located @ the most advanced airports in Australia, China, Japan or even Europe. However, U can still spot plenty of Muslim or Oriental cultural motifs/ambiance if visiting other 2nd-tier Malaysian terminals beyond KUL such as those in SZB(The old KL airport), PEN(Penang), LGK(Langkawi), LBU(Labuan), BKI(KotaKinabalu, old terminal), etc.

SIN is not located in a Muslim-majority nation so naturally not my target for comparison with IST re terminals with Muslim ambiance. Loaded with tons of creature comfort+pax conveniences and ruthlessly efficient no doubt, I totally agree with U that all terminals @ SIN are too commercial and definitely too busy....not crowded but just hectic(Don't know why but I get a calmer feeling traveling through similarly advanced hub terminals in ICN, KIX and even HKG). I also find the architecture(Including the newest T3) @ SIN somehow lacks character, i.e., too much form follows function. It's not an eyesore but it just doesn't excite your senses(i.e. Travel=Adventure) the way ICN makes U think U're transiting a space station, the ceilings of KIX makes U think U're INSIDE a giant airfoil/wind tunnel or the gently tapered long concourse interior of HKG hinting time travel through a wormhole.


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CPH

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 02 Jan 20:04

But Jakarta used to be a very nice airport back in the 80ties as I remember it!


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Mabel

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 03 Jan 0:52

Madonna looked pretty good back in the 80s too, but look at her now!


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FLX

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  Topic: My upcoming intercon flights/trip to Ireland+U.K. - Sent 03 Jan 6:56

CPH:
Being based in Asia-Pcf, I admit I'm a bit spoiled in terms of terminal std.....even nit-picking when I talk about terminal architecture/style/layout when most pax in the world would be pleased with just a comfortable+convenient+efficient facility to make travel nowadays a less painful/exhausting experience. Few care about asthetics of an airport.

It was 76 the 1st time I arrived LAX as a kid. I thought the terminals/layout there were amazing+futuristic(No kid visiting LAX would hv forgotten about that flying saucer-shaped restaurant.....straight out of the 70s sci-fi movies). I had never seen any terminal as advanced. Today, I think LAX terminals are a bit of an embarassment for a major U.S. Int'l gateway. Rebuilding TBIT is a good start but LAX needs way more than that just to stay competitive, let alone recapturing the cutting-edge status it enjoyed in the 70s. By the same token, T1+T2 of CGK are clearly behind the curve today(Though brand new T3 is as modern+comfy as anything built this century in Asia) thx to 3decades worth of progress in terminal design worldwide. In contrast, EVERY terminal in SIN(T1 was also built in the 80s but constant upgrades keep it fresh), KUL, BKK and HKG suggests nothing but 21st century air travel. CGK was probably even a bit ahead of its time in the 80s but its Asian neighbours hv leap-frogged it since then.


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