Turkey Trip Overview
Booking Flights To Turkey
British Airways First Class Lounge IAH
British Airways 777 First Class IAH-LHR
Transiting Heathrow and British Airways A320 Business Class LHR-IST
Marriott Courtyard Istanbul Airport
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul to Izmir and Back
Ephesus, Mary’s House and Basilica of St. John
Pamukkale Bus and Preiene
Major Sites to see in Istanbul
Radisson Blu Bosphorus
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class IST-IAH
As I alluded to in a brief post previously, I’d heard horror stories about Heathrow but didn’t fully understand them. But then, my one experience with the airport was when London was my destination. Transiting was a whole ‘nother animal.
After leaving the aircraft, then returning to pick up my jacket, I once again set off through the maze of hallways. They were SO empty I couldn’t figure out why so many bloggers detested this airport. That is, until all of a sudden we came to a screetching halt. THEN I saw the lines. Wow, I couldn’t believe the backup! Fortunately I soon saw the Fast Track signs and wandered down that way. At one point I got a little confused and showed my boarding pass to an airport representative who indicated I should get in one of the very long lines. That just didn’t seem right to me and shortly afterwards I showed it to a different rep who escorted me and a couple of other folks to the express line. Even then there were probably a 10-20 people in front of me but we had a dedicated agent helping us and it was a far faster process than waiting behind hundreds of people.
After getting cleared by Passport Control I took the escalator up and found myself in yet another line, this one the security clearance. I hadn’t realized I’d have to clear security again and thus had to leave my water bottle behind. Not a big deal in the scheme of things but had I known in time I’d have dumped it out and kept the empty bottle for a refill.
Finally I was through security and now it was time to find my friends. Ha! My friend from Los Angeles had already landed while my friend from Chicago would be landing about 30 minutes after me. I wandered the concourse trying to find my LA friend, to no avail. I was having issues connecting to the wi-fi and was missing her texts. We’d said we’d meet up at the Galleries lounge, one of the two business class lounges, so I camped myself outside the Galleries North lounge and hoped I’d see them sooner or later.
Finally, finally I saw my two friends headed into the lounge and I caught up with them at the front desk. My Chicago friend had a business class ticket which entitled her to entry and my first class ticket allowed me to bring a guest so we were glad to get inside and collapse.
I’m sorry to says I did not take any photos of the lounge. I hadn’t seen my friends since March so we had a good bit of catching up to do. But we did enjoy having food and drink at our disposal, even if it wasn’t amazing. I took the opportunity to have a shower and that really helped. It was nice to be able to sit and relax and enjoy the free wi-fi vs. the limited 30 minutes we were given on the main concourse. About 45 minutes before our flight we decided to head toward our gate – which, naturally, was at the complete opposite end of the concourse.
Our flight to Istanbul was on a tired A320. The business class seats were the standard intra-Europe variety: meaning they were coach seats with the middle seat blocked off. Through some miracle my friend from Chicago and I managed to get assigned seats on the same row. We were served dinner which was not memorable but was edible so that must mean it was OK.
We landed a little bit early but it was still after 11:30 pm and we were dead tired at this point. After exiting the plane we headed toward Passport Control, desperately seeking a restroom. We did not see a single one until we reached Passport Control when we saw it on the other side of the hallway, where passengers coming from the other end of the concourse were coming our way. Thus refreshed we made our way through Passport Control with relatively little waiting and down to baggage claim.
After picking up our luggage the next challenge was to find where to pick up our hotel shuttle. Finally we did locate the spot, only to note that we’d just missed the midnight pickup and had to wait for the 00:30 van. Fortunately the driver was right on time, even a little early and we were soon on our way to the Marriott Courtyard Istanbul.