Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was an airline that flew movie stars, royalty and spies. They actually had separate cabins in first class plus a dining room. The famous Pan Am Clipper, originating in the 1940’s, may sound like a fairy tale today, but some airlines are trying to bring back the grand old days of air travel with superlative comfort and, yes, an on-board chef.
In a classic “He Said, She Said” ALO sent two seasoned travelers to see exactly if Turkish Airlines is making the thirteen hour, non-stop flight from LAX to Istanbul like flying in Seventh Heaven or a Walk on the Wild Side.
SHE SAID: Even before this flight, I was still convinced that air travel could be the most luxurious experience of a lifetime. It still could be with the exception of the security screenings, flight delays and the horror of losing luggage. I had a few of those less than favorable experiences within the last 15 years that resulted in setting higher standards and expectations. I now never accept anything less than the best possible when I am on an expedition to discover some of the most desirable destinations the earth can offer.
If you are one of those high maintenance travelers and lifestyle explorers, we have a few things in common: comfort and non-stop flights. When it comes to flying, personally I would rather pay a few dollars more rather than make twice the stops. Call me spoiled if you want, but trust me, time is precious. Instead of wandering in airports and rushing to catch a connecting flight, I want to get to where I am going and invest my time into something more rewarding. This works for me, especially if I am mixing business and pleasure at the same time.
HE SAID: Who wants to stop through JFK if you’re flying from the West Coast? Actually, who wants to stop period? But the thought of flying thirteen hours without a break can be frightening; at least before I tried Turkish Airlines business class.
SHE SAID: Oh, I was happy to hear that Turkish Airlines now offers a non-stop from L.A. I was also pleased to learn that my team booked me into business class, hoping it would be an ideal time to relax and get some sleep after long few months of grinding out projects and development on some new areas of work.
HE SAID: Don’t you find the day before you fly extremely stressful? I do. No matter how much you plan, it always seems like I need to do 48 hours worth of things and you only have 12 hours…
SHE SAID: Well, as usual the evening before was a non-sleep night – setting up last minute strategies for my clients, finishing emails, organizing my schedule and calendar and trying to pack two weeks worth of clothes into two bags. This time I was under the weather and it made my prep window shut a little faster. However, the excitement of the trip kept me going with the expectations that I would be soothed back to normal in my more luxurious cabin.
HE SAID: Getting back to the Turkish Airlines experience, what is it that struck you that would appeal to the “high maintenance traveler” and “lifestyle explorers”? What are these two types anyway – I never heard of these this way? Can you be both at the same time? Do tell…
SHE SAID: In my opinion, service for the high maintenance traveler with welcoming hospitality should be the standard for every airline. We seem to forget the reason we travel and get annoyed by the hassles and budget of it getting out. Travel is an adventure all its own – from obtaining potential business, falling in love, seeing an old friend and/or family or just exploring a culture of the world. It is essential that the travel industry’s quality of service return to its glory as it was before. You should get that whether you travel in first class or economy. I do think that Turkish Airlines “gets it” at all levels.
HE SAID: Certain airlines do “get it.” Here’s how I breakdown the TABCE or Turkish Airlines Business Class Experience:
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