Stephen & Delia Aston find a more relaxing way to travel to Istanbul.

Sometimes the travel experience can be just as important and enjoyable as the time spent at the destination. Combining the VIP service at Dublin Airport with Turkish Airlines’ Business Class flights would definitely qualify as just such an experience.

Even the best, most efficiently run airports can be centres of stress and aggravation for weary travellers. If you would like to step out of the crowd and experience a completely relaxed transit through Dublin Airport, then the Collinstown Suite’s premium facilities and highly trained courteous staff are an option well worth some serious consideration.

Upon arrival at the VIP private car park we were quickly relieved of our luggage, tickets, and passports all of which became the responsibility of the reception and concierge staff; meanwhile we were escorted to our own well appointed private suite and offered whatever refreshments we cared for. At that moment champagne seemed an appropriate choice and within minutes two bottles of very good, very cold fizz, beautifully presented with all the usual accompaniments were served up.

The suites are large, well furnished, and equipped with an oversized TV, tea and coffee making facilities a well stocked fridge, various snack foods, a selection of newspapers / magazines, and complimentary Wi Fi.

About fifteen minutes prior to departure our VIP hostess arrived to escort us to our private security area ( screening took a matter of seconds ) and then on to our courtesy 7 series BMW, which whisked us across the airfield to the steps of the airbridge for our Turkish Airlines flight.

Upon our return, our genial hostess, this time accompanied by a porter, was waiting at the end of the airbridge. After a few seconds to hand the porter our luggage tags, we were back in the limousine, and within two minutes back in our private suite enjoying yet another light refreshment. No queues, no carousel scrummage, no hassle. After about fifteen minutes rest and relaxation, we were informed that our luggage was at the car.

This is not a service that most people would consider on a regular basis; but for around €300.00 return for two people (car parking is an extra €20.00 per day ) it is a very special way to start any holiday.

As if our airport experience was not indulgent enough, upon taking our seats in the business section of our Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, the pampering continued. After assisting us with our hand luggage, the very friendly cabin crew soon returned with trays full of pre-flight drinks (soft and not so soft), followed by Turkish Delight. Once airborne we were presented with lunchtime menus and refreshing hot towels. The seating on Turkish Airlines’ European Business Class Flights, although not the flat bed luxury that they provide for their long haul destinations, is very comfortable and roomy and is essentially a 2+2 format, that ordinarily would be 3+3. The middle seat is replaced by a fixed tray between the aisle and window seats, so not only is this seat pitch (legroom) more generous, there is also considerably more elbow room.

The elegant and well presented lunch duly arrived on good quality trays, with stainless steel cutlery. At first we were served delicious Hor D’oeuvres of chicken salad and then a hot dish; I had chosen the tomato and cheese ravioli, it was excellent. Of course the delicious commestibles were accompanied by a good selection of fine wines, of which I found the Pinot Grigo to be very acceptable.

I have flown short haul Business Class with other airlines, and the Turkish Airlines product compares very favourably. Our return flight was a similarly pleasant experience with excellent service and tasty food.

Finally I must give special mention to the CIP Business Lounge at Istanbul International Airport. This is undoubtedly one ot the finest airport lounges anywhere in the world. Recently completed and totally renovated, the 3000m2 lounge provides a beautifully designed sanctuary where facilities such as private relaxation suites, shower rooms, snack bars, a multi-lingual library, a restaurant with an international selection of freshly prepared meals and many other amenities are all available in beautiful surroundings.

Travelling in style really can make the journey part of the holiday.