Turkish Airlines has resumed flights to the United States. The first flights bound for the United States departed on Friday night headed for Chicago and Washington D.C.– two important gateways to the United States. Additional flights will start next week.
Resuming operations to the US
After a few months on the ground and several delays, Turkish Airlines has now restarted flights between Turkey and the United States. THY5 left Istanbul (IST) at around 21:30 local time bound for the United States. This 787-9 flight is headed to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). THY7, another 787-9 flight, departed IST just before 22:00 local time bound for Washington-Dulles International (IAD).
To the United States, Turkish will start up flights to Los Angeles from June 24th and Miami from June 22nd. This will take the total number of US gateways to four. Each destination will be served three times per week for a total of 12 weekly flights between the US and Istanbul. The Boeing 787 is Turkish Airlines’ aircraft of choice to the US.
Rebuilding a global network
As the current health crisis has spread throughout the world, airlines have been faced with a rapid decrease in travel demand. Also, many governments shut down borders or else mandated lengthy quarantines that would deter even some of the most adventurous international travelers.
Turkish Airlines, an airline that was known for flying to more countries than any other, faced a rapid shutdown of its international flight operations. The airline spent several weeks grounded before gradually resuming flights. On June 1st, the first domestic flights took off. International flights resumed about ten days later.
For now, the carrier is working on rebuilding its schedules. The airline has plenty of destinations to add, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta in the United States. Most of these cities were served at least once daily before the start of the current crisis.
Connections on United Airlines
Fellow Star Alliance partner, United Airlines, operates hubs out of Chicago and Washington, D.C. These will provide some additional onward connections for passengers and help fill up more of the airline’s seats. Although, given how United has also scaled back some of its network, there won’t be the full breadth of connections that the two airlines could previously offer.
A different flying experience
For passengers, the experience will be much different. Some flights may see airline crew wearing PPE. Turkish Airlines mandates the wearing of a face covering while onboard the aircraft and on the ground. The airline recommends changing single-use masks every four hours. This could mean passengers may need up to three or four masks on some flights to the United States.
Turkish is handing out hygiene kits with a mask, antiseptic tissue, and hand sanitizer. Moreover, the airline is only allowing a small personal item inside the cabin– no more than four kilograms in weight. Passengers should also be expecting pared-back inflight food and beverage service.