Outstanding Award Availability for New Turkish San Francisco Flight

Chris McGinnis writes that Turkish Airlines is launching San Francisco – Istanbul service on April 13, 2015.

Flights will initially be 5 times weekly, and then going daily May 11th.

The Turkish 777-300ER has just 28 business class seats, so you’d expect business class awards to be difficult to get.

Although right now — and this cannot last — business class award space is wide open.

Here’s what availability looks like from launch through the end of April 2015 for four business class award seats and remember that the flight is just five times weekly.

In other words, right now — every day that the flight operates in April — there’s at least four business class award seats available. Get them while they’re hot.

And incidentally, for those curious, the first leg of the inaugural (Istanbul – San Francisco) currently has award space as well!

The flight schedule is:

    Istanbul – San Francisco, 1:05pm – 4:25pm
    San Francisco – Istanbul, 6:10pm – 7:05pm+1

There are plenty of late flights beyond Istanbul to connect to. Istanbul can be an effective gateway to the Middle East, Asia, India, and parts of Africa. They are the largest airline after El Al operating in and out of Tel Aviv. They have frequent service to Athens. They even fly direct to Kilimanjaro.

Remember as well that Turkish offers a complimentary hotel night to passengers with a forced overnight enroute including for economy class passengers.

Turkish also has one of the most impressive (60,000 square feet!) business class lounges in the world.

United charges 70,000 miles each way for partner travel between the US and Europe (including Istanbul).

Aeroplan charges 52,500 miles each way between the US and “Europe 2”.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Where are you seeing this, Gary? I don’t see it showing at united.com or ANA’s site.

  2. UA is showing TK availability on connections, but not showing this nonstop? Checked MANY dates.

  3. Aeroplan does not have fuel surcharge for Turkish or United, so I’d go with Aeroplan if you have both. I am tempted to do so except transfer isn’t exactly instantaneous with MR.

  4. Hmmm…I want 1K redeposit rights. It seems weird for UA to throttle back TK availability on the nonstop while showing availability on the connections?

  5. Very odd…route was just announced today. Just tried to book 2 biz class tickets (paid not award) for Apriil 14th. Seats/tickets are available, BUT no seat map or ability to choose a seat until 4 January 2015.

  6. I’m not seeing any availability at all on UA. Why does Award Nexus show different availability?

  7. I checked availability on united.com for May 2015 and easily found it. Thanks for the tip, Gary.

  8. Caro, very interesting. I just tried searching every single day in all of May for a one way SFO-IST. I tried in Firefox logged in as a 1K and I tried in Chrome logged out. I then tried SAN-IST to see if somehow it was ditching nonstops but would pick up a nonstop with a connection. Zippo. I am not getting one flight for even 1 seat in business on any day in May. What dates are you using and exactly how are you searching?

  9. I see nothing at united.com, but an agent was able to see it in SHARES and get me booked.

    Thanks for the tip, Gary!

  10. thank you for being specific with the title!!!!!!!!! it irritated me when on a previous post you stated amazing Japan Airlines first class availability only to learn it was only for the SFO-HND route.

  11. @Andrew – TK doesn’t give you the ability to select seats until 90-100 days prior to flight. This is consistent with other TK long-hauls. I’m in the same boat for a Dec flight.

  12. thesilb, I was searching for IST-SFO and found wide open availability. I didn’t need SFO-IST.

  13. US Airways was able to book a SFO-IST-CDG-(open jaw)-IST-SFO for me. However, they were having problems issuing the ticket. The agent said that SFO-IST sector was unable to issue electronically (“no response from Turkish Airlines on the computer system”). They said to call back tomorrow and check again. Anyone else having this issue?

  14. Currently having the same problem as Veejay, except mine is with United miles. United was able to book a roundtrip ticket which included a Turkish SFO-IST segment (which had to be added by phone since it was not appearing on the United web site). Award has been hung up in ticketing for 48-hours and counting. Odd that the IST-SFO award availability shows up on the United site but not the SFO-IST seats that seem to be causing the problems.

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