I mentioned our trip to Germany for the Berlin Marathon, and to get there we flew Turkish Business Class. Something I’ve enjoyed a few times before, long ago. Here I am excited to try out the new(-ish) Turkish Airlines 787 product. The old seats on the bulk of their long haul fleet are definitely dated. Those are not private, but quite comfortable, with unimpeded legroom. The new seats look very nice and what an improvement they are, although especially on a 787 with a narrower cabin, there is much more individual privacy, but there is more confined space.
Before departure in Chicago
Our flight to Istanbul was delayed, so we had time to spend at the Polaris Lounge. The United agent at the door was very grumpy to let us in saying we didn’t have time, but with over an hour delay (it ended up being more), we had plenty of time to enjoy the lounge. We had a meal, then walked back to the ATS train, and then to Terminal 5 for the departure. Terminal 5 is under construction, looking much better, but still lounges there are poor, so I don’t recommend spending much extra time there if you don’t have to.
I’ve reviewed the O’Hare Polaris Lounge before, but it was good to be back.
Mid morning the lounge wasn’t very busy, especially near the back, adjacent to the dining area where we sat to relax a bit.
Decided to eat and the menu seems thinner than I remember, but this was better than most other options in the terminals. Sit down dining is still a treat in an airline lounge. There is also a buffet with various items, again focusing on breakfast during our visit.
I had an egg white omelet, my wife had eggs Benedict. My daughter kept getting cantelope and breakfast sausage from the buffet, which was enough for her.
Once the delayed Turkish plane landed, we knew it was time to leave and head towards Terminal 5. The TTB (Terminal Transfer Bus) is still not running, so we had to leave the lounge, head through the tunnel back to concourse B, then exit the secure area to the ATS train to Terminal 5.
O’Hare wasn’t too busy during our time here, so my daughter did one of her favorite ways to spend an O’Hare layover, running on the moving walkways.
Apologize for the blurry photo, it is hard to keep up with her sometimes…
O’Hare Terminal 5 before departure
Arriving at Terminal 5, the check in hall was relatively empty, and already holding home printed boarding passes, we went straight to security. In hindsight, maybe we should have gone to the Turkish ticket counter to get boarding passes on their card stock, since that was required to bored. This may have also granted us PreCheck access. I put in our KTN in the record, but that didn’t show up on our United generated boarding passes. I was unsure how long security lines would be, so we just went straight there. We would have had plenty of time, as we waited only a few minutes to clear, and PreCheck might have only saved a small amount of time.
Once airside, things were busier. The Turkish airlines morning departure means the SAS lounge isn’t yet open, and the Swissport lounge is out of the way (and to me, not worth any effort), so we just went to the gate. Waited there a while, but finally boarded soon after it was called to relax and get on our way.
Turkish Airlines 787 Business Class cabin
The Turkish Airlines Business Class cabin on the 787-9 has 30 seats between doors 1 and 2. The cabin is pretty, but the shells around the seats are dark gray, so it looks pretty dark in contrast to the white walls and bins of the cabin. The seats themselves look nice, and seem to be holding up relatively well. The window seats are private, especially the even rows, which have the seat closer to the window and away from the aisle. The seats are staggered, so middle section seats alternate between seats close to the aisle, (even rows), and closer together in odd rows. Privacy partitions are in place for solo travelers, and compared to seats on most other Turkish business class cabins, these are quite private. There is a decent tour of the cabin that Turkish posted to youtube here. One other thing to note, there are air vents!
I quite like the seat, but as is common in any staggered configuration, the footwell is pretty constrained. I slept without too much difficulty, but this is something to keep it in mind, as it is a pretty dense configuration. It is tight all around i bumped my shoulders, elbows, knees, etc when moving around. I’m really not sure what the best premium seat is on a 787, the narrow cabin makes things tight.
After boarding, we were offered menus (from the chef!), and amenity kits, which I reviewed here: Turkish Airlines Hackett Amenity Kit. One special feature to note, I requested child meals for my daughter, and this also included a child amenity kit, including a coloring book, toys, and, what seemed to be her favorite, child sized slippers. It took a little bit of effort, but a few clicks on the itinerary on the Turkish website, and this was set. A nice feature for kids, especially in business class.
Turkish offers drinks to business class passengers before departure. Options include mint lemonade, orange juice, raspberry juice, or water. Seemingly other drinks are available too, but that mint lemon drink is tasty.
Morning departure time (delayed to early afternoon for us), the main meal is lunch. Menus are available online here, and photos are below. Extensive selections, and while portions are not large, I found it tasty.
I opted for the “Best of Mezze” the creamy Pea Soup, and Steak and salad for my main.
Small portions, but I’d rather have multiple tasty courses, than huge portions. Quality is high for airplane food.
For those interested, here is the extensive wine menu, 4 whites, 5 reds, a rose, a port, plus champagne and some spirits. First the whites:
Then reds and champagne:
Rose and port:
Given I had a marathon to run in a few days, I didn’t have much to drink, but the selections are extensive.
In flight Turkish Airlines 787 business class
During and after the meal service, I settled into the selection of the in flight entertainment system. A lot of options, as is the norm for me, I watched various documentaries. After the main meal service, the flight attendants offered to make up beds. This consists of a mattress pad, and a heavier blanket than the thin one already on the seat. The early departure time from the US isn’t ideal for sleep. I did my best to relax for a few hours, and I actually slept better than I thought I might. Flight attendants were kind of scarce after the main service, but I didn’t really need anything. The call button is there for this reason, and they were happy to answer requests.
With apologies to my readers, I didn’t bother eating the pre arrival meal. I rarely do on trans-Atlantic flights, even this relatively longer one. Mostly because I was trying to maximize sleep, and I knew there would be another meal on the flight to Berlin. Here is the menu:
In my sleep deprived/jet lagged state, I vaguely remember having a smoothie, but that was all I partook in before arrival. I slept long enough not to have time for more. Oh well. I did enjoy a view of the sun rising over the Black Sea before we landed.
Final thoughts on Turkish Airlines 787 Business class to Istanbul
The flight itself was good, with above average food. The seat is a much more modern seat which has a lot of privacy, but is tight in many dimensions, and the footwell in particular is narrow. It is a definite improvement on the older product on much of the fleet, with the caveats I mentioned. I’d gladly fly this product again.
Our late departure meant our connection time was short, so I didn’t get to visit the famous Turkish Airlines lounges in Istanbul. We did actually drop in for a bathroom break, and a bottle of water, but with a pretty long trek between gates, we really didn’t have time to explore or enjoy it. Stay tuned for a more concise review of the flight to Berlin. Turkish still excels at a solid business class product intra-Europe, but better than many other carriers.