Monday, July 4, 2011

Romania-Vietnam with Turkish Airlines

We left Romania for Vietnam on June 30, at 11:45 a.m., on a Turkish Airlines long-haul flight to Ho Chi Minh City via Istanbul.

The first plane coming from Istanbul to Bucharest was delayed, so we left our home-country one hour later than the scheduled departure time. We were informed by the pilot that the delay was caused by the rush-hour on the Ataturk Airport. Our trip seemed to be adventurous from its very beginning. Fortunately, other than that event, we had a smooth trip with a very professional airline, which has recently won the Skytrax award for the best carrier in Europe.

We flew to Istanbul on a Boeing 737-800. It was flawless - new aircraft, spotlessly clean, ample room for legs for an economy seat, quick and effective in-flight service, plenty of excellent food for a 50-minute flight: cheese sandwich, crackers and butter, chicken salad with parmigiano, chocolate mousse, juices, Efes and Heineken beers, red and white wine, coffee, tea.

We embarked on the long-haul flight to Ho Chi Minh City around midnight, with a short stopover in Bangkok after 10 hours). It was an Airbus Industrie A340-300, which also looked brand-new. We'd flown some long-distance routes before (to US and Australia), but this was by far the most comfortable flight we had.


1. cheerful and bright interior - turquoise, light gray, and white decor;

2. in-flight kit containing: with sleeping mask, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, shoe horn, and ear plugs;

3. fold-down footrest;

4. cup holder that is useable independent of the tray table;

5. individual screens and a very diverse movie and music selection;

[caption id="attachment_1299" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Independent cup holders and individual screens."][/caption]

6. adjustable lumbar support in the seat backrest;

7. bottled water and full beverage service: wine , beer (Tuborg, Efes Pilsner), spirits (whisky, gin, vodka, raki), juices (apple, orange, tomato, sour cherry).

8. the most palatable food we've had on a plane; DINNER: yoghurt with cucumbers; white cheese with herbs, eggplant salad, and crackers; Turkish minced beef with sauteed seasonal vegetables and patates au gratin or cheese and spinach borek with grilled chicken sausage; cheese cake. BREAKFAST: white and Gouda cheese; marinated black and green olives; scrambled eggs with cheese borek, grilled tomatoes and green peppers; jam and butter. LUNCH (from Bangkok to HCMC): toast with grilled zucchini and eggplant; chocolate cupcake.

[caption id="attachment_1303" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Dinner"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1304" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Breakfast"][/caption]

To improve:

1. Toilets should be cleaned more often and stocked with more supplies.

2. Some of the attendants were sullen and spoke Turkish when it was quite clear we were not  their compatriots.

Overall, the Turkish Airlines  flights were very enjoyable experiences and it's a sure thing we are going to become members of their Miles&Smiles program.

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