After about one week visiting Croatia, I had to go to Saudi Arabia for some meetings. (so much for the name of my website)
From the main bus station in Zagreb, the airport bus took around 30-35 minutes. (fyi, it was roughly the same time coming into the city)
Flying Turkish Airlines out of a Star Alliance hublet — for Croatia Airlines — there was at least one benefit: priority security screening for Star Alliance passengers in business class/with airline status.
However, immigration was a bit of cluster*, as the airport still made Schengen zone-bound passengers queue up (that’s finally done with as of 26 March).
With about an hour before boarding began, I decided to visit the primeclass lounge, which was coincidentally located right across from the gate. However, it’s not a big airport, so even the gates at the other end of the terminal are a short walk away.
After showing my business class ticket to lounge reception, I left my bags at a corner table. My first impression was that the lounge was quite small.
A small lounge isn’t necessarily an issue, but people yammering on the phone in every corner of it makes it one.
Seating was roughly divided into three parts: the main room, which is right behind reception, a smaller room to the left of reception, and a couple of massage chairs.
Places to charge up electronics weren’t so common, which I reckon discourages travelers from setting up shop for hours.
There were a bunch of unhealthy snacks such as a danishes and profiterols, as well as frozen sandwiches, cups of salad and fruit. Water bottles are always a good find — except when you forget about them going through security again for subsequent flight connections — but most of the other drinks needed bottle openers.
I beelined for the pancake maker, since there were some nice jams and Nutella available for them.
In other words, this small Zagreb primeclass lounge had better food/drink choices than one of Japan Airlines’ choices at Tokyo Haneda. Yeesh.
I like to stretch the legs before any flight, so I exited the lounge early so as to wander up and down the gates. If the lounge offerings don’t do it for you, there’s a food court, and a couple of coffee places scattered around. Or, do as I always (try to) do, and bring some snacks from a supermarket.
Boarding for my Turkish Airlines flight roughly started on-time.
My particular window seat allowed for one of my favorite on-board experiences– to check out what was going in the cargo hold.
On this particular, there were about 50-100 boxes of something seemingly unusual:
I quickly realized that the firefighter helmets were probably going to help the earthquake relief efforts in Türkiye.
But you want to know about the seat, right?
Here I was expecting one of those European-style business class configurations, with the middle seat blocked. Instead, it was a more comfortable (ish) 2-2 layout.
After a few minutes, a flight attendant came by to offer me a drink: I went with the vişne suyu (veeshneh sooyoo), or sour cherry drink. That’s my go-to for Turkish Airlines. It’s mostly sugar, but the flavor reminds me of where I am:
For some silly reason, I forgot to take a photo of the meal; though you can be sure that it was something from the above menu.
After a mostly uneventful flight, the pilot gave Istanbul Airport (IST) the once-over due to low clouds, so that added an extra 30 minutes to the flight.
Right before the first landing attempt, the flight attendants handed out hazelnuts to the passengers:
Amazingly, there was an actual jet bridge that greeted us upon arrival (and not a bus, a favorite of Europe).
After darting out of the plane, I got to experience transiting Istanbul to a non-Turkish Airline flight.
It wasn’t pretty.