Turkish Airlines/Silversea Cruises had a successful joint agents promotion for Business Class tickets and luxury cruising on Silversea Cruises. The lucky winners were rewarded by going on an outstanding fam trip to Istanbul that really was an educational visit highlighting the history and culture of the city. The trip was led by Onur Gul, Turkish Airlines, and Amanda Middler, Silversea, supported by Agne Tours who handled the ground arrangements.
For many of the agents it was their first time flying with Turkish Airlines and they were not disappointed, with the free baggage allowance of 30kg per passenger together with a free bar throughout the flight and a high-quality airline meal.
Turkish Airlines flies double daily from Dublin to Istanbul and on to more than 275 destinations worldwide.
The group stayed at the Divan Hotel. Well located close to Taksim Square, this is truly excellent accommodation with rooms well furnished with all amenities. Add an outdoor area complete with bar service and a fine spa, which all of the agents enjoyed.
The visit to the Turkish Airlines flight training centre to see flight crew in training was most impressive. The agents were able to see flight crew in training ,visit a flight simulator and experience a cockpit visit.
Next it was off to see the airline’s catering centre that is operated by Turkish Do&Co. This company was established in 2007 as a 50/50 joint venture between Do&Co and Turkish Airlines and produces more than 65 million meals per annum for 60 airlines. Since they took over responsibility the customer satisfaction has increased from 49% to the current 96%. They cater for between 500 to 650 take-offs per day.
They have also trained more than 800 of the flying chefs for Turkish Airlines.
Part of the joint vision is to ensure that Turkish Airlines becomes one of the leading quality airlines of the world by using hospitality and onboard service as a marketing advantage.
Istanbul has so much to offer the visitor, both from a historical and cultural perspective, and the agents were given a fantastic range of visits to Sultanahmet, ‘the old city of Istanbul’, a walking tour taking in the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, the German Fountain, the magnificent Hagia Sophia . Hagia Sofia is now the most visited monument in the world.
No trip would be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar so some retail therapy was availed of by many of the group. Bargaining skills were put to the test here which houses more than 4,600 shops.
Silversea really are a luxury all inclusive cruise line .The agents were invited for a shipboard visit including lunch onboard Silver Wind in the port of Istanbul. They had a extensive tour of the ship led by Amanda Middler from Silversea and were able to view various state rooms and suites on this luxury cruise ship.
The executive chef prepared a special five-course lunch menu and it was fine dining for all.
Tom Walsh, Tristar Travel, said: “We were so well looked after by the suave Onur from Turkish Airlines and the ever smiling Serife from Agne Tours. I have the impression that no matter where we were these two would have made it wonderful. Their attention to detail was impeccable and nothing was too much trouble.
“Istanbul is a marvellous destination and should be promoted as a terrific and very different short break destination that would suit many tastes: lots of shopping, entertainment, historic visits, etc.
“The highlight, of course, was the Silversea lunch with the lovely Linda and Amanda. It was a very diverse group and probably representative of the new age of travel agent: some online agents, homeworkers, traditional travel agents, direct sale tour operators, ticketing agents and the new face of travel, the indomitable Andrew.”
Karen Kelleher, J Barter Travel Group, said: “We had a fabulous trip. Turkish Airlines were excellent and as I don’t like flying that speaks volumes! From the seat pitch to in-flight services etc. I was very impressed. We were fortunate to visit the catering division of Turkish Airlines, Do&Co, and see first-hand how the in-flight catering is prepared and managed. Turkish Airines offers a unique gourmet experience with the ‘Flying Chef Service’. With very affordable fares and two flights daily from Dublin with an array of onward connections, this is a very good product.
“Silversea: what can I say? It was a great opportunity to sample five-star cruising at its best and enjoy lunch on-board. We were on the Silver Wind, one of the smaller ships in the fleet. This is an ideal product for the client who enjoys the finer things in life and the attention to each individual’s needs is one of the main features of this lovely product.
“Istanbul is an amazing city and the mind boggles at the huge population living on both sides of the Bosphorus! We packed a lot into our two days: the Blue Mosque, Grand Palace, Grand Bazaar and even managed to have a Turkish bath!
Andrew Lynch, Travel Advisors, said: “When we arrived at Dublin Airport we were met by Onur from Turkish Airlines and he swiftly set about looking after everyone’s check-in and it swiftly became evident that he was there for us to make sure we all enjoyed the experience. The organisation of this trip was extremely professional, enjoyable and a memorable experience. Turkish Airlines were excellent to fly with and I would highly recommend this airline to my customers, especially after getting an insight into how they work in their Do&Co flight catering in Istanbul.
“We had top-quality ground handling agents in Agne Tours on hand throughout our trip and from the coach driver to their personal tour guides and especially the two representatives from Agne Tours they really could not have done anymore. We also visited the elegant Silver Wind cruise ship from Silversea: Amanda and Lynda from Silversea gave us a great welcome and informative tour of this gorgeous cruise ship and I am sure we all came back with a greater knowledge of the Silversea product.
“Overall, I had great fun, met great people and this is one of the best professionally organised fam trips I have been on and great credit needs to go to Onur for showing everyone how the service industry should work. He is a credit to Turkish Airlines and they are very lucky to have him.”
The superb ground arrangements were handled by Serife Cetin, Agne Tours, who left nothing to chance. The company is keen to work with the Irish agents and the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org