Boston to Istanbul via London on British Airways

This post is written by Katie, about her British Airways flights from Boston to Istanbul for AAMAS 2015. 

This trip began in Boston, since I had been in Maine for the US Open.

After driving the 2.5 hours from Brunswick, ME to Boston (dropping off robots with Mickey and Amanda on the way), Jake and I went to the airport. We parted ways there, as we had completely different flights, but knew we would meet again very soon in Istanbul.

My 747 British Airways flight from Boston to London was surprisingly short – just 6 hours! It was an older plane, and you could feel it. A guy took my assigned seat, so I took his bulkhead seat. It was actually really nice to not have a seat reclining into you. And although I was near a bassinet area, no babies were in sight.

My 747 in Boston

I had salad, Shepard’s pie, and cheesecake for dinner, and a little cake bar for breakfast. The food was sub-par, the seat was thin, and the flight attendant in my area was rude/distracted. The entire experience was certainly below Turkish Airlines or Etihad Airlines, which was particularly disappointing after my great experience on the British Airways 787 last fall.  Perhaps this was just a bad flight?

Once at London Heathrow, I made my way through the connecting flights security and checks and hung out in Terminal E. I sat near where I sat on my last trip through Heathrow before moving to check out the ‘quiet area’. The quiet area is great! Lounge chairs, power (USB and British), and a great view of planes. 

 My view from the ‘quiet area’ in London Heathrow

My British Airways flight from London to Istanbul was much nicer. The seats were bigger and more comfortable, and the cabin crew was nicer. One strange note – there was no vegetarian option for lunch. Everyone got chicken pasta, which was fine for me but perhaps not for some.

Landing in Istanbul felt comfortable. It really is my favorite international city. I waited in the ‘Other Nationalities’ passport line for about 40 minutes and then claimed my bag. Then I exited the secure area and went to find the Starbucks (and Elad, who was waiting for me there). We waited at the Starbucks for Jake for about an hour, and then the three of us took a taxi to our hostel (Bunk Taksim).

The taxi took us to what seemed to be generally the right area for 50L. However, once we had been dropped off and the taxi has left, Jake’s map app showed that we were actually still 0.7 miles away. Hence, we lugged our bags through Taksim Square before finally finding our hostel.

Check-in at Bunk Taksim was a bit complicated, as they had the reservation under one of the guys names instead of mine (even though I made the reservation). We got the 6 bed dorm with breakfast for around $160/person for 5 nights. Not bad! The two women at check-in were nice, and the free orange juice they offered us was very welcome.

We settled in, enjoyed the awesome roof-top bar, and then I did laundry (15L including detergent and drying for as long as you want). The machines were nice, and the laundry room is well laid out.

Everyone was in bed by the time I finished my laundry, so I gchatted with JT for a bit before falling asleep.

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