When I was ready to book my return visit to the beautiful country of Turkey – I scoured the interweb for an amazing deal!
The average price I found for a return flight between Toronto and Istanbul was around $1200 CAD for departure in June 2014 and return in November 2014. This search for flights occurred within February 2014. As I am a keen collector of frequent flyer miles with my credit cards, as discussed in this post – I looked into the costs associated with redeeming my points for a ticket.
With my Aeroplan points, Air Canada offered a return flights for 75,000 points and approx. $400 (for tax an fees). I thought that was appalling – $400 just for taxes and fees!!
Luckily I can use my Aeroplan points with Star Alliance and Turkish airlines is part of that alliance. The result was earth shattering for me… exact same dates and departure times as the Air Canada flight – as they code share… the exact same routing cost me 75,000 points and ONLY $72 CAD for the taxes and fees!!! Incredible deal!!
TRAVEL TIP #1: Collect frequent flyer miles to save money! Shop around!
I could not believe it to be true, so I called Aeroplan. They verified the ticket and price to be correct with Turkish Airlines and I booked it!
May 31st 2014 arrived and I was ready with my luggage. I was a bit disappointed as I completed my online check-in procedures a bit late. The flight looked to be completely booked and I was left with a choice of 2 middle seats. Sadness sets in. My preferred seat is the Window! With a window seat, I can look outside, take photos and have a place to rest my head when I need a nap.
When I arrived at the airport, I requested the Turkish airlines ground crew to check if I can be put on a wait list for a Window seat. To my surprise, after a short wait, she found me a window seat!!!! YAY!
TRAVEL TIP #2:ALWAYS ask for what you want – you NEVER know!
Then Turkish airlines kept presenting little surprises for me. 2 professtional chefs greeted me on board the flight (I very much wished I gotten a photo with them). The flight was NOT sold out, my neighbor in the aisle seat and I was able to share the middle seat as it was left vacant during the flight!!
They accented the bathrooms on board with little bunches of green rose and green button mums. The full amenities kit was a lot more than what I would have received if I paid $400 to Air Canada.
In the world of diminishing services in exchange for higher fees, Turkish airlines has chosen to be different. On cross Pacific and cross Atlantic flights, typical amenities include pillow and blankets. Turkish airlines provided a full kit which included socks, slippers, earphones, toothpaste, tooth brush, ear plugs, eye mask and lip balm.
Nourishments provided by Turkish airlines was above average when compared to other airlines. Their staff was attentive and patient.
The shrimp was prepared to perfection! I never tasted white eggplants before and I found it to be quite delicious. The cherry juice was amazing!
TRAVEL TIP #3: It is possible to ask for a whole can of pop! It is possible to ask for more than 1 type of beverage! I typically ask for a glass of water and something else with my meals.
The inflight entertainment was comparable to all other cross Atlantic and cross Pacific airlines. Though I believe Turkish airlines is the first to offer Live TV on cross Atlantic flights. I found the free Wi-Fi to be quite the novelty item However, I do not hope to hear other’s telephone conversations while in flight.
I think Turkish airlines has set a new level of service for cross Atlantic flights. Personally if possible I would rather fly with them versus most European airlines and Air Canada. Hopefully, better services will be found across the board in the near future!