This was my first Turkish Airlines flight since the pandemic began. Much has changed in the aviation and airline industry, in a bid to survive the biggest crisis ever. This is a photo report of my flight on Turkish Airlines TK763 from Dubai to Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines received permission to re-launch flights to the UAE in December. They're currently flying around 14 times a week to Dubai using a variety of aircraft including B777-300/ER, B787, A330 and A350. My flight had nearly 300 passengers on it and was operated by a B777-300/ER, registration TC-JJZ.
We departed Dubai around 08:45 in the morning, from runway 12R; shortly after take off we made a turn over the desert and headed towards the city and the Persian Gulf. Our flight time was 4 hours 20 minutes, with a routing over the Persian Gulf, then Iraq and finally into Turkey.
I was not surprised to see that everything provided was sealed and wrapped. The cabin seems thoroughly cleaned before the boarding.
I also noticed that the cabin crew were frequently cleaning the bathroom on the flight; coupled with regularly walking around the cabin to check on passengers and remind them to wear face coverings.
I received a modified menu. Notably the chef was no longer onboard the flight.
Obviously the onboard catering standards at Turkish Airlines have been lowered, compared to pre-pandemic days at least. The airlines now only offer hot meals on flights over 8 hours; with the Chairman mentioning, during my interview with him, that they will be bringing back hot meals on other international flights from April. Click here for my interview.
Although Business Class was arranged in 2-3-2 configuration, I have to admit that I slept very well in it. There was no table console on top of my legs, so I could turn freely. I appreciate the forward facing too. The rest of flight was quiet and eventless.
It was a quick and straight forward flight. I went to the cockpit to thank the crew, as usual they were very accommodating to the AvGeek.
I will be releasing a fully interactive video this weekend, documenting what has changed at Turkish Airlines. Stay tuned.
Tough Time For Network Carrier
Istanbul Airport was notably quieter. It’s a huge challenge for every network carrier, the airlines have had to make do without the network capabilities and optimisation of the network.
Just like every other airline, Turkish Airlines has had to quickly adapt to fluctuations in the market; this is especially evident in the international market. Unlike many airlines, no government bailout was provided to Turkish Airlines; this meant that the airlines’ mindset had to be immediately adjusted to cope with such uncertain times.
Click here for an exclusive interview with Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, İlker Aycı; this interview provides an intriguing insight into Turkish Airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class using Miles?
One of the best programs for booking Star Alliance awards such as Turkish Airlines is Air Canada Aeroplan. The program recently underwent some significant changes, but they were positive overall. Star Alliance partner awards still have fixed rates and no longer have carrier-imposed surcharges. Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One.