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Heading to the Maldives in J: ORD-IST (Flight 1 of 4)

Heading to the Maldives in J: ORD-IST (Flight 1 of 4)

Old Aug 19, 18, 6:23 pm
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Heading to the Maldives in J: ORD-IST (Flight 1 of 4)

Dr. I’s Maldivian Adventure-The Long Journey from Chi-town to Paradise part 1, flying Chicago to Istanbul.

Where or where should we spend our 20th anniversary? That was the question I posed to myself. We spent our 19th in the Seychelles and while beautiful, I think a combination of a roach infested hotel and a wicked case of travelers Diarrhea, just left an indelible stain on my mind. There are three island destinations that in my mind were must-see spots, the Maldives, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. We spent our 15th anniversary in the Maldives and absolutely fell in love. I probably should have been brave and planned a trip to Mauritius for the 20th but I think the disappointment of the Seychelles was fresh in my mind and I wasn’t brave enough to take another chance so I decided to stick with the tried and true Maldives. So, the Maldives it was. Next up was finding flights and a place to stay. A few years back my wife made it very clear to me that any long-haul, kid-free travel would have to be in business class, so my first mission was to find reasonable, Business class award space. Talk about Pigmelion, right? A quick Mileage Plus search found a pretty cool routing at the Business saver award level (Turkish Airlines from Chicago to Istanbul to Singapore, Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Male, Air India from Male to Delhi and SWISS from Delhi to Zurich to Chicago). Flights secured, it was time to find a place to lay our heads. We spent our 15th anniversary at Naladhu, which was phenomenal but with over 1,100 islands, I wanted to try something different this time around so I decided to make a reservation at the Conrad Rangali island using a combination of cash (for the first four nights) and Hilton Honors points (for the last five nights). Okay, all set, all we had to do was wait…..for seven months, but eventually, the time did pass and it was now time to hit the road!

We always try our best to give a comprehensive sampling of all of the pictures and videos contained in the complete trip report on our website. If you want to see the complete trip report with its 90+ pics and videos, you can find it RIGHT HERE!

If you are interested, we post all of our location photos on our website and our social media (TwinDoctorsTV on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter)


FLIGHT 1: CHICAGO (O’Hare) to ISTANBUL:

Aviation Geek Details:
  • Airline and flight number: Turkish Airlines flight # TK6
  • Route: Chicago (O’Hare)-Istanbul (Ataturk)
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Airplane (registration and year built): TC-LJB built in 2016.
  • Miles flown: 5,616 miles
  • Flight duration: 9 hours and 33 minutes
  • Class of Service and Seat: Business Class, seat 3K (window)
  • This is my: 673rdflight on 94 airlines.
  • This is my: 13thflight on Turkish Airlines
  • This is my: 14thflight on a 777-300


The Routing




Our flight was scheduled to depart at 9:40 PM, so our bags were packed and by the door waiting for our Uber at 6:30 PM sharp.




Despite Map Quest’s estimate of a 70-minute drive (due to traffic), the drive only took the usual 30 minutes, so we were at the Turkish Airlines check-in counter by 7:00 PM, with plenty of time to spare. The check-in counters were moderately busy but within 10 minutes our bags were checked and we had boarding passes for all three flights in hand.




The terminal 5 departures and arrivals board. For now, all was looking good for an on-time departure to Istanbul. With a 10-hour layover in Turkey, however, I wasn’t too pressed about being wheels-up right on time.




Finally, through TSA, we made our way through the ubiquitous Duty-Free shop in search of the Turkish Airlines lounge. Gotta love consumerism, every airport in the world seems to be designed to dump you into the Duty-Free shops before you get to the gates.



Did a bit of spotting on the way to the lounge. I spied an Aer Lingus Airbus 330 bound for Dublin with the tail of the Amman- bound Royal Jordanian Boeing 787 making an appearance.




With a bit of searching, we finally found the contract lounge that Turkish Airlines uses here at Chicago O’Hare. The only thing more impressive than the window-less, dungeon-like motif were the dirty tables.




Oh yeah, back to that whole consumerism and free market thing. Oh, you have a headache?, well you can either leave the terminal which means going through customs, getting in your car, finding a store nearby, driving back to the airport and re-clearing security or, you can just pay $21 for this Motrin and…




don’t expect it not to be expired. I guess the un-expired Motrin would have cost $42!




Despite the ambiance and posh surroundings, I had to tear myself away from the lounge and head to gate M12 where our Boeing 777-300 was waiting to whisk us across the Atlantic to Istanbul. Of course, I had to pay homage to Chicago’s one and only daily schedule whalejet, British Airways flight BA296, the second nightly flight to London Heathrow. I see you in the background, photobombing us TK!




And here she is, TC-LJB, the 2016 build Boeing 777-300 that would be flying Turkish Airlines flight TK6 from O’Hare to Istanbul.




Two friendly flight attendants were stationed at the L2 door and my wife and I made that lovely turn to the left into the first of two Business Class cabins.




Despite its 2-3-2 seating configuration, the cabin felt pretty spacious. I know that 1-2-1 seating is the trend but as a window seat lover flying with someone, I kind of like the option of sitting with my partner AND having a window seat. Make no mistake though, if it came down to choosing, we would just have to reconvene in Istanbul!




And my proof of life pick. Your’s truly and the missus taking a selfie on TK6. Yeah, I know what you are thinking and yes, she is too old to be taking a selfie. Before you all boo and hiss me, I was actually taking the picture and I am 5 months older so…




The seat controls are on the middle console, allowing for a bunch of combinations for the seat back and footrest, pre-selected seating options and of course, the massage function.




A Star Alliance stable-mate was de-boarding on our right-hand side. This Boeing 747-8 had flown the second daily LH flight from Frankfurt (United and Lufthansa have four daily combined joint-venture flights between Chicago and Frankfurt every day) and would be flying the 10 PM flight back to Frankfurt.




As boarding continued, the cabin crew offered pre-departure beverages which consisted of a mint-lemonade, orange juice and a red juice (didn’t catch what it was). There was no way that I was flying Turkish and not having the mint lemonade and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. What a refreshing way to start a long-haul flight.




Okay, I am a man on a diuretic so I had to visit the lavatory at least once before take-off (shhh…maybe twice). These are the little differences that differentiate the premium product of carriers. A well-stocked bathroom that remains clean throughout the flight. And should something run out or you need something that is not stocked, just ask a crew member. How nice!




As boarding completed, the “chefs” distributed menus and took our orders for the dinner as well as breakfast services.


You can check out taxi, take-off, and landing in the video





We pushed off of the gate a few minutes early and had a short taxi to the active runway. After a 51-second take-off roll, TC-LJB was airborne over Chicago’s night sky and Lake Michigan.




Free in-flight wifi for Business Class customers. I understand the free market and a company’s duty to its shareholders but c’mon, charging premium cabin customers who paid thousands of dollars for their ticket another $25 for wifi just seems like ridiculous nickel and diming to me. Not a huge financial investment for Turkish but a difference I definitely noticed and would consider when making future Business Class travel plans.




With free wifi, what else would an aerophile do but go right to flightradar24 to track the progress of the flight? By now we were cruising at 33,000 feet above central Michigan. I got a kick out of the blue you are here marker over the plane. Yup, I was there.


http://www.twindoctorstv.com/wp-cont...6/IMG_2120.jpg

As I kicked back and put my seat into recline mode, the cabin crew set the tray table with linens and distributed mixed nuts to get the dinner service started.




Next up was an appetizer consisting of a chicken kabob, smoked salmon on toast and what I believe was a falafel. All of them were pretty solid.




Next up was the appetizer cart (don’t ask me what the first course was) which had a wide selection to choose from.




My inner glutton always wants to say, “I will take one of everything” but to be honest I was already a little full and I wanted to save room for the main course and dessert so I decided to play it cool and just ask for the seafood salad and the grilled prawn and avocado salad. It’s a good thing my mother wasn’t with me because both of them were slap yo mama good!




I opted for the chicken which was plentiful but a bit dry (pretty standard for what happens to chicken at 33,000 feet), while my wife opted for…




the swordfish which she said was succulent. Thanks for rubbing it in, food envy was in full effect at that moment!




After the main service, the cabin lights were again dimmed as the dessert cart came around. Like the appetizer cart, I wanted to ask for one of everything but by then I was truly bursting at the seams so…




I just asked for the apple strudel. You didn’t really think I was going to pass on dessert, did you? C’mon now, I was full, not dead!


http://www.twindoctorstv.com/wp-cont...6-1024x768.jpg

I did, in fact, manage to catch a few ZZZ’s and awoke to find the mood lighting set to early dawn mode.




Breakfast service started with a large fruit plate (not a melon man, so the wifey got some extra fruit), cheese, tomatoes, chicken and the waist-line killing bread basket.




After the fruit plates, the cabin crew distributed the breakfast main plate. I went for the cheese omelet with sausage and breakfast potatoes, all of which were delicious! I also asked for a hot chocolate and while I appreciate the offer, the execution was kind of meh. Maybe it’s the difference between American and Turkish hot chocolate but it was way too thick for my liking. So, I just




By now the sun was high in the sky and it was afternoon over central Europe.




Our descent began in almost cloudless skies and soon…




we were on short finals for Istanbul’s’ Ataturk airport.




We landed about 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time of arrival and taxied past a fellow Boeing 777-300 and an Airbus A330 of Turkish Airlines.




We parked next to an Air Algerie Boeing 737-800 a few minutes ahead of schedule and I was soon off of TC-LJB, bidding her a fond adieu. Thanks for the safe ride across the Atlantic!




With a 10 hour layover in Istanbul, we had three options. We could take Turkish Airlines up on its offer of a free hotel in the city (given to any Business Class passenger with a layover of 7+ hours and any Economy Class passenger with a layover of 10+ hours), we could just hang out in the huge Turkish Airlines lounge or we could get a room at the TAV transit hotel. I kind of wanted to take the free room from Turkish but I’ve seen Istanbul a few times (love it!) and with an arrival time of close


Flight Review:
  • Experience/Total stars: Excellent/ 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Check-in: 3 out of 5. Lines were a bit long, especially for Business Class.
  • Lounge: 2 out of 5. The lounge was small, dirty and had minimal amenities.
  • Boarding: 4 out of 5. There was a dedicated line for Business Class and pre-boarding was called.
  • In-Flight Entertainment: 5 out of 5. Excellent selection, Live TV, and free wifi.
  • Meals: 5 out of 5. Great selection and good quality
  • Cabin Crew: 5 out of 5. Polite, helpful and present.
  • Cabin ambiance: 5 out of 5. Airy cabin with nice mood lighting.
  • Cabin cleanliness: 5 out of 5. Cabin and lavatory remained clean throughout the flight.
  • Seat: 4 out of 5. Great legroom and storage. The seat was a bit firm in bed mode and privacy could be an issue if not traveling with someone you know.
  • Price paid/value for money: 5 out of 5. The flight was flown using United Mileage Plus miles and was purchased at the Business Saver rate.
  • Thumbs up: Great crew, clean and modern cabin, good food, friendly service.
  • Thumbs down: The contract lounge in Chicago sucks!
-If you are interested, we post all of our location photos on our website and our social media (TwinDoctorsTV on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

-You can check out our video flight report for this flight

-If you want to see the complete trip report with its 90+ pics and videos for ORD-IST, you can find it RIGHT HERE!
-If you want to see the complete trip report with all the pics and videos for flight 2 TK IST-SIN, you can find it RIGHT HERE!
-If you want to see the complete trip report with all the pics and videos for flight 3 SQ SIN-MLE, you can find it RIGHT HERE!
-If you want to see the complete trip report with all the pics and videos for flight 4 the Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane flight from MLE-Rangali Island, you can find it RIGHT HERE!
-If you want to check out our report with pics and video from our time on Rangali Island, you can find it RIGHT HERE!

AND DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TRIP REPORTS Here or on our website:


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Holland Part 2-Amsterdam and Evolving Sexuality in Holland.
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Latvia Part 1-The Flights to Latvia:
Latvia (Part 1)-Getting There. - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Latvia Part 2-A Two Headed Dog, Rapid Detox
and a Polar Plunge:
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San Diego
Comic Con Part 2-The Con!:
San Diego Comic Con 2017: Freaks and Geeks? Part 2 The Con. - TwinDoctorsTV.com

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Comic Con Part 3-Flying Home:
San Diego Comic Con 2017: Freaks and Geeks? Part 3 The Journey Home - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Hajj, My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth Part 1-Flying to Saudi Arabia:
Hajj-My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth (Part 1-Getting There) - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Hajj, My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth Part 2- Exploring Medinah:
Hajj-My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth (Part 2-Medinah) - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Hajj, My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth Part 3-The Hajj:
Hajj-My Journey of Forgiveness, Rebirth and Redemption (Part 3-The Hajj) - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Hajj, My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth Part 4-Flying Home:
Hajj- My Journey of Forgiveness, Redemption and Rebirth (Part 4-Heading Home) - TwinDoctorsTV.com

Part 1-Farewell to the Queen Flying to Seoul on a United 747:
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Part 2-Exploring Seoul, the DMZ and all things K-Pop:
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Part 3-Flying Home, The Farewell Flight United 747 flight ICN-SFO:
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Part 2- Nigeria, Twinning and The Slave Trade. Experiencing Nigeria:
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Part 3- Nigeria, Twinning and The Slave Trade. Flying LOS-FRA-ORD
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SE Asia Adventure Part 2: Jakarta
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Last edited by twindocstravel; Aug 19, 18 at 6:31 pm Reason: adding a second video
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Old Aug 19, 18, 8:00 pm
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Loving the entire TR so far. Also, I didnít know mapquest still works?
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Old Aug 19, 18, 9:36 pm
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757
 
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Great report and photos so far. Looks like the start of an awesome trip!
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Old Aug 21, 18, 12:39 am
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I had fun reading on your trip report! So Good. Thumbs up and thanks for including some tips and giving flight reviews also.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by 757 View Post
Great report and photos so far. Looks like the start of an awesome trip!
Thanks for reading! It definitely was an awesome trip!!

Originally Posted by jakejohnson View Post
I had fun reading on your trip report! So Good. Thumbs up and thanks for including some tips and giving flight reviews also.
Thank you!!

Originally Posted by injian View Post
Loving the entire TR so far. Also, I didnít know mapquest still works?
LOL, I'm bringing MapQuest back!
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Old Aug 22, 18, 3:56 am
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Great report. Thanks so much. Food looks great on board .....
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Old Aug 23, 18, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by RTW4 View Post
Great report. Thanks so much. Food looks great on board .....
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I have to say, the food was actually pretty darn good!
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Old Aug 24, 18, 1:15 pm
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Awesome report, can't wait for the whole report, also Congrats on 20 yrs !
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Old Aug 27, 18, 7:22 pm
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I enjoyed reading each of your reports. A bit curious. I flew IAD-IST in J several years ago. A great experience, other than the cabin temperature. Frankly I could have been in shorts and a t-shirt and still have been uncomfortable. How was TK's cabin temperature on your flight?
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Old Aug 27, 18, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
I enjoyed reading each of your reports. A bit curious. I flew IAD-IST in J several years ago. A great experience, other than the cabin temperature. Frankly I could have been in shorts and a t-shirt and still have been uncomfortable. How was TK's cabin temperature on your flight?
The cabins were a bit too warm for my taste on both flights (ORD-IST and IST-SIN) but tolerable. The worst flight of the journey was on LX from ZRH-ORD, I swear I almost got heat stroke!
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Old Aug 29, 18, 2:41 am
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You're welcome twindocstravel. I am looking forward of your next adventure trips
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