Sorry for there not being any new blog posts for the last few weeks – but this was due to the fact we were away on holiday! But this does mean that we now have inspiration for this week’s new post after our first hand experience – Travelling to Aqaba with Turkish Airlines.
The first problem most people hit when organizing a trip to Aqaba is how to get here – There is of course the national airline – Royal Jordanian, they fly to Amman from a wide range of destinations across Europe and Asia, and even as far as US and Canada. But they can be quite expensive, plus to get down to Aqaba – you usually have to stay in Amman overnight before the early morning connection or a 4 hour drive by car/bus.
Cheaper options include some charter flights through Tui, Arke and JetAir, but only fly from France, Belgium and Netherlands? What about the rest of Europe? Plus these only run once a week from October to March, what about the rest of the year?
This is where Turkish Airlines has the advantage if you book a few weeks in advance on line at turkishairlines.com you can get some great prices from pretty much anywhere in the world– it promotes itself as ‘Flying to more destinations than any other airline’ and to be honest – I believe them.
You can take a flight from most European airports to the airlines hub at - Istanbul Ataturk Airport. From here there are daily flights to Amman or 3 flights a week to Aqaba, giving you a lot more flexibility with your plans.
The flight from Istanbul to Aqaba is only 2 hours. As a full service airline, your baggage allowance and meal is included in the ticket price, unlike some low cost carriers that have them all as extras. In Economy class the seats were a good size and comfortable, seating 3 and 3 across each row. As it is only a short flight they do not have the individual entertainment systems that some of their long flights have, but there is a movie showing and various music channels to listen to and pass the time.
Shortly after boarding the flight attendants offer you a taste of Turkey with a piece of Turkish delight – sugary goodness with pistachios, just what you need to calm down after the stress of check in and boarding! Then just after take off the crew starts serving hot meals and drinks. I’m not normally a fan off airline food – but the meals were pretty good – leaving Aqaba it’s an early morning flight so was greeted with a breakfast of omelet, spinach pastry, salad, a warm bread roll, cheese and biscuits plus your choice of tea or coffee. http://aboveandbelow.info/flying-with-turkish-airlines/On the way to Aqaba after midnight we had a nice chicken breast with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
This is always a talking point for travelers – how much baggage? Well, foreconomy you can take the usual up to 20 Kg per passenger. However, the really good news for divers is that on flights to Aqaba you can take an extra bag of diving equipment free of charge!! According to their website a scuba diving equipment set includes:
‘Wetsuit, flippers, a diving mask, an empty tank bottle, regulator, backplate/Harness, BCD-jacket (Buoyancy compensator diving jacket), a diving lamp, snorkel, knife, lance and scuba life vest.’
Obviously not written by a diver – but you get the idea – you can take a full set of gear (and your own tank if you wish!) on top of your 20kg allowance.
– For more information see Diving in Aqaba
The only down side to arriving to Aqaba with Turkish Airlines is the schedule. The flight departs Istanbul at 12:30 am arriving in Aqaba at 3 am and likewise departing Aqaba at 4 am arriving at Istanbul at 6:30 am. We have deals with most of the hotels in Aqaba to arrange an early check in for you when arriving by Turkish Airlines and you have the option when leaving to pay for a day use, or book an extra night to make sure you have the room available for you on your last day.
For most people this is a small price to pay for the convenience and comfort of arriving in to Aqaba and not Amman from the airport of their choice anywhere in the world!
An added bonus to flying into Aqaba with Turkish Airlines is that there is no visa fees and no departure tax to pay! Saving you an extra 100 USD per person!!! – So there’s that extra night in the hotel paid for!!