Old Jun 12, 08, 3:30 pm
  #6  
Flying Buccaneer
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: TPA
Programs: DL Plat, AA Plat 2MM, HH Diamond, WoH Explorist, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,199
After I left the lounge, I called my partner on my T-Mobile Pay As You Go Phone. I bought it at the end of February, and got a Virgin Mobile SIM card when we visited London in March. The connection was not so good, and the call cost 95p/minute ($1.90 or thereabouts). I am going to Turkcell tomorrow to get a SIM card.

June 12, 2008 IST-AYT
Turkish Airlines 424
A-321
Seat 5C


Boarding was supposed to start at 7:35 p.m., so I got to the gate about 10 minutes before then. At 7:35, the flight status screen said that the flight was delayed by 10 minutes. At 7:50 p.m., boarding began without an announcement. I joined the crowd, got on board, and settled in my seat. I had no idea how crowded the flight might be. The gate area did not look too full, and there had been almost hourly flights to AYT since I arrived in IST. I hoped that 5B would stay empty.

Unfortunately, it did not. Well, for an hour-long flight, I can put up with it, right? Around 8:10 p.m., boarding ended, and the flight was probably about 75 - 80% full. We pushed back at 8:28 p.m. and didn't take off until 8:46 p.m. During that entire period, the baby with the pax in seat 7A screamed. This was not a cry. It was a scream. For some reason, when I fly long itineraries like this one, a screaming baby joins me on the last segment. After takeoff, the baby settled down a little, but the shrieks still came along from time to time.

Within 10 minutes of takeoff, the FAs were serving dinner. Yes, dinner on a flight that's in the air 45 - 50 minutes. And we had a choice: salad or sandwich. The salad was a small plate of lettuce with tomato, cooked chicken, and dressing. The sandwich was a fairly large roll cut lengthwise filled with cheese, tomato, and lettuce. Both were served with a piece of cake that tasted like pound cake with cherries baked into the top and a cup of spring water, plus beverage of choice.

Turkish Airlines Is A No iPhone Zone!

After I finished my sandwich and cake, one of the FAs comes up to me and says "Is that an iPhone?" I told her it was, and she said "You have to turn it off," and I told her that it was in Airplane Mode. She said it didn't matter, and that I would need to turn it off. I didn't want to press the issue, so I did. Then she noticed the pax in 5D also had an iPhone and told him to turn his off. In broken English he told her that it did not send or receive signals and she said "Our planes are not ready for the iPhone." Whaaaaaaat? Then he mumbled something under his breath in Turkish and turned it off. When she walked away, we looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

The flight landed at 9:33 p.m. and the pilot turned off the seat belt sign about 5 minutes later. We had to deplane and board a bus. There were two men holding signs in Turkish and English that said TK international pax needed to take the second bus to collect their bags. I got on the first bus, because I had not flown TK internationally. Then one of the guys starts looking at people on our bus and tells them they need to get on the other bus. When he looks at me, I say "I flew British Airways." He didn't understand, and two people standing around me translate for me. One of them looks at me and says "You're on the right bus," but the guy with the sign looks disappointed. Hey, he picked me out as an international traveler, so he should be proud of himself.

In the terminal, something unique happened. My bag was one of the first ones out. In maybe a dozen flights as a *A or OW elite (I only check bags when I fly internationally), I had never had a "Priority" luggage tag do what it was supposed to do. My bags are almost always in the last quarter of those unloaded. Not in AYT! That *A Priority tag worked, and the bags that came out before it also had the tag!

At 10:59 p.m., I was in a taksi (I know one Turkish word!) on my way to the hotel. I expect to see my driver at the St. Pete Grand Prix next year. Hey, I am not complaining. He got me to the Sheraton Voyager in about 20 minutes, but I think he took the scenic route. The fare came to a shade under 44YTL, and I gave him a 50 (a little more than $40).

I had some drama surrounding my hotel reservation the morning I left TPA. I looked at SPG.com, and saw that I had an extra 5000 Starpoints. That's never a problem, right? In this case, it was. I dug a little deeper, and saw that my 2-night reservation (starting tonight) was no longer there. I called the Platinum Concierge, and he figured out what had happened: The reservation was canceled, because I had booked a 2-night award stay for 5000 points (Cat 1 weekday+weekend). However, the hotel became a Cat 2 on March 1, and I should have been charged 7000 points. I booked the award stay (and paid stay immediately following) in early April. While I love my Starpoints, I had no idea about a change. I just saw that the 2-night stay was 5000 points. In the meantime, I had called regarding a couple of issues with the reservations, and never raised an eyebrow. It bothered me that my reservation was canceled with no notice, but I was impressed that the Platinum Concierge was able to reinstate the reservation. He apologized that he would have to take 7000 Starpoints from my account, but he said that he was submitting a request to have 2000 points refunded to me.

There was no problem at check-in. The guest in front of me was the woman in seat 5B! I got room 453 on the fourth floor (out of nine), not that high up, but (along with 455) the largest room on this floor. It has a seating and sleeping area with access to the balcony from each via sliding glass doors. I will have a better idea what the outside looks like tomorrow, but I know the Mediterranean is out there! Even though I chose the points as the amenity, there was a fruit plate and bottle of wine (that has a "With Compliments" tag on it) in the room, along with two complimentary bottles of water. Wireless internet is complimentary. The only nit to pick, so far, is this hotel policy:

We kindly remind you that, due to the Hotel policy, any food or beverage items taken from outside, are not allowed to be taken up to your room.

I'm interested to see what this policy covers. Is it OK to bring in bottled water? Are they just talking about alcoholic beverages and prepared foods? If so, I can understand that. However, if it also includes things like bottled water and a bag of chips, that's a little extreme.

On the other hand, if they put plates of these plums and cherries in my room every day that I am here, they can restrict outside food all they want!

It's been 32 hours since I left my house, so I guess I had better get some rest and start exploring Antalya tomorrow!

Last edited by Flying Buccaneer; Jun 16, 08 at 4:21 am Reason: Added room number
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