Where or where should we spend our 20th anniversary? That was the question I posed to myself. We spent our 19th in the Seychelles and while beautiful, I think a combination of a roach infested hotel and a wicked case of travelers Diarrhea, just left an indelible stain on my mind. There are three island destinations that in my mind were must-see spots, the Maldives, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. We spent our 15th anniversary in the Maldives and absolutely fell in love. I probably should have been brave and planned a trip to Mauritius for the 20th but I think the disappointment of the Seychelles was fresh in my mind and I wasn’t brave enough to take another chance so I decided to stick with the tried and true Maldives. So, the Maldives it was. Next up was finding flights and a place to stay. A few years back my wife made it very clear to me that any long-haul, kid-free travel would have to be in business class, so my first mission was to find reasonable, Business class award space. Talk about Pigmelion, right? A quick Mileage Plus search found a pretty cool routing at the Business saver award level (Turkish Airlines from Chicago to Istanbul to Singapore, Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Male, Air India from Male to Delhi and SWISS from Delhi to Zurich to Chicago). Flights secured, it was time to find a place to lay our heads. We spent our 15th anniversary at Naladhu, which was phenomenal but with over 1,100 islands, I wanted to try something different this time around so I decided to make a reservation at the Conrad Rangali island using a combination of cash (for the first four nights) and Hilton Honors points (for the last five nights). Okay, all set, all we had to do was wait…..for seven months, but eventually, the time did pass and it was now time to hit the road!
FLIGHT 1: CHICAGO (O’Hare) to ISTANBUL:
Aviation Geek Details:
- Airline and flight number: Turkish Airlines flight # TK6
- Route: Chicago (O’Hare)-Istanbul (Ataturk)
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
- Airplane (registration and year built): TC-LJB built in 2016.
- Miles flown: 5,616 miles
- Flight duration: 9 hours and 33 minutes
- Class of Service and Seat: Business Class, seat 3K (window)
- This is my: 673rdflight on 94 airlines.
- This is my: 13thflight on Turkish Airlines
- This is my: 14thflight on a 777-300
- Experience/Total stars: Excellent/ 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Check-in: 3 out of 5. Lines were a bit long, especially for Business Class.
- Lounge: 2 out of 5. The lounge was small, dirty and had minimal amenities.
- Boarding: 4 out of 5. There was a dedicated line for Business Class and pre-boarding was called.
- In-Flight Entertainment: 5 out of 5. Excellent selection, Live TV, and free wifi.
- Meals: 5 out of 5. Great selection and good quality
- Cabin Crew: 5 out of 5. Polite, helpful and present.
- Cabin ambiance: 5 out of 5. Airy cabin with nice mood lighting.
- Cabin cleanliness: 5 out of 5. Cabin and lavatory remained clean throughout the flight.
- Seat: 4 out of 5. Great legroom and storage. The seat was a bit firm in bed mode and privacy could be an issue if not traveling with someone you know.
- Price paid/value for money: 5 out of 5. The flight was flown using United Mileage Plus miles and was purchased at the Business Saver rate.
- Thumbs up: Great crew, clean and modern cabin, good food, friendly service.
- Thumbs down: The contract lounge in Chicago sucks!
Check out my video flight report for TK#6 Chicago-Istanbul.
Check out the rest of the series:
Part 2- Flying Istanbul to Singapore CLICK HERE.
Part 3-Flying Singapore to Male CLICK HERE
Part 4-The seaplane flight from Mali to Rangali Island CLICK HERE!