When I decided my latest travel destination was going to be Thailand for the first time, I knew I wanted to take an extended route to experience another country along the way. Prior to getting to Thailand, I would have a few days stopover in the Seychelles, off the coast of east Africa. The Seychelles were one of my dream destinations, so why not knock out two birds with one stone. Of course I could have flown a more direct route, but I wanted to experience the Turkish Airlines Business Class and food (which is known for) and the Istanbul Business Class lounge in Ataturk Airport. Istanbul just opened a new airport, so I got to experience the old lounge before the new airport lounge opens.
So, I pulled the trigger. Earlier this year, I booked flight TK6 from Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul (IST). The nearly 10 hour flight would have to be in business class, because the way I get anxious on flights, I would need the leg room. The lie flat seats also help. My second leg would be Business class to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD), then an economy class on Ethiopian Airlines to the Seychelles (SEZ).
How I booked
Turkish Airlines and United Airlines are both apart of the Star Alliance which means you can book Turkish Airlines flights on the United Airlines website. Also, United Airlines is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Since I have a fair amount of Ultimate Rewards points available, I transferred the 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my United MileagePlus account to book. The transfer was nearly instant. Booking took all of 2 minutes, and I had my reservation. I had to contact Turkish and Ethiopian Airlines to select the seats on wanted on the respective flights. Not bad for a flight that would have cost about $5,000 for one way; that’s a 6.6 ccp return. I will take that all day and twice on Sunday.
I was seated in the window seat in the picture below. The space is very roomy with a large LCD screen and storage bin that doubles as a foot rest. Movies and entertainment can be viewed from the large LCD screen or the handheld screen. Not to mention, the Denon earphones that TA supplies for the flight sound amazing, and work as great noise cancelling headphones, even though I don’t think they officially are. The bathroom was standard but was kept extremely clean throughout the flight and had scented oil reeds as a nice touch.
I was actually pretty excited to taste the food aboard this Turkish Airlines flight. Airline food is traditional met with bland and horror. However, the multiple course menu about TA actually taste pretty good. The bread is fresh, butter soft, fruit was sweet and juicy, shrimp was succulent, and the steak was tender. I mean, what else can a man ask for.
Overall the flight was quite pleasant. I was more relaxed on this international 10 hour flight, than a 3 hour domestic flight. I was able to grab about a 2 hour nap during the flight, and the lie flat seats greatly helped. One thing I didn’t like was my seat didn’t have direct isle access, so I had to step over the passenger beside me to go to restroom. Thankfully, she slept heavy. I believe she was headed to Dubai after Istanbul. The flight was rather smooth with maybe one stretch of turbulence.
I will definitely be flying Turkish again and it’s a great use of points and miles.