Turkish Airlines fly to more countries than any other airline. Most of their flights connect through the recently opened Istanbul (IST) airport. They are a great full service option to fly from England to Qatar at a reasonable price. To inform Qatar Quick readers and to save money myself in the process, I decided to check them out.

In this post I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was it? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines plane in air
Turkish Airlines Plane – Photo from TravelCodex.com

In this article, I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was my experience? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines Air Fare

Getting to Qatar can be a costly experience, but I booked an extremely competitively priced return ticket from Birmingham, England (BHX) to Doha, Qatar (DOH) for just £332.29. Admittedly this may have been cheaper than usual as I was travelling mid March as the Covid 19 virus was reaching the Middle East and Europe. More about this later.

The Covid 19 Impact

As the Covid 19 virus spread across the world, Turkish Airlines announced that passengers who had booked flights within a certain time frame could enjoy changes to their tickets free of charge. As a result of this, I took advantage and found the entire process very simple. I contacted their call centre who explained my options and rebooked my flights without fuss. This policy is in place until the end 2020. Great start!

On the day before my flight, I checked in online finding this process simple. Upon arrival at Birmingham airport I proceeded to the fast bag drop counter and checked in my bags. Turkish Airlines offer a very generous 30kg on their economy flights to Doha – learn all about their baggage policies here.

On Board With Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines operate a zonal boarding process and I boarded from the rear of the plane. Subsequently this worked well and I received a friendly welcome from the hostess.

The flight was a busy one. Once seated I found the leg room ample (however I am only 1.70m tall) Turkish Airlines seat pitch is between 29-33 inches depending on the type of aircraft.

Turkish Airlines Economy Class seats
Turkish Airlines Economy Seating – Beyzanur K

As a consequence of the covid 19 virus ALL passengers were asked to fill in a document stating their seat number and contact details which would be used for contact tracing if necessary.

A tasty brunch was provided and drinks – both non alcoholic and alcoholic were available. Moreover, the flight entertainment system offered a choice of films, tv shows, music and games and the Turkish Airlines crew distributed individually wrapped disposable earphones.

The 3.5 hour flight was soon over and we landed early into Istanbul (IST). I was keen to get off and stretch my legs. I soon realised this would be easy due to the size of the airport. It was HUGE!

Transiting at Istanbul Airport

Having shown my onward boarding pass to Doha, I passed through security which completed the transfer process. Very easy.

In the airport terminal there are loads of TV screens detailing departure gates and clear signage directing you.

I had 3 hours to look around so went to the central area of the terminal. There I found everything. It is hard to explain the size of this new airport. The space is so vast it took around 20 minutes walking through the shopping area. Please note there are limited travellators and no connecting trains. However there is a buggy service for passengers in need.

I felt like I was in a mall. All kinds of shops and restaurants including competitively priced duty free were available. There was a cosy looking bar if you fancied a beer and various restaurants and coffee shops too. All great for passing the time people watching.

Istanbul Airport Duty Free
Duty Free Shopping at Istanbul Airport – Photo by Hurriyet Daily News

Also available is an airport hotel, a sleep pod (€6/9 per hour depending on time of day) prayer rooms, ATMs, several paid lounges, lost and found and an airport assist centre. They even have two exhibition areas displaying photos and the history of the airport. You will not definitely not get bored!  

A top tip is to leave plenty of time to get to your gate for your onward flight to Doha. It took me 30 minutes and I was alone walking reasonably quickly.

Unfortunately the boarding gate was a bit too small for the amount of passengers but you can sit opposite the gate and enter last minute.

Istanbul to Doha

Once onboard, this Turkish Airlines plane was newer and as it was now evening, pillows and blankets were available. The crew were relatively accommodating but it did feel as though you had to ask for something rather than be offered it. Service onboard went relatively smoothly but was continually interrupted by frequent turbulence. Again non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks were available and many passengers enjoyed a glass of wine or a beer. Their food offering was excellent with ample choice.

The flight entertainment system was much the same as the earlier flight and thankfully touch down at Hamad International Airport was smooth. Exiting the plane was relatively speedy and after connecting to the free wi-fi I headed to arrivals and immigration.

All in all my virgin experience of Turkish Airlines was excellent. If you want to visit Qatar and enjoy the sights, experience and culture as well as save money then I would not hesitate to recommend them.

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