Now Arriving... Istanbul

Kit Shaun Tommy Koh
June 5, 2015

Destination: Istanbul (IST)- To many passengers, the three letters "IST" that follow behind "Istanbul" are unnecessary, merely repeating the obvious that the plane they will board will get them to the city of Istanbul. Yet it means so much more. I spent my childhood staring up at traditional-style departure boards at airports. Initially startling, their loud clacking soon became synonymous with the excitement of flights having departed and even more being readied for departure. Having long observed and mulled over the intricate operation of flights, I became sensitive to the significance behind seemingly arbitrary codes. While destination "IST" (Ataturk Airport) is indeed Istanbul, destination "SAW" (Sabiha Gokcen) is very much also Istanbul. The incongruity of two different acronyms representing the same place- similar to how JFK and LGA both represent New York, IAD and DCA both represent Washington DC and BKK and DMK both represent Bangkok- continue to intrigue me with ICAO naming conventions for Istanbul continue this trend.

Traveling has recently assumed a dominant position in my life. From my first flight on my own at the age of 14 to being trained as a student pilot and captaining my first solo flight and earning my Private Pilot's License at age 16, the past few years of my existance have been intertwined with the freedom of flight. As an international student at Johns Hopkins, flying has become the only way to commute from home in Singapore to my second home in Baltimore. Yet even as the purpose of flying in my life has altered with the years, it still remains about having the opportunities to gain new perspectives, both when I dance amongst the clouds and when I arrive somewhere new. Boarding my 15th flight of 2015 from Singapore to Istanbul, I'm excited both for the flight and for the destination.

"We are Turkish Airlines, We are Globally Yours". The advertising campaign of Turkey's national carrier includes a memorable jingle which until recently accompanied footage of Messi showcasing his football skills in the tight confines of an aircraft cabin. As a Turkish Airlines passenger, this slogan marks both the start and end of my Summer in Istanbul at Bogazici. As Turkish slowly builds an aviation hub that might well rival what Emirates has in Dubai or Qatar has in Doha, I am reminded of how every country is still very much a work-in-progress. Yet beyond the expansionistic ambitions of Turkey's national airline, the idea of "globally yours" rings true for Turkey as a whole. Sitting on the crossroads of the East and West, Istanbul promises to be a truly global opportunity, one I look forward to exploring both in the classroom through the lens of political science and outside the classroom on weekend trips. With these exciting prospects ahead, I can't wait to finally arrive.

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Kit Shaun Tommy Koh

<p>A Blue Jay at Hopkins, a citizen of Singapore, a resident of the world: Titles and categories often complicate how we see our place in this world. Above everything else, I see myself as a pilot. Being up in the sky grants freedom, space, possibilities- a reminder that everything can be seen from a different perspective. Be it in education, while travelling or just being with friends- I constantly seek new dimensions, new ways of perceiving, a new- greater- understanding.</p>

2015 Summer 1, 2015 Summer 2
Home University:
Johns Hopkins University
Political Science
Explore Blogs