Author Topic: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First  (Read 12204 times)

Offline damaxer91

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TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« on: December 31, 2009, 05:39:53 AM »
When flying from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong the 2 best options are El Al and Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Although the El AL flight is direct, the Turkish flight has an excellent connection and the actual flying time is an hour less because they are able to fly the faster route over the Arab Countries. If you leave TLV on the 7:35 pm flight, you arrive in Hong Kong at 3:30 PM the next day with a 95 minute connection in Istanbul.  I have flown to Asia on EL AL several times and most routes are operated by a rather ancient 767 so Turkish is a very good option if you don’t mind a short stopover.


Upon arrival at TLV we proceeded to the Turkish Airlines check-in, which is located immediately to the left of El Al. There was no line at either the economy or business counter and checked straight through to Hong Kong and given passes to the Dan Lounge, the contracted lounge that all of the non EL AL airlines use at TLV. After a few minutes at the lounge we proceeded to the gate where we boarded after a 20 minute delay. The flight from Tel Aviv departs as 19:35 and arrives in Istanbul at 22:00, which is the last of 4 daily flights that Turkish operates from TLV. They operate several different 2 class aircraft on the route, some with decent business class seats and others with an empty seat in the middle. You are served the regular dinner from the Mehadrin caterer at Ben-Gurion along with a decent selection of soft drinks and a choice of alcoholic beverages. Very average flight.  The good part is yet to come.

Upon arrival at IST, there were 3 buses waiting to take the passengers to the terminal. Outside one of them was a hostess with a sign bearing our names and a porter to carry our bags. To our surprise, one of the buses was reserved for us alone and we were quickly driven to the underground First Class entrance. We were taken up a private elevator where a golf cart was waiting to drive us to the First Class lounge. The First Class lounge is small but extremely elegant. They immediately began to serve us dinner but we informed them that we only eat kosher, of course they had no idea what Kosher was so they continued to bring us heaps of food. Finally one of them understood what we meant; cleared the food and we took out our deli sandwiches and ate dinner while everyone around us stared at the crazy Jews.  The private shower rooms in the lounge, complete with Hermes amenities kits (the Jew in me said to ask for more, but I restrained myself) and possibly the smallest shower I’ve ever stepped foot into were a plus as well and are very good for preparing for a good night of sleep. About 10 minutes before departure, the hostess and porter come back and drive you with the golf cart straight to the gate.

I’d seen pictures before, but upon viewing it for the first time in person I was extremely taken aback. The 8 first class suites on the 77W (leased from Jet Airways) are the largest in the industry and have sliding doors to ensure complete privacy. Even the Singapore Airlines and Emirates Suites on the A380 aren’t this big. Making the experience even better was the fact that we were the only passengers in First Class, as Turkish does not upgrade its business class passengers unless the flight is overbooked.  As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants brought a light mattress as well as duvets and large fluffy pillows turning your suite into a very comfortable bedroom.  The silk-like button down pajamas and jam packed Bally amenities kit are nice features as well.
 The meals on the IST-HKG flight come from the local Turkish kosher caterer and are certified by the OK. I did not have dinner but the breakfast was very good, as kosher airline meals go. Another cool feature is how a couple can eat their meals together on the large table at your seat as the ottoman used for the bed also doubles as a seat. The service onboard was good, but did not measure up to the standard set by Singapore Airlines and Swiss (I for one, do not think that Cathay Pacific has very good service). The flight attendants speak a very basic English and simple requests often require many attempts and explanations.  One of the great perks of First Class is that they allow you to sleep till a half hour before landing and allow you to eat until minutes before landing. For some reason, all of the “safety” rules that you are restricted by in Economy and even Business don’t exist in First.

  Most Airlines tend to forget about you when you arrive at your destination but not Turkish. First Class passengers receive an escort through security and customs and have their bags waiting for them at baggage claim. Free transportation in a luxury vehicle is provided to and from the airport, but only in Istanbul. Keep in mind, that Turkish currently flies the 77W to/from JFK,NRT, and HKG and are a member of Star Alliance, so mileage redemption's are possible through all of their alliance partners including Continental, United, Lufthansa and Air Canada. Award availability is surprisingly very good for First Class.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 05:46:17 AM by damaxer91 »

Offline E

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 07:53:33 PM »
Wow great report, I'm flying turkish in two weeks with a 22- hour stopover, I'm flying economy but the lounge sounds great I'm gonna try to get in. Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do in Istanbul.  
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 08:14:28 PM by E »

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 08:21:59 PM »
Wow great report, I'm flying turkish in two weeks with a 22- hour stopover, I'm flying economy but the lounge sounds great I'm gonna try to get in. Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do in Istanbul.   

I'll leave my trip report with THY for Tisha be'av, So coming back your question, yes there is what to do, and its free:

http://www.thy.com/en-INT/corporate/news/announcements/announcement.aspx?aid=2797

If you are done, I would advice the egyptian bazaar. your highest price should be about 15% of their asking price.

Im not a guy that is scared easily, however, dont look too jewish...  turks are very nice, but you have a little percentage of fanatics. Also, never compare or address them as arabs, or your flight of of Turkey will be in cargo...

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 08:23:13 PM »
If for some reason you are not doing this guided tour, ask me for more info. I just don't wana type levatolo.

Offline Dan

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2010, 10:23:54 PM »
Not sure how I missed it the first time, but awesome trip report!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline E

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 09:41:58 AM »
I saw that I was wondering how free that was, I'm gonna be there for 22 hours do you think i can get the tour and the hotel room .
 
I'll leave my trip report with THY for Tisha be'av, So coming back your question, yes there is what to do, and its free:

http://www.thy.com/en-INT/corporate/news/announcements/announcement.aspx?aid=2797

If you are done, I would advice the egyptian bazaar. your highest price should be about 15% of their asking price.

Im not a guy that is scared easily, however, dont look too jewish...  turks are very nice, but you have a little percentage of fanatics. Also, never compare or address them as arabs, or your flight of of Turkey will be in cargo...

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 09:47:05 AM »
I saw that I was wondering how free that was, I'm gonna be there for 22 hours do you think i can get the tour and the hotel room .
 

I never had time yet for this free trip. but it says free, so when it comes to pay, you tell them you always travel without money  ;-)

The hotel room is only for people flying F with an overnight stay.

Offline E

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 09:55:44 AM »
I never had time yet for this free trip. but it says free, so when it comes to pay, you tell them you always travel without money  ;-)

The hotel room is only for people flying F with an overnight stay.

Quote
Passengers that arrive at our Istanbul terminal on connecting flights and have a layover for their outbound flights on the same day can either obtain a voucher for a complimentary daily stay in a hotel room or benefit from our new spectacular Istanbul tour accompanied by a special guide.

To take the advantage of the Istanbul tour, all connecting flight tickets must belong to Turkish Airlines international flights and must be the first connection between those destinations. In addition minimum waiting time for business class passengers has to be 7 hours or more and for economy passengers has to be at least 10 hours. If you meet those requirements, Turkish Airlines Hotel Desk in Istanbul Airport will arrange the Istanbul tour for you.

Passengers will have a chance to visit numerous historical landmarks during the complimentary tour program we have prepared for them.  The tour, escorted by a professional guide, will take off twice daily from Istanbul Atatürk Airport and is scheduled to cover Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Caria Church, Hippodrome Square, and Archeological Museum.
It seems to say it has to be on the same day for the tour or the hotel room I am actually staying overnight my flight lands at 9 in the morning at leaves 7 the next day, I'm gonna call them see what they say.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 09:59:08 AM by E »

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 10:00:18 AM »
I think it doesnt go on the hotel...

The Aya Sophia used to be a church, so you won't be allowed in according the halocho.

Sulthanamet Camii (the blue mosque) is no problem, just remove your shoes.

Offline moish

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 10:08:00 AM »
if its no longer a church isnt it ok?

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 10:10:15 AM »
no, only if it became a shul.

Offline E

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2010, 03:51:25 PM »
It seems from the FT thread on this that you might have to put up a fight to actually get the promotion but it shouldn't be that hard. I also read that there is a $20 charge for the visa does any anyone know of any way o get around that
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 03:59:20 PM by E »

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2010, 05:21:31 PM »
duno about the promo, but there is no way getting around the visa; but come on don't exaggerate...

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TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 11:22:43 AM »

http://www.thy.com/en-INT/corporate/news/announcements/announcement.aspx?aid=2797


Im not a guy that is scared easily, however, dont look too jewish...  turks are very nice, but you have a little percentage of fanatics. Also, never compare or address them as arabs, or your flight of of Turkey will be in cargo...

Has anybody ever done this free trip? I'm iyh going from TLV - IST - PVG and it Sounds really interesting, just wondering if it any dangerous etc...?

Offline chuchem

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Re: TLV-IST-HKG on the new Turkish Airlines 77W in First
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2011, 12:08:27 PM »
I did it with turkish though Istanbul. Even went to Istanbul downtown for a few hours. no problem. Enjoy