Today I am going to start the Turkish plot, or actually Istanbul. I will write at least a few blogposts about Turkey, because Bibi has her second family there, that’s why we go there quite often. In this case I can say a little bit more about this country 🙂
I will start from the very important topic – e-visa. Citizens of many states don’t have to go to embassy – they can quickly buy e-visa online. You just need to enter https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ , fill the form, pay 20 USD per person (children, infants included, need to have their own e-visa according to personal data in their passport) and then print the visa or download it to smartphone or tablet. The webpage is available in many language versions. You can obviously buy a visa at the airport, but you will pay more and stay longer in the queues. Atatürk Airport is enough crowded, so why should we provide more stress to our Toddlers?
How to get to Istanbul with a baby? When I was a student and I didn’t want my Parents to pay for my flight ticket, I was often wondering with my friends going abroad (Erasmus, AIESEC projects, visiting boyfriend or close friends) how to get there in the cheapest way: trains and buses with changes, flights from Ukraine… and the brave ones were taking hitch-hike. In case of voyages to Turkey with baby only airplane actually can be considered (unless you live in the neighboring country). Because how can we imagine going with toddler by bus more than 24 hours? Or multiple train changes? Or waving your thumb with baby carrier along the road? Well, not really 🙂 But no worries, you can go to Istanbul with baby without going bankrupt 🙂
Below I have written the airlines I used with Bibi departing from Warsaw. In the end I’ll show you another options, though podium is the most recommended by me 🙂
1) Turkish Airlines – it was always my airline number one, but I wasn’t always able to buy tickets for them. If you plan your journey earlier, you’ll be possibly able to book a flight for 200 euro/round ticket. Prices, however, most often range between 300 and 450 euro. Turkish airlines have plenty of advantages. Firstly, the flight is direct, so the journey is much faster. Secondly, the price of ticket involves a hot meal, which is quite important for breastfeeding women. Thirdly, many facilities are provided here (convenient seats, tablet for watching movies and listening to music, more restrooms with changing tables). Furthermore, last times cabin crew was giving baby jars with fruits or vegetables, which obviously can be useful 🙂 Sometimes we could also get children’s newsletters.
2) LOT – another airline with flights to Turkey and actually almost everywhere 🙂 Our national air carrier maybe isn’t the cheapest, but it offers various discounts (last time you could buy a round ticket from Warsaw to Istanbul for 150 euro). Usually the prices are starting from 250 euro, so it’s a bit cheaper than „Turkish Airlines”. Short time ago they didn’t provide any gadgets for babies, but during the last flight Bibi received coloring pages with pencils 🙂 Tea, coffee and water are for free, but food isn’t. Fortunately, the price for a hot meal (chicken breast in cheese sauce with gnocchi and green bean) is quite inexpensive – I paid 3 euro, which is less than for sandwich 😛 Fruit tubes for kids cost 1,5 euro.
3) AEGEAN – Greek airline I used while flying the first time with Bibi to Istanbul. I had a transfer in Athens waiting two hours between flights (this airport is so big, it’s easy to get lost). The advantages are: affordable prices (usually less than 250 euro for round ticket), hot meals included, kind and helpful stewardesses and also a little package of baby wipes and a car sticker 😀
What else can you fly with?
In search engines you can also find Lufthansa with transfer in Germany. However, I haven’t used this air carrier yet. When I fly with this ariline, I will write a separate post about it 🙂
You can also use the Turkish low-cost PEGASUS. The price of a standard ticket involves a registered luggage up to 20 kg and you can get to Istanbul directly from Germany, France, Ukraine or Prague (not from Poland unfortunately 😉 ). But don’t expect the facilities like in the first three mentioned airlines. Like in UIA, you can consider this option when you need to concern on your budget.
If the flights are illogically expensive, the last option is taking a charter flight to Antalya and then catching a direct plane to Istanbul (probably with mentioned Pegasus airline).
From 2014 till 2016 quite nice airline called Air Serbia used to fly to Istanbul. The flight was inexpensive, waiting time during transfer in Belgrad wasn’t long and on board sandwiches, cookies and chosen drinks were provided. Cabin crew was always nice and willing to help with babies. Unfortunately, they don’t fly to Turkey anymore 😦 I hope, these connections will be returned one day.
Next entry will be about moving around Istanbul, which is definitely book-size topic 😉 Stay with us!