Trip Index (what we have published so far):
My layover in Istanbul had been cut short because of the delay getting into Istanbul from Seoul. I was determined to see how the Turkish Airways Lounge in Istanbul had been updated since my last visit.
Table of Contents
CIP Lounge impressions before my Turkish Airlines (Regional) Business Class (Review)
The lounge looks and works much the same as my last visit last year (Istanbul CIP Lounge Review). It was a little less crowded this time, with much more space available. I felt the quality of the catering had gone down, though – in fact, most items were initially completely unavailable (the pastries, pizza and kebabs). Once I got some kebabs, I felt they tasted awful – no comparison to the great food that I used to have there.
Don’t get me wrong – it is still one of the best (and maybe the best) Star Alliance Gold lounge, but it’s not as great as it was just 12 months ago. It’s a high standard they have to keep up.
My flight with Turkish Airlines (Regional) Business Class (Review)
Since the boarding gates at Istanbul Airport are always so far out (I always get a bus gate – I swear), I watched the boarding time closely and started walking towards the gate early.
Once I got there, boarding was well under way and I got on-board quickly.
My assigned business class seat seemed to have a broken footrest, but out of the 16 business class seats, only 3 including mine would be utilized. So I switched into 1A again and waited patiently while we lined up for a long taxiing.
Service started very quickly – we had barely started out over the the Black Sea and I had my favorite Turkish appetizers on my table. Again, the flight attendants barely spoke English, but delivered a fast service. It almost seems like they are being compensated based on service times, but not on anything else.
After a glass of champagne, I gave in to my sleep deprivation and fell asleep right away until we were just 2 minutes away from Bishkek. The seat reclined quite far – I’d say 45 degrees at least – and I had no back pain whatsoever. In fact, I slept very well in those recliner seats – much better than I’d expected.
Arrival in Bishkek was quick and easy. The airport has invested in a couple of Cobus low-floor airport buses and immigration is surprisingly quick. I equipped myself with a local SIM card, exchanged some money and accepted an offer for the 500 Som ($9) ride to the town of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.