No doubt that Turkish tourism is suffering and load factors are down, but for those of you with a desire to see Istanbul, this may be a great opportunity. I’ve been there a few times, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it on every visit!
In reviewing fares, I found several options available between certain US gateways and Istanbul that can be booked for as low as $450 (San Francisco – Istanbul on SWISS) if you travel between September and March and stay at least 7 days. Istanbul fares from other US gateways range between $500 and $600. The East coast of the USA prices in the low to mid $500 range, the Midwest comes in around $550-$600.
There’s no published end to the fare sale so it is probably just a matter of inventory control that will determine when fares start to go back to normal. But for now, these are really worth taking advantage of.
Pay attention when booking your flights as they can be operated by Lufthansa, SWISS, United, or Air Canada.
If you’re going to fly Economy, your best bet would be to book an LH flight since you can bid to upgrade to Premium Economy for $200-300 per long-haul segment or pay about the same amount and upgrade once you board your flight if Premium Economy seats are available. If you upgrade the entire trip, you’ll still be able to get to IST and back for about $1000. Not bad!