Could anyone comment on which of the below airlines has the best reputation for safety and transportation in Turkey? And which of these airlines would qualify as being more "luxurious" and comfortable?
There is no nicer Airline than Turkish Airlines. My direct flight in June from Boston to Istanbul was the smoothest flight I had ever taken.
Pam for Bath
Turkish Air always treated me well - two thumbs up. As far as "luxurious", aside from Emirates Airlines, I don't think "luxurious" and (regular commercial, passenger) "airline" even go together.
I also suggest Turkish Air. One note: If you use them, it pays to book early. They offer a range of fares and sell them from cheapest to most expensive. The fares will always go up as the flight approaches.
My domestic flights in Turkey were on Anadolu Jet and Bora Jet (subsidiaries of Turkish Airlines) and Atlas Jet. All were fine. It's been said that flying domestically in Turkey is old fashioned, in the best possible way. You actually get a snack and a beverage, even on these short flights; the flight attendants are pleasant and polite; there's a modicum of legroom, even in coach. I wouldn't call it "luxurious," but it was certainly nicer than flying within the US these days.
The only things to be aware of:
1) There's a low weight limit for carry-on bags, so some bags that you can carry-on trans-Atlantic flights (including Turkish Air ones) will need to be checked. The first time, I was not prepared for this, and checked my computer. After this, I had a separate bag ready with my electronics and valuables, so I could carry that on.
2) There is a bag X-ray immediately upon entering the airport, then a second, more typical security screen before you get to your gate. For the first one, you don't have to have your 3-1-1 bag out, take off shoes, restrict liquids, etc; for the second one, you do.
And one positive: Atlas Jet includes, for no extra fee, shuttle buses to popular destinations from the airport. This was very useful to get from Izmir Airport to Selcuk. On the way back, Anadolu Jet did not include this perk, so we took the train, which was JAMMED and not fun. I believe at least one other airline does this as well as Atlas Jet; if you have a choice on a route, definitely take the airline that offers the free shuttle.
My international flight to Turkey was also on Turkish Air, and again, it was notably nicer than US airlines.
Thanks for the great detailed replies!
I've booked a few flights while figuring out details - I've found that Pegasus is easily the most user friendly for out of country travellers. Turkish Air sounds great but I'm still annoyed they cancelled my flight - trip is nearly ruined and I'm having to reply everything with only a few days before departure.
Borate sounds pretty bare bones - prices are good but international travellers cannot book online easily (at least not if your from N. America) and the call centre is not open at all hours so they are tough to reach.
The free shuttle looked great but unfortunately I could not find a flight that worked with that airline. The other airlines similarly didn't offer flights that worked.
Since you guys have a lot of experience flying in Turkey - what would be your preference for a road trip out of Istanbul that starts in Troy and ends near Izmir?
fly with Borajet via Turkish airlines to Canakkale, direct flight under one hour, bringing you ½ hour within striking distance of Troy - but you don't arrive into Canakkale until 1 am (departure is at midnight)
slightly longer direct flight with Pegasus, travelling early morning (8 am departure) and arriving into the Edremit airport at 9:10 - this leaves a longer drive (1:45) to Troy, and then a drive back down from Troy in the same direction on route to Pergamon and then later, Izmir.
What do you think? And also, if you were a lone traveller, would you be comfortable flying into Canakkale and picking up your car, transferring to the hotel, after midnight?
Or would you go for the long drive and travel by daylight?
are the strict weight limits only on Turkey Airlines? and what are they?