World's 7th best airline boosts class and comfort
A personal visit from a restaurant chef is a great touch –– but when done aboard an airline at 10,000 feet, the experience seems, well, elevated.
Sporting a white chef’s hat, Chef Kemal bent his 6’3” frame to inquire after my beef jambon drizzled with truffle emulsion somewhere above Iceland. He even returned later to show me photos of his family in Istanbul.
I was flying comfort class, a new intermediate fare recently introduced by Turkish Airlines. The class offers all the meal perks of business and a full 19.5 inches of personal space. It costs a bit above the standard economy fare, but is not as pricey as business.
Los Angeles, 2011: A water cannon salute for the arrival of Turkish Airline's inaugural flight from Istanbul.
Turkish airlines premiered both the on-board chef and class on its new non-stop, five day a week service from Los Angeles’ LAX to Istanbul. Daily service will start in March, 2012. The airline won Skytrax’ “Europe’s Best Airline” award for 2011. Overall, Skytrax ranks Turkish Airlines as the 7th Best Airline in the world. Skytrax annually reviews over 681 airlines and 725 airports.
Expense tip: October through March is low season for travel to Turkey so prices may be optimal. Turkish Airlines offered an attention grabbing $599 round-trip fare to Istanbul in July, 2011 for select fall and winter dates. While prices may not currently be that low, they traditionally drop from roughly October to March. Current fares can be found at www.turkishairlines.com.
Domestic service: The must-see region in Turkey (besides Ephesus) is Cappadocia, with its eerie and ancient landscapes, underground cities and 10th century rock cut abbeys and churches. Turkish Airlines offers twice-a-day service from Istanbul to Nevsehir, the region’s main hub. Flights leave Istanbul each day at 7:25 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. and leave Nevsehir daily at 9:25 am. and 7:50 p.m.
LAX IST Schedule:
Istanbul – Los Angeles | Departs 11:10am – Arrives 3:25p Los Angeles – Istanbul | Departs 5:55pm – Arrives 5:10pm