British Air's World Traveler Plus class; private tour in Turkey, and Rio day tours

This item appears on page 4 of the July 2011 issue.


I’m just back from Southern Africa, which, in each direction, involved two flights of nearly 11 hours’ flying time each — Dallas to London and London to Johannesburg on April 29-30, with the return in 22-plus hours on May 16.

After the flights were booked, about 45 days out, my travel agent recommended that, for an extra $700 round trip, I upgrade to World Traveler Plus, British Airways’ premium-economy class, on the four 747 flights. I did so and, given the lengths of the flights, consider it to have been a bargain. (Business class would have cost an extra $4,000.)

World Traveler Plus is a lot like the old business class, before there were lie-flat beds. The seats are slightly wider, there’s a lot more legroom, and you get served before the rest of coach. Blanket, pillow and amenity kit are included, though they’re not of the quality of those in business or first class.

The seating layout was 2-4-2, so no one was more than one seat from the aisle. It seemed that two lavatories were reserved for World Traveler Plus; at least, I never had a wait for access.

Carol Baker, El Paso, TX



Six of us, ages 12 to 66, had a wonderful trip to Turkey in April ’11. I got the name of Kagan Kosagans, of Private Tours in Turkey, or KSG Tours & Travel Services (Uryanizade Sk. No: 10, Kuzguncuk, Uskuda, Istanbul, Turkey; phone +90 216 343 4215), from the ITN online archives and booked a two-day tour in Istanbul and a one-day tour in Ephesus.

The guide (Halle), driver and van in Istanbul, April 23-24, cost €700 (5% discount for cash). We saw all the major sites, and, per our request, Halle found us a Catholic worship service, in English, for Easter morning. She walked us there from our hotel and attended with us.

For the tour of Ephesus and Mary’s House on April 29, our guide Yelda picked us up at our hotel in Izmir. Guide, driver and van cost €450 (5% cash discount).

All totaled, we paid €1,092 (near $1,538) plus tips for drivers and guides. We all agreed we truly got our money’s worth!

Bright and knowledgeable, Halle and Yelda each did a wonderful job. They were very informative and fun to be with and added so much depth and richness to our trip.

Kagan, sharing his invaluable experience generously, also helped me plan the extra five days that my husband and I stayed on in Turkey. All by e-mail and all free of charge, he gave me great advice about our road trip from Izmir to Cappadocia and back to Istanbul.

I would love to share our Turkey experiences with anyone who is planning a trip there. What a great country! Contact me via e-mail c/o ITN.

Sharon Maszy, Jacksonville, FL



About two weeks before a March ’11 cruise out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I contacted Neils J. Petersen of Adab Tours (e-mail to schedule day tours of Rio with him.

His responses were prompt and helpful as we decided on our itineraries for March 17 and 18. He included sights that were perfect for our interests in architecture and the colonial parts of Rio.

The full-day tour cost $250 for the two of us, including airport pickup but not admission fees to the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf. The half-day tour cost $150. These tours cost significantly less than ship excursions would have and included many more sights.

A licensed guide, Neils is Danish-born but has lived in Rio about 50 years and speaks English perfectly. He was reliable and an excellent historian. I can whole-heartedly recommend him. He will whisk you past the long lines and show you the Rio you long to see.

Margo Wilson, Scottsdale, AZ