8/21/2013

Flying to Europe




I travel semi-regularly for work around the US, but this Mediterranean cruise required my first flight over seas.  I really wasn't sure what to expect.  Mr.PnP found found us an awesome flight directly from Houston to our cruise departure city, Istanbul.  We made it to the airport plenty early, and because there was practically no line at Houston's TSA, we had ample time for our first vacation drinks and dinner at the airport.  Once on the plane, it was so nice to finally get to our seats and just relax…let the vacation begin!!!

On a domestic flight, usually every little thing costs extra, be it food, drink or entertainment (for economy at least).  To our delight, not only was this all included on our Turkish Air flight, but we also found other goodies at our seat.  Each person received a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, tooth brush, lip balm, etc), pillow, blanket and slippers.  Shortly after take-off, the flight attendant passed out menus.  There were multiple courses listed and even drinks, but no prices.  I felt kind of dumb, but asked the nice lady next to me if all of the food and drinks were complimentary.  She was like, "Yeah!  Isn't it great?!"  Of course! 

Hazelnuts with mint lemonade and whiskey on the rocks.

Water and red wine for me.

We had pre-dinner drinks and hazelnuts.  Then it was time for dinner and a movie.  There were a lot of movie options, from new releases to oldies.  You'll probably never guess what I picked...The Godfather.  We were stopping in Sicily one day of the cruise, and while researching the port I found a number of Godfather tours.  It's a movie I had never seen and the flight seemed like the perfect time to remedy that.  It worked out great because it was a drama that I could fall asleep to and pick up in the “morning.”

Touch screen and pop-out controller for playing games! 

After dinner we settled down to sleep for about 6 hours until breakfast came through.  Sleeping was surprisingly easy in coach seats.  I wore a t-shirt and athletic shorts (practically pajamas), and took my shoes off to maximize my comfort level.  It wasn't until we were about to land that I tried putting my shoes back on, and much to my dismay, my feet had swelled up like sausages.  My shoelaces required significant loosening to get the shoes back on.  It was crazy and scared me a little since something that drastic has never really happened to me before.  Fortunately, my kankles righted themselves in the next 12 hours, so nothing was for the worse, just really odd!

We landed in Istanbul around 4PM on Saturday and went through customs, found a cab and made our way to the port just in time for (another) dinner.  At this point our schedules were completely messed up...two dinners, a breakfast and seven hour time difference with a nice long nap thrown in there.  To keep it simple, we had dinner at the buffet.  It was the best buffet I have ever had (and I'm not just saying that because we had been on a plane for so long).  They had uber fresh sushi and sashimi, and appetizers…I can’t recall it all, but it was good.

We made it!  Still in my travel clothes and looking a little sleepy.

We flew back on United with one connection in D.C.  The long flight on that segment was pleasant as well.  There was a free lunch and entertainment and the seats were roomier in coach (than Turkish Air).  I don't think the alcohol was free, but after 14 days of over eating and drinking that wasn't a perk we were looking for.  This time I watched Safe Haven and silently balled at the end hoping no one would notice.  It was a good fluffy movie for a plane ride...and one I would never ask Mr.PnP to consider watching.  Win-win-win if you ask me.

Overall, I found international flying to be much easier than expected.  I love new experiences, and these flights would definitely count as a new one fore me.  I'm not sure when out next trip will be, but I am already excited for it. 



Have  you ever flown over seas? 

Did you have a good experience, or bad?

3 comments:

  1. I have never flown internationally so I didn't know about the feet swelling - good tip. I love free stuff. And sleeping. So really, I should get myself on a plane!

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  2. Mr. PnP? What does that stand for (or is that a private matter)? Mr. Pride and Prejudice?

    Glad is was a good trip - when I went to Europe I flew Air Canada and booze wasn't free :(

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    1. Mr. Pumpkin & Pi = Mr.PnP = my husband. Though, your guess was not bad :)

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