Prior to my recent trip to Israel, I had never flown on Turkish Airlines, but after experiencing them this first time, I would definitely go again. Long ago I reserved myself to the fact that air travel sucks. It’s uncomfortable (especially for the long legged of us), it’s tiring, the services on board are fewer and fewer, the cost is higher and higher, and there are times you wish that you could actually open the exit doors during the flight to toss out some of the people who make the flight even worse (like business travelers who think they’re amazing despite being in economy with the rest of us urchins.) Somehow Turkish has managed to make flying just slightly less painful than most of the other airlines, including Air France whom I generally preferred due to being less shitty than most until recently.
The novelty of having in-flight entertainment on a three hour flight from Barcelona to Istanbul was a marvel. Also having food service on that flight as well as on the two hour second leg to Tel Aviv was even more amazing. Then toss in to that the fact that my Istanbul Tel Aviv flight was quite crowded and instead of flying two 319s or 737s (the typical, cramped choice for a shorter flight), they sent one much more comfortable 777.
I have no idea how they stay competitive with all of this, especially as the budget operator Pegasus is snapping at their heals. But beyond amenities, Turkish maintains a control in the cabin that I don’t usually see these days. You can see the problem the minute you board a flight. Everyone is looking at one another with the same look, “Shit, what language do I speak with you?” as Turkish literally flies all over the world and is working hard to fill the Eastern European gap left by the collapse of Malev in Hungary in 2012.
They’re both accommodating, yet stern, especially when it comes to the following:
While we’ve all probably heard the term, “ass clown”, I had never personally been confronted with one until seeing this guy on my Barcelona Istanbul flight. In initially seeing him, you’d think he suffered from some kind of mental disability, but upon hearing him talk in Castilian, I saw that no, he was just a revolting asshole in his early forties with these huge hipster glasses, a cultivated beard-esque thing, the bald-ponytail Ben Franklin combo, and a tight t-shirt that accentuated his pendulous beer belly. As I discovered later in having to follow him through the terminal, his personal odor was of a certain twinge that only the most butt-sniff-loving of dogs would enjoy. But, hold on ladies, he’s taken as he was flying with his wife whom I think he must have brainwashed somehow.
I bring him up because he’s one of those people who is in a tremendous hurry to get off the flight despite the fact that, as we all know, only those at the front of with Business Class on up tickets get to leave first and only once the doors are opened. As soon as the plane slowed down and turned off the runway, ass clown was getting in to the overhead bin. The plane moved more to get to the gate and he just stood there with this annoyed look on his as to state that the plane moving was crimping his very impeccable style.
The flight attendants weren’t numb to this and whereas in the US they would be careful about saying something, they repeatedly told everyone to sit down, which basically meant ass clown. I suppose they didn’t realize that to get through to a guy like that you need to bean him in the head with one of the demonstration seat belt buckles, but still, I give them points for trying and highly recommend Turkish to anyone in the future. Just a shame I’ve been building up my good will and points with SkyTeam (Air France KLM, Delta) and Turkish is Star Alliance (Lufthansa, United)…