Turkey > Izmir
Morning departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport KUL, and we start with a hearty breakfast surrounded by nicely done Chinese New Year decorations. Yes, we are spending the New Year (of the Water Snake) in Turkey.
We have done web check-in, so bag drop and collecting our boarding passes for KUL-DOH-IST are painless. Only anxiety is the 50min transfer at Doha Airport to change planes for the flight to Istanbul Ataturk. We have this pass called ‘short transfer’, yellow in colour with orange edges — this should allow us to cut the queue during security check at DOH. Should be less painful when the new Hamad International Aiport opens in April.
Formalities done, we loiter outside our gate till the troops arrive. Time to get in.
Our plane KUL-DOH, Airbus A330-200, reg. A7-AFM. This is flight QR621.
Uneventful routine flight to Doha — a 7:45hr journey.
So uneventful that I can’t even remember what I have for lunch!
As usual the cool blue lights come on, time to nap.
Very quick plane change at DOH and we are now doing the DOH-IST sector QR480, which is more interesting, as an EK A380 outruns us above the Persian Gulf. We are on an Airbus A320 A7-ADB, a shabby plane, by QR standard. Full of families with kids (and maids of course), most likely on vacation. Hope our single check-in luggage is on the same plane.
Stewardesses with glasses look kinda cute, by the way.
Nice dinner we are served — there are chunks of tasty beef down there buried inside the rice. This is a 5-hr flight.
Snow-capped mountains in southeastern Turkey start appearing. Amazing that less than 1 hour from the desert, we have this landscape. I notice the flight path avoids Syrian airspace — in any case most planes from the Gulf would head northwesterly along the Tigris river (over Mosul), and once at the Iraq-Turkey border, they turn left. Syria is definitely not popular at the moment.
Istanbul Ataturk Airport IST finally. Pleasant, easy-to-navigate airport, immigration and custom a breeze. We make our way from the international terminal to the domestic one for our connecting flight to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport ADB. Quite a long walk, but covered and warm, so no issue with the freezing wet weather outside. By the way, our check-in bag from KUL arrives safely with us.
First visit to Turkey, that’s country #50 for me, if my reckoning is correct. A milestone indeed!
Time to kill, and we find a comfy place opposite this clinic next to the domestic terminal, which seems more like a beauty parlour — even with no knowledge of Turkish we could figure it out … ‘Laser Epilasyon’, ‘Botox’, hmmm …
Ready to board our flight to Izmir ADB – KK4028, 1-hr flight. Still a long way before we get a warm comfy bed to rest on.
AtlasJet Airbus A321 TC-ETM, we are in. Get ready for a bumpy ride, weather not too good in western Turkey now. I hate Airbus in bad weather!
A mainly local carrier — Onur Air.
And soon we are on our way to Izmir ADB. (Video: please watch in HD.)
Finally, almost 24hrs after exiting our Setia Alam house, a warm comfy room greets us at the Izmir Orty Airport Hotel. It’s sub-zero outside, drizzling with howling wind, but who cares.
What a memorable day to start our Turkey adventure!
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