"We've found cheap flights from Turkey," we said. "We're coming to Italy."
"Oh great," our friend replied. "Who are you flying with?"
"Blu-Express. They're an Italian company."
"Oh, I've never heard of them."
Not what you want to hear from an Italian friend. And then, when the time came, we travelled by bus to Istanbul for our flight and stayed the night with a certain (very) frequent flyer, foXnoMad. "Who are you flying with," he asked.
"Blu-Express," we said.
At Sabiha Gökçen AirportYou know, when an Italian friend and a world traveller both wonder who on earth you're flying from Turkey with, it starts to make you a bit nervous - especially when you're not keen on flying in the first place - so we were both a little bit relieved to arrive at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport and see the check-in desk for our flight. At least we now knew that the airline existed.
Boarding the flight. Now we know it exists.And then to actually see the plane and be able to board it, well, things were definitely looking up a little. Now we just had to hope we were going to manage a flight from Istanbul to Rome in one piece. We were still confused about something, though. We booked with Blu-Express and everywhere we looked, it said Blue Panorama.
All would be revealed when we boarded the plane and read the in-flight magazine. Blue Panorama are Italy's second national airline, after Alitalia. We had booked with the low-cost arm of the company, Blu-Express. Ah, so that was why we kept seeing two company names being banded about. And flying with the low-cost arm of a bigger company has its advantages...
We were hoping for an Italian beer...They use the same fleet of planes for both companies, meaning we had a really comfortable flight with loads of leg room. Cabin crew also wear the same smart uniforms, so we felt like we were on an expensive flight. The only give-away that we were on a cheap flight was the turn around time. No sooner had we all taken our seats and belted up, we were taxiing to the runway and up into the air.
Not everything in life can be perfect, and so we do have one tiny complaint. You can see in the photo above that we ordered a can of beer during the flight. We were a tad disappointed to be handed a can of Heineken on an Italian flight. Wouldn't it be great if they served Peroni or Nastro Azzurro? Like we said though, it's just one, tiny complaint.
There's just one more thing we'd like to say about Blu-Express:
Boarding the plane to go back to TurkeyAfter you've spent ten fabulous days in Italy, eating (lots of eating), drinking and being in the company of friends, you go to the airport in Rome and board the flight...
Back in Istanbul - flying over the Formula One race track...and two hours later, your Blu-Express pilot has flown you safely over the mountains of Greece and back to Turkey, to our favourite city in the world, Istanbul.
Flying to & from Turkey - Useful Information
- Blu-Express currently fly 5 days a week between Istanbul and Rome.
- The company use Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul and Rome's main airport, Fiumicino.
- As with most low-cost airlines, you pay extra for baggage. We've now got this down to a fine art and managed to pack everything in one rucksack, just to keep costs as low as possible.
- We are a blog about Turkey, so we'd also point out that if you want to do some price comparisons, Turkey's low-cost airline, Pegasus, also ply this route. They fly daily and use the same airports. Try our search tool to find the best deals on flights to and from Turkey.
- We flew out of season and paid 100 Euros each, return. As you might expect, summer prices are much more expensive than this.