Turkish Airlines long-haul business class is one of my favorite products and their short-haul business class product delivers a quality experience as well. Unlike the other European carriers such as Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and SWISS, Turkish Airlines doesn’t try to pass off standard economy class seats (with a blocked middle seat) as business class. Instead, they offer a true business class product with spacious, leather recliner seats, personal entertainment and gourmet catering for their premium cabin passengers.
On this trip, my friend Andrew and I flew Turkish Airlines business class on an Airbus A321 from Zurich to Istanbul. At Zurich International Airport, the Turkish Airlines check-in counters are located in check-in area 2 and the counters open 3 hours prior to departure time. Turkish Airlines does not have it’s own lounge at Zurich International Airport so lounge services are contracted with the SWISS Business Class Lounge in Concourse E for their premium cabin passengers.
After security, take the Skymetro train to Concourse E, clear immigration and follow the signs to the brand new SWISS Business Class Lounge. The SWISS Business Class Lounge and the SWISS Senator Lounge share the same entrance and are both located one level up from the departure gates. Because I have Star Alliance Gold status, we skipped the Business Class Lounge and went straight to the SWISS Senator Lounge instead.
The new SWISS Senator Lounge is pretty impressive. There’s a dedicated whiskey bar, outdoor deck and plenty of “made to order,” dining options. I’ll have a full lounge review of the SWISS Senator Lounge up in a few weeks but in the meantime, here are some pictures.
Turkish Airlines A321 Business Class review
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Zurich (ZRH) to Istanbul (IST)
Depart: 6:45 PM
Arrive: 11:40 PM same day
Duration: 2hrs 52mns
Seats: 3E Business Class
Approximately 5 minutes prior to boarding time, we left the SWISS Senator Lounge and made our way down to gate 52 where our bird was waiting. Boarding was delayed approximately 15 minutes but started with business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members, followed by economy class passengers. All passengers boarded through door 1L.
On this flight, I was seated in seat 3E, an aisle seat on the right side of the plane and Andrew was seated next to me in 3F. This Turkish Airlines A321 is configured with the new business class cabin with 5 rows of seats in a 2 x 2 layout. It’s actually a pretty spacious and beautiful cabin with 20 brand new recliner seats in plush, black leather.
Similar to “domestic first class seats,” these Turkish Airlines A321 business class seats offer 20 inches of width and 34 inches of pitch. The seats recline approximately 6 inches and have adjustable head rests and leg rests. The head rest was comfortable but I must admit the leg rest was rather useless as it only “raised” up approximately 3 inches. When fully extended, the leg rest just shifted my legs forward and did nothing to comfort or support them. Manual seat controls are located on the armrests.
Waiting at our seats were a pair of Turkish Airlines branded noise cancelling headphones, a day blanket and pillow.
Each seat is equipped with an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, USB port, universal electrical outlet, two personal reading lamps, overhead air vent and a coat hook. The touchscreen IFE monitors are bright and clear and the entertainment system offers a decent selection of movies, TV shows, video games and audio entertainment. The IFE monitors are located in the center console and the companion remotes are located in the armrests. Audio entertainment and flight details can be controlled from the remote without having to remove your IFE monitor from the center console.
Storage-wise, your carry-on items can go in the overhead bins above and your personal items can be stored under the seat in front of you. Headphones, laptops and other electronics can be stored in the seat back pocket in front of your seat.
There was only one lavatory located in the front of the cabin for business class passengers. It was a standard lavatory but did have full bottles of hand lotion and cologne for use during flight.
As we settled into our seats, the on-board chef came by to welcome us on-board and provide us with a pre-departure beverage. He was friendly and attentive and it became very evident that he would be taking care of us while the flight attendant handled other flight attendant duties.
On this flight, the entire business class cabin was full. After all the passengers were boarded, the Captain came on the PA to make his announcements. We then pushed back from the gate and made our way to the runway. As we were taxiing, the flight attendant came by to everyone’s seat and raised our IFE monitors from the center consoles for the safety video and then stowed them away after it was done.
Once we reached our cruising altitude and the seat belt signs were turned off, the on-board chef came by with printed menus and warm towels.
He then came back a few minutes later to take our drink orders. For our very short 2 hour and 52 minute flight, our dinner service was served all on one tray. The tray consisted of a cheese plate, some sort of Turkish bean salad and a chocolate/mango mousse dessert along with our appetizer plate of mixed Turkish Meze.
The chef then came by with all the main course selections on a trolley. He unwrapped the three options for everyone to see and asked which one we would like. I really appreciated this service from a trolley as it allowed me to see all the entrees before selecting. They all looked delicious but I ended up choosing the Turkish dish, which was a meat ravioli.
I know I’ve said this before but I really am a fan of Do&Co catering. I find their food to be consistently delicious and even the dishes and ingredients that I would not normally order at home always turn out to be amazing. This dinner experience was no different. I loved the authentic Turkish cuisine. The dishes were beautifully plated and the flavors were wonderful.
After I was done with my main course, the chef came by to take my tray away and offered a coffee/tea service. Because I was trying to sleep later, I passed on the coffee but ask for more for more water. During our short flight, the chef walked the cabin frequently and made sure all the passengers were taken care of. He was friendly, proactive and attentive without being overbearing.
Turkish Airlines A321 Business Class overall thoughts
Overall, I really enjoyed this short hop from Zurich to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines A321 business class. The recliner seat was great and exponentially better than any Euro-business class seat. The service was consistently good, the entertainment was sufficient for a short-haul flight and the Do&Co catering was remarkable as always. I had no complaints on this flight and would not hesitate to fly them again in the future. If you are flying to/from Istanbul, I would recommend Turkish Airlines A321 business class over any other airline with the same service.
Have you flown Turkish Airlines A321 business class before? If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
The other reviews in this series include:
- Air France Business Class Lounge San Francisco
- British Airways Terraces Lounge San Francisco
- DoubleTree San Francisco Airport
- Korean Air First Class, Boeing 747-8 San Francisco to Seoul
- Four Points Sheraton Namsan Seoul
- Korean Air First Class Lounge
- Korean Air First Class, Boeing 747-8 Seoul to Hong Kong
- Courtyard Marriott Hong Kong
- Day trip Hong Kong to Macau
- SWISS Business Class, Boeing 777-300ER Bangkok to Zurich
- Hilton Zurich Airport
- Turkish Airlines, Airbus A321 Zurich to Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge
- Turkish Airlines Free Transit Hotel Warning
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, Boeing 777-300ER Istanbul to Los Angeles