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I haven’t had a chance to write a Turkish Airlines Business Class review for their long-haul business before, so was excited to finally try this service out.
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Lounges before my Turkish Airlines Business Class flight (Review)
Seoul Incheon Airport provides a wide range of Star Alliance Gold lounges – I was able to sample the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, the Asiana Business Class and the Turkish Airlines lounges before my flight.
All lounges let me in without requiring a Gold card – my printed boarding pass was enough. While the lounges are ‘fine’, it’s hard to get excited there. The catering all seems very uniform and the airport WiFi itself is so fast to begin with that the lounges lose a bit of their exclusivity.
It’s likely that I would go back to the Asiana Business Class lounge, simply because it has showers and the best view.
My Turkish Airlines Business Class flight (Review)
Boarding was delayed by 45 minutes because of the late arrival of the crew. There were suspiciously few other passengers in the gate area and as it turned out, the A330 would just about be 40% full once we all got on-board.
Business class with Turkish is in a 2-2-2 configuration. It’s very comparable to the United Business Class (see my United Business Class Dreamliner review) and since I wanted to avoid climbing over my seatmate, I reseated myself into 1A.
Just after sitting down, non-alcoholic drinks were served (so no champagne).
The good news is the seat goes all the way flat on this aircraft (though this takes about 45 seconds) and the IFE display is huge – a really large, bright screen. Sadly, the entertainment options and the controls didn’t work as well as I hoped they would. Plus the flight map was very limited and you could only switch it on or off.
Turkish Airlines equip their planes with the same WiFi system that United uses. However, the WiFi would not connect on this flight for any passenger 🙁
The highlight of a Turkish Airlines flight is usually the food – and so it was for this flight. The on-board chef takes the time and has the skills to prepare a delicious meal.
The appetizers, main course and dessert were all equally delicious. It certainly ranks in my top 10 of any airline meal. It was well-seasoned and tasted fresh.
Battery powered lights that look like candles were placed all over the cabin just after the meal service, which was a nice touch.
After watching yet another movie on my laptop, I reclined the seat and asked the flight attendant to ‘make up my bed’. I expected something along the lines of Virgin Atlantic Business Class – a mattress pad and a duvet. It turned out to be a VERY thin mattress pad and a duvet that was just about OK.
The flight attendants were quick and really tried their best. However, spoken English was a big challenge for almost all the staff and service was often hectic (which was even more surprising, given the half-empty cabin) and almost robotic.
Two hours before landing, another meal service came rolling through. I liked the appetizers there as well, but felt the main course (beef) was just ridiculously bad. It smelled foul and was more something expected from United, not Turkish Airlines.
Since going up north and flying a polar route is not an option when going to Istanbul from Seoul (although it is for Frankfurt or London), this flight took longer – we were in the air 12 hours plus and while we made up for most of our initial delay, ATC at Istanbul Airport put us in a holding pattern, which resulted in a full one-hour delay.
Fortunately, a huge line formed just behind me at the small transfer security line at Istanbul Airport – the immigration lines were 50 people deep per counter.
This was a good flight and I’m happy that I did not fly Asiana Business Class to Frankfurt instead. Still, Turkish could do much better with a little ’rounding around the edges’.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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