Opinions on Turkish Airlines?

Trying to plana trip to Germany this year and while looking at prices on the off-season, I noticed that Turkish airlines is undercutting everyone else by 50%, with a stop over at istanbul before heading over to Germany. Makes for a much longer flight of course, but it’s half price!

I’ve never heard of them though. Any opinions on this airline or the stop over a Istanbul? Should I just stick to Lufthansa?

I’ve flown them a couple times. Perfectly normal experience, but most major airlines are pretty much interchangeable to me. I would say they are on par with the major European carriers, meaning nothing great or exceptional, but nothing I’d avoid (like Spirit Airlines.)

I’ve flown them a few times, and they are totally fine. If I had the spare time to do an Istanbul layover, I’d totally do it. Make sure you get your Turkish visa, though.

I fly them all the time, very nice airline that is much better than most US carriers. Plus they give you a little piece of Turkish delight.

My wife has flown Turkish Airlines to Germayn twice, and both times used the free overnight hotel layovers in Istanbul, in both directions, with plenty of time to tour the city. She loved it.

I did intraTurkey flights as well as international flights on the airline this summer. They were great with service and even had better movie selections than Air Canada or United.

They even handled the “stolen” Syrian passport carrying customer quite professionally.“If I was going to steal a passport, why would I pick Syria? I am happy to have a passport from any other country if you can get one for me. I don’t want the Syrian one, but it is the only one that I have.” He was allowed to board, he tried to board 1st as he clearly knew what was going to happen. He was probably my favorite seat mate ever with his intelligence and stories. He singlehandedly embodied the immigration problem everywhere (regardless of religion or cause for emigration). He was well-educated, motivated, bright, and would be a true asset in any society and losing people like him creates a brain drain for the future in his country of origin, but he was simply born in the wrong country at the wrong time.

Turkish Airlines has big expansion plans, and has been adding flights like crazy to North America. But to increase their passenger volume to fill all these flights, they are undercutting major U.S. and European carriers on price. One of my co-workers also flew to Italy a few months ago on Turkish Airlines; it was $500 cheaper than any other carrier, which was a big deal to her.

We flew them from Chicago to Cyprus twice; they fly into Ercan in northern Cyprus, which was still kind of a haul from our destination, but to save $1,000 each trip it was worth it. But that itinerary always involves a layover, and most of the itineraries on other airlines also involved an overnight layover in an expensive city like London or somewhere in Germany. The godawful 11-hour nonstop from Chicago to Istanbul, followed by a 2-hour layover and then another 2-hour flight to Ercan, was one of the few itineraries that didn’t involve either 3 legs in each direction or an overnight layover.

But yeah, they are totally fine as an airline. My one complaint was that on the most recent trip they lost my suitcase for about 24 hours, and getting it back was literally an international incident because there are no diplomatic relations between the northern and southern halves of Cyprus. So while the main Turkish Airlines baggage office in Istanbul kept insisting that my suitcase could be delivered to where we were staying in the south, the folks at Ercan who actually had my bag thought I was smoking crack and told me that I had to come back to the airport (which would have been basically a whole day what with schlepping back to the border, taking a bus or taxi back to the airport because the rental car agreement didn’t allow for driving it in Northern Cyprus, etc.).

But that is, shall we say, a rather specialized problem. And on the bright side, when I told them they could just hold my suitcase until I came and got it and decided to buy some clothing items and have them reimburse me for them, they did actually reimburse me.

Did anyone else immediately think, “Joey, have you ever been on a Turkish airline?”

Also, they are part of the Star Alliance so if you have enough miles, you can access their business lounge in Istanbul, which is amazing. It has a baklava bar and a slot car race track.

Sounds like there’s nothing to worry about then. The only question left to me is: Is the 11+ hour flight from NY to Istanbul survivable with a 2 year old?

Thanks guys!

I can’t help you with the 2 year old, but I fly about 100k miles a year, and do the DC/Dubai 15 hour flight often. The key is to bring a lot of different types of entertainment: bring a heavy engrossing novel, but realize you also might want a cheesy magazine to break it up; if you have an ipad, load it with a series you’ve been wanting to binge watch, but also a sitcom you’ve seen a million times. I like podcasts and audio books better than music because I find that something with a plot makes the time go by faster.

BTW, if you have a long lay over in Istanbul, Turkish airlines offers free bus tours of the city. I’ve never done it, but my friends say it is a great way to kill some time and it gets you out in the fresh air. You can buy a tourist visa online before you go so that you can avoid long lines at passport control.

Be sure you go to the Turkish government website for that. Googling will get you an agency that will (after you fill everything out) hit you with a fee of $50 or $75. For a US passport, the direct government site now charges $20. You’ll need to print the visa and take with you to present with your passport, but maybe you can just display it on your device. If you travel round trip with stops in Istanbul both directions, one visa is good for multiple entry 180 days.

I went through Istanbul three times last summer. The first time, they never asked me for my visa, and the next two times, they saw the Turkish stamps in my passport and assumed I had the visa. Maybe it comes up automatically when they scan youru passport. But don’t count on it, just print the visa in advance.

I was not flying on Turkish Airlines, but I flew three times on one of the smaller Turkey-based airlines (Atlas), and even they were a very, very nice airline with courteous efficient personnel, good food, comfortable planes, etc.