My favourite route from Entebbe to London: via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines
My hands were full. With one hand I pulled my suitcase on wheels; in the other I was carrying – and trying to quickly drink – a hot cup of coffee before boarding my early morning flight to Istanbul.
A member of Turkish Airlines staff smiled at me and grabbed hold of my trolley to help me walk down to the plane. She introduced herself as Kesvar. “You’re the nicest person I’ve met all day,” I said, relieved to be past Heathrow’s hard-nosed, sarcastic security personnel.
“I believe in karma,” she said. “I always help pregnant ladies and old people.” (Which category did she think I fell into – I had to wonder!)
My new friend Kesvar and I chatted all the way down to the plane. We talked about Istanbul, my next stop. “You must go and eat fish and bread next to the Bosphorus,” she insisted. We talked about fabulous Turkish food. We agreed how easy it is to get into Istanbul city centre from the airport. It’s cheap too! Istanbul has made sure that a short stopover in the megapolis is as easy as possible. Talking to Kesvar was like being welcomed to Istanbul and I hadn’t even left London!
By the time my little suitcase and I boarded the plane, I was one of the last. Everywhere I looked, the overhead lockers appeared full. There was no room in the locker above my seat so I wandered up and down the aisle looking for a little space. There was none in economy.
I managed to get the attention of one of the airhostesses who invited me to follow her into business class. We giggled as we shuffled the other bags around so we could wedge my lucky little suitcase into a corner of one of the business class lockers. It was quite a workout!
Finally in my seat, I settled down to watch the quirkiest airline safety video. I’ve watched these videos so times that I tend to switch off when they start. The Turkish Airlines video grabbed my attention though. Even though it was played in Turkish to start with (then later in English), I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the clever graphics. Meet internet sensation Zack King!
It’s a brilliantly done piece with animation and subtitles throughout. My sister Sarah is deaf. I know how left out she feels when other airlines don’t provide subtitles on in-flight entertainment. The Turkish Airlines safety video even has an interpretive signer. Sarah would love it!
I always enjoy Turkish Airlines’ meals and they were as good as ever: a tasty salad, a pasta dish and chocolate dessert.
Although I had planned three days in Istanbul, unfortunately commitments in Entebbe meant I could not delay as planned. Nonetheless, my short stopover at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul allowed me time to sample some delicious honey-flavoured baklava and a cold Efes beer and stock up on boxes of Turkish Delight for friends in Kampala. Two hours free Wi-Fi gave me plenty of time for me to catch up with everyone.
There is so much more to see in Istanbul! Read my blogs about this superb and accessible city.