HAPPY SKIES

interview by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff

Country manager Mehmet Gurkaynak on what makes Turkish Airlines special

Mehmed Gurkaynak.jpg

Turkish Airlines has scores of international awards for the outstanding quality of its services in both economy and business class. However, it only takes a single flight with the company to realise that all those awards are more than well-deserved. Turkish Airlines takes hospitality, comfort and efficiency to a whole new level, and its extensive network of flights to 302 cities spreads over the planet, making the company the largest carrier in the world by number of countries.

Bulgaria is on the Turkish Airlines' map as well. There are 18 flights weekly from Sofia to Istanbul and 11 flights from Varna to Istanbul. We sat with Bulgaria country manager Mehmet Gurkaynak for a more detailed view on Turkish Airlines and what it offers to its customers.

What Turkish Airlines destinations out of Bulgaria you will recommend to holidaymakers, and why?

Our customers in Bulgaria are very happy and enthusiastic with the flights that we offer to exotic destinations. They love to travel to places like the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, and since we launched this destination in 2017, to Phuket. I also recommend our customers to travel to the United States and South America including Cuba, which is also on our list of destinations.

What are the advantages of Turkish Airlines Economy Class compared to other airlines?

We aim to offer excellent value for money to our Economy Class passengers. Our seats are comfortable and provide enough legroom. Turkish Airlines award-winning Economy Class catering services have been very well perceived by our guests throughout the years. Dishes are always cooked with fresh ingredients, in the best traditions of the famed Turkish and world cuisine. Furthermore, the company's unrivaled catering service is there to meet the requirements of passengers who request special meal services for health, religious, or ethical reasons, and for infants and children.

Your baggage allowance, especially on long-haul flights, is a lot more generous than other airlines.

Turkish Airlines baggage allowance depends on the particular destinations and cabin class. The baggage concept is per kilo and piece. For America, Turkish Airlines is the only airline company that allows 2 pieces of luggage.

What onboard entertainment can your passengers choose from?

The Turkish Airlines system for onboard entertainment is conceived and developed to make the flight as pleasant as possible. The company's entertainment platform called Planet has the latest titles available, as well as news channels and a wide range of music. For the children, you may find games among specific programmes dedicated to young guests. SkyLife, Turkish Airlines complimentary inflight magazine, is also available onboard.

Passengers in Business Class who would rather do some work, have their own power supply, rotating table, reading lamp, and free WiFi. Economy Class passengers also have power supply and are offered WiFi service upon payment of a fee, providing them with the option to talk on the phone and chat while airborne.

Mehmet Gurkaynak

Describe a Business Class intercontinental flight on Turkish Airlines.

The experience of flying Business Class on Turkish Airlines begins as early as the check-in. Our passengers skip the lines by checking at the company's dedicated Business Class counters, and are allowed extra luggage. Travellers from Istanbul then wait for their flight in the once again awarded Turkish Airlines Lounge İstanbul at Ataturk Airport, where they can enjoy massage, award-winning meals or watch movies at the real cinema corner. A playroom is also available for children.

Once onboard, guests are welcomed by the caring staff of Turkish Airlines. As soon as the plane is airborne and the belt lights go off, drinks and beverages of choice and light snacks are served. Later in the flight there is a meal served by a chef onboard. The company's inflight catering includes award-winning dishes offering Turkish classics and international favourites.

When it gets time to go to sleep, Turkish Airlines guests choose their breakfast for the next morning. Seats are then ready to turn into full-flat comfortable beds, completed with pillows and blankets and a number of amenities for a relaxing sleep.

Upon arrival, Business Class guests have priority at baggage claim. When they land in Istanbul, they can also go to the special Arrivals Lounge, where they can refresh, have shower, have their clothes ironed, and get ready for their business meeting in the city.

The Business Class stands out not only with the range of services provided, but also with the attention to details. The best way is to experience it.

Imagine you are a frequent flyer traveller arriving at Istanbul at 7pm and you have a plane to catch in 15 hours. What will you do?

Business Class passengers with having more than 7 hours until their next flight, and Economy Class passengers having more than 10 hours between changing planes, have two options. They can use Turkish Airlines free hotel accommodation.

The other option, which is particularly interesting for people who are going to spend the day in Istanbul, is the company's free bus sightseeing tour. There are three routes, with different length, that cover all the major sights like Sultanahmet Square, Haghia Sofia, the Topkapı Palace, etc. A free lunch of traditional Turkish food is included in the trip, and the entrance to the major landmarks and museums is free for our passengers. What they have to do is to go trough passport control and arrive at the sightseeing counter. They don't need to worry about their cabin luggage, as we also provide a secure storage space for it.

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