Review: Turkish Airlines 737 MAX Business Class (IST-CPH)

Review: Turkish Airlines 737 MAX Business Class (IST-CPH)

More From This Trip
FROM: IST
TO: CPH
CABIN: Business
DATE: February 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Turkish Airlines offers an exceptional short haul business class experience on the 737 MAX, with comfortable seating, endless entertainment, free Wi-Fi, and good food and drinks.
33

After flying Turkish Airlines’ Airbus A321neo business class from Muscat to Istanbul, it was time to continue to Copenhagen in Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX business class. I was excited to fly both of Turkish Airlines’ new short haul aircraft.

In reality the short haul products on both aircraft are nearly identical, so it was a familiar experience. Turkish Airlines is in a league of its own when it comes to regional business class travel within Europe.

How I booked my Turkish Airlines business class ticket

I booked the return itinerary from Oman to the United States through Air Canada Aeroplan. I managed to ticket the following in business class for 105,000 Aeroplan points plus $55.25 in taxes and fees:

02/27 TK775 Muscat to Istanbul departing 1:20AM arriving 6:05AM
02/27 TK1781 Istanbul to Copenhagen departing 11:50AM arriving 1:10PM
03/01 SK953 Copenhagen to Miami departing 9:35AM arriving 2:05PM

One of the awesome things about Aeroplan is that you can add a stopover to a one-way award for just 5,000 points. I was able to add one of those here, so I could spend a couple of days in Copenhagen.

Turkish Airlines transit at Istanbul Airport

In the past I’ve reviewed Istanbul Airport, as well as the Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul. So I won’t be reviewing all of that again, but I’ll talk briefly about our time on the ground, since we had a roughly six hour layover.

Upon arrival we had to go through transit security — the arrivals area was bustling when we arrived, but there was a separate premium security line, which we cleared in no time.

Istanbul Airport security checkpoint

The terminal was ridiculously busy when we arrived, and it’s one of the few times I’ve been at a foreign airport in the past couple of years and felt like it was pre-pandemic. Fortunately the terminal emptied out within an hour or so.

Istanbul Airport terminal

The Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul continues to be excellent, with comfortable seating, fantastic food, and great coffee. The lounge was briefly packed to the gills when we arrived, but much like the rest of the terminal, emptied out within an hour or so. That’s because Istanbul is a heavily banked hub, so lots of flights arrive and depart around the same time.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport

It was also nice to be able to get a shower during the layover. Unfortunately our stopover didn’t qualify for a nap room — those are available when you have a layover of between four and nine hours, and one flight is at least eight hours long.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Airport

We did some terminal walking later in our layover, and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for that at Istanbul Airport, given how massive it is.

Istanbul Airport terminal
Istanbul Airport terminal
Istanbul Airport terminal

There was some great plane spotting — in addition to all kinds of Turkish Airlines jets, there was also a Mahan Air plane (from Iran).

Turkish Airlines planes Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines planes Istanbul Airport
Mahan Air aircraft Istanbul Airport

Turkish Airlines business class boarding

Boarding for our 11:50AM flight was scheduled to start at 10:50AM at gate A4D. Based on that it was obvious that we were departing from a remote stand (given that boarding was an hour before departure, plus the “D” at the end of the gate). There were several flights boarding from this part of the terminal dedicated to remote stands.

Turkish Airlines departure gate Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines departure gate Istanbul Airport

Boarding ended up starting at around 11AM. While business class passengers were invited to board first, there wasn’t a dedicated business class bus, so this simply meant that we could stand on the bus for longer.

Bus to remote stand Istanbul Airport

Our remote stand ended up being quite far away (which wasn’t a surprise, given how huge this airport is). While I’m not a huge fan of remote stands in general, I do love the ability to snap a great picture of the exterior of the plane. In this case we were flying TC-LCB, a Boeing 737 MAX that joined Turkish Airlines’ fleet in November 2018.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8
Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8

Turkish Airlines 737 MAX business class cabin & seats

Turkish Airlines’ business class is nearly identical on the Airbus A321neo and Boeing 737 MAX, with the major difference being that the 737 MAX cabin is a bit smaller. Turkish’s 737 MAX business class consists of a total of 16 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX business class cabin

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX business class cabin

Once again I assigned us seats in the last row. These seats have exceptionally good legroom compared to similar configurations on other airlines.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX business class seat

On the back of each seat was a personal entertainment screen, plus a literature pocket.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX business class seat
Turkish Airlines business class seatback Boeing 737 MAX

On the center console was a tray that could hold drinks, plus a second tray that could be extended.

Turkish Airlines business class center console Boeing 737 MAX

The center armrests could be raised, exposing a storage compartment, plus power outlets (AC and USB), headphone jacks, and an entertainment controller.

Turkish Airlines business class center console Boeing 737 MAX
Turkish Airlines business class entertainment controls Boeing 737 MAX

The controls for the seat recline and legrest extension were also underneath the center armrest. Speaking of which, the seat recline was pretty solid.

Turkish Airlines business class seat controls Boeing 737 MAX
Turkish Airlines business class seat recline Boeing 737 MAX

The tray table extended from the far armrest, and could be folded over in half.

Turkish Airlines business class tray table Boeing 737 MAX

Just as was the case on the last flight, there were also rather odd privacy dividers between seats, which didn’t extend very far in either direction.

Turkish Airlines business class privacy dividers Boeing 737 MAX

Overhead consoles had individual reading lights and air nozzles.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX overhead console
Turkish Airlines business class cabin Boeing 737 MAX

The aircraft also featured the signature Boeing interior for the 737 MAX, including huge overhead bins and mood lighting.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX signature interior
Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX signature interior

There was a lavatory located at the front of the cabin, featuring Molton Brown toiletries. Unfortunately Turkish Airlines decided on the tiny lavatories you’ll find on other 737 MAXs (including those of American Airlines). Not only are the bathrooms as such so small, but the sinks are almost unusably tiny.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX lavatory
Turkish Airlines Molton Brown toiletries

Turkish Airlines business class amenities

Before departure the crew served a variety of pre-departure drinks, and we had the lemonade and orange juice.

Turkish Airlines business class pre-departure drinks

Headphones and menus were also distributed.

Turkish Airlines business class headphones
Turkish Airlines business class menu

There were also pillows and blankets, the same as on the last flight.

Turkish Airlines departure from Istanbul

Passengers arrived on three buses, and by 11:40AM boarding was complete. Only six of the 16 business class seats were occupied, as it was us plus one family of four. Around this time the captain made her welcome aboard announcement — I don’t think I’ve ever had a female Turkish Airlines captain, so I thought that was pretty cool! She informed us of our flight time of 2hr45min, and anticipated smooth flight.

At 11:45AM the main cabin door closed, and a few minutes later we began our pushback and taxi. Interestingly the apron where we were parked seemed to almost exclusively have jets that were in long term storage, with wheels and engines covered.

Departure stand Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines A321 Istanbul Airport

The safety video was screened as we pushed back, and we had a pretty quick taxi. By 12PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 17L.

Taxiing Istanbul Airport

We had a short takeoff roll, and a smooth climb out. The seatbelt sign was turned off within five minutes.

View after takeoff from Istanbul

Turkish Airlines 737 MAX entertainment & Wi-Fi

Turkish Airlines’ entertainment selection is exceptional, with 570+ movies and 990+ TV shows.

Turkish Airlines entertainment selection Boeing 737 MAX
Turkish Airlines entertainment selection Boeing 737 MAX
Turkish Airlines entertainment selection Boeing 737 MAX

There’s also the map feature, which is my favorite part of the inflight entertainment.

Map enroute to Copenhagen
Map enroute to Copenhagen
Map enroute to Copenhagen

Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAXs also have Wi-Fi. Pricing ranges from $2.99 to $24.99, depending on how much data you want.

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi Boeing 737 MAX

Fortunately business class passengers get 1GB of free data, which is awesome. I wish more airlines would offer business class passengers complimentary Wi-Fi.

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi Boeing 737 MAX

Turkish Airlines business class meal

About 20 minutes after takeoff the meal service began. You can find the menu below.

Turkish Airlines business class menu

You can find the drink list below.

Turkish Airlines business class beverage list

Service began with warm towels being distributed.

Turkish Airlines business class warm towel

Drinks were then served — I ordered the Turkish sauvignon blanc (interestingly branded specifically for Turkish Airlines), plus a glass of sparkling water.

Turkish Airlines business class drinks

Next up, everything except the main course was served on one tray, covered.

Turkish Airlines business class lunch

The meal consists of salad with grilled chicken, hummus, cheese, baked rice pudding, and bread. While the salad wasn’t exactly the most interesting, it was a good meal overall.

Turkish Airlines business class lunch

Next up, we were offered our choice of three main courses, which were served covered.

Turkish Airlines business class lunch

I ordered the sea bass en papillote with julienne vegetables. While I understand that the dish was intended to be served in paper (it’s even in the name), this just seems like a weird way to serve a fish dish on a plane, when you’re dealing with a small bowl and limited space. The fish as such tasted quite good.

Turkish Airlines business class lunch
Turkish Airlines business class lunch

My friend had the grilled lamb chops with polenta crespelle and ratatouille.

Turkish Airlines business class lunch

At the conclusion of the meal I ordered a coffee, which the flight attendant refilled a couple of times.

Turkish Airlines business class coffee

Turkish Airlines business class service

Turkish Airlines is quite consistent when it comes to service, and this flight was no exception. The two flight attendants working business class were friendly and professional, and provided great service. I’d say they maybe weren’t quite as personable as the crew on the last flight, but they still did a great job.

Turkish Airlines arrival in Copenhagen

About 40 minutes before landing the captain made her pre-landing announcement, informing us of our anticipated arrival time of 12:45PM. About 10 minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned on, and cabin was prepared for landing. The views on the approach were beautiful.

View approaching Copenhagen
View approaching Copenhagen
View approaching Copenhagen
View approaching Copenhagen
Final approach to Copenhagen Airport

We ended up touching down in Copenhagen at 12:45PM, and from there had a roughly five minute taxi to our arrival gate. We taxied past an Aeroflot Boeing 737-800 (I think this was the last day that Aeroflot flew to the airport before being banned), as well as a Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9.

Aeroflot Boeing 737 Copenhagen Airport
Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9 Copenhagen Airport

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines offers an exceptional short haul business class product. On a similar intra-Europe flight, most European airlines would offer economy seats with blocked middles, while Turkish has proper business class seats, free Wi-Fi, friendly service, and a great food & beverage selection.

Turkish continues to be one of my favorite airlines in the world, and I’m thrilled to see how good the carrier’s short haul product is on new A321neo and 737 MAX aircraft. Personally I slightly preferred the A321neo experience, for the all around better plane and nicer lavatory. However, I rated this flight a bit higher than the other one because this is very impressive for an intra-Europe product.

If you’ve flown Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX business class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (33)
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.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Schar Gold

    No comment on the MAX? Was this your first time flying in one? Did you feel safe, how was it?

  2. Lieflat19 New Member

    I love Turkish, however they let me down a little during the big snowstorm but I can't blame them too much. I took the time to make a nice video of the lounges available at IST.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yZkUj2ju68&t=1143s

  3. Aaron Guest

    "The Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul continues to be excellent, with comfortable seating, fantastic food, and great coffee"

    While it's great the showers have been reopened, how much of the food has returned to what was offered pre-pandemic? I haven't been to this lounge since October 2020, and back then there were only a coupld of cooking stations open, lots of cold side dishes and salads with plastic covers, and a few desserts also with plastic...

    "The Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul continues to be excellent, with comfortable seating, fantastic food, and great coffee"

    While it's great the showers have been reopened, how much of the food has returned to what was offered pre-pandemic? I haven't been to this lounge since October 2020, and back then there were only a coupld of cooking stations open, lots of cold side dishes and salads with plastic covers, and a few desserts also with plastic covers.

    No hot buffet options, no salad bar, no spreads, no soups, and no variety of cakes and cakes...have any of these things been brought back?

  4. Amdrew Guest

    Great review !
    I have a question: The website indicates the Lounge Business (as opposed to the Miles& Smiles Lounge next door) is open. I contacted Turkish through their Facebook page and they indicated the Business lounge is still closed at IST. Which lounge did you visit?

    Also, re the nap rooms - how do you book? I'm flying in from Italy and get in at midnight and my USA connection is at 8:30 am.

    Thanks Lucky !

    1. Baliken Member

      Both lounges were open two weeks ago.

  5. Peter Guest

    Most horrible airlines, many bad experiences in business class. I remember the flight 2 years ago from Bangladesh tu Istanbul my seat was fixed strait with no movements. They told me or take it or leave the plane. No other option or offer.
    Love Emirates or Ittehad Airlines both have best services

    1. Aaron Guest

      Sounds like a one off experience. Not saying every flight has excellent service, but most bad Turkish employees tend to be indifferent instead of outright rude.

      Emirates and Etihad are good, but best services? That's debatable.

  6. Morgan Gold

    Surprised no comment about the fact it was a 737 MAX was this your first flight on one since they were grounded or at least your first flight since the doco on Netflix got released?

  7. GollumMac Guest

    I flew from IST to Athens on the 737 in business in December 2021/ return Jan. 2022. For such a short flight the meal was awesome as were the seats and service; I highly reccomend!

  8. Endie5and6 Guest

    I was stuck for 26 hours in Istanbul coming from Cairo to Manila. Good thing my business class ticket had access to the lounge. I noticed that the food selection is the same for 24 hours and at some point they won’t replenish the stocks. This was my meatball story. I think the spread is much more limited now compared to pre-pandemic because a frequent-flyer friend described the lounge to me as having a wide...

    I was stuck for 26 hours in Istanbul coming from Cairo to Manila. Good thing my business class ticket had access to the lounge. I noticed that the food selection is the same for 24 hours and at some point they won’t replenish the stocks. This was my meatball story. I think the spread is much more limited now compared to pre-pandemic because a frequent-flyer friend described the lounge to me as having a wide variety of food choices.

    The business class seats going to Manila are much better. It has its own cabin. The breakfast meal though was quite disappointing. They didn’t serve what was on the menu. All were cold items, not ideal for breakfast.

    But the overall experience was excellent. As a first time TK user, I highly recommend his airline.

  9. Baliken Member

    Ben, you are right about the fish in the paper. It’s a little inconvenient. I have had it twice and found it delicious both times - on long haul flights with the little ‘candles.’ And the Turkish wines are surprisingly pleasant.

  10. Englishder Guest

    Does anyone know the opening hours of the TK business class lounge at IST? In 3 weeks I have a TK flight from AMS - IST that does not arrive until 300am. Thanks.

    1. Baliken Member

      I’ve been in the lounge at all hours so i am pretty sure it’s open 24 hours. But the wide food selection is not available overnight. At peak times the selection is fantastic. At other times it’s adequate.

  11. LCFA Guest

    @Lucky...you might want to check out today's TPG article that reveals the new Delta domestic business class seats, with plenty of photos. It looks even fancier/more private than the TK seat, amazingly. A game-changer for US domestic business class that I think will be impossible for AA or UA to ignore.

    1. Aaron Guest

      The people at TPG tend to get triggered/freak out if they end up making more than 2 seconds of eye contact with strangers.

  12. Alonzo Guest

    Gosh their seats are so much better than most of what the US offers domestically.

  13. Bruce Guest

    Did you need any sort of COVID test to transfer in Istanbul or was a vaccine certificate enough?

  14. Tondeleon Zuckerman Guest

    Don't you love it when people complain about crowding, yet their presence does nothing to help the situation?

    On a lighter note, I flew TK J a few days ago; their IFE sucked because the movies were nearly all from the 2000s and 2010s. GROSS.

  15. Larry YYC Guest

    Does anyone know the approximate times of the arrival and departure banks at IST?

  16. DAvid Guest

    TERRAIN, TERRAIN….SINK RATE……PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP…PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP

    1. Shutterbug1952 Guest

      Yep, my feeling exactly. If I can help it I avoid 737 Max as I don’t want to end up in a statistic proving Boeing managers' greed.

      Three weeks ago I flew HAM - IST on the Airbus 321, good seats, great food, service was even nicer and more personable than on the IST - GRU flight the next day. Recommendation: Start the flight with the delicious homemade lemonade with mint. It’s Turkish's signature drink.

    2. Elfie Guest

      Know a lot about airplanes, do you? It’s pretty apparent from your comment that you’re inclined to believe what you hear. Do you know any details about the incidents with the MAX? I’m guessing you don’t, so let me enlighten you: Boeing took the moral high road; there was nothing wrong with the plane that standard CRM wouldn’t have fixed. Both incidents were ENTIRELY avoidable. My company operates both the A321neo and the 737MAX-9, and,...

      Know a lot about airplanes, do you? It’s pretty apparent from your comment that you’re inclined to believe what you hear. Do you know any details about the incidents with the MAX? I’m guessing you don’t, so let me enlighten you: Boeing took the moral high road; there was nothing wrong with the plane that standard CRM wouldn’t have fixed. Both incidents were ENTIRELY avoidable. My company operates both the A321neo and the 737MAX-9, and, while the 321 is a good airplane, the MAX outclasses it in nearly every category. I’d take the MAX over the 321 anytime.

  17. pstm91 Diamond

    I'm guessing it's because you were there so early that the lounge was empty (judging by your pictures) but every time I'm there it's ridiculously packed. Also, was the other lounge still closed or have they opened it back up? It was closed 2 out of my last 3 visits, which I think contributed to the main Business class lounge being so crowded.

    1. Clem Diamond

      I thought the exact same thing. I visited last year and I kid you not, almost nearly every single seat in that giant lounge was occupied. The biz lounge was closed so they put every one in that one. The showers had a 5 hours wait. The whole experience was so stressful because of the crowds that we just grabbed a coffee and went to sit in the terminal instead.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ pstm91 -- I think at this point two of the three lounges are open? The lounge was indeed packed when we arrived (as that's a popular time), but it emptied out within about an hour.

    3. Baliken Member

      Two weeks ago the Business Class lounge was open. It had been closed for a while and everyone had to use the Miles and Smiles lounge (the two are virtually identical). The Business class lounge was not crowded.

  18. Abidjan Guest

    Really enjoying your reports, Lucky. Great to have you back in the groove again.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Abidjan -- Thanks for the kind words, and happy to be back in the groove!

  19. Jason D Guest

    Hey Lucky,

    Thanks for another great review.

    I've noticed that you so often choose your seats as far back in the business class cabin as possible. Just being nosey as to your reasoning why as I guess it's more common for flyers to choose seats as far forward as possible.

    Thx

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jason D -- That's a great question, let me address it in a separate post.

    2. LCFA Guest

      I actually prefer the last row in domestic business, as with the divider it just feels more private...not much more private...we all have our preferences:)

  20. Brian Guest

    What an amazing business class offering in Europe! The food looks 100 times better than what LH and AF offer in their intra J class. I'm going to give TK a try next time I'm in Europe

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.

Schar Gold

No comment on the MAX? Was this your first time flying in one? Did you feel safe, how was it?

1
Endie5and6 Guest

It is open 24 hours.

1
Baliken Member

I’ve been in the lounge at all hours so i am pretty sure it’s open 24 hours. But the wide food selection is not available overnight. At peak times the selection is fantastic. At other times it’s adequate.

1
More From This Trip
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT