From Graz to Istanbul
※ This article discusses the 29th of September 2016.
To save a good price, we booked the flight in mid June 2016. To reduce issues, if some flights delay, it is recommendable to stick to one airline (thanks to Ali for this hint!). We discussed a choice between China Air and Turkish Airlines as airline. China Air provides flights from Vienna to Osaka (I don’t remember intermediate stops) whereas Turkish Airlines provides Graz to Osaka flights (with intermediate stop Istanbul). We chose in favor of the latter, because adding the costs of going to Vienna would reduce the price difference of those two Airlines. With the hint that the 30th of September 2016 would be most likely the first day to move into our dorm, we booked a flight from 28th of September (11:30, Austrian timezone) to 29th of September (18:40, Japanese timezone). In August Kobe University confirmed that we will get a room at the Kobe University International Residence beginning with 30th of September. So for one night, it was necessary to rest in a hostel.
To avoid overlapping the events of moving out of our flats and travelling to Japan, we decided to move to our parents during summer. We spent the last week before our flight together packing and planning final steps. In the final night, Martina was busy with some oganizing and packing while I tried to install GApps with CyanogenMod on my Samsung Galaxy S2. Unforunately, this did not work out. I wanted this to work, so I can next install LINE which is a popular messenger app in Japan. As you can guess, we did not get much sleep that night.
In the morning, we met my parents and Martina’s parents as well as Martina’s sister at the airport. After drinking some beverages, we waved goodbye to all of them and left through the security check. After some short wainting, we entered an A320-200 by Turkish Airlines where we got some lunch during our flight. Unexpectedly, only one third of the seats were taken.
Leaving the plane at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, we joined a large multicultural crowd of people gathering at the gates of the ground floor. It was great to see so many people from all continents
[Okay, I am not sure about Antarctica]
. When we walked around, Martina remembered some places at the airport, she has been at in the past. We noticed that on the ground floor were only metal seats, but power supply was available for free. On the other hand, the 1st floor provided more comfortable seats, but power supplies were only provided commercially. It was also interesting to see how popular power supplies for mobile devices are these days. The ground floor was crowded and lively, while some people used the seats on the quiet waiting areas on the first floor to rest.
We waited 11 hours at the airport for our next flight. I took two naps, Martina was working on her laptop or reading. I think this was the most boring part of our journey. Lacking desks, it was not really possible to work productively. So we slept, we discussed, we observed, we walked and kept ourselves busy. We were bound to the area after security checks, so I also could not check out whether any damages from the suicide bombings of 28th of June 2016 are left. Martina and I checked out duty-free shops. I took some photos of nice little bowls and Martina bought some sweets. We were also able to try some Turkish sweets for free. Eventually, we continued our stroll because, for my part, I did not want to increase my luggage weight.
In the evening few people were left at the gates, but people gathered again close to midnight. That’s when my second nap got interrupted due to the noise. At about the same time, Gate 306 was announced for our flight to Osaka. Finally, we joined a community of Japanese-speaking people, many of them using surgical masks, in the plane.
All in all, our choice of Turkish Airlines resulted in a very nice travel experience.