Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Am I OK with this flight to Turkey?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Wednesday 31 October 2012
Q I am shortly going to Turkey, flying with Pegasus Airlines. I would like to know if they are OK.
A Pegasus is a young and professional airline, using modern Boeing 737s - the same type as Ryanair - to connect the UK with Turkey and beyond. It flies from Stansted to Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul. This is the alternative airport for Turkey's largest city, and bears the same relationship to Istanbul's main airport, Ataturk, as Stansted does to Heathrow. As with other budget airlines, you pay extra for food and drink on board - but Pegasus offers the interesting option of ordering meals in advance through its website, flypgs.com.
Pegasus is providing useful competition for Turkish Airlines, which is also expanding rapidly - taking advantage of the strong Turkish economy, and a relatively low cost structure, to take on the giant Gulf airlines to Asia and Africa. Pegasus also operates to a wide range of destinations in the Middle East and bordering the Black Sea. It has just announced its expansion to Omsk in Russia, offering what I believe to be the only one-stop connection between Essex and Siberia.
For British travellers, a stopover of a night or two in Istanbul allows you to explore one of the world's most fascinating cities. And, if you are buying a through flight to a long-haul destination, it reduces the amount of Air Passenger Duty from £65 or more to just £13.
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