Date: Monday 08 May 2023
Seat: 14A (Exit Row Window Economy Class Seat)
Plane: Airbus A321neo
Pushback: 21:16 (Scheduled 20:40)
Arrived: 05:23 (Scheduled 04:45)
Duration: 5 hour 7 minutes
Distance: 3,736 kms
This flight was from Istanbul Airport to Manas International Airport (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
Airport Check In
Check in started at the check-in counters which in Istanbul Airport are located at the counters D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L. My flight used aisle G. Check in for flight TK348 opened more than three hours before scheduled departure, I checked in at 17:31.
My one bag was tagged and checked for travel to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Airport code FRU).
Tip: always pack as many of the essentials as you can into a carry on / daypack in case your bag is delayed or lost.
Security and customs clearance was relatively easy on this late Monday afternoon check in. From obtaining boarding pass to clearing Border Control it only took 7 minutes.
As an economy passenger with no status on any Star Alliance I had no complimentary lounge access. I also did not have the option to purchase lounge access. As a result I explored this new and very large airport complex purchasing extremely expense food before my flight.
We boarded from Gate F8A about 30 minutes late. You have your passport and boarding pass inspected in order to get to the holding area near the gate.
Turkish Airlines used priority boarding, first Business Class, then those in economy rows 18 and above, and finally those in economy rows 6 to 17. As I was in exit row 14 I was in the last boarding group.
I had pre-purchased an exit row seat costing $59 AUD for this 5 hour flight which was a good investment. The major upside is the large area in front of your seat, downsides included not being able to recline my seat (not a big deal on a 5 hour flight), and being responsible for operating the emergency exit. Flight attendent ensure we understand our roles and required verbal consent we would could and would assist in an evacuation.
Turkish Airlines’ Airbus A321neo planes. This plane had 5 rows of business class seats in 2 by 2 setup equalling 20 business class seats. The economy section has 27 rows with a 3 by 3 setup equalling 162 seats. Standard economy seats are 18.4 inches wide with 30 inches of pitch.
I found the exit row window seat 14A a good selction. The usual down side of a window seat is your limited access to the aisle and toilet but the extra space meant standing up wasn’t really necessary on this medium haul (5 hour) flight.
There was an amenity kit provided which had a face mask and socks.
During this scheduled 5 hour 5 minute overnight flight we had Dinner service which was served around 22:45 so almost 1.5 hours after pushback.
The Dinner options where chicken with rice or pasta. I went for the chicken option which included a bread roll, and chocolate mousse. A small water is supplied plus I requested a cup of Pepsi for a refreshment.
The service was very good for this overnight flight. Flight attendants took there jobs seriously moving quickly though the cabin to supply amenity kits and meals and in my case discuss Emergency Exit procudres. The flight Attendants I dealt with all spoke English as a second langauge.
The Turkish Airlines entertainment system was accessed by a screen in the back of the seat in front of you. I watched two movies: 1) A Man Named Otto, and 2) Serenity. After this I switched to watching the Flight Map while listening to my iPhone.
Wifi is available on this flight, it’s free for business class passengers and a limited free package for Turkish Airline members, others can purchase a range of packages but I didn’t take up this option.
This was a smooth flight with no turbulence. The cabin felt comfortable with the temperature settings fine on this full plane. The plane wasn’t too noisey but being on Exit Row over the wing it is louder from this seat then most of the rest of the plane.
We arrived almost 40 minutes late due to the late departure. Border Control was extremely slow, I would guess I took about 30 minutes to get though. The upside was my bag was already waiting for me.
I could only find one ATM machine and it only let me take out 3,000 Kyrgyzstan Soms which is around $51 AUD. Hopefully this reflects lower costs in this country.
Turkish Airlines is a very good major airline and flying with them gave me great comfort as I moved into this less developed or more rustic area of the world.