This Turkish Airlines Business Class flight review is part of my trip to Seoul and Hong Kong with my friend Andrew. We booked this one-way trip from Hong Kong to Los Angeles using 80,000 United MileagePlus miles. Our routing took us from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Thai Airways, Bangkok to Zurich on SWISS and finally from Zurich to Los Angeles on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. This trip was booked prior to United’s website “enhancement” and we specifically routed through Europe to fly both SWISS’ new Boeing 777-300ER and Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER Business Class the long way home.
Turkish Airlines Business Class lounge options at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
At Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkish Airlines operates the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge aka “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge” for their premium cabin and Star Alliance elite passengers. The Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge is open 24 hours a day and offers two levels of food, drinks and amenities. But as the only Star Alliance lounge at IST, the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge can get busy and chaotic at peak times. Here are some pictures of the massive space and you can click here to read my full review of the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge.
About 30 minutes prior to boarding time, we left the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge and made our way to gate 226 where our bird was waiting. I don’t normally leave the lounge this early but at Istanbul, all flights departing for the United States undergo an additional security check at the gates. As we got to the gate, there was a line a mile long of people waiting to go through the security check. If you are traveling in Business Class, just walk to the front, find the dedicated lane for Business Class passengers and bypass the chaos. The security check consisted of additional security questions and a physical inspection of your luggage and clothing.
The security check took approximately 15 minutes to complete. We took some pictures of the bird and hung out until boarding was called. Boarding started with Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members, followed by everyone else. Business Class passengers boarded through door 1L and Economy Class passengers boarded through 2L.
Turkish Airlines Business Class review
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (77W)
Istanbul (IST) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Depart: 1:55 PM (2:21 PM actual)
Arrive: 4:45 PM same day (4:30 PM actual)
Duration: 13hrs 9mns
Seats: 6J Business Class
On this flight, I was seated in 6J, an aisle seat on the right side of the plane and Andrew was seated in 6K, the window seat next to me. Our seats were in the aft Business Class cabin. On these re-configured Boeing 777-300ERs, Turkish Airlines has removed their Premium Economy Class product and updated their Business Class with a minor cabin refresh. The seats have been improved slightly for better storage and increased privacy but everything else remains the same.
Turkish Airlines Business Class is configured with 49 seats in a 2 x 3 x 2 layout. The forward Business Class cabin has 4 rows of seats and the aft Business Class cabin has 3 rows of seats. Directly behind the aft Business Class cabin is now an Economy Class cabin where Comfort Class used to be.
Turkish Airlines Business Class utilizes standard, forward-facing, Zodiac Aura 2015 lie-flat seats. These seats lack privacy and do not provide direct-aisle access for all passengers. Compared to other airlines, these seats are most similar to the Business Class seats found on Ethiopian, Hainan and LOT Polish Airlines as well as the new Business Class seats installed on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ERs. They are not as private or spacious as reverse herringbone seats found on airlines such as Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, American Airlines, etc. but they are much more spacious than the Thompson Vantage seats found on airlines such as SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Air., and others.
According to SeatGuru, these seats provide 22 inches of width and 78 inches of pitch. They are soft and comfortable and the individual parts of the seat can be controlled for maximum comfort. There is a manual privacy divider between the seats but aisle seat passengers are virtually exposed to all the surrounding passengers. Each seat is equipped with a personal, in-flight entertainment system, USB port, universal electrical outlet and two personal reading lamps. Seat controls are located in the center armrest.
WiFi was provided free of charge for Business Class passengers. For Economy Class passengers, an hour of in-flight internet cost $10 and a 24 hour pass cost $15. That being said, I don’t recommend you paying for this WiFi as it was VERY SLOW. I couldn’t do any work and social media pages took forever to load. I didn’t mind too much because it was free but I would have been pissed if I paid $15 for it.
Storage-wise, your carry-on luggage can be stored in the overhead bins above and your personal items can be stored in the storage compartment underneath the ottoman. The flip-top ottoman is large and deep enough to store a regular size backpack, purse or laptop case. Your electronics and other small items can be stored in the single storage bin at your seat. The bin is large enough to hold a laptop, headphones, cell phone, eyeglasses and other items.
The ottoman serves as storage space for your personal items and as an extension of your seat in bed mode. The ottoman is not intended to accommodate another passenger and the tray table is not large enough for two people to dine together. The tray table folds out from the center console and can be pushed out of the way to provide easy access to your seat when the tray table is out.
The in-flight entertainment system was fairly intuitive and easy to use but I found it to be rather glitchy and unresponsive during flight. The entertainment system included a good selection of movies, TV shows, live TV shows (news and sports), video games, audio entertainment and a flight show with two different aircraft cameras views.
Waiting at our seats were a pair of slippers, a day blanket and an incredible lumbar support pillow. The lumbar support pillow was made out of memory foam. It was firm, comfortable and provided the perfect amount of support for your back.
As we settled into our seats, the flight attendant working our section came by to introduce herself. She welcomed us on-board and served us with a pre-departure beverage while the other flight attendants came by with amenity kits and Denon noise-cancelling headphones. The Denon headphones were similar to Bose Quiet Comfort (QC) 25s but I actually preferred these over the Bose headphones. They were soft, comfortable and worked well to drown out the cabin and engine noise. I had my Bose QC 25s with me but ended up using these the entire flight because I loved them so much.
Turkish Airlines now partners with Jaguar for their Business Class amenity kits. The top-zip, vinyl cases are simple and can be re-purposed as iPad cases but the Jaguar partnership seems awkward and disconnected. I don’t understand what Jaguar cars has to do with health and beauty products, in-flight experiences or even with Turkey for that matter? I think Turkish Airlines missed the mark here as their Jaguar amenity kits are unremarkable and do nothing to remind me of my Turkish Airlines Business Class experience. They really should have gone with a traditional health and beauty brand or even a brand that was uniquely Turkish to highlight and celebrate their culture.
Inside the amenity kit, you’ll find eye shades, earplugs, socks, a dental hygiene kit, shoe horn, pen, comb/brush and Jaguar branded bottles of lotion and lip balm.
Does this remind anyone of that “Sex Panther” scene from Ron Burgandy?
There are 3 lavatories for Business Class passengers. The lavatories are standard size but are complimented with Molton Brown hand soap and lotion for use during flight. Molton Brown amenity products would have been a HUGE upgrade over the Jaguar branded stuff. Seriously, I don’t know what they were thinking with that Jaguar partnership.
On this trip, all but 2 seats were occupied and there were 3 flight attendants and one on-board chef working our section. Once we were airborne and the seat belt signs were turned off, the flight attendants came around to prepare for our meal service. Warm towels and menus were distributed and the flight attendants took our pre-meal, drink orders.
The on-board chef then took our meal orders while the flight attendants came by with ramekins of mixed nuts and our pre-meal beverages. I don’t know why but I really loved having a chef on-board. I’m not sure if she did anything more than what the flight attendants would have done but I thought the idea was novel and I appreciated it.
Our tables were then set with linen, condiments and a small tea light to simulate a candle-lit meal.
One of the aspects that sets Turkish Airlines Business Class apart from their competitors is their catering and food presentation. Unlike other airlines, Turkish Airlines serves a true, 4-course meal and treats their meal services as a presentation of their hospitality. For our appetizer course, instead of just giving us an appetizer dish, or even the option between two appetizer dishes; Turkish Airlines gave us the entire appetizer cart to choose from.
They literally rolled a cart down the aisle with trays upon trays of food for us to choose from. All we had to do was point and tell them what we wanted. I love this trolley concept so much as things don’t always look the way they are described in menus. This way, we could see all the options available and order whatever we wanted and however much we wanted. Everything looked delicious and I got a little bit of each dish to try out. Andrew did the same.
This was followed by the soup course. The “traditional Turkish creamy wedding soup” was delicious and full of wonderful flavors.
Our main courses were then brought out by the chef. I ordered the grilled swordfish and Andrew ordered the traditional yogurt kebab.
After our plates were taken away, the flight attendants came by with a fruit and dessert cart; followed by a coffee and tea service. Just like the appetizer course, all the desserts were brought out on a trolley so we could see (and order) anything and everything we wanted. I might have gone a little overboard with the dessert trolley. . .
After dessert, I ordered a Turkish tea to cap off the meal. My tea was served in a cast iron teapot and served on a tray with a beautiful teacup. Talk about a proper tea service!
If you guys couldn’t tell, the Do&Co catering was my favorite part of this flight. The portions were appropriate; the flavor were wonderful and the dishes were authentically Turkish. The entire dining experience was delicious, beautifully presented on individual plates and would rival any Turkish restaurant on the ground. I loved that the items were served on a trolley so we could see everything and the fat kid inside of me loved that we could order as much as we wanted.
After our meal service was concluded, the flight attendants came by with bottles of water and asked if we wanted our beds to be made. Turn-down service included a mattress pad, full-size pillow and duvet. With the addition of the mattress pad and ottoman extension, the bed was long, comfortable and spacious. If you want to watch TV in bed, there are separate controls by you head to tilt and raise the upper portion of the headrest without moving the rest of the seat. These seats go completely lie-flat, parallel to the ground.
Once all the beds were made, the cabin lights were dimmed and all the window shades were closed. I watched a movie for a bit and fell asleep shortly thereafter; getting about 4 hours of great sleep. Small sandwiches, snacks and drinks were provided in the galley for those who were still hungry or thirsty.
About 2.5 hours before our arrival into Los Angeles, the cabin lights were turned on and our pre-arrival meal was served. Not as grand as our main meal service, all the items were served on one single tray along with a beverage service. I don’t remember but I don’t think we had an option for our pre-arrival meal. I think everyone got the same meal.
Service-wise, the flight attendants were great during our meal services. They were friendly and attentive but were fairly absent in between meals. During our flight, they did walk the cabin a few times but they were not proactive in taking care of the passengers. If you needed anything, you needed to ring your call bell, see them in the galley or flag one of them down as they walked by. About 30 minutes prior to landing, our Denon headphones were collected and generic headphones were handed out in their place; allowing us to finish watching our movies.
Turkish Airlines Business Class bottom line
Overall, I had another great experience flying Turkish Airlines Business Class. It wasn’t the best experience by any means but it was still a positive experience nonetheless. I know these seats aren’t the best. They lack privacy and direct-aisle access for all passengers but I much prefer these seats over the Thompson Vantage seats found on other European airlines. These seats are more spacious, less restrictive and have better storage spaces than the Thompson Vantage seats. The service was friendly during our meal services but could have been more attentive during the rest of the flight.
But despite those negatives, I still think Turkish Airlines has some advantages over their European counterparts. Their Do&Co 4-course catering is hands down the best Business Class meal you will ever have on an airplane and the other in-flight amenities such as Denon headphones; lumbar support pillow and turn-down service are unmatched by any other European carrier.
What do you guys think of Turkish Airlines Business Class? Please let me know your thoughts 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 Seoul, Namsan
- 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