I saved a ton of money on an international flight by flying a top-rated airline most people would never think to take, and it was one of the best economy trips I've had yet
- Turkish Airlines is the flag carrier of Turkey, operating in over 300 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
- Considered one of the largest airlines in the world, Turkish Airlines is consistently ranked in the top 20 airlines in the world by consumer aviation website Skytrax.
- Key to the airline's strategy is offering American passengers one-stop flight itineraries to far-out destinations in the Middle East, Africa, and India.
- I decided to fly Turkish Airlines' economy-class cabin on a flight from New York to Dubai. Taking the flight, which included a stopover in Istanbul, saved me $500 on airfare, and included a free tour of the city. And the flight was one of the best economy experiences I've had yet.
One rule I follow when flying internationally: When in doubt, fly wih a flag carrier.
One look at rankings of the best airlines in the world confirms that wisdom. Up and down the list are flag carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Etihad Airways, among others.In my experience, flag carriers tend to go above and beyond other airlines. They usually have state backing and an implicit mandate to serve as an advertisement for the country they hail from.
Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Turkish Airlines all offer stopover programs that include free hotels or tours if you have a long layover. If you've ever been curious about Doha, Dubai, or Istanbul, those programs are a great way to get a glimpse.
When I was booking a recent trip to Dubai, I spotted that some of the best airfares in terms of both price, departure time, and length were with Turkish Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world and one of the highest ranked by consumer aviation website Skytrax.
I'd never been to Istanbul before so I decided to pick one of the economy-class itineraries that had a 18-hour layover in the city, enough time to run to all of the main sites. It cost me around $800 round trip. Other flights to Dubai were around $1300.
Read on to see what I thought of my flight on Turkish Airlines, departing from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Istanbul's Atatürk Airport and then onward to Dubai International Airport, operated on an Airbus A330-300 and a Boeing 777-300ER.