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Istanbul New Airport ISL-ESB-TXL nonsense-routing

Istanbul New Airport ISL-ESB-TXL nonsense-routing

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Old Nov 10, 18, 7:48 am
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Istanbul New Airport ISL-ESB-TXL nonsense-routing

Turkish Airlines Business Class
ISL-ESB-TXL
11/8/2018

Disclaimer 1: There is no domestic lounge at ISL yet, sorry. All I got is a picture of the elevators that will one day lead there.
Disclaimer 2: This trip report is much less about the TK experience, which is adequately covered here and elsewhere, but instead focuses on the Istanbul New Airport and the domestic-to-international transfer at Ankara ESB.

I was looking for a ticket from Istanbul to Berlin on short notice, but at that point prices had surged and I looked into what options I had to make an award booking using my TK M&S stash.

Strangely enough, a routing from (the as of yet not entirely finished) Istanbul New Airport to Berlin via Ankara showed up that wasnít available for sale. No mentally well-adjusted or even remotely reasonable human would ever choose this routing for fun, but Iíve spent too much time on FT, so I booked the damn thing with a goofy grin.

The choice was between spending 15k TK miles for economy guaranteed (~UA anytime) or 15k miles for business limited (~UA saver). Deciding which to pick didnít take much time at all.

Driving up to the new airport.



After arriving by taxi (TRY 115 from Sultanahmet, no traffic at 7am), I walked up and down the width of the place. Itís twue, itís twue: the thing is huge. Majestic, feels a bit like the covered courtyard at MUC, just bigger and obviously enclosed. My pictures and the ones Iíve seen before donít do the space justice.


It was overcast that day, but Iím sure sunlight will filter gorgeously through these ceiling windows.


There was no one at check-in ahead me. The agents seemed a little surprised that someone actually showed up.


Domestic Check In. Common!
DYK*GINC? (DYK *G is not common?)


The self-service check in kiosks apparently only work for Air Turkmenistan. Which doesnít fly out of ISL yet. Hmm.


Airside cafe (domestic)

​​​​
No one in line = all priority security :-)


Airside cafe 1



View down G concourse.


View towards end of G gates, thereís another cafe here.


No lounge yet.



Smoking terrace/balcony/cage. I had been puzzling over the ďterraceĒ mentioned on signs Iíd seen on pictures of ISL before.


Obligatory Turkish coffee





Boarding for our 738 to Ankara started a little early.



Both flights featured four rows of recliner seats in J in 2-2 layout, which was more than adequate for these short flights. (This is an earlier picture in an A321, but exactly the same seats and layout)


Runway 35R Istanbul New Airport



I know I said I wouldnít post much about the TK experience as such but:
A - thumbs up for this meal on a 85-minute domestic flight.
B - Ehrmagehrd, that passion fruit/mango mousse was good.
C - All 16 seats in J were taken, so the two FAís displayed admirable hustle getting everyone squared away with food and drinks.


After landing I got a quick glimpse of the famous private 747-800 jet at ESB, a gift to Turkey from the Emir of Qatar. I wouldnít mind a tour of that!


Transfer in Ankara was pretty painless, although I would have loved to use the domestic lounge with its bus-directly-to-plane transfer.
Instead I had to go landside, turn left and walk to the international terminal for a few minutes to clear passport control and security.
I checked out the Millennium Lounge for a gin and tonic. Itís located upstairs in the airside part of the international terminal.


Another 738, our ride to TXL today.



To be continued
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Old Nov 10, 18, 8:04 am
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Boarding was delayed 15-20 30 40 minutes. Nothing new here, but in all fairness, we landed on time.

Another thing I love about being in this part of the world besides people watching is seeing all kinds of obscure airlines. I didnít know this one


Starter on the ESB-TXL flight. I destroyed the main meal before remembering to snap a picture, sorry.


There were only 2 1/2 of us in the small J cabin on this flight, so cabin crew were extra attentive.


Approaching TXL


Would I do this again? Hell no, but it was fun and I hope you guys enjoyed this.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 8:11 am
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Last one, missed this earlier:
While the new airport is really impressive, itís clear that much remains to be done here. Switching over operations at the end of December is pretty ambitious.




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Old Nov 10, 18, 9:15 am
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Great to see the new airport, IST was clearly not coping. Maybe they can give the Germans some tips for Brandenburg / BER .
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Old Nov 10, 18, 10:29 am
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Amazing about the lack of crowds. Great TR.
how will you return from TXL?
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Old Nov 10, 18, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
Amazing about the lack of crowds. Great TR.
how will you return from TXL?
Thank you!
Yeah, itís strange to be in such a huge space with such few people around, although there were more people around than I expected given the small number of flights out at this point.

Return home is Germany-IST-USA, am bouncing around on trains in the meantime.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 3:51 pm
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I don't see what is so controversial about an Istanbul - Ankara - Berlin route. I often find routes to/from Moscow like so, which can be far cheaper as well.

Although I'm gobsmacked that Turkmenistan Airlines has a check in machine, considering how hard it is to buy their tickets to begin with!
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Old Nov 10, 18, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by ilcannone View Post
I don't see what is so controversial about an Istanbul - Ankara - Berlin route. I often find routes to/from Moscow like so, which can be far cheaper as well.

Although I'm gobsmacked that Turkmenistan Airlines has a check in machine, considering how hard it is to buy their tickets to begin with!
Youíre right: compared to the standard of crazy routings here on FT, this was practically a nonstop flight, but Iím starting with baby steps.

I think the check-in machine will eventually be one of those you can use for multiple airlines, itís just not up and running yet.

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Old Nov 11, 18, 12:26 am
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That new airport looks great, but as you said, it looks like a lot still needs to be done. I cannot wait to try it out.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
Great to see the new airport, IST was clearly not coping. Maybe they can give the Germans some tips for Brandenburg / BER .
While I did feel there was some poetry in flying from the Turkish new airport to the German old airport, itís very much apples/oranges - German vs. Turkish regulations and dictates.

Passport checks at arriving gate were amazing, TXL is small, but packs a punch. Please donít go kicking BER, itís already bloody and on the ground crying uncle.
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Old Nov 13, 18, 4:33 am
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Great airport with very promising future to become one of the leading aviation hubs in the world
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Old Nov 15, 18, 12:18 pm
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Thanks for the report and pictures.

Will be transiting through IST in late February (CAI-IST-ORD).
Looking forward to seeing the new airport.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 1:41 pm
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Shame these airports lack terraces for NON-smokers...
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Old Nov 15, 18, 8:44 pm
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Interesting report. Thanks for posting.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 11:47 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Shame these airports lack terraces for NON-smokers...
This one literally is a steel cage...non-addicts arenít missing out!

LAX has a lovely non-smoking one in the TBIT *G lounge.
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