We had an amazing time exploring Istanbul for the entire day. We landed around 4 AM and then went to the city. We visited the Blue Mosque, the Galata Tower, the Bosphorus Bridge, the Grand Bazaar, and finally the Hammam place. We pampered ourselves by getting a Turkish bath and oil massage. What a fun day!
Sadly, the day was almost over. Our flight did not depart until after midnight, but we wanted to make sure that we got back with plenty of time to spare. Not to mention, we wanted to spend time and enjoy the famous Turkish Airlines Lounge at the new airport.
Flight Number: TK692
Route: Istanbul (IST) – Cairo (CAI)
Schedule: 00:30 – 01:55
Duration: 2h 25m
Aircraft Type: Airbus A321neo
Cabin: Business Class
Date: July 23, 2019
I had my boarding pass in hand, so I didn’t have to check-in. There is a separate entrance for Turkish Miles and Smiles Elite and business class passengers. Within minutes, we passed the immigration and made it to the lounge. Turkish Airlines has 3 separate lounges at that time. The lounge is gorgeous and spacious. There are plenty of options to dine. I will cover the lounge and the new airport experience in a separate post.
An hour before the scheduled departure time, we proceeded to the gate. It took us a good 15 minutes to walk to the gate. Remember, the new airport terminal is massive! My Flightradar24 app didn’t show the actual aircraft. It only said Airbus A321. As we boarded, I found out that we would be flying the brand new A321neo! I was super excited.
The cabin finish looks fresh. It reminds me of the newer generation regional business class seats. It’s more like a shell type. The finish doesn’t resemble the Turkish Airlines color scheme, but it looks nice.
The seats have a decent recline, a footrest, and a partition around the headrest that you can extend. Every seat has a personal IFE. Waiting at my seat was a pillow and a headset. We were offered pre-departure drinks. The selections were the same as usual: lemon mint, fresh orange, fresh raspberry, and water. I had orange juice this time.
Boarding completed and the door closed on time. As I mentioned earlier, the new airport is massive. It took us nearly 30 minutes from the gate to the runway. Once airborne, the friendly flight attendant walked through the cabin to take an order. Turkish Airlines offers a full meal service even on a midnight departure flight. I was so impressed with how well they executed the service. The food quality and quantity were impressive – Thanks to their partnership with the famous DO&CO, Vienna based catering company.
I had some smoked salmon to start, followed by some Turkish dish. It was delicious!
Dinner service completed a little over an hour after take-off. I reclined and dozed off for an hour until we landed in Cairo.
We landed in Cairo early. We had a few hours to spare. But a few hours in Cairo is the least given how adventurous it can be transiting in Cairo. Though, fortunately, I never had a bad experience transiting airside in Cairo. Maybe I should write up a post on this.
I am very impressed with Turkish Airlines’ hard and soft product. Even though my experience on the Boeing 787-9 Inaugural Flight from Istanbul to Bali was just ok. But it was understandable given the nature of the event.
Airbus A321neo is a comfortable ride. I didn’t notice any major changes in terms of the interior design, but the passenger experience has always been superior. The soft product was outstanding. The flight attendant working in the cabin was professional and friendly. The food was impressive for a two-hour flight departing after midnight.
Turkish Airlines will be my first choice when traveling in the region within its network. Have you ever flown the Turkish Airlines’ new Airbus A321neo? What was your experience?