Rahim Kanani

Turkish Airlines' Chairman of the Board on Improving Wellness in the Sky

Rahim Kanani
Turkish Airlines' Chairman of the Board on Improving Wellness in the Sky

“A board of expert doctors have taken part in the Fly Good Feel Good program and their invaluable contributions will surely add up to our passengers’ overall flight experience,” explained M. İlker Ayci, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee for Turkish Airlines. In an interview, we discuss the origins of the program, their decision to partner with Dr. Oz, health and wellness programming on board, broader luxury travel trends, and much more.

What sparked the idea behind the new "Fly Good Feel Good" program on Turkish Airlines?

As an airline synonymous with high service quality, Turkish Airlines strives to further improve its brand experience through new products and innovations. Being preferred by our passengers for the quality time we provide onboard is a feature we constantly try to improve. Naturally, making our passengers enjoy their onboard experience with us is a priority. Fly Good Feel Good is a product of this approach, giving a set of advices to our passengers to be taken before, during and after flight in order to make their travel more relaxing, comfortable and healthier.

How did you decide to partner with Dr. Oz?

As Turkey’s flag-carrier airline and our country’s most prolific representative in the skies—Turkish Airlines flies to 300 destinations in 120 countries, which is more countries than any other airline—partnering with a world-famous doctor and a TV figure who is also a Turkish national is a perfect pairing.

As a famous surgeon, popular TV personality and a best-selling author, especially in the U.S., Dr. Oz is the perfect face to put on a project such as the “Fly Good, Feel Good” designed to make flying healthier in every way. As it turned out, Fly Good Feel Good and the Dr. Oz show shot on one of our Istanbul-New York flights created quite a buzz in the news and media and we have passengers, as well as journalists, inquiring about the project from all over the world. 

What kinds of health and wellness programming will be produced for flights?

Turkish Airlines aims to improve its passengers’ travel experience as a whole and that is why we have put “wellness” in the forefront for our Fly Good Feel Good Project. A board of expert doctors has taken part in the project and their invaluable contributions will surely add up to our passengers’ overall flight experience.

The Project covers the entire travel experience beginning on the ground with topics like; how to overcome the fear of flying, countering allergies, how to best prepare for a flight etc. Then, the actual flight is made easier with information on avoiding dehydration, blocked nose as well as exercising on board against the negative effects of pressure changes and similar topics. Lastly, the after-flight section of the project details what to do to avoid jet-lag and the likes.

All of these and more is explained in-detail in short videos on our inflight entertainment (IFE) systems and booklets that are available onboard. In addition, Turkish Airlines’ award-winning onboard catering is being extended with many types of drinks to supplement Fly Good Feel Good Project. Needless to say, all of these tips and information will be shared with our passengers via our web site and social media accounts.

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What other kinds of innovative programming or offerings are available on board?

Taking technology very seriously, Turkish Airlines deploys the latest and greatest innovations to address the increasing needs of today’s demanding air traveler. Our modern fleet, having a median age of just 7 years, is already equipped with top-of-the-line IFE and other related systems designed to provide a fun and enjoyable flight experience.

Lately, we have introduced a new IFE Entertainment GUI (graphical user interface) which has made the user experience much better.  We are following the cutting edge technologies and trends to improve the customer experience. For instance, our new Wireless IFE technology allows our passengers to connect and reach to the IFE contents from their own devices in aircrafts without IFE System. On top of that, active noise-canceling headphones from Denon for Business Class passengers complete the experience.

Furthermore, we provide Business Class passengers and Miles&Smiles (Elite &Elite Plus Members even flying in economy class) free WIFI service on almost all our wide body fleet. And to connect to our passengers to the world even in short range flights, our narrow body aircraft orders (total of 167 aircraft) are being equipped with WIFI infrastructure.

Moreover, we have another useful feature that has been launched: EXPhone, which enables our passengers to use their personal mobile phones for sending SMS and using data onboard. Passengers can now use their phones to send a message and to use the internet on their own mobile network provider’s tariff.

Of course, we do not solely rely on technology to create a difference. We have several more products and services aimed at Business Class passengers. To name a few;

Turkish Airlines’ “Exclusive Drive”, available in some of our U.S. routes, picks up the Business Class passenger with a limo for a classy ride to the airport.

We are also very close to introducing an unprecedented new service. Being our main hub and an historic city famous for its scenic beauty, Istanbul is enjoyed by millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Turkish Airlines, by conveniently providing a special tour service, “Istanbul Bosphorus Experience” allows its transferring Business Class passengers who have 6 or more hours to their flight to witness Istanbul and Bosphorus in all its beauty.

Looking across the luxury travel sector more broadly, what are some other trends you're paying particular attention to?

In luxury travel, passengers expect highly personal service and privileges throughout their journey. With this understanding at the center of our Business Class offerings, we have managed to build a brand experience that leaves our passengers eager to travel with Turkish Airlines time and again.

The quality we attach to our entire range of services, carries the core value of Turkish culture; hospitality. Through this, we have won a multitude of awards through the years, excelling especially in Business Class. Welcoming our passengers--or guests as we prefer to call them--with a smile is the definitive start to a travel experience with Turkish Airlines, even under the most adverse conditions. And what follows, from boarding to exiting the flight, carries our trademark hospitality that is aimed at touching our passengers’ hearts. 

At this year’s Skytrax, world’s leading authority in rating airlines and airports, Turkish Airlines was the recipient of the "Best Business Class Onboard Catering", "World's Best Business Class Lounge", and "Best Business Class Dining Lounge". As these accolades are all based on passenger votes, they reflect our detailed and personal approach to our passengers accurately.

Of course, reaching this level in our passengers’ eyes requires keeping up with the latest trends and developments in travel industry. Turkish Airlines never ceases to innovate and always looks to improve upon its already impressive products and services.