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Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Review from Frankfurt (FRA) – Istanbul (IST) A321
I had initially booked an award using United miles from San Francisco to Novosibirsk all on Turkish Airlines. Turkish cancelled my San Francisco flight out of the blue just two weeks before departure (after half a dozen scheduled changes earlier in the year as well) and this broke my connection to the twice-weekly Novosibirsk flight. No effort was made by Turkish Airlines to re-book me, but United MileagePlus was kind enough to re-book me from Frankfurt to Istanbul with Lufthansa.
For this flight, Turkish was using the bus gate at Frankfurt Airport, which is rather odd as this improved airport has lots of jet bridges available these days. Our plane had parked at C1 and last call showed for our gate B54 an hour before departure. When I arrived (after a long walk from the lounge around the Z gates), boarding hadn’t started and the first bus was just about to get loaded up.
With usual Turkish Airlines chaos, boarding would be pushing and shoving at the gate, on the bus and into the plane.
Once inside the aircraft, the business cabin with 16 seats was already half full, with a Turkish crew heading home from a prior flight. You guessed it – all the attention by flight attendants would be for their co-workers – not paying passengers.
Turkish Airlines still features an on-board chef for the business class cabin and this person was incredibly charming and busy. She literally did all the service for the 16-passenger cabin. I never interacted with any of the flight attendants who seemed otherwise busy. Once we got underway into the rainy Frankfurt skies, the chef rolled out a rather delicious meal with Turkish meze and served good-looking main courses.
I really liked the food and found some items to be downright delicious.
The cabin eventually calmed down and after a quick look at the in-flight entertainment I took a nap, and then we were approaching Istanbul Atatürk. For both takeoff and landing, our pilot seemed to use the maximum speed setting; we touched down hard and fast, but exactly where we should be it seemed.
Turkish Airlines Business Class Review from Istanbul (IST) – Novosibirsk (OVB) B737
My second flight that day would be from Istanbul to Novosibirsk. The Turkish/Russian politics have become quite rough recently and so Turkish had to stop service to most Russian destinations (at least that is the official reason). My flight had already been downgraded to a twice-weekly service and just two more flights would be completed after my flight landed. Lucky me, since Turkish was the only Star Alliance carrier to go to Siberia from Europe (most Star Alliance programs allow a redemption to Siberia at the same price as to Europe, as long as the connection is in Europe).
After visiting the excellent Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul, which has suddenly become much less crowded, I proceeded to the bus gate which was, naturally, all the way at the end of the airport. Boarding was easy, since one bus would easily hold all the passengers. Economy was one-third filled and the eight-seat business class cabin would just be my traveling partner and me.
Turkish served almost the exact same dishes as in the lounge so I opted not to eat again, although it looked OK.
The two flight attendants were friendly but not the most efficient; serving just the two of us took some time and there was quite some back and forth.
I fell asleep about an hour into the flight. Although the seat isn’t great, I can always sleep in Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class very well. Just outside Novosibirsk, I folded up my seat tray and tried to contain my excitement at being back in Siberia.