sexta-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2010

Promoção St. Valentine da Turkish

A Turkish Airlines está com uma promoção para o St Valentine´s Day, o Dia dos Namorados na Europa, que é comemorado em 14 de fevereiro. Para celebrar a data, a companhia faz uma ação para o voo TK16, saindo do aeroporto de Guarulhos para Istambul, nos dias 12 e 14 de fevereiro.

A passagem de ida e volta, para Istambul, na classe econômica, custa US$ 1.001, por pessoa, sendo que o segundo passageiro paga somente US$ 1 pela tarifa de ida e volta. Já a Comfort Class, nova classe entre a econômica e a executiva, a tarifa sai por US$ 2.002, sendo que o segundo passageiro paga US$ 1. Já na Executiva, a tarifa ida e volta, nos dias 12 e 14 de fevereiro, para quem viajar acompanhado, será de US$ 4.004.

Esta promoção só é válida para embarques nesses dias e para dois passageiros que viajam juntos. As taxas não estão incluídas.

Mais informações: www.flyturkish.com.br

Fonte: Panrotas

quinta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2010

B777-300ER da Turkish estreia neste domingo em GRU São Paulo

A partir deste domingo (dia 26), os voos da Turkish Airlines no Brasil (GRU) passam a ser operados pelo Boeing 777-300. Com esta aeronave, a companhia amplia o número de assentos por voo, que passa a ser de 337 poltronas divididas em três classes - executiva, comfort class e econômica. Mais informações no www.flyturkish.com.br.

Fonte: Panrotas

segunda-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2010

Turkish tem dois novos destinos na Ásia de GRU

A Turkish Airlines conta com dois novos destinos na malha a partir deste mês: Dhaka, em Bangladesh, e Ho Chi Minh, no Vietnã. O primeiro destino será conectado a Istambul via Karachi (Paquistão) quatro vezes por semana. Já Ho Chi Minh será ligada por meio de Bangcoc (Tailândia), também quatro vezes por semana.

Atualmente, a companhia voa três vezes por semana de São Paulo (GRU) para Istambul. Mas, a partir de 25 janeiro, a Turkish oferecerá quatro voos semanais ligando os dois destinos. Para mais informações www.flyturkish.com.br.

Fonte: Panrotas

Turkish inicia venda do voo São Paulo-Guanghzou (China)

A Turkish começou a comercializar na semana passada as passagens para cidade chinesa de Guanghzou, para onde a companhia começará a voar em 31 de janeiro, a partir de São Paulo (GRU). A aérea também voa para outros três destinos da China – Pequim, Xangai e Hong Kong, todos com conexão em Istambul. Sites: www.flyturkish.com.br ou www.thy.com.

Fonte: Panrotas

quinta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2010

Turkish Airlines dá comissão maior via consolidador

A Turkish Airlines firmou uma parceria especial com alguns consolidadores e está oferecendo uma comissão especial para os agentes de viagem que efetuarem reservas através dos consolidadores autorizados. Na classe econômica e na executiva, a comissão é de 6% mais 2%. Na nova Comfort Class (classes de reserva A e U), a bordo do Boeing 777, a comissão será de 6% mais 10%. Vale repetir: somente para reservas efetuadas via consolidadores autorizados. E até 28 de fevereiro de 2011.

Fonte: Panrotas

segunda-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2010

Top DMC, com apoio da TK, leva operadores brasileiros à Síria e Líbano

A Top DMC, de Ângela Barros, leva grupo de 12 brasileiros para a Síria e o Líbano hoje. O grupo tem operadores, organizadores de eventos e empresas especializadas em viagens de incentivos. Os brasileiros chegam na noite de amanhã a Damasco onde serão recebidos pela TLB Destinations, representada pela Top DMC no Brasil.

Na capital da Síria, a programação dos brasileiros inclui o Museu Nacional, o bazar Hamedia e a Capela St Paul, entre outros pontos turísticos. O grupo visitará também as cidades históricas de Palmira e Aleppo, antes de seguir para o Líbano, onde conhecerão Beirute. O Portal PANROTAS acompanha a viagem e sua cobertura poderá ser acompanha também pelo blog PANROTAS em Viagem. O grupo viaja com apoio da Turkish Airlines, parceira da Top DMC.

Fonte: http://www.panrotas.com.br/noticia-turismo/operadoras/top-dmc-leva-operadores-brasileiros-a-siria-e-libano_63696.html?pesquisa=1

quarta-feira, 24 de novembro de 2010

Turkish paga mais comissão a partir de dezembro

A Turkish Airlines vai pagar mais comissão para os agentes na alta temporada. A partir de 1º de dezembro, as emissões feitas por meio dos 30 consolidadores selecionados pela companhia aérea turca passam a ter a seguinte condição:

Econômica: 6% mais 2% para as classes de reserva Y, B,M, K, H e S;

Comfort: 6% mais 2% ou 6% mais 10% para as classes de reserva A e U, variando segundo a data;

Executiva: 6% mais 2% para as classes C e D

O comissionamento é válido para emissões de trechos on-line a partir do Aeroporto de Guarulhos (GRU) e com conexão em pontos do Brasil dentro do acordo com a Tam, parceira da Turkish na Star Alliance. Mais informações sobre as emissões e a lista de consolidadores podem ser encontradas no site da Turkish, no www.flyturkish.com.br ou no (11) 3371-9600.

Fonte: Panrotas

quinta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2010

Turkish foca em incremento na rota São Paulo-Istambul na Abav

A Turkish Airlines participa da Feira das Américas – Abav 2010, que acontece entre quarta (dia 20) e sexta (dia 22), no Riocentro, com um foco específico: o aumento de 65% em capacidade de passageiros na rota que liga São Paulo (GRU) a Istambul, na Turquia.

“Estamos passando de uma aeronave com menor capacidade para uma maior e ainda estamos oferecendo mais um voo por semana”, explicou o diretor da Turkish Airlines no Brasil, Atagün Kutluyuksel.

O diretor se referiu, mais precisamente, a dois fatores. Um deles é o aumento de três para quatro voos semanais, o qual entra em vigor em 25 de janeiro de 2011. A outra medida adotada para incrementar o fluxo será a troca de aeronaves, visto que, a partir de 26 de dezembro, a companhia passa a utilizar o Boeing 777-3000ER na rota, com 337 lugares, que substituirá o Airbus 340-300 – que comporta 270 passageiros.

Fonte: Panrotas

segunda-feira, 11 de outubro de 2010

Turkish enfatiza nova classe no novo Boeing 777

A rota entre a Turquia e o Brasil será uma das primeiras a receber o novo Boeing 777-3000ER da Turkish Airlines – a empresa comprou 12 desse modelo. E, ao mesmo tempo, será uma das primeiras a oferecer a nova classe Comfort – intermediária entre a econômica e a executiva. A estréia da aeronave e do jato está marcada para dezembro.

“O primeiro dos 12 777-300ER que compramos será entregue neste mês e o último deve chegar até o final de 2011. A estreia será na rota de Istambul para Pequim e Xangai, na China”, disse ao Portal PANROTAS o diretor da aérea turca no Brasil, Atagün Kutluyüksel, que recebeu o ministro do Turismo, Luiz Barretto, no check-in no aeroporto de Guarulhos, agora há pouco. “Hoje temos uma frota de 145 aeronaves e, daqui a dez anos, a meta é ter 250.”

Esse jato terá a seguinte configuração: 28 poltronas na executiva, 63 na Comfort e 246 na econômica. “O brasileiro vai ter um padrão mais elevado de serviços que o oferecido na econômica e pagando cerca de 60% menos que a tarifa da executiva”, destacou Kutluyüksel sobre a nova classe.

E, para 2011, o diretor da Turkish deve começar a premiar os maiores vendedores entre operadoras e consolidadoras.

Fonte: http://www.panrotas.com.br/noticia-turismo/aviacao/turkish-enfatiza-nova-classe-no-novo-boeing-777_62153.html?pesquisa=1

sábado, 9 de outubro de 2010

Ministro Luiz Barretto inicia giro pelo Oriente Médio

O ministro do Turismo, Luiz Barretto, inicia amanhã (quinta, dia 7) um giro pelo Oriente Médio, onde visitará três países – Turquia, Jordânia e Israel, nessa ordem. A programação contempla, entre outras ações, seminários com agentes de viagens e operadores e encontro com investidores de olho nas oportunidades da Copa do Mundo e dos Jogos Olímpicos. Barretto embarca daqui a pouco, às 23h35, no voo da Turkish Airlines para Istambul. O diretor da aérea turca no Brasil, Atagün Kutluyüksel, recebeu o ministro no check-in no aeroporto de Guarulhos.

“Vamos promover o nosso País com os produtos Cultura e Sol e Praia, entre outros, juntos aos agentes de viagens e operadores em seminários que irei apresentar em Istambul, Amã e Tel Aviv”, disse Barretto ao Portal PANROTAS.

“Também vou retribuir, na Turquia e na Jordânia, a visita dos ministros de Turismo daqueles países aqui no Brasil”, emendou ele. “Desses três países, a ênfase maior será na Turquia e em Israel porque há voos diretos, respectivamente, com a Turkish e a El Al para São Paulo. Ligação aérea direta é ótimo quando se trata de turismo e negócios em geral.”

Na agenda turca, Barretto vai conversar com o CEO da Turkish Airlines, Temel Kotil. “Ele vai me comunicar oficialmente o quarto voo semanal, que começa em dezembro”, adiantou o ministro. Na Jordânia, a programação será na capital Amã. “No encontro com o trade local, a Magda Nassar, pela Braztoa, vai apresentar o Brasil junto comigo”, afirmou ele, que irá a Petra. De lá, o ministro irá de carro para Israel.

Na agenda israelense, Luiz Barretto contou que vai visitar Jerusalém, Tel Aviv e Nazaré. “Além de visitas e encontros, vamos fazer benchmarking, visto que Israel é um dos ícones mundiais quando se trata de Turismo Religioso”, destacou ele, que volta na próxima semana ao Brasil voando pela El Al.

“A minha expectativa para essa viagem é a melhor possível”, disse Luiz Barretto. “Estou muito confiante com esses novos mercados e o que o Brasil pode aprender com esses países”, finalizou o ministro do Turismo.

Fonte: http://www.panrotas.com.br/noticia-turismo/mercado/ministro-luiz-barretto-inicia-giro-pelo-oriente-medio_62151.html?pesquisa=1

A Turkish Airlines anuncia reajuste de tarifas

A Turkish Airlines anuncia hoje ao mercado, por meio de um comunicado, que vai reajustar as tarifas por determinação da matriz em 2011. A empresa não diz o percentual de aumento.

No entanto, sugere que os bilhetes devem ser emitidos até 30 de novembro deste ano “para garantir o valor das tarifas informadas”. Mais informações pelo tel. (11) 3371-9600 e www.flyturkish.com.br.

Fonte: Panrotas

quarta-feira, 18 de agosto de 2010

Turquia terá escritório de turismo no Brasil

O diretor da Turkish Airlines no Brasil, Atagün Kutluyüksel, disse hoje, em visita à sede da PANROTAS em São Paulo, que a Embaixada da Turquia confirmou que o Ministério do Turismo do país terá um escritório no Brasil, provavelmente ainda este ano.

Isso por causa do sucesso do voo da Turkish e pelo potencial do mercado brasileiro. "Viemos para ficar no Brasil e termos esse apoio do Ministério do Turismo será ótimo", disse Atagün. Hoje a Turkish tem três voos semanais para o Brasil, mas terá quatro já em dezebro e espera chegar à ligação diária em dois anos.

A Turkish já divulga a diversidade de atrativos e cenários da Turquia por conta própria, em diversos materiais, alguns dos quais em português. "Temos história, cultura, praia, noite animada como a brasileira, spas, ecoturismo, compras...enfim, uma diversidade que vai agradar bastante o brasileiro", afirma o diretor da companhia aérea, que faz parte da Star Alliance, ao lado da Tam.

"Temos preços a partir de 15 cidades brasileiras, pagando comissão aos agentes sobre o valor total e não apenas o internacional", lembra ele, que está com ocupação de 82% a 85% nos voos do Brasil.

Mais informações www.flyturkish.com.br.

Fonte: Panrotas

domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010

Turkish contrata ex-Lufthansa e aumenta equipe

O diretor geral da Turkish Airlines no Brasil, Atagün Kutluyüksel, já está preparando a equipe para o aumento de voos e a chegada do 777 em dezembro deste ano. Karin Lima, ex-Lufthansa, é a mais nova contratada. Ela terá foco no mercado corporativo, mas atenderá a todos os nichos de clientes da companhia aérea.

Hoje a Turkish conta com 14 funcionários no Brasil, com sede em São Paulo. Tem um GSA em Buenos Aires e em breve nomeará um em Santiago (Chile). O e-mail de Karin, que começa na segunda-feira, é e-mail é sales2@flyturkish.com.br.

Fonte: http://www.panrotas.com.br/noticia-turismo/aviacao/turkish-contrata-ex-lufthansa-e-aumenta-equipe_60502.html?pesquisa=1

Turkish se prepara para quarto voo e 777 em dezembro

Com ocupação de 82% a 85% de seus três voos semanais entre o Brasil e a Turquia (agora sem escalas), a Turkish Airways está pronta para a quarta ligação semanal, a partir de 26 de dezembro e com uma novidade: o Boeing 777 no lugar do atual A340. Segundo Atagün Kutluyüksel, diretor Brasil da Turkish, essas mudanças significarão 50% de aumento de capacidade.

"O Boeing 777 virá direto da fábrica para o Brasil e terá três classes: 28 na executiva, que tem padrão de primeira classe, 246 na econômica e 63 em uma nova classe a Comfort, intermediária entre as duas outras, com espaço para pernas e tela de TV maiores que na econômica", explica o diretor. Na executiva, o 777 também trará as poltronas com reclinação total, 180 graus. "Nosso serviço de executiva é bastante elogiado pelos passageiros, que o comparam à primeira classe", garante ele.

Hoje 65% das vendas da Turkish na rota São Paulo-Istambul são feitas no Brasil, mixando turistas (incluindo religiosos), turismo étnico (especialmente libaneses) e negócios. Desses turistas 30% seguem além Istambul e 70% ou ficam na Turquia como destino final ou passeam por lá antes de seguir viagem.

Fonte: http://www.panrotas.com.br/noticia-turismo/aviacao/turkish-se-prepara-para-quarto-voo-e-777-em-dezembro_60503.html?pesquisa=1



domingo, 8 de agosto de 2010

Turkish cria nova classe; São Paulo-Istambul ganha 4° voo


A Turkish Airlines criou uma nova categoria: a Comfort Class, cujo posicionamento ficará entre as classes econômica e executiva. O objetivo, inclusive, é unir o conforto da classe executiva com a tarifa atrativa da econômica.

Para tanto, a nova categoria oferecerá assentos com 116 cm de distância um do outro, além de 49 cm de largura e monitores individuais de 10,6 polegadas.

A partir de 26 de dezembro, a frequência São Paulo (GRU)-Istambul passará a operar com a nova classe. Antes disso, em 21 do mesmo mês, o número de voos semanais da rota aumentará de três para quatro – às terças, quartas, sextas e aos domingos.

A aeronave utilizada na operação será o Boeing 777, configurado para 28 assentos na classe executiva, 63 na Comfort Class e 246 na econômica, somando 337 lugares.

Fonte: Panrotas

quarta-feira, 16 de junho de 2010

Post-flight comments

TURKISH AIRLINES

Economy Class

I still don't have a lot of experience flying on Turkish Airlines so my observation is not a generalisation of what the services are on a daily basis. I only base my ratings on these particular flights I had taken with them so far.


Ground services

Hong Kong Airport TK ground services
  • Friendly and professional staff: 8 out of 10

Istanbul Airport TK ground services
  • A corteous gentleman at the transit desk seemed concerned about me not having a place to stay at the airport for more than 30 hours when I arrived in Istanbul from São Paulo. He tried to arrange for my accommodation. His name was Hakan (if I'm not mistaken). Though I had to wait for 12 hours to get a place at the airport hotel, I still appreciate his help.
  • I came across some few ground handling agents who may need to undergo more customer service training.
  • Long waiting hours in Istanbul on connecting flights for the São Paulo-Hong Kong route (update: connections for Hong Kong-Istanbul-São Paulo are now OK - no long waiting time in Istanbul)
  • Luggage handlers in Istanbul took care of my luggage during transit. My luggage was waiting for me in Hong Kong when I arrived there. That's efficiency in action.
  • Istanbul Airport is a nice airport for transit. And more...with proper documentation and if schedule allows, you can embark on a free city tour of beautiful Istanbul!
  • Their rating is: 8 out of 10

São Paulo Airport TK ground services

  • Check-in counters of Turkish Airlines are some of the most beautiful and decorated counters at the São Paulo Guarulhos Airport.
  • The agent who attended me was professional, spoke good English though a bit serious. The lady gate agent was rude.
  • There were Turkish interpreters at the check-in counters for those passengers who don't understand Portuguese nor English. That's a plus point!
  • Rating is: 9 out of 10


In-flight service (in all flights)
  • Lovely cabin interior (update: With the new THY planes, cabin interior looks even better.)
  • For the A340 on the Istanbul-São Paulo service, legroom was limited due the IFE box. For a 14-hour flight, it was very uncomfortable. Seat width was OK though. On-board entertainment in economy was excellent with many choices of movies and songs.
  • In all flights, the flight attendants who served the rows where I was sitting were, in general, professional and corteous. Nothing to complain about.
  • I love the food. And oh, they are the recipient of the 2010 World's Best Economy Class On-board Catering Award...need I say more?
  • Forget minor flaws. For these first four flights I had with Turkish Airlines, this is their rating: 9 out of 10

Customer service online/via e-mail
  • As for their frequent flyer program, my Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles classic card was delivered to me two weeks after my trip. Nice!
  • In my overall experience, THY staff in Turkey promptly responds to e-mails within 24 hours. That's efficient.
  • Their rating: 10 out of 10

Just a quick note on their Lusophone route (services to Portuguese-speaking countries- Brazil and Portugal): Turkish Airlines could assign to these flights certain flight attendants who speak at least some basic Portuguese. The Portuguese-speaking passengers to and from Brazil and Portugal would be happy about it. Turkish Airlines is doing good in these routes and speaking the language of the majority of the passengers of the market they serve would be much appreciated. Just my 2 cents...

Again, I only based my comments on my first four flights on Turkish Airlines so far.

So guys, no brainer...obviously, I'll fly with Turkish Airlines again! And I highly recommend them!


sexta-feira, 11 de junho de 2010

Turkish aceita duas malas de 23 kg a partir de julho

Em 1º de julho, a Turkish Airlines mudará o sistema de bagagem nos voos TK015 e TK016, assim como nas conexões emitidas. A partir desta data, serão aceitos dois volumes com 23 kg cada. Os agentes de viagens que desejarem mais informações podem mandar um e-mail para info@flyturkish.com.br.

Dois dias depois, a Turkish enviou uma nova comunicação ao mercado, voltando atrás nessa decisão. Portanto, continua valendo a regra anterior: a franquia da bagagem continua duas malas de até 32 quilos cada.

Fonte: Panrotas

terça-feira, 8 de junho de 2010

Turkish lança promoção no voo para Istambul

A Turkish Airlines está com tarifas a partir de US$ 1.109 para voos entre São Paulo (GRU) e Istambul (Turquia) para embarques até o final de setembro.

A companhia voa três vezes por semana sem escalas, de onde oferece conexões para Índia, China, entre outros destinos na Ásia e Oriente Médio. Os voos são operados com Airbus 340-311/313 equipadas com duas classes: executiva (34 assentos) e econômica (237 assentos).

Fonte: Panrotas

quinta-feira, 3 de junho de 2010

DESTINATION BRAZIL 2010: Istanbul-Hong Kong with Turkish Airlines

AIRLINE: Turkish Airlines (TK)

ROUTE: Istanbul (IST) - Hong Kong (HKG)

AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300ER


DATE: 01 June 2010
FLIGHT NUMBER: TK70
FLIGHT DURATION: 10 hours
CLASS: Economy
PURPOSE OF THE TRIP: Personal


For this flight, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Leaving the airport hotel.

Near my gate







The B777-300ER that will take me to Hong Kong





Food selection

First Service:
-yoghurt with cocumber
-herbed feta cheese and eggplant salad
-Turkish style minced beef sautéed seasonal vegetables and potato gratin OR cheese borek/spinach borek grilled beef sausage
-cheese cake

Second service:
-yoghurt with muesli
-for breakfast: feta gouda cheese/marinated black olive/scrambled eggs, cheese borek, sauted mushroom, grilled tomato/green pepper/ovenfresh bread/butter/jam



This flight was very comfortable as the middle seat was empty and sure, the on-board service of THY didn't disappoint me!


terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2010

DESTINATION BRAZIL 2010: São Paulo-Istanbul with Turkish Airlines

AIRLINE: Turkish Airlines (TK)

ROUTE: São Paulo (GRU) - Istanbul (IST)

AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300ER



DATE: 30 May 2010
DEPARTURE: 23:25
ARRIVAL: 18:05 (next day)
FLIGHT NUMBER: TK16
FLYING TIME: 12 hours
CLASS: Economy
PURPOSE OF TRIP: Personal


I spent 2 weeks in São Paulo and I had fun! Two weeks were not even enough. Some say that you'd need only 3 days to know the city. Others would opt to stay for more days...

But for me, it's not about going to usual places where the tourist would go, take a picture, and go to another site and do the same. Perhaps São Paulo is not the most beautiful city in Brazil but I like its energy, the lifestyle, and the pace of city life. I'm not even a city boy (although I live in the city) but this is my kind of city. Sometimes it's intimidating how large it is but that alone impresses me.

It also has a cultural significance to me. I'm a Lusophile and São Paulo is the largest city in the Portuguese-speaking World and just being there speaking Portuguese every minute of the day was a different experience for me. In the Philippines I never get to do that of course, hehe.

I've met interesting people and made new friends. I also had some not-so-good experiences but not bad enough to eclipse the good impression that I have of São Paulo (including the cities in the interior) and its people.



And...welcome to the 4th part of my trip report!

My flight to Istanbul was leaving at 23:25. I was at the airport 5 hours before the flight. I was so sad to leave...


Check-in

I believe the agents who handled the check-in process were employees of a ground handling company but there were at least 2 individuals who were helping out and they looked like Turkish Airlines employees. There was also an interpreter dedicated to help Turkish passengers who didn't speak English nor Portuguese. That was a nice touch!

The agent who attended to me was a bit formal but he was professional and he spoke good English. Too bad, I forgot to mention my Miles and Smiles membership number. I was confused at that time. I was confused and sad to leave, haha.

I requested for an aisle seat. Yes, I had learned my lesson. That was the first time that I requested for an aisle seat. I guess I'd stick to that when flying during night time for long hours because I really need to use the washroom and I can easily do that when I'm seated along the aisle.


The check-in counter. I would say that TK's check-in counters were among the most attaractive in Wing C.

The guy at the far left was the interpreter.
Another shot at the check-in counter

More pictures of the terminal





At the gate, I was expecting an Airbus 340. After all, it was the scheduled aircraft to be used.


But to my surprise, it was a B777-300ER!




I tried to photograph this Airbus of TAP Portugal bound for Lisbon, Portugal. But oly the tail was evident.

The holding area full of passengers

The front view of the aircraft. His name is "Marmara"

Only recently that I discovered that "Marmara" is this. Wow it's the FC Barcelona-themed aircraft!


Boarding was calm. After the customary pat on the aircraft, I went in and settled comfortably in my seat.

After some minutes, a guy claimed my seat. I took a look at his boarding pass and we had the same seat number! Then another guy came. And another one. So four passengers assigned to one single seat!?

I wasn't really keen on giving up my seat as I was the one who was seated there first. A female flight attendant got our boarding passes and I was worried I'd need to move to another seat. Good thing nobody claimed my seat again and at first it seemed that the whole row (three seats) was only for me! Four persons assigned in one seat but two sits in my row were empty. But before we took off, a Turkish lady occupied the other aisle seat so at least we had the middle seat empty. On the parallel row, there was also some confusion. The same reason. Maybe there was a glitch on the seating assignment. Well, shit happens sometimes.

During the seating assignment commotion, a passenger suddenly collapsed. No, no. It wasn't related to the seating arrangement confusion. We were all happy and had a sigh of relief when the passenger got up and seemed OK after that.


My faithful backpack with my Air Canada luggage tag and Turkish airline logo pin


My Air Canada luggage tag (I wasn't given any Turkish Airlines tag, too bad) caught the attention of a gentleman seating on the other side of the aisle. He asked me if I was from Canada. I said no.

He's from Calgary but he lives in Thailand. So he said we're neighbors! We had a good chat about planes and he was asking why I know some stuff about the airlines and all. I simply told him I'm an airline geek. He laughed. Haha. He's a cool guy.

We took off some minutes late but I didn't mind. After all, I had some 35 hours to enjoy in Istanbul. No, not the city but the airport terminal! I didn't choose it. It's the schedule I was given. Knowing this, I had earlier sent an e-mail to the hotel helpdesk and they responded that a hotel accommodation and breakfast were to be provided. So I wasn't worried at all. I would just sleep or do some planespotting half-day. Or at least that's what I thought...

As usual the food and in-flight entertainment were nice.

Two flight attendants were assigned to our row: a gentleman and a lady. Both were professional. The guy was nicer though. Before we landed in Istanbul, I reminded him that I'd need my boarding pass for documentation. After some minutes he went back to me with my precious boarding pass. I thanked him and he said welcome with a pat on my back. Nice touch!



The food selection

First service:
-fried eggplant/tomato sauce or green salad with marinated shrimp
-roasted chicken breast/sautéed vegetables/mashed potatoes or lamb ragout, sautéed spinach and leek/couscous

Snack service:
-pastrami and gouda cheese sandwich or chocolate muffic
-fruit salad

Breakfast selection:
-smoked turkey breast/gruyère cheese/goat cheese/black olive or scrambled eggs/smoked turkey breast and cheese toast

Beverages are the usual stuff.

The menu card for economy class


We landed in Istanbul at around 18:30. Not bad. So I'd be at the airport for 30 hours or so. I really liked this flight in economy. I would say it's excellent.

With the two printed e-mails of the hotel desk at hand (stating that for my flight I would be provided free accommodation), I went straight to the transit desk and had them read the e-mails. The gentleman said he could have easily provided accommodation for me at the city centre if I had a Turkish visa.

Well, I knew beforehand that I needed a Turkish visa. Yet for this trip, I didn't plan to go outside the airport. I was only on transit but I was expecting a hotel accommodation basing on the e-mails from the THY hotel desk. I wrote to them twice and I was given the same response: that I could have hotel accommodation. Obviously, there was a misunderstanding.

Oh well... I asked them what's the alternative. I stressed that I didn't choose that schedule but the system did. The gentleman at the desk checked it on the system and he said that the system couldn't really book me on a flight to Hong Kong that night. He seemed concerned about me not having a place to stay at the airport for more than 30 hours. He tried to arrange for my accommodation in the airport. He was helpful. Hope his superiors read this. His name was Hasan Yakav (if I got it right). Though I had to wait for 12 hours to get a place at the airport hotel, I still appreciated his help. There were also a couple of staff (a gentleman and lady) who were helpful and polite but I was able to get their names because they were attending to other passengers and I was just observing.

Anyway, they informed me that they could have me stay at the airport hotel but it was full at that time. I was told to go check with them again at around 11PM. OK, four more hours of waiting then. Me and an Indian gentleman (who had the same fate, haha) went to check with them again at 11PM only to be told that we should get back at 7AM the next morning because the airport hotel they said was still full.

We slept at the airport benches. It wasn't fun. Good thing, we were given two meal vouchers and I was assured that I didn't have to pick up my luggage. They said it would be uploaded directly to the aircraft and I should be able to collect it in Hong Kong. They gave me a new baggage coupon. Fair deal. I was a bit apprehensive but I kept my fingers crossed (update: when I arrived in Hong Kong, my luggage was already waiting for me. So, thanks for the efficiency of THY ground staff).

With my apple...in front is where to buy a Turkish visa (for those who are entitled for visa-on-arrival scheme).

This is where I stayed for the next 12 hours together with 2 Filipina ladies, one Indian, and couple of guys from I don't know where...
I did some planespotting but 12 hours would be too much for planespotting, haha.

After 12 hours of waiting, at around 7AM, we were provided rooms to stay but we had to deposit 100 USD to be given back to us upon leaving. I didn't make a fuss about it because all I wanted to do was to sleep for the next 15 hours before I took my flight to Hong Kong. The airport hotel staff were nice.

So, to sum it up... I spent 10 hours at the airport benches. And then, thanks to Turkish Airlines, 15 hours in this room:



segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010

DESTINATION BRAZIL 2010: Istanbul-São Paulo with Turkish Airlines

AIRLINE: Turkish Airlines (TK)

ROUTE: Istanbul (IST) - São Paulo (GRU)


AIRCRAFT: Airbus 340


DATE: 16 May 2010
DEPARTURE: 10:45
ARRIVAL: 20:00
FLIGHT NUMBER: TK15
FLIGHT DURATION: 12 hours
CLASS: Economy
PURPOSE OF TRIP: Personal


I had four hours to "enjoy" Istanbul airport while waiting for my flight to São Paulo. What should I do?

I wanted to freshen up. Maybe take some shower or something. I was looking for a place where I could pay and use the shower facilities but there seemed no such place to be found. That's what I thought. Or that's what I was made to think. I tried the airport hotel but it was full.

Asking the airport staff didn't help at first. It seemed that every person I asked pointed to different directions. Some simply couldn't understand me neither could I understand them. Few were also rude.

Though it's getting crowded, Istanbul Airport is a nice airport. It's a good transit point for flights to Asia, North America, Europe, Africa, and yes, now South America. Coming from Hong Kong, I only waited for 4 hours before embarking on my flight to São Paulo (the return flight is a whole different story though).

After the "looking-for-a-shower-room " adventure was over, I found a place to relax and proceeded to do my favourite thing: PLANESPOTTING!


A TK B737 and a TK A330 in Star Alliance scheme

TK B737's. Obviously a TK's territory!
TK A330 in Star Alliance colours

The control tower with a Brish Airways Airbus plane

TK B737 and British Airways A320
My most favourite shot of a TK A330. I like it so much that I made it as my Youtube account background. I used to hate TK's colour scheme and the A330 but they grew on me! Lovely plane and colours!

An interesting aircraft and airline. Caspian Airlines!

When passengers started to flock through the gate where I was busy planespotting, I had to leave and go to another emply gate. It went on and on until I got tired of it and just settled in a place near the flight monitor to be able to check my flight from time to time. After two hours of walking and sitting and watching people, at around 09:30, the monitor displayed the information I was waiting for: flight number TK15 to São Paulo at gate 218. The gate turned out to be near where I was waiting.

I got excited and was among the first to get to the gate. There were 10 passengers when I arrived but wasn't sure if they were flying to São Paulo. But maybe most of them were because they were talking to each other in Portuguese (later I found out I was right).

Then the security officer shouted: "São Paulo!"

It's funny because at that moment I could believe I was actually going to São Paulo! Well, for others this is just an ordinary event in their life. For me, it was different. I wanted to do this for a very long time but I just couldn't afford it! To go to Brazil is so damn expensive (at least coming from my country).

The passengers started to fall in line. The metal scanner alarmed and that I should take off something and I was afraid that it was my belt that I should take off. I told the agent my pants would fall down around my ankles and we laughed!


Gate 217. Holding area for a flight to Central Asia. I arranged my documents here before proceeding to Gate 218.

Then I took my very first picture of the lovely Airbus 340 of Turkish Airlines that would fly me to São Paulo!

Turkish Airlines Airbus 340

A Turkish Airlines territory indeed!



Then I went to the Gate 218's holding area. There was another documentation verification and I was asked again about the Brazilian visa. I just told her I didn't need a visa and she was OK with that.


Gate 218. This is THE gate!

My flying metal to São Paulo!

A closer look at this beauty called "Mersin"!

Catering is handled by Do & Co. Excellent company!

And here comes the crew!


Here they are!


Another shot at the holding area. People were talking in Portuguese and it was very cool to hear them talking!
And another one for "Mersin"


A view of "Mersin" while I was going inside...it

Before stepping inside, I had to pat on the flying metal again, as a tradition.


BOARDING

The flight was full. Many Brazilians of course but some passengers were from Africa and South Asia.

Unlike the Boeing 777-300ER, this Airbus 340 is Turkish Airlines own aircraft. So, this was my first flight on an authentic Turkish Airlines metal. The cabin interior was of Turkish Airlines branding and it's so pleasing to the eyes! I love the combination of powder blue and turquoise (except for the pink curtains that divided the cattle class and the business class). But overall, it's a joy to look at.







TAKE OFF

We took off late because of the busy runways of IST.

The plane was being pushed back ready for its 14-hour flight to São Paulo!
Turkish Airlines Airbus 330 from my window. Lovely!
Ready for the take off run! Istanbul Airport at that time was too busy that we were kinda running late. You can see many planes lining up for take off...

The engines started to roar...and we were pressed against our seats
The take off run...

The plane was racing across the ground with full force...


And the aircraft's exhilarating rotation...

And we lifted off the ground!

Some parts of the city of Istanbul seconds after take off...

Minutes after take off...going up...higher...and higher...

The Sea of Marmara


IN-FLIGHT

There was a good selection of movies and TV programs but I was most of the time listening to Turkish music and some Brazilian music.

The amenity kits and headsets were distributed and after that, the hazel nuts and orange juice soon conquered our mini-tables.

I love Turkish music and the selection of Turkish music offered was a joy! I loved Mercan Dede's series of albums and the greatest hits album of Özcan Deniz.


My seat

The seat and legroom deserve a special mention. I wasn't at all comfortable during most of the flight. I'm 5'10 feet tall and that should not have been an issue. But because of the dreaded IFE box, the legroom was restricted. And we're not talking of a flight of one hour or so. It's 14 hours! I tried hard but I ran out of any possible position to make myself comfortable. Wow, that was a pain. Good thing I was flying to São Paulo and I didn't mind those things at all and thanks to the in-flight entertainment, I was a bit distracted from this inconvenience.





My personal TV


Cabin crew

A gentleman and a lady served our row. The guy was polite, and yes, "smiling" as well, hehe. Almost all things can be said to the lady but the guy got more points. When you ask something from him, he would politely respond. He was really doing a good job on the said flight.

The food was great! Of course, that was by Do&Co! So far, I've flown with 18 different airlines but I consider Turkish Airlines economy food offerings as some of the best in the industry.


ARRIVAL

12 or more hours have passed and we were arriving shortly at the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo.

Minutes before landing: my first glimpse of the city of São Paulo. Sure, I was tired. But I was happy. This was a vacation 4 years in the making. I was excited. I had tears in my eyes, haha.

And we landed in São Paulo!

The plane arrives in São Paulo!

Anyway, we arrived late. It was cold, not bitter cold, but just enough to make someone from a tropical country uncomfortable without a jacket (but I love cold weather, don't get me wrong!).

We were then bussed to the terminal and proceeded to the passport control. Worth mentioning is the Brazilian method of screening the incoming passengers. While the passengers were still on the line, the police agents were already checking the documents so by the time a passenger would reach the passport control, he would just wait for the agent to stamp his passport.

The police asked for my passport and talked to me in Spanish. I don't know why...maybe he thought there was more chances of me knowing how to speak Spanish...but I answered him in Portuguese. He was surprised. I told him that I wanted to visit the city of São Paulo, meet some friends, speak Portuguese...all those stuff. He was amused.

No visa was needed but there was a verification of documents. Then it was OK. Before I proceeded to the passport control for the stamp, the police agent again told his colleague that I spoke Portuguese, haha. And they said: "Ah que legal, muito bem!" (meaning: "that's cool!").

The airport of São Paulo-Guarulhos is old school compared to North Asian or European airports. It's not the most pleasant of all. It's even congested. It needs expansion. But just the same, who cares, I didn't mind at all, haha. GRU is actually a symbolic airport for me as a Lusophile.


SO LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!

Upon clearing immigration and customs, I had my money changed from USD to Brazilian Reais and went off. At the waiting area, I was surprised to see the guy from hostel who had my name written on a cardboard. I mean, I wasn't really surprised. After all, I sent an e-mail requesting them to meet me at the airport (yet at the back of my mind, it was only a gamble coz I didn't really expect that they would pay attention to my e-mail). Oh well, that's means they were efficient.

I asked Fernando (the guy's name) if I was the only one he was going to meet or was I sharing the car with another passenger? He said I was the only one. He's quite nice. I told him I still couldn't believe I was in South America. He actually served as my guide (and a good one at that!) while we were cruising down the road going to the hostel. He told me he owned the car but during his free time, the hostel would contact him to meet passengers at the airport. He added that most of the time passengers wouldn't talk to him because he only speaks Portuguese so he liked it when I told him I could speak his language. Maybe I'll contact him again when I return, hehe.

My first impression of São Paulo? It's like the suburbs of Madrid. Of course, it was night time so I don't know if my impressions were justified.


Hostel

We arrived at hostel at around 10:30. I paid 80 Brazilian reals (40 US dollars) for the service. It was a good idea. Better than renting a van or taking the taxi or worse, the bus. I was tired! I surfed the Internet and sent messages to my family and friends and informed them that I had arrived in Brazil. I also bought a phone card to call my sister in Canada.

My first phone card bought in Brazil...hehe


Then time for that much-needed sleep...

I had earlier reserved an individual room. But the receptionist told me that since I wasn't able to confirm (or I didn't know what happened, I was too tried and excited to listen, haha), he booked me in a dormitory-type room for 8 persons and the individual room would be vacant only after 4 days. What? I wanted a room of my own because I had to rest, get a full sleep, and get ready for the next day of adventure. He said he could contact other hostels (nice of him) and so I requested him to contact another member of Hostelling International (I had two bookings for two different hostels, just in case). I gave him the contact number and luckily there was an individual room available for 45 reais (here, the price was 50 reais so I got to save 5 more reais if I move to the other hostel, but that's not the point by the way). He instructed me where to go and phoned a cab to get me to the metro station. I paid 8 reais for the taxi ride.

It was around 23:30PM when I got off the taxi. There were people around but not a lot. And me, a stranger in the giant city of São Paulo, just arrived some hours ago, fresh from the airport with my backpack and nearly-worn out luggage, standing there alone, wondering where to go. I was a bit scared. But I'm not new to this kind of situation though. I did this in Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Palma de Mallorca, Paris...name it.

So after some seconds of pondering, I hit the metro station and went to buy a ticket.

Inside the metro station in São Paulo. I bought my ticket from the both at the far right of the picture.

There were three empoyees at the booth and I asked them in Portuguese how to go to Praça de Arvore where the hostel was located. At first they could not understand me (because of my accent, haha). I had to show the address and one of them got out of the booth and showed me the metro map.

At first I was "fighting" with the card validation thingy when a Brazilian lady noticed it so she helped me out. I took the opportunity to ask her if she knew the place to where I was going and she said she knew the station where I would have to get off and that she was heading to the same direction (but not exactly to my destination). So it's OK.

My subway card. This was good for 3 trips I think. But it can be loaded again and you don't need to fall in line.

This is Vila Madalena station where I started off my metro journey...

Then I had to ask again. Yes, my Portuguese language skills actually came in handy. And the people whom I asked were nice and were patient with me. I know I had a different accent (more on the European standard Portuguese) but they were cool with it. The metro employee told me the the street I was looking for wasn't that far from the station. Oh, OK.

I went up the streets but I just couldn't figure out where I was! And it was 00:10 at dawn! What the hell I was doing alone in the streets?

I went to a bar to ask. I asked one person and ended up being helped by four people and one of them was kind enough to take me to the street where I should be starting my 15-minute walk to the hostel! Nice first impressions.

Although excited, this time I began to become nervous of what I was doing. I was alone again in the middle of that dark alley. Well, I was caught in that situation so nothing else to do but go for it. The neighbourhood (by the way it's an upper-middle class) seemed calm and I was only the one who was walking on the streets (no wonder it was calm, haha). The owner of the bar who had helped me passed by while I was walking and he signalled to me that I should walk further ahead...two blocks more!

Finally, I reached the street where the hostel was located. There was a bar at the corner but it was closed and there some 4 people outside.

I walked further down and was happy to reach the hostel...

I made it!



So this pretty sums up my first day...or night in São Paulo...waiting for more adventure in this huge city!

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