New York (JFK) to Istanbul (IST) to Dubai (DXB)
On the Ground: Before this trip, most people were surprised to hear I hadn’t experienced Turkish Airlines, as I’m Turkish. I was excited to arrive at the airport early enough to relax in the lounge before take-off. With no one in the business line, this may have been one of my quickest check-ins to date. I would say it took less than two minutes. Off to the lounge I went.
Pre-Flight: I took a quick walk through the lounge to see what was available. The lounge — clean with plenty of food and drink options — featured a crisp design and comfortable chairs. With dependable WiFi, I sat down with a plate of food and a Bloody Mary and dove into some emails. Because it was a late flight out of JFK, I knew I would be getting some shuteye on the plane unless the entertainment was too good to pass up.
In-Flight: The plane boarded on time. I immediately reached my window seat, offering plenty of legroom as well as storage space for my bags. As soon as I sat down, I was served a juice option. I noticed an actual bar up front with an attendant concocting drinks to everyone’s liking. I grabbed a refreshing lemonade. I wanted to get comfortable under the thick blanket and check out the entertainment available. Shortly after takeoff, I started one of many movies I planned to watch during the long haul. One of the previews introduced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which Turkish Airlines promoted. Almost everything was designed to promote the film — even the menus were in the shape of a bat opening its wings — and I think the marketing team did an excellent job.
The chef on board took our orders immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed a glass of Chablis Premier Cru Les Joyaux 2013 to complement my grilled Chilean sea bass. The wine list featured many vintages I wanted to taste. Did I mention the cute electronic candle for each passenger? Romantic dinner, party of one. Such a thoughtful detail! Full from the plethora of delicious food options, I found it easy to fall asleep on the fully flat bed right after dinner.
The Experience: There is a reason Turkish Airlines wins best airline awards across the globe. The service is impeccable, the food provides a great representation of the culture, and the staff is famous for its first-class hospitality. During my layover in İstanbul, I visited the new business lounge, a destination in itself. It featured a pool table where travelers could enjoy friendly competition and safes big enough to hold luggage. These were apparently popular, as I couldn’t find an empty one among about 50 lockers. The lounge also offered massages and even beds for catching a quick nap. Of course, the food was amazing. My favorite? The display offering all Turkish desserts. Everything exceeded my expectations, and the Turkish carrier represents the country well. I hope to enjoy another Turkish flight soon.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
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