After spending two magical days in Istanbul, it was time to move on to the next stop on my around-the-world itinerary — Tel Aviv.
The new Istanbul Airport is beautiful but also huge, so after a nice breakfast at the Turkish Airlines lounge, I made sure to leave myself enough time to get to the gate. I was flying Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Tel Aviv in business class, and while the flight is pretty short, just about two hours, I was looking forward to another experience with Turkish.
Booking The Flight To Tel Aviv
Just to recap quickly, I booked my around the world trip with ANA miles. ANA is a transfer partner of American Express so I transferred 115,000 Membership Rewards points to ANA. I earned the points by opening the Business Platinum Card from American Express and Blue Business Plus cards. The AMEX Blue Business Plus is one of my favorite cards and I always have it in my wallet. The card has no annual fee and earns 2X points on all purchases up to $50,000/year.
Boarding The Turkish Flight
As usual, all Tel Aviv flights require extra screening. When I got to the gate, security agents were conducting explosives swabs on all cabin luggage. There were male and female screeners, and they only check bags of passengers of the same gender. For some reason, there was no line for women but there were a few guys standing in line waiting for the male screeners.
I’ve noticed that Turkish Airlines’ official boarding time is always 45 minutes to one hour before departure. However, the boarding never starts on time. But even with a late start, they do manage to board everyone quickly, often through two doors for an on-time departure.
In this case the boarding started 20 minutes late. After priority boarding, the general boarding was done by “seat number,” which I assumed they meant by row number.
Side Note: Before Istanbul, I spent three weeks in Japan and Korea and I’ll always compare their super efficient boarding procedures to all my future flights. Somehow, they manage to get everyone aboard huge planes in 15-20 minutes.
Turkish Airlines Business Class Cabin and Service
The seats in business class (2-2) configuration were wide, comfortable and came with a vast amount of leg room and a comfortable footrest. Better than US domestic first for sure.
There was an old-fashioned pull-out screen in the armrest, but the selection of movies and TV shows was pretty limited. They did have, however, a great series of videos about Turkey. These were fun to watch and to dream of my next trip to this beautiful country.
When all the passengers were seated, flight attendants passed around welcome drinks. Once we were airborne, they passed around the lunch menus. It’s amazing (by US standards) that somehow they manage to serve a full meal — menus and all — to business class passengers on a one hour and 45 minute flight.
I decided on the chicken, and while the rest of my food was delicious, the chicken was very dry.
There was of course beer, wine, and Turkish and regular coffee and tea.
The on board service overall was excellent, the food mostly delicious, and the lounge fabulous. I can’t wait to fly on Turkish Airlines again! And with my new found love for Turkey, I am going to work on making this dream a reality really soon.
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