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Turkish Airlines debuts its 12th US gateway: Seattle

May 27, 2022
5 min read
Turkish Airlines Dreamliner aircraft in flight
Turkish Airlines debuts its 12th US gateway: Seattle
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Turkish Airlines, a Star Alliance member, launched nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Istanbul (IST) today, May 27, debuting the 12th U.S. gateway for the flagship carrier of Turkey.

"We are proud to open our new Seattle gateway, the first in the Pacific Northwest, as we continue to expand our U.S. presence and global route network," said Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat.

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SEA international arrivals facility walkway. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Seattle)

Gate-side festivities and the official, traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new service will not take place until mid-June. But the important news-you-can-use for travelers is that there are now nonstop flights between the Pacific Northwest and Istanbul four times each week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, on a 300-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Business-class on this aircraft has 1-2-1 seating with a 76-inch seat bed length and was favorably and extensively reviewed by The Points Guy when it debuted. Economy seating on this plane has a 3-3-3 layout.

Flight TK204 leaves Seattle at 5:45 p.m. and arrives at Istanbul Airport (IST) at 3:25 local time. The flight time is 11 hours and 40 minutes in that direction. Flight TK203 leaves Istanbul at 2:05 p.m. local time and arrives in Seattle at 4:15 p.m., with a flight time of 12 hours and 10 minutes.

Inflight, passengers can enjoy menus that include meals and beverages prepared by the airline's Flying Chefs, recently profiled in TPG's Airplane Mode video series. There is also an option to dine by (battery-operated) candlelight in business class, which Turkish Airlines says is a first for any international airline.

The carrier also just introduced new long-haul amenity kits by Italian fashion brand Coccinelle and sporty British brand Hackett for business class and, in economy, by Mandarina Duck.

(Photo courtesy of Turkish Airlines)

Related story: 10 things to know about flying Turkish Airlines

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Passengers arriving in Seattle on this new Turkish Airlines flight – or any international flight – now enter the United States through SEA's stunning new international arrivals facility (IAF).

After crossing an 85-foot-high, 780-foot-long steel-and-glass walkway that is the longest aerial walkway over an active runway, passengers make their way to a grand, art-filled hall to collect their luggage and go through customs and immigration.

Travelers making their way from Seattle to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines arrive at the carrier's home base, Istanbul Airport, the biggest built-from-scratch airport terminal in the world. The Turkish Airline's business class lounge at Istanbul Airport is an impressive bonus perk, with daybed suites, shower and bathroom facilities, elaborate kids play area, staffed cooking stations and virtual golf and flight simulators.

Turkish Airlines also recently reinstated its stopover program, which gives passengers time to spend in Istanbul and "catch up on lost travel time," says Ahmet Olmustur, Turkish Airlines' chief marketing and sales officer.

As part of this program, Turkish Airlines provides vouchers for a complimentary one-night stay in a four-star hotel for economy class passengers and vouchers for a complimentary two-night stay in a five-star hotel for business-class passengers. The vouchers are provided on request once tickets are purchased.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are also West Coast gateways for Turkish Airlines. But "Seattle is one of the fastest diversifying regions in the country, with over a quarter of our residents foreign-born," notes Lance Lyttle, SEA airport managing director. So, it is significant that Turkish Airlines' service will expand connections from SEA to destinations throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he said. "On top of that, Istanbul is an exciting city and a must on any traveler's bucket list."

Seattle has been one of Turkish Airlines' focus markets for a while, says the company's Olmustur, but in 2020 the carrier had to postpone the inauguration of service to several destinations due to market conditions. "With our rapid recovery in the Americas, we are now launching flights to Seattle," he said.

While it is always cause for celebration when a new route launches, as the world works its way out of the depths of the pandemic, each new service takes on an added meaning.

"The startup of new airlines and destinations to SEA, even during the pandemic, is a testament to the strength of this region's economy, and the confidence of airlines and visitors," says SEA's Lance Lyttle. "In addition to providing direct flights to new destinations, and new connections, each new international service brings approximately $89M in economic impact to the State of Washington."

Turkish Airlines becomes the 22nd airline to offer international service at SEA and is one of three new airlines launching service at SEA this year. Next week Finnair will inaugurate its Seattle–Helsinki service, and this fall Air Tahiti Nui will launch flights to Tahiti.

Featured image by Ed Turner
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more