Old Aug 22, 19, 10:19 am
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: OTP, CHQ, EIN and beyond
Programs: AF/KL platinum, Turkish gold, Aegean silver
Posts: 1,060
Part 10: Minsk (MSQ) to Istanbul (IST) on Turkish Airlines in business class
Flight TK284 – Airbus A321 – Seat 3A – 440 EUR for MSQ-IST-ALA
STD 4.25pm - STA 6.55pm (flight time 2h30m)

I was one of the first to board the aircraft and was welcomed by a friendly crew. Today's flight would – just like the outbound flight – be operated by an Airbus A321. Unlike the outbound, this flight back to Istanbul I was seated in the front of the cabin instead of in economy. I made my way to my seat 3A, a proper leather recliner seat which is perfectly comfortable for intra-European hops.

Halfway through the boarding process, the crew distributed PDBs and menus for today's flight. Turkish offers the choice between lemonade, a cherry or orange juice or just water as PDB on all flights. I opted for the lemonade – which is my usual choice when flying TK.

There were just four other passengers in business class, and I guess economy class was about 80 to 90 percent full by the looks of it. With almost 50 minutes delay, we finally pushed back from the gate. Again, MSQ provided for some great plane spotting. There were lots of Belavia aeroplanes – both in new and old livery – to be seen at the airport.

Of course, there were also some discarded Soviet relics to be seen!

Any expert here who got an idea what aeroplane type is this on the picture below to the right? (the one with the Soviet star on the tail)

Take-off was smooth on what would be another lovely day for flying with mostly clear blue skies.

Dining on board of Turkish Airlines is (most often) always a pleasure. On this two-and-a-half hour flight, first table clothes were distributed along with a drink of choice (I went for some champagne). Immediately after, the appetiser plate (Turkish meze plus a bowl of yoghurt) was served, together with the cheese and dessert (white chocolate mousse). The appetisers were tasty.

Later on, my main was brought out. I opted for the grilled salmon with sautéed julienne vegetables and ch teau potatoes. Again an excellent dish. At this point I switched to an acceptable Turkish white wine to wash it all away.

I also tried a Turkish red to go with the cheese and dessert. All cheeses, as well as the dessert, were of excellent quality.

To finish off the meal, I opted for a Turkish coffee, declining on the offer to have a glass of cognac or anything similar.

As you can see on the map, we were flying over the Danube delta on the Ukrainian-Romanian border at this point. The entire meal service was done in just one hour and 20 minutes – and I was even (by far!) the slowest person to eat and to finish my meal. Speed of meal service is something which I find Turkish Airlines consistently doing great, especially on intra-European and mid-haul flights.

There were some absolutely spectacular views on arrival into a partly cloudy Istanbul. I was far from the only one glued to the window making some pictures, as the person in 2A in front of me did exactly the same. It was simply amazing to get glimpses of the Bosphorus and the bridges across through the cloud cover.

That was however not all, as there were some decent views of the dozens of high-rise buildings massive sprawl which is the city of Istanbul...

Old Ataturk airport...

And some of the towns and reservoirs just south of Istanbul airport.

At one point even the sun came out shining through the clouds, creating some spectacular images.

Each time I land at the new IST airport I just have to think what a marvellous piece of engineering it is and how gigantic the entire project was.

By the time we reached our gate, the delay was still a bit over 50 minutes. This meant that of my 1h40m connection, there were under 50 minutes left to make my connecting flight to Almaty. And that includes having to re-clear security and going to the complete opposite side of the airport...

Next up: A mad dash across IST – and flying to Almaty, on a different plane than planned!
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