The new Istanbul Airport.
A good journey begins with a great flight
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2019 - 12:00am

Ever since Turkish Airlines launched its direct flights to Manila in March 2015, with very special promotional rates year after year it, to my mind, has become an enabler for the Filipino traveler.

The airline has enabled more people to fly to Europe in perhaps the shortest flying time (12 hours non-stop to Istanbul, and from Istanbul to most cities in Europe, an average of two hours flying time) with a schedule that allows one to sleep eight hours on flight, take in two good meals and watch a movie or two. More importantly, Turkish introduced fare promotions that made even Business Class travel within reach. My family and I take advantage of this and have had more chances to visit our favorite cities in Europe without breaking the bank.

When Turkish Airlines launched its direct flight to Manila in 2015, it had three frequencies per week. In February 2016, the company started operating daily with Boeing 777s to and from Manila. It continues to have daily round-trip direct flights between Manila and Istanbul.

It was on Turkish Airlines that I first encountered “flying chefs” as part of its cabin crew; and also was the first airline where I was able to have dinner by candlelight on board. The candles were powered by LED lights. After all, as the airline says proudly, “We thrive on the unique discoveries we deliver to our passengers.”

I agree. The exotic appeal of Turkey, where East meets West, is ever present. Coffee is served in cups in intricate metal holders. Even their salt-and-pepper shakers have a unique Ottoman design. I always look forward to my seat being made into a bed with a turndown service, and waking up to the smell of coffee and Turkish pastry served with thick honey, white cheese and olives. Well, a Western breakfast is also available if that is your pleasure.

If you want to spend more time at the sprawling brand-new Istanbul Airport, choose a connecting flight from Istanbul to your destination in Europe that gives you at least a four- hour layover. You also have the choice to have a brief stopover in Istanbul Airport — just enough time to clear security (Business Class passengers have a priority lane), freshen up and catch your connecting flight to other cities in Europe. This way, you can have dinner in Manila, sleep eight hours, and then have breakfast or brunch in Europe. Since Manila is seven hours ahead of Europe, drowsiness does not kick in till about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.

So you can hit the ground running or sightseeing on Day One of your European journey.


According to Turkish Airlines, “The journey that we began 81 years ago, with just five aircraft, is still moving forward, but now with 265 aircraft and over 300 destinations.”

“Since 1983, a fruitful 50 years, we have been bridging continents across the globe, delivering 2.5 million passengers.”

“Our growing passion over the years has earned us the title of the airline that flies to most countries in the world. Today, we conduct flights to 120 countries from our new home, Istanbul Airport, with a young fleet of 349 aircraft. We proudly carry the Turkish flag across the globe, opening doors to the wider world for our passengers,” Turkish Airlines proudly states in its website.


Last October, Corporate International Travel and Tours Inc. (CITTI) invited me on a tour of the “Best of the Balkans,” creatively curated by its president Shan Dioquino David, no less. We flew Turkish and arrived in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia early morning and were out of the airport in time for a half-day tour of the charming Slovenian capital. We had a late lunch, time to shop before checking in at our hotel, Hotel Lev. We had more than enough time to unpack, shower, take a nap and do more shopping before calling it a day. The following morning, we woke up refreshed and no one was late for our tour of Lake Bled, about 90 minutes away.

After a 10-day tour that took us also to Croatia (Zagreb, Zadar, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Medjugorje, Mostar and Sarajevo), we departed the Balkans for Istanbul via Sarajevo. After a two-hour flight, a brief stopover with time to freshen up in the Turkish Airlines Business Class lounge, we were on our way back to Manila on a non-stop flight, where we recharged and dreamt sweet dreams.

Turkish Airlines, you always give me a great journey.



(For inquiries, call Corporate International Travel & Tours at 8631-6541 or e-mail at



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