A Turkish Deal of Flying. The Reality Check of Turkish Airlines.
Yes, I have been there. Part of the teams creating big international promises over advertising, I mean. That’s what advertising is for, right? Promises to get people to come, buy, use or consume, maybe ever tell about their experiences to someone else. Maybe that’s the reason someone somewhere is punishing me with these reality checks.
Few years ago I flew with Turkish Airlines from Stockholm to Dubai, via the bazaar like Istanbul airport obviously. While the first flight from Stockholm was a funny theater play with in-flight moves I would not really call airline hosting, and the Istanbul THY Business slash Star Alliance Gold Lounge was mostly like a noisy booze bazaar, the last leg over Dubai certainly continued that not so glamorous business class traveling experience with some condensate water dipping from the ceiling of the plane, non-working mechanism of my chair and so on. After that I promised myself to skip both Turkish Airlines and Istanbul. And I did, until this Monday.
I guess you have seen the advertising campaign of Turkish Airlines recently; the hyper-super-rich and beautiful soccer stars and other sport stars flying and playing inside the glamorous business class of Turkish Airlines, enjoying absolutely most wonderful plates of the absolutely best in-flight dining available but that’s not all; Turkish Airlines was also voted to be the Best Airline in Europe. 18.8 million votes but only one named, they keep saying in their in-flight advertising, too. Take a look on their advertising; that is certainly so lovely airline, isn’t it?
As I do love good marketing communication I also somehow believe the message, at least I find myself with some marketing driven expectations. As I did again.
Flying from Stockholm towards Istanbul was acceptable, to be honest, but after an hour in bazaar lounge – it was better that few years ago but still pretty far away from peaceful place to work – I jumped into a Boeing 737-800 towards Islamabad, Pakistan. First 3,5 hrs on a reasonable plane and then 5,5 hours flight in not so sexy business class, which it was actually. Same plane, same seat arrangements as inner-Europe flight, three seats in row, middle one “reserved for your comfort”. This is now 5-6 hrs flight we are talking about, nothing like from Sweden to Denmark kind of journeys. Business class? Yeah, for sure!
Advertising V.S. Reality.
Where’s my luxurious leg room? Where I can join the soccer stars to play with? Where is my plate of delicious food? And as this is overnight / early a.m. flight, where is my flat down bed? The only balancing element is that their portions of whiskey is like four normal ones but maybe that’s the secret to keep passengers happy and in sleep? The Scandinavians, at least.
I don’t really get this operating model. Why you keep running a super-star-story if you are still running flights a few light-years behind your story? Don’t you think that the expectations will be too much to handle with the reality? Of course I understand that you also have smaller planes for shorter routes but now you did the opposite so I wonder where is the logic? To get Scandinavians to come to Turkey on Turkish Airlines instead of holidays charters? And maybe it is slightly unfair to take pictures from your website showcasing your fleet of brand new B777-300 and A330-300 instead of the reality but hey – that’s the message you are giving to us, the business travelers, right? I am not talking about economy class budget holiday traveling here.
And please don’t say it was because the destination or because of the price or route. And if it’s about the route, I’d say someone at the Turkish Airlines might re-consider the business model as the traffic seems to be there! Emirates flies from Dubai to Islamabad where I can be in deep sleep over 3 hours flight on my very own flat bed. Unfortunately that was full-booked again – maybe that’s the proof for good business from Istanbul too - so I was obliged to make these changes on my regular route.
I don’t know whether this story is all based on the Turkish business traditions, selling merchandise at bazaars, promising, showing and negotiating about the price and eventually, cash out and go. Sorry Turkish Airlines, it probably will be another few years again. After next Monday as I am booked for the return on the same route. Maybe you can pre-book me a private corner at THY Istanbul Lounge that I can work for few hours prior my return to Scandinavia. If I still have a laptop as the guy front of me just put his seat backwards hitting my Macs screen. So this was the end of the story and laptop goes off now. Good nite Turkish Airlines.
Cheers for a good in-flight sleep! Cheers for promises of reality! And most of cheers for airlines understanding the value of their customers!