One of the latest routes that Turkish Airlines has added to the US was their Newark – Istanbul route. This had been talked about for a couple of years but was postponed a bit due to Covid. It has been flying now for a little while and here is why I really am glad about this option.
The Turkish Airlines Flight from Newark is a Great Choice
Great for Award Redemptions
Unless you are in the NYC area, you have previously needed to purchase a separate ticket if you were using United miles, Aeroplan miles, Lifemiles, etc to fly Turkish from NYC. That was because you would need a regional United flight on your award but United only flew regional flights to their hub, Newark.
So, the options for someone like me who was flying in and out of western NY was to book an award that started with United to fly to Chicago or Washington Dulles to connect to the next award flight of Turkish Airlines (all on one award). But, having more options is always better so I had been excited about Turkish coming into Newark.
The schedule is great – for people flying out of Newark. The flight departs from Newark at 12:20AM so it gives you plenty of time to get there, often being able to grab the last United flight of the day out of your origination airport. For me, that meant leaving at 7:30PM when I would normally need to grab a 4PM flight.
But, on the reverse coming from Istanbul to Newark, the schedule is not good for connecting flights. It arrives in Newark at 10:40PM, pretty much guaranteeing that you will need to overnight and catch the first flight out the next day. At least there is a very handy airport at Newark, the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. It is right in the center of the terminals so really easy to get to/from.
Great Lounge with the Polaris Lounge
The United Polaris Lounge in Newark just re-opened (I missed it by just two days) and even though it closes at 9:45PM, if you have a connecting flight that arrives early enough or you get to the airport early enough, you will have access to the excellent Polaris Lounge – only if you are flying in business class!
However, it is worth noting that the lounge is in Terminal C and Turkish flies out of Terminal B. So, you will need to transfer terminals. Fortunately, since the United lounge closes at 9:45PM, you have plenty of time to get to Terminal B. Also, Lufthansa provides a partner lounge for Turkish passengers in Terminal B but they also close at 9:45 so better to use the Polaris Lounge if you can.
Also, keep in mind that there are Polaris lounges in both Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles so this is not exclusive to Newark
Fortunately, the Airbus A350 is what Turkish is currently flying out of Newark. That is better than the 777 or the A330, in my opinion and even a bit better than the 787 Dreamliner that also has the new business class (because the A350 provides a little more room).
Covid has upended some things with which aircraft airlines are using so I don’t know if this will hold but, at present, I would easily fly out of Newark just to get the A350 in business class.
The Not-So-Good Things
Sorry to any Newark fans, but I really do not like the Newark airport, especially Terminal B. The area of Terminal B where Turkish Airlines departs from is really a sub-par airport location, to be honest.
First of all, you have a few evening flights out of there, including with Emirates. The TSA check point can get very crowded and every time I have gone through there, they have decided that there was no reason to offer PreCheck at that check point – which meant even longer lines.
Second is that by the time this Turkish Airlines flight takes off, pretty much everything around that area of Terminal B (really the whole airport) has closed. The bathroom is not that big and gets very crowded and there is not enough seating in the area.
But, if you are flying Turkish Airlines business class, you will quickly forget about all of that as you sink into your seat onboard. 🙂