Airplane Turndown Service: How And When Is It Offered?

Airplane Turndown Service: How And When Is It Offered?

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Often in trip reports I’ll talk about turndown service in first and business class. Reader Maggie asked me a question about this, which made me realize that this is something that I’ve never explicitly addressed. So that’s what I’d like to do in this post. To start, here’s the question that Maggie asked:

I often time read your reviews about a turndown service on a flight. Could you elaborate on this? I have flown business class to Europe on Delta (the only airline I have flown overseas) and never noticed this service. I would love to know when is a turndown service offered or when is it appropriate to request it. I am sure other readers would be interested as well!

Why do some airlines offer turndown service?

In long haul first and business class, it’s not uncommon for airlines to offer turndown service, whereby a flight attendant will make your bed when it’s time to sleep. What’s the logic for this?

  • Some airlines don’t just give passengers a pillow and blanket, but also give them a mattress pad and other sleep amenities; often there’s a trick to placing these on the seat and making the bed as comfortable as possible, so the crew can help with that
  • On some airlines, converting the seat into the bed can be kind of complicated, so turndown service allows the crew to help you with this (take the herringbone seats on Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic, for example)
Air New Zealand 787 business class turndown service

The inspiration for turndown service comes from hotels, as it’s common for luxury hotels to offer twice daily housekeeping (once during the day, and once in the evenings). Many airlines try to advertise that they offer a hotel-like experience in the sky, and turndown service is an extension of that.

How do you know if turndown service is offered on your flight?

When should you expect turndown service to be offered? Is this offered by all airlines in long haul first and business class? After all, you don’t want to be a diva and ask for turndown service on an airline that doesn’t offer that as a service. So, what’s my approach, and what are my expectations?

Generally speaking, in international first class turndown service is offered across the board. I can’t think of an airline that doesn’t officially offer this as part of its service. Admittedly the quality of the turndown service can vary depending on whether you’re flying Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites turndown service

…or American Airlines.

American Airlines 777 first class turndown service

In business class it’s a bit trickier. A majority of airlines don’t offer turndown service in business class. So how do you know when it’s offered?

  • Usually the crew will ask passengers to tell them when they’re ready to sleep, so their beds can be made
  • If you’re not explicitly informed of this being available, you can observe other passengers, as often crews will just do it as they see people getting ready to go to bed
  • Turndown service is most frequently offered in business class on airlines with good bedding that includes a mattress pad, an extra pillow for sleeping, etc., since much of that bedding will only be offered to passengers when it’s time to sleep

For what it’s worth, no US airline offers turndown service in business class. However, it’s extremely common at other carriers, ranging from Qatar Airways to Turkish Airlines.

Just to be clear, I’m perfectly capable of using a pillow and blanket, so that’s not what this is about. What I appreciate with turndown service is that the crew often provides additional bedding that isn’t otherwise at your seat. Furthermore, there is something nice about getting into a perfectly made bed, whether it’s in the air or on the ground.

Qatar Airways 777 business class turndown service

If turndown service is offered, it’s generally fair game to ask for it to be taken care of at any time. Of course try to be mindful of the general service flow in the cabin and the crew’s workload, especially if it’s during a meal time. I just ask for it when I’m ready to sleep, and say something along the lines of “no rush, but when you have a moment, would you mind making up my bed please?”

Speaking of turndown service, I can’t help but think back to how American’s flight attendant union filed a grievance over this being offered in first class back in 2011. The union argued that more research needed to be done to “ensure this was not going to cause an unreasonable workload” for flight attendants. Flight attendants were then given surveys that included questions like “were there any safety issues with the turndown service at all?”

Bottom line

It’s pretty common for airlines to offer turndown service in premium cabins, whereby the crew will make your bed when it’s time to sleep. This is most useful when there’s bedding beyond a pillow and blanket, or when it’s complicated to turn the seat into a bed.

Turndown service is almost always offered in international first class, while it’s usually offered on top airlines in business class. If you’re in business class and aren’t sure if it’s offered and don’t want to ask, just see if the crew proactively offers it, and observe other passengers in the cabin.

What has your experience been with turndown service in first and business class?

Conversations (35)
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  1. Dominic Kivni Guest

    Lucky, I don't know if this is the right place to contact you about this, but would it be possible to do an article on which airlines are offering hardcase amenity kits in J / F, and on which routes (for example EVA offers the Ferregamo ones on flights from TPE but a soft case on ones into TPE)? I know back in the day the Rimowa amenity kits offered in EVA / ANA /...

    Lucky, I don't know if this is the right place to contact you about this, but would it be possible to do an article on which airlines are offering hardcase amenity kits in J / F, and on which routes (for example EVA offers the Ferregamo ones on flights from TPE but a soft case on ones into TPE)? I know back in the day the Rimowa amenity kits offered in EVA / ANA / Lufthansa / Thai were in high demand, but with those gone it would be helpful to know the alternatives. Off the top of my head, I've got the Globetrotter ones in ANA F, the Zero Halliburton ones in JAL F (only on some routes though, and unclear what the pattern is, I flew JAL twice, once inbound to HND and once outbound, and got the soft case both times, while my friend who flew the same inbound route a month later got the hard case), the UA Away amenity kit in Polaris, and the EVA Ferregamo one in J for outbound routes

  2. Richard Dyson Guest

    Asked for this on British Airways flight in Club World (business) only to be told by a rather snotty attendant 'if I do this for you everyone will expect it'. I have not flown with them since!

    1. Ryan Guest

      You haven’t flown them since because they didn’t provide an extra service to you that they don’t normally provide? Kind of like asking for a free tire rotation when you get an oil change.

  3. Susan Guest

    One American Airlines does offer this.. United Airlines international Polaris business class does have a turndown service where they put on the mattress thing.. it also comes with 2 pillows one a memory foam one.. I was honestly surprised and impressed when I flew with them in January

  4. Marcus Guest

    I recently flew American in First from LAX to LHR and after asking the flight attendant she told me that the airline told them not to offer it any more but she still likes to do it to help the customer. So not sure if it’s true or not but I guess not every American airline offers it in long haul first.

  5. reddargon Diamond

    "A majority of airlines don’t offer turndown service in business class."

    and then a few paragraphs later

    "However, it’s extremely common at other carriers, ranging from Qatar Airways to Turkish Airlines."

    Seem kind of contradictory. I can't remember being offered turndown service in business class aside from EVA, but admittedly haven't flown any of the Gulf carriers in business.

  6. Charles Guest

    Just flew BA first. Turn down not offered. Crew observed us making beds - didn’t say or do anything. Had to go to galley in the morning (breakfast time) to ask for some food and a drink. Economy on many airlines has better service. Not what a first class traveller would expect.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      YMMV - flew BA F two months ago and turndown offered. Had excellent service.

    2. TLV Guy Guest

      I'm on BA first right now (LHR-SFO, using their free wi-fi). I asked if they have bed sheets and she proactively suggested to make the bed for me.

  7. YJ Guest

    On my recent trips with TG (between MEL and BKK), the cabin crew offered turndown service (with a mattress pad, but no extra pillow). Before my flights, I had seen quite some things from other reviewers saying that TG wasn't the same anymore post-pandemic, but in my experience it wasn't anywhere as bad as they claimed. Granted, there were a few hit-and-miss moments (like handing over my food from the opposite aisle across my seat...

    On my recent trips with TG (between MEL and BKK), the cabin crew offered turndown service (with a mattress pad, but no extra pillow). Before my flights, I had seen quite some things from other reviewers saying that TG wasn't the same anymore post-pandemic, but in my experience it wasn't anywhere as bad as they claimed. Granted, there were a few hit-and-miss moments (like handing over my food from the opposite aisle across my seat partner, where I then had to take the dish myself onto my own table), and the service just felt robotic/not personalized/just going through the motions, but at least I got a decent sleep out of it.

  8. D3kingg Guest

    Offered turndown service everytime in international first class. The only time I actually asked for a turndown service in international first class I received pushback that this is a service they aren’t offering anymore. I was on American Airlines and flying non rev so I guess that was the FA who reminded me of the actor Ken Jeong telling me to make your own bed bitch. But then I tried to make it and eventually...

    Offered turndown service everytime in international first class. The only time I actually asked for a turndown service in international first class I received pushback that this is a service they aren’t offering anymore. I was on American Airlines and flying non rev so I guess that was the FA who reminded me of the actor Ken Jeong telling me to make your own bed bitch. But then I tried to make it and eventually he came over .
    Another time on American ; also flying non rev I asked an FA who was taking her break seated in another F suite for a turndown and when I got back to my seat the bedding , pillow , and blanket were just thrown on the seat in lie flat mode. Lol

    1. David Diamond

      The quintessential AA experience. Complete with vomit on a plate for dinner, and a side of snark from the FA.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      @David

      Most FAs are good. It’s hit or miss. I did notice better service when I stopped flying non rev. I expect nothing more than an excellent hard product from American when they take delivery of their new planes and new business class seats.

    3. AC Guest

      If you are flying non rev it is selfish IMHO to ask for this or any additional service. You didn’t pay for the seat so be happy you are there, don’t add to the FA workload and let them take care of the real passengers

    4. wpcoe Member

      You asked a F/A who was on their break for turndown service???

  9. Carol guzman Guest

    Iberia doesn't offer this service, unfortunately.

  10. DanG-DEN Member

    I flew Thai from Lndon-BKK last year and the FA saw me making my own bed and offered with great pride to do it for me. I busied myself by going to the restroom to avoid it being awkward LOL. Although their soft product was limited, the crew was outstanding.

    1. FahmiRBLX Guest

      Is it possible to ask the flight attendant the blanket, pillow & bedding, then you make up the bed yourself?

  11. staradmiral Guest

    I could understand a pregnant women, elderly, disabled, or children requesting this, but pretty ridiculous for a grown man or woman to the flight attendant to make their bed.

    1. David Diamond

      Have you flown SQ J? Not all seats are intuitive when it comes to going into bed mode.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      @staradmiral

      It’s part of the service and you should let them do it and show gratitude.

      If you ever order Peking duck at a Chinese restaurant they carve the duck at the table. Even though you are capable of carving your own duck you still let the waiter do their service.

    3. SJC New Member

      This is just like at five star luxury hotels. At Conrad they offer this service without even asking. One is perfectly capable of replicating the turndown service but nonetheless they still offer it and do it as part of the service. It offers a very good impression and that is a reason probably why they do so to differentiate the service from good to luxury.

    4. Ric Fermi Guest

      Well, I'm afraid it all goes with good reason, if you know the value of your money you should ponder whether or not to fly with x or y airline.
      For my part, I have ghosted not only airlines but also hotels, restaurants, cars, and many others. I admit to being self 'deprived' from many things but it's my prerogative, after all. Not sorry.

  12. Simon Langley Guest

    I've always thought turndown services in hotels were pointless and irritating and it's no different on a flight. If I need some help, I'll ask but no, I don't need any more towels (just how many showers can a person take in a day) and my bed is still made from the morning service.

    I've always thought that a turndown service is done purely to give the entirely false impression that you are getting a...

    I've always thought turndown services in hotels were pointless and irritating and it's no different on a flight. If I need some help, I'll ask but no, I don't need any more towels (just how many showers can a person take in a day) and my bed is still made from the morning service.

    I've always thought that a turndown service is done purely to give the entirely false impression that you are getting a more attentive service, whereas in practice, it's just an annoying interruption.

    1. Jack Guest

      I agree, turndown service is just dumb. Even on a cruise ship I always inform my attendant I dont need a second service in the evening, but of course Ben probalby always wants it as he is a SNOB. Oh what does he do when his frist class seat dosnt have any doors

    2. Vistaro Guest

      Bit harsh, if anyone likes the service then it's great for them and doesn't impact anyone else.

    3. SJC New Member

      I agree. What a harsh comment. If he doesn’t like it or he is jealous of Ben then he can leave the comment to himself.

    4. John Guest

      I’ve never had turndown be an interruption - they always do it when I’m at dinner.

    5. FahmiRBLX Guest

      I don't mind turndown services at all (I'm talking in a hotel perspective) even if they make up my room while I'm in there. I tend to travel with a disabled brother & he drools on the bed a lot.

      Towel changes, since we hang our towels inside the bathroom they barely dry. I appreciated the towel change, really.

      In terms of sensitive/valuable items I just put them inside the drawer as quick as possible.

    6. alinsfca Guest

      Why is Ben a snob for using the turn down service when it is offered? I flew Air France first class once, and the flight attendants offered the service for me. I didn't know where and what are the make up of the bedding, such as mattress pad and extra blanket. And I noticed that the flight attendant was very proud of the presentation when I came back from changing into my pajama.

  13. STEFFL Gold

    Good airlines DON'T need to advertise it. Some airlines like TK even ask if you prefer turndown service, when they ask right after dinner service if you would want turndown service, collecting your breakfast order at the same time, or if you might prefer to sleep trough breakfast on East bound flights!
    Of course, ANY US airline would never ever think of any of such things, they make you be awake or not bother...

    Good airlines DON'T need to advertise it. Some airlines like TK even ask if you prefer turndown service, when they ask right after dinner service if you would want turndown service, collecting your breakfast order at the same time, or if you might prefer to sleep trough breakfast on East bound flights!
    Of course, ANY US airline would never ever think of any of such things, they make you be awake or not bother them as they would chase trough the cabin before landing, that you gladly give up your sleep and be awake early, simply because they didn't get the good night rest themselves.
    . . . . almost like in the old EK commercial with Jennifer Aniston, Crew prefers NOT to be bothered in the galley, especially when ALL crew members eat at the same time.
    Makes a different between night & day, what airline you can expect quality service.

  14. Alec-14 Gold

    I received turndown in United…once…pre-pandemic haha

    1. Kiwi Guest

      It was part of initial Polaris soft product offering I. Longer flights. It has since disappeared like much of the soft product highlights that made Polaris enjoyable

    2. Ben M Guest

      Bedrolls are still available - just have to ask FA. My wife has enjoyed at least two this year, and myself one.

  15. mnlbay Guest

    I think this was a fair point from the reader. Besides F on SQ and AF, most J experiences seem to be hit and miss with turndown and the crew being proactive with it - and neither do they really seem to list anywhere on board if it's offered. Would be good if this was more commonly signposted!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

David Diamond

Have you flown SQ J? Not all seats are intuitive when it comes to going into bed mode.

4
reddargon Diamond

"A majority of airlines don’t offer turndown service in business class." and then a few paragraphs later "However, it’s extremely common at other carriers, ranging from Qatar Airways to Turkish Airlines." Seem kind of contradictory. I can't remember being offered turndown service in business class aside from EVA, but admittedly haven't flown any of the Gulf carriers in business.

3
Vistaro Guest

Bit harsh, if anyone likes the service then it's great for them and doesn't impact anyone else.

2
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