Turkey

Booking Flights To Turkey

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
Swissotel Efes
Pamukkale Bus and Preiene
Ritz-Carlton Istanbul
Major Sites to see in Istanbul
Radisson Blu Bosphorus
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class IST-IAH

 

I live in Memphis and my two traveling companions live in the Chicago area and in Southern California. With access to large, hub airports it’s easy for them to be able to get flights anywhere. Flying from my midsize airport sometimes means an extra stop along the way.

Though I’ve only been in the miles and points “game” for a couple of years, already I’d heard about the wonders of the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul and put it on my mental list of places I wanted to check out. When my friend announced he was taking the apartment in Turkey in August and September I realized here was my chance. I’d saved up a bunch of United Airlines miles and planned to use them to fly Turkish Airlines. But last winter we started hearing about how United was devaluing their miles and how many more miles it was going to cost to fly on partner airlines. So on the very last weekend before the devaluation hit, my friends and I got together on the phone and got our dates in order.

My original plan had been to fly to Turkey on Turkish and back on another airline. But as I got to thinking about it, I realized that if I wanted to enjoy the lounge at the Istanbul airport, I’d need to fly back on Turkish. This actually worked out very well because we really wanted to arrive at the same time and go through Customs together. While I’d had a couple of ports of call in Turkey while on a cruise several years ago, my friends had never visited. So I was aware of how western much of Turkey is – though it certainly has a much more Islamic influence than what we’re accustomed to here – but my friends were being a little more cautious and wanted to be sure we were all on the same flight into Istanbul.

As it turned out I’d recently acquired one of the American Airlines Executive MasterCards when they were giving out the 100,000 mile bonuses, so I had plenty of miles to spare. I was able to find two premium award tickets, a business class seat on American from Chicago and a first class seat on British Airways from Houston. Since my Chicago friend was also using miles, she took the business class seat and I flew to Houston (via Dallas) on American and then to London. My friend in SoCal purchased an economy ticket on BA/AA non-stop to London.

I used 62,500 American AAdvantage miles and just over $500 cash for my first class ticket. This is because both my flight from Houston to London and the flight from London to Istanbul were on British Airways and BA passes along fuel surcharges (which are distance-based). Still, for a first class seat that retails for over $11000, I’m ok with the fuel surcharges. My friend from Chicago flew her trans-Atlantic segment on AA metal and thus her fuel surcharges were only about $250.

In the end, here is our flight map as we all met up at Heathrow:

Map drawn with gcmap.com

Map drawn with gcmap.com

Categories: American Airlines, Award Travel, British Airways, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey Trip Overview

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
Swissotel Efes
Pamukkale Bus and Preiene
Ritz-Carlton Istanbul
Major Sites to see in Istanbul
Radisson Blu Bosphorus
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class IST-IAH

I have a friend who was renting an apartment for a couple of months in Turkey. Since he was going to be there for awhile, I asked if he’d mind having my two friends and me come for a visit. It turned out his apartment was too small for so many visitors so we’d need to get a hotel. He was staying in the resort town of Kusadasi, which is about 45 minutes outside of Izmir, so we decided to use Izmir for our base in the area. Since most international flights fly into and out of Istanbul, we’d spend time there after leaving Izmir.

While we were in Izmir I knew we’d want to take a tour of the ancient city of Ephesus and we wouldn’t have a car so I did something that’s a bit of an anathema in the points & miles game: I contacted a travel agent. I have a friend here in town who is a Virtuoso agent yet knows my preference to plan as much as possible myself and she put me in touch with a Turkish Virtuoso agent who helped us greatly. I’ll have more on how they helped us but it’s not always a bad thing to pay for travel.

We flew from three different US cities and met up in London before continuing on to Istanbul. We spent a night there before flying to Izmir, where we spent four nights. We then flew back to Istanbul for five nights before returning home.

Stay tuned for the trip highlights as well as details on booking the flights.

Categories: Turkey | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.