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These are like some of those great fares that I normally find for departures from anywhere other than the UK. Finding business class fares like these from other EU countries isn’t too uncommon but to find these fares for departures from London is pretty good and not that common at all.
Turkish Airlines have published two very attractive Business Class fares for flights between London Gatwick and Bangkok via Istanbul.
There are two fares in play right now – one involves a stopover (at least one night in Istanbul) while the other is slightly more expensive but only involves a short stop in Istanbul.
At least 1 night in Istanbul – $1,621 (£1,085/€1,465)
No long layovers – $1,791 (£1,200/€1,620)
Travel dates: January – 8 December 2016
Booking: Must book by 31 December 2016
Minimum Stay Requirements:
In essence, if you choose your departure dates carefully, you get a great selection of trip-lengths regardless of if you do a stopover or not (I didn’t search past 9-day trips)
Maximum Stay Requirements:
Stopovers: 2 Free stopover permitted. 1 in each direction in Istanbul.
This can be a great way to throw in a second city into your trip. Flights with stopovers are $170 cheaper than those without so that “saving” could be put towards the cost of a hotel for a couple, of nights.
Example flights/routings (click to enlarge)
With a Stopover:
Note that it’s possible to book the cheaper ticket and only do a stopover in one direction.
Without a Stopover:
These fares come with blackout dates:
- 10 March – 25 March 2016
- 5 July – 7 July 2016
- 15 July – 15 August 2016
- 14 September – 17 September 2016
Aside from those blackout dates availability is very good. Availability isn’t great in January but, that month aside, availability for the rest of the year is looking very good indeed.
The search parameters to use are simple:
If you’re happy to see flights that will require a stopover you can use these parameters:
If, on the other hand, you’d like to filter out all the flights that would require an overnight in Istanbul, try using these parameters:
Turkish Airlines Business Class
The long-haul legs of the journey (IST-BKK-IST) are on Turkish Airlines’s Airbus A330 aircraft….but the problem is that it’s hard to tell if it the A330-200 or A330-300 aircraft.
All Turkish Airlines A330-300 aircraft are fitted with their new (ish) business class product which features a lie-flat seat. The A330-200 may or may not have been upgraded and could well feature old, angled, business class seats.
Per Turkish Airlines the seat has the following features:
- An ottoman that creates a 75 inch(188 cm)long sleeping space when in the fully reclined bed position.
- Reading light located underneath the Armrest services when it is deployed as a privacy screen.
- A reading light is available for each passenger and lighting as well as other seat function controls like a massage button, and position selections are conveniently accessed on a control panel beneath the armrest.
- An onboard power receptacle supplies energy for laptops and other electrical devices.
- The armrest also serves as a privacy screen and is controlled by a touch button.
- The large table is located in the center console and moves forward/backward as well as swiveling to allow more freedom of movement.
- Main Control unit is located in the center console, at the front end of the armrest serves full control of the bed.
More information on the Turkish Airlines Business Class offering here.
So how do you tell which aircraft is which?
When it comes to selecting your seat on the aircraft (before you pay!) take a look at the number of rows the aircraft has in business class:
A330-300 has 5 Rows in business class
A330-200 has 4 rows in business class.
If you see 5 rows you’re guaranteed to get the new business class product but, if you see 4 rows, you’re out of luck….or at least playing roulette that you’ll get an upgraded plane.
To give you an idea of how uncommon it is to see fares this good it’s probably worth me pointing out that this is the first great fare I’ve published this year that departs from the UK.
The positives to these fares are the price points at which they’re being offered and the fact that you can have a stopover in Istanbul along the way. Not only does this break the journey up but it also allows you to take in another city without incurring any outlandish costs.
The negatives are that the Gatwick to Istanbul route is flown by a narrow-body 737 aircraft (so no lie flat product) and, until you see the seat map, you won’t know if you’re scheduled to fly on an A330-300 or the -200 variant.
Still, all in all, I think this is a fantastic deal for anyone looking to get to Bangkok in comfort and at a good price. There’s no need for UK flyers to take a positioning flight (so there’s no risk of a mis-connect that the airline isn’t liable for) and availability is fantastic for large swathes of the year.
Remember that the booking deadline is 31 December 2015.