Trip Report: Turkish Airlines Pandemic Changes B777 Dubai to Istanbul

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This is my first Turkish Airlines flight since the pandemic has started. Much has changed in the aviation and airline industry in a bid to survive the biggest crisis ever. This is a photo report of my flight on Turkish Airlines TK763 from Dubai to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines received permission to re-launch flights to the UAE in December. They’re currently flying around 14 times a week to Dubai with a variety of aircraft include B777-300/ER, B787, A330 and A350. My flight has nearly 300 passengers and operated by B777-300/ER; registration TC-JJZ.

Turkish Airlines Flight Attendant welcome passenger with hygiene kit at the door
Turkish Airlines Flight Attendant welcome passenger with hygiene kit at the door

We departed Dubai around 8:45am in the morning from runway 12R, with a turn over the desert heading towards the city and Perisan Gulf. Our flight time was 4 hours 20 minutes with routing over Persian Gulf, Iraq into Turkey.

Flying over Downtown Dubai with The World's Tallest Building below; Burj Khalifa
Flying over Downtown Dubai with The World’s Tallest Building below; Burj Khalifa
We also flew over the World Islands on reclaimed land.
We also flew over the World Islands on reclaimed land.

Onboard Cleanliness

Not surprised everything came as sealed and wrapped. The cabin seems thoroughly cleaned before the boarding.

I also noticed the cabin crew frequently cleaning the bathroom on the flight and walk around the cabin to check on passengers and remind them to wear face coverings.

Onboard Catering

I received a modified menu. Notably the chef was no longer onboard the flight.

Box Meal on Turkish Airlines Business Class
Snack bag on Turkish Airlines Economy

Obviously, the onboard catering at Turkish Airlines took a setback when compare to pre-pandemic days. The airlines have now offer hot meals on flights over 8 hours and the Chairman has mentioned they will bring back hot meals on other international flights from April during my interview with him. Click here for my interview.

Although the Business Class is arranged in 2-3-2 configuration, I have to admit I slept very well in it. There was no table console on top of my leg so I can turn freely. I appreciate the forward facing too. The rest of flight was quiet and eventless.

Over snow capped mountains in Eastern Part of Turkey
Over snow capped mountains in Eastern Part of Turkey

It was a quick and eventless flight. I went to cockpit to thank the crew. As usual they’re very accomodating to the AvGeek.

I will be releasing a fully interactive video this weekend documenting what’s changed in Turkish Airlines. Stay tuned.

Tough Time For Network Carrier

Istanbul Airport is notably quieter. It’s a huge challenge for every network carrier, the airlines has made to do without the network capabilities and optimisation of the network.

Just like every other airline, Turkish Airlines has had to quickly adapt to fluctuations in the market; this especially evident in the international market. Unlike many airlines, no government bailout was provided to Turkish Airlines; this meant that the airlines’ mindset had to be immediately adjusted to cope with such uncertain times.

Click here for an exclusive interview with Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, İlker Aycı; this interview provided an intriguing insight into Turkish Airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.