Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class 777 Istanbul To Los Angeles

Filed Under: Turkish

Turkish Airlines 9
Istanbul (IST) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, April 24
Depart: 1:00PM
Arrive: 4:50PM
Duration: 13h50min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 4B (Business Class)

We boarded through the second set of doors, where we were greeted by the cabin chief and another flight attendant, and pointed left towards our seats. Turkish has 49 business class seats on their 777s, in a 2-3-2 configuration. The forward cabin has four rows of seats, while the rear cabin (behind the second set of doors) has another three rows.

Turkish Airlines 777 business class cabin

Turkish Airlines 777 business class cabin

There’s no denying that at this point Turkish’s business class hard product is (mostly) uncompetitive. I sure wouldn’t want to end up in a middle seat in business class between two strangers on a flight.

Turkish Airlines business class seats 777

I had assigned us seats 4A & 4B, the window and aisle seat in the last row of the forward cabin.

Turkish Airlines business class seats 777

4A has a missing window, so you’ll have to lean forward to look outside during the flight. It goes without saying that this isn’t an ideal hard product, though I will say that I mind this type of configuration significantly less if traveling with someone. Many of the best business class seats nowadays are very private, which some people don’t like when traveling with someone.

Turkish Airlines business class seats 777

Each seat had a seatback entertainment screen, as well as an ottoman that contained a big storage compartment. I like that each seat has a big storage compartment, and also like that when you sleep there’s no small cubby that you have to squeeze your feet into.

Turkish Airlines business class seat ottomans

Turkish Airlines business class seat ottoman

Seat controls were between seats, and were easy to use.

Turkish Airlines business class seat controls

The tray table could be extended from the center console immediately in front of the seat controls.

Turkish Airlines business class seat tray table

While I don’t like the seven abreast configuration, I at least appreciated that they had significant privacy partitions between seats. While I usually prefer having an aisle seat on a longhaul flight, my preference here would be to choose a window seat, as you have significantly more privacy there.

Turkish Airlines business class seat privacy partition

Right behind the privacy shield was the entertainment controller.

Turkish Airlines business class entertainment controls

Underneath the entertainment controller and to the side of the seat was a small storage compartment, which also had the headphone jack and USB outlet.

Turkish Airlines business class seat storage

There was also a 110v outlet.

Turkish Airlines business class seat power outlet

While each seat had a reading light, annoyingly there were no individual air nozzles. Grrr…

Turkish Airlines business class seat reading lights

Also waiting at my seat on boarding were a basic pillow and blanket.

Turkish Airlines business class pillow & blanket

Then there was a bag with slippers.

Turkish Airlines business class slippers

Moments after settling in a friendly flight attendant stopped by our seats, introduced herself by name, said she would be taking care of us throughout the flight, and told us to let her know if we need anything. That’s always a nice touch.

During boarding there were repeated announcements that the aircraft was being refueled, and that no service could be provided until that was complete. I’ve heard crews tell passengers not to fasten seatbelts during refueling, but I hadn’t heard this before

It was about 20 minutes after boarding when a flight attendant offered us drinks — we tried the fresh raspberry and homemade lemon-mint drinks, both of which were excellent. The other two options were water or fresh orange juice.

Turkish business class pre-departure beverages

Turkish has onboard chefs on their longhaul flights, and our flight had two of them. As the other flight attendants came around to serve drinks, the chefs came through the cabin distributing menus and drink lists for the flight.

Turkish Airlines business class chef

Turkish business class menu & wine list

Once the crew finished distributing drinks and menus, they passed through the cabin with a cart that had magazines, newspapers, headphones, and amenity kits.

Turkish business class headphones

The amenity kit was different than on the previous flight, and had Molton Brown products.

Turkish business class amenity kit

At 12:55PM the captain added his welcome aboard, informing us of our flight time of 13hr15min. He had a very strong accent and talked very fast, so that’s about all I picked up from the announcement. A couple of minutes later the chefs came back through the cabin to take meal orders.

At 1PM the main cabin door closed, and there were about 10 empty business class seats. We lucked out because two of the three seats across from us were empty (the lady seated there chose to sit in the middle seat). Then five minutes later we pushed back, at which point the safety video was also screened.

Egyptair 737 Istanbul Airport

There sure was some interesting traffic at the airport. It’s not every day you see this plane parked at an airport terminal between two commercial aircraft…

Plane at Istanbul Airport

A few minutes after starting our taxi we had to hold short of a taxiway as about 10 planes all taxied ahead of us towards the runway. We ended up standing there for about 20 minutes.

Turkish 737 Istanbul Airport

Turkish A321 Istanbul Airport

Pegasus 737 Istanbul Airport

There were also tons of Turkish planes parked at remote stands, as well as a few cargo planes.

Turkish A330 Istanbul Airport

Plane at Istanbul Airport

Plane at Istanbul Airport

This is where things get a bit weird. I’m sure there’s an explanation, but as someone who loves looking out the window during taxi, I found this to be strange. All the planes that taxied out ahead of us were taxiing to runway 35R, while we taxied to runway 17L (In other words, we were going to the opposite end of the same runway). My assumption was that maybe the winds were changing and we’d be one of the first planes to take off as they were making a runway switch.

When we got to runway 17L at around 1:40PM we were immediately cleared for takeoff (there were no other planes taking off in that direction), and as we climbed out I noticed there was still a long queue of planes waiting to takeoff on runway 35R. Does anyone know why they’d have one plane take off in the “wrong” direction, while all planes before and after took off in the other direction? I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that before, and I sure found it strange.

Taking off Istanbul Airport

View after takeoff from Istanbul

View after takeoff from Istanbul

View after takeoff from Istanbul

The views on the climb out were beautiful, and really made me want to visit Istanbul again. It has been far too long.

View after takeoff from Istanbul

View after takeoff from Istanbul

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

The meal service/feast began about 40 minutes after takeoff. The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

First warm towels were distributed on individual plates.

Turkish business class lunch — warm towels

Then tablecloths were brought out. A couple of minutes later drinks, mixed nuts, and canapés were served. I ordered a glass of champagne (Turkish serves Mumm in business class). I’m not sure what exactly the canapés were, but they were excellent.

Turkish business class lunch — mixed nuts, canapés, and champagne

After the first round of drinks was served, tables were set in preparation for the meal service. What a beautiful display. This included a fake candle, as well as a small plate on which they placed the bread (they had a big selection in the basket).

Turkish business class lunch — table setting

About 75 minutes after takeoff the appetizer cart reached our row. Turkish has DO&CO catering, and they plate everything at your seat. The two flight attendants told us what everything was, and they offered us as much as we wanted.

Turkish business class meal cart

For the appetizer I had the sweet pumpkin soup, marinated Mediterranean prawns, smoked eggplant salad, carrot humus, hunter’s borek, salmon tartare, and homemade yogurt with walnuts and fresh mint. The quality of the food was tremendous. Every single thing tasted like something you’d be happy to get in a great restaurant, rather than something that just made decent airplane food. I think this was the best business class appetizer I’ve ever been served..

Turkish business class lunch — appetizer

Main courses were served about 30 minutes after the initial appetizer service. While I almost never order pasta, I decided to do so on this flight, given that it was the Turkish specialty. So I ordered the Turkish homemade ravioli with minced beef, tomato sauce, and yogurt. YUM!

Turkish business class lunch — main course

Ford ordered the beef teriyaki with fried rice and vegetables, which he enjoyed, though he agreed my dish was the best.

Turkish business class lunch — main course

Next up was the dessert trolley. Options on there included traditional Turkish dessert, fig chocolate mousse, apple & raspberry strudel, pistachio ice cream, assorted cheese, and fresh fruit salad. I had some pistachio ice cream, Turkish desserts, and then a mint tea. This dessert was every bit as good as the rest of the meal.

Turkish business class lunch — dessert

To finish off the meal I ordered a cappuccino, which was also excellent, among the best I’ve had in the air.

Turkish business class lunch — cappuccino

I was also offered a bottle of water.

Turkish business class lunch — bottled water

I can’t say enough good things about Turkish’s meal service. I’d say this was easily the best meal I’ve ever had in business class. I prefer Qatar Airways’ business class in terms of the flexibility, since they have dine on demand (Turkish doesn’t), but I thought the quality and presentation of the food on Turkish was even better.

The service was also friendly. Both of the flight attendants working my aisle, as well as the chef, provided attentive, sincere, and friendly service.

After the meal I was asked if I wanted turndown service, which I agreed to. While that was being done I checked out one of the business class lavatories. There are two located between the two business class cabins, and then one in front of the forward cabin. The lavatories are large, and they even have sinks where you push a button and the water stays on, similar to what Cathay Pacific has in first class.

Turkish 777 business class lavatory

There were Molton Brown toiletries in the lavatory. I was also impressed by how clean the lavatory was kept throughout the flight. The crew constantly refreshed it, and it was almost always spotless.

Turkish business class lavatory amenities

By the lavatories behind my seat was a drink and snack station. Earlier in the flight they displayed drinks here, and then later in the flight there was a selection of packaged snacks and fresh fruit.

Turkish business class snack bar

Turkish business class snack bar

The bedding consisted of a second pillow, a mattress sheet, and a large duvet. The bedding was quite good, and I found the seat to be comfortable.

Turkish business class bed 777

Turkish business class bed 777

At this point we were about three hours into our flight, and were over Northern Europe, with over 10 hours remaining to Los Angeles.

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

I briefly browsed the entertainment selection, which was solid. There were dozens of decent movies and TV shows, and I also liked that they had no ads before the programming.

Turkish Airlines entertainment selection

Turkish Airlines entertainment selection

Turkish Airlines entertainment selection

Turkish offers Wi-Fi on their 777s. The good news is that it’s free for business class passengers. Alternatively you can purchase a one hour pass for $9.99, or a 24 hour pass for $14.99. That’s some interesting pricing.

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi 777

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi 777

In order to connect to the Wi-Fi you’re asked to enter your ticket number from your boarding pass. However, this only seems to work if your ticket was issued by Turkish Airlines, though our tickets were issued by Air Canada.

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi 777

If you enter information that’s not correct then you’ll be given the option to instead enter your last name and seat number, which does the trick.

Turkish Airlines Wi-Fi 777

The bad news was that the Wi-Fi was outrageously slow. Expect this to work for text messaging, but that’s about it. Anyway, I ended up going to sleep with just under 10 hours remaining to Los Angeles, and woke up about 3hr30min before arrival, as we were over Canada. That’s some solid sleep!

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

This is a slight tangent, but I feel like nowadays airlines really overuse mood lighting. Mood lighting is cool and all, but only in moderation. Am I the only one who just likes a dark cabin when I’m trying to sleep? I feel like lots of crews seem to think that mood lighting should always be in use.

Turkish business class mood lighting

As soon as I woke up I ordered a cup of coffee.

Turkish business class coffee

About 2hr30min before landing the cabin lights were turned up and the pre-landing service began.

The menu read as follows:

Service began with the choice of water or orange juice. Usually I don’t drink orange juice on planes since it’s rarely fresh, but I believe Turkish offers fresh orange juice, as it was excellent.

Turkish pre-landing meal — juice

I was also offered a warm towel.

Turkish pre-landing meal — warm towel

Next up a tray was served with a salad, dessert, and the appetizer. The appetizer consisted of a selection of seafood.

Turkish pre-landing meal — appetizer

The salad was small but good, while the dessert was a delicious Turkish baked rice pudding.

Turkish pre-landing meal — salad & dessert

For the main course I ordered the Turkish stuffed eggplant with minced beef, tomato sauce, and rice. Much like the main course with the first meal, it didn’t disappoint.

Turkish pre-landing meal — main course

By the time the meal was done we were about an hour from landing in Los Angeles. At this point the cabin chief came around to ask each passenger how the flight was. He was a really nice guy, and I appreciated his approach. He first asked if we enjoyed the flight, and then asked if we had any feedback.

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

About 30 minutes before arrival the captain announced we’d be touching down at around 4:50PM. At this point the crew began to prepare the cabin for landing, including collecting headphones. The views on approach were beautiful, as usual.

View approaching Los Angeles

View approaching Los Angeles

View approaching Los Angeles

We ended up touching down at LAX at 4:50PM on runway 24R, and from there had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we parked next to an Air France A380.

View approaching LAX

Air France A380 LAX

Turkish 777 business class bottom line

Turkish Airlines business class is phenomenal, and is easily one of the most underrated business class products out there.

Let’s start with the negative, which is the seats. Turkish’s hard product on all their longhaul aircraft is outdated, and that includes their flagship 777 aircraft. I don’t mind this when traveling with someone, but it’s not ideal if traveling alone. The airline will eventually take delivery of new 787s and A350s, so my hope is that they’ll make some improvements on that front. On top of that, the airline is soon moving to a new airport, which should translate to an even better passenger experience.

Other than that, Turkish business class is exceptional. Their meal service is the best of any airline in business class, in my opinion, though they don’t offer dine on demand (which would be hard to do given the format of their meal). The crew was friendly and professional, the amenities were great, and I love how they inject some aspects of Turkish culture into the experience.

Turkish is a great way to fly, especially when you consider that they fly to more countries than any other airline in the world.

  1. Hey @Lucky,

    did you book this flight using miles? If so, how difficult was it to find availability? Trying to use united miles but availability is scarce.


  2. Lucky… The wind looked very clam (based on the water on takeoff) For some reason they may have changed the active runway and you were the last plane to use 17L. They may have kept you on 17L based on your departure clearance and since the winds were calm, there was no worries on performance. Depending on the flight plan and where your destination is/who you are getting handed off to after takeoff, changing runways means changing departure procedures and on some flight plans thats an easier switch than others.

  3. You may have taken off in the other direction because of your destination heading, while other planes were going the other way.

  4. @Lucky I noticed that you’ve been seating in the forward cabin of J lately? I thought you had the policy of preferring seats in the rear cabin of J?

  5. We had the exact same thing happen to us on an IST-IAH flight on Turkish Air in Sept. 2015. It was the weirdest sensation. No idea why.

  6. The Turks have a way with food. All over Turkey, stopping at simple places, I always ate like a king. The only exception was when I was forced to eat at hotel buffets serving German tour groups.

  7. I cannot wait for this flight. I’ve never flown TK in J and have a ticket booked in late December to ORD. I don’t know what I’m anticipating more the flight or a fresh new TK Biz Lounge @ the new Istanbul airport. Anyone know of any details of that lounge yet?

  8. W – thats not the case. You do not take off on the runway facing where you are going. It is 100% based on wind direction. Also 17L would be in the opposite direction of flight. IST-LAX initial heading would be closer to 350 than 170.

    Since they did change the runway for whatever reason and the winds were calm, it was probably just easier to keep the IST-LAX flight on the same runway vs possible doing a complicated change to the flight plan. Same with the IST-IAH example above . These would probably require much more paperwork, so if the wind is light anyway, they kept the runway the same for you as long as inbound traffic was clear.

  9. how did you find an award for this segment, try to search on Turkish and United with nothing in either direction for the entire year

  10. If traveling alone, would you prefer a window over aisle on 2 side? My only concern is getting to the bathroom, do you have to climb over your seat-made? Is that a pain or it’s easy?

  11. I agree that TK offers the best food hands down. I also agree that QR is a very very close second. I don’t think the hard product is even close to being competitive, though. And the temperature on my flights has been ridiculously hot. I’ll try TK again when they get new planes and I’m sure the lounge in the new IST airport will be great.

  12. Sadly, the inflight chefs and Do&Co catering may be gone when they begin operations at the new airport. SATS is looking to invest at the new Istanbul airport and provide in-flight catering for Turkish.

    @Lucky, in regards to your Aeroplan booking, have you had any difficulties managing your booking (select seats, etc) on the TK website? I booked TK using Aeroplan points and received the TK PNR but it doesn’t seem to work on their website.

  13. “There’s no denying that at this point Turkish’s business class hard product is (mostly) uncompetitive.”

    “Let’s start with the negative, which is the seats. Turkish’s hard product on all their longhaul aircraft is outdated, and that includes their flagship 777 aircraft.”

    I mean, statements like that make little sense to someone like me who rarely travels up front (which I’m going to assume is the majority of OMAAT’s readership). Uncompetitive and outdated simply because of the 2-3-2 configuration? Is that all? I guess if you regularly fly numerous business class products like Lucky then in the grand scheme of things, sure it’s uncompetitive. But damn, those seats lie flat, have tons of foot space, lots of storage space, nice sized TVs…do you really need to not have a neighbor to your right or left for it to be really competitive? What about those “awesome” new Singapore business class seats where you have to angle your legs into the small space for your feet to fit?

    To me, it depends on the price (in dollars or points). If you score a great cash price or low point redemption then the competitiveness of the hard product compared to the best stuff in the skies is irrelevant. It’s like comparing the car seat in a $40,000 car versus some $80,000 car. You clearly are paying for and should expect a nicer, more comfortable seat with the $80,000 car. If the price of this 777 seat is about the same as the cash price of [name of top notch business class airline], then sure the hard product is uncompetitive by comparison. But even then you need to add the service/food/beverage/etc. into the analysis to form a true picture of the business class experience.

    Sorry, felt like venting. These reviews drive me nuts sometimes.

  14. @ Jay — I appreciate the feedback and am always happy to hear it. To answer your question, yes I do think a 2-3-2 seating arrangement is uncompetitive, and I think we’re looking at this differently. Is it better than economy? Of course it is. But that’s not my basis of comparison. Competitive means “as good as or better than others of a comparable nature,” so I’m comparing this to other business class products.

    You’re absolutely right that for a vast majority of people these seats would be awesome and incredible and they’d be delighted, and I was as well. But the reason I review so many premium cabin products isn’t to simply say “OMG THEY WERE ALL AMAZING I GOT TO SLEEP FLAT ON A PLANE,” but rather to compare the merits of various products.

    Of course price should be considered as well, and that’s something I always emphasize. But it’s not like there’s one airline that’s always cheapest, as it all depends on where you’re flying, what program you have miles with, etc.

  15. @ yyc — I was able to pull up the reservation on Turkish’s site, but wasn’t able to select seats, so I had to call to do that.

  16. @ J — As much as I’m usually an aisle person, I’d choose a window seat. You have to climb over the person in the aisle, but that’s pretty easy, and it’s worth it for the privacy, in my opinion.

  17. @ pho tastee — They seem to release award space in spurts. At the time I was booking Turkish had a ton of award seats between Istanbul and Los Angeles. Other times they make virtually no seats available. They’re very inconsistent.

  18. @ aarowa — You’re very observant! My logic here was that I knew Turkish had the meal cart, and I figured the presentation would look better if I wasn’t in the very last row, or that they may have run out of things at that point. So I instead chose to sit in the last row of the forward cabin.

  19. @ Ryan — Yeah, I’m guessing that may have been it, but for what it’s worth all the planes that taxied past us while we waited were going to 35R as well, so there must have been at least a dozen planes before us and a dozen planes after us using 35R, while we were the only ones headed for 17L.

  20. A great review, loved it. The meals do look wonderful.
    The last line of the review, though, makes it look like a promo material for Turkish, the phrasing is what they use in their marketing all the time.
    Hopefully, it’s all genuine, but the language is just so Turkish-PR-approved.

  21. @ John B — I redeemed Aeroplan miles, and at the time I booked award space was wide open. Turkish is very inconsistent though, and sometimes they make a ton of seats available, while other times they don’t. At the moment availability isn’t good at all.

  22. @ Ivan — It’s something that has always impressed me about the airline. I have no financial relationship with Turkish, and don’t think I’ve ever even communicated with anyone at the airline. Can assure you it’s genuine.

  23. @Jay

    I think you’re absolutely right. Nowadays, there’s a need for privacy and to be alone that I can’t understand. And that comes from a country that loves to scrutinise celebrities’ lives… wtf

  24. No, you’re right Lucky. The real real bottom line is I’m jealous and wish I had your job so I can fly around and review even uncompetitive business class products! The ONLY time I’ve ever flown business (for work or pleasure) on a paid ticket was JFK-JNB on a South African Airways A340-600 and I thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread! But at 2-2-2 seating with almost zero privacy I suppose it fits the “standard” definition of uncompetitive as well.

  25. Lucky, that gray “plane” parked between the two commercial planes is a C-17.

  26. Hey Lucky, great review and I agree TK has a great product – I fly them regularly between the US and Europe.
    While the food quality is excellent , I think they can still learn a bit from Qatar (presentation mostly).
    I also see you got the new Molton Brown amenity kit which is an improvement over the old kits labeled Jaguar, Bentley and other strange brands 🙂

  27. I had this reverse departure experience once at LAX flying DL A320 LAX-DTW. LAX was relatively windy that day but not out of the ordinary for an airport situated right next to the Pacific Ocean.

    We taxied to runway 7L and sat there for 35 minutes while planes took off/landed on the 25s. Then finally we lined up and took off while an EVA 77W was slowing down on 25L after landing. Upon take off the plane banked right hard until we were flying parallel to the LAX runways. We remained at 1500-1600 ft for several minutes before “joining” in the usual LAX departure flow over the ocean.

    This was certainly a strange process (we were the only one that day who did this procedure) and I am not sure why the pilots felt compelled to do this procedure. Given how busy LAX is this probably annoyed the controllers to an extent and we paid the price given how long we had to sit until they would let us takeoff.

  28. The takeoff direction was probably performance related. Your long haul flight probably needed the best available runway for takeoff weight. There are populated areas to the north of the airport so there are probably limiting obstacles, but it´s water to the south of the airport. In that situation, it´s not unusual for a weight critical flight to need to use the runway in the opposite direction of other traffic flow, even with a slight tailwind.

  29. Excellent airline,i did the same sort of flight from Istanbul to Miami on a 777 /300 more or else the same flying time, i agree the 2-2-2 seating is not ideal especially if you are on an isle seat near the window and the window passenger is constantly interrupting you to go to the bathroom ,however this is fully compensated by the excellent food,comfort of the full lie bed and that Turkish touch which US airlines don’t have and will probably never have.

  30. I’ve been really wanting to try Turkish, and for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. I’ve always heard amazing things about it. The biggest issue for myself, is I usually end up connecting to LHR and CDG and its so much faster with direct flights from SFO. The shortest travel time is 18 and a half hours, vs 11 direct. They do have some incredible pricing out of SFO and sometimes almost half of what United charges.

  31. You, most likely were the last 17L departure before they turned the airport around.

    Has there been any update to the move to the Istanbul New Airport? I am scheduled to fly TXL-IST-ATL on the 30th of Oct, leaving TXL at 7am, and am reading different reports of cuts in schedule that day etc.

  32. Flying with them a lot (50+ segments a year)… and as for the lounge the main issue is that… every time taste is the same and they never surprise me with the food. Same kind of food, revisited but everything taste the same. Turkish touch is nice, but everything taste Turkish touch and it’s boring. Same in their lounge in IST and VKO… same food options for years.
    I much prefer singapore pre-flight menu for exemple, more diversity.

  33. At IST it’s very commun to take off or land from city or sea… hardly understand because winds sometimes does not help to understand the choice. I much prefer the take off to city with left turn and flying over istanbul city, bridges and Bosphorus, view is amazing.

    I think from what I have noticed that it’s a mix of time of day / night and wind.

  34. @lucky how was the temperature on the plane? Last time I flew them it was so hot it was unbearble woke up sweating and every request to have the temp turn down fell on deaf ears – must have been at least 80 F – that and a middle seat in biz has stopped me from flying them again.

  35. IST definitely has some runway directional issues. Literally EVERY time I have been there, we have had to taxi down to the other end of the runway because they reverse direction. I’m not sure if it’s wind related or what but it’s far too common to be coincidence, especially given what you say.

  36. Lucky, Every time you get your preferred seat manufacturer and cabin layout you almost always complain about cramped footwells which obviously bother you. In this case the converse was true. In which case do you truly sleep better?

  37. Hi Lucky,

    Great report, seems that after hearing of cut backs in 2017, they seem to be coming back again with the great meal service. As for the seat, yes maybe the 2-3-2 configuration might be slightly worst than the norm of mainly aisle access seats these days, I think that it is still ok as the legroom is big enough for the person in the middle to step over on either side vs other more tightly legroom seats aka BA Club World seats.

    For me every flight with Turkish is like visiting your grandparents or parents house where you are (over)fed with good food. I am always 3/4 full by the time I am done with the appetizers.

    As for your surprise of having to leave your seatbelt unbuckled during refueling, I myself am surprised that you find this surprising. Based on the number of flights that you have taken it cannot be that you have never encountered such a situation? – which is the norm to not buckle up. Even I as not such a frequent flyer as you have encountered such refueling situation uncountable times…


  38. this review was unbelievable, I felt like I was there, so good lucky! The food looks mouth watering and im SO excited to try Turkish for the first time.

  39. The likely reason you took off against the “flow” is almost certainly performance based and its likely to do with engine out obstacle clearance requirements after take off.

    You departed out over the sea which obviously has no vertical obstructions whereas the regular flow that day departing to the North heads towards buildings and some rising terrain.

    Likely only a problem for very few flights that day that were operating at the limits of performance and MTOW but in calm wind (unlikely they would elect to take off with a tailwind as the performance penalty for that is generally even harsher) it would make a significant difference to the payload the aircraft was able to carry.

  40. One of the most complete airline trip reviews I’ve ever seen. Although a bit long for casual reading this review will be SUPER valuable for those booking this type of route/aircraft with TK. Great job. Thanks.

  41. If you are a couple traveling with a younger child, the 2-3-2 seating is absolutely ideal (que comments about how kids shouldn’t travel in premium cabins).

  42. Wonderful report, thank you so much

    I’m especially happy that you reviewed this as a couple… it softens your focus on privacy-uber-alles (welcome to the dark side of traveling in a couple!)

    Although I’ll likley never fly a ME3 airline, Turkish is on my radar as it’s not so far out of the way for a US-Europe trip…

    Bravo! And thank you again

  43. I have flown a number of sectors in Turkish Business class, all booked directly on Lifemiles sites. When reserving a seat on the SIN-IST sector I became aware of the 2-3-2 layout and was severely disappointed to the point of seeking alternative carriers and enduring the change process with Avianca (worse that root canal treatment), however decided to stick with it, reserving an aisle seat in the middle bank. After having flown the first long sector I put the service up there with Qatar and have since done a further 4 long sectors and have 2 more this year booked.

    A key factor will be left of right bank of seating if travelling with my wife and any aisle seat if alone.

    Cabin staff attitude and service was outstanding – having read a number of Lucky’s (and others) reviews regarding US airlines staff service I am reluctant to book on AA. Turkish was a real lesson for me – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

  44. @ J

    Better to climb over someone than have them climb over you…

    “I fly them regularly between the US and Europe.”

    As solid as the product, it’s isn’t worth it for me to fly the extra hours into IST then catch another plane into Europe (or the other way around)…

  45. I’ve long thought Turkish looks like it has the best Business Class meals. But the mains are two beef options and a salmon one? Only a Middle Eastern airline would do that. And I note you have more beef for your pre-landing meal.

  46. I flew TA IST to SFO, similar flight/length.

    HIGH cabin temperature as well, uncomfortably so.

    Great meals of course. Started out with fresh Turkish Delight.

    I would hate to pay in $ or miles and get a middle seat as well. I had an aisle seat on my flight, my preferred location. This was the only business-class flight where i would and could actually pay cash (I’m remembering about $2k VCE-IST-SFO), since it was a business trip.

  47. Military plane looks like a C17. Amazing plane looking to do most of the work C-130’s have traditionally executed, especially with less than desireable runways. It is an amazing aircraft no doubt.

  48. @Lucky or anyone else

    Are the seats on their A330-300 designed by Turkish, or are those seats due to the planes being leased from or formerly belonging to another airline (like their A333-200 formerly belonging to Jet Airways). The seats on their A330-300 are also in a 2-2-2 configuration but offer more privacy than the ones seen in this review (it’s a few years old, so maybe these seats are not on TK planes any more):

  49. My comments keep getting deleted…are no longer allowed to post links on here?

    Anyway, does anybody know if TK still offers the seats seen in the link below on their A330-300? They are also lie flat, in a 2-2-2 configuration, but seem to offer a little more privacy than the seats on the 777-300ER.

    https: //

  50. For some reason irrespective of wind direction, the ATC at IST prefer departures on 35.
    On most days 2-3 of the heavier flights to the US will request 17 departure into the wind.
    It makes for a great departure photo from the well known Fly Inn!

  51. @Julia

    Yes, they still offer it. It is an ex-kingfisher plane. It is an A330-200 (not 300) even though the article says otherwise. The aircraft identification number is “TC-LNA and TC-LNB”. I have flown a zillion miles on TK and I really wanted to try out this kingfisher configuration. Last April I specifically booked a flight from Dusseldorf to Istanbul in J which had these seats. Unfortunately they changed the plane a few hours before departure.

    They fly this plane only regional (Europe and Middle East). You can identify the aircraft if your business class shows 4 rows in a 2-2-2 configuration, be aware that TK is changing planes a lot so I wouldn’t advice you to make a speculative booking like me.

  52. Thanks for the review, I really enjoyed it. It’s often we see the ME3 referred to the ‘ME3 Plus Turkish’ now. With the new IST airport opening soon i’m sure they will try and continue to take traffic from their middle eastern neighbours.

    Just a point regarding the seatbelts having to be unfastened during refuelling. Some airlines do not allow boarding during re-fuelling, period. In europe its the same policy as Turkish. An announcement is made that the aircraft is being refuelled and please keep seatbelts UNFASTENED. The theory goes that if a ‘rapid disembarkation’ is going to happen it’s far more likely to happen during re-fuelling due to the things that can go wrong (BA had a rapid dis-embarkation from a refuelling 747 at JFK just two weeks ago due to the fuel hose coming lose and leaking fuel everywhere). An integral part of the safety demonstration/video is the use of the seatbelt. ‘Duh it’s a seatbelt’ many will say. But it’s been highlighted in many previous evacuations how many passengers in times of great stress try to release the buckle the same way as a car seatbelt. In a fire incident seconds really can count, so that’s the reason why and it’s not unique to TK at all.

  53. I have to take umbrage at the comment that the hard product is way behind the times. You seem to love Emirates and their 777’s which have 2-3-2 angle lie flats. Now THAT is totally behind the times.

    Love TK – mostly hate EK. And QR food and drink are SO BAD that I cannot imagine why anyone can tolerate a QR flight.

  54. Departing 17L while others taking 35R for departure.

    Lucky, that was due to IST Preferential Runway System (PRS) which orefres RWY05 for landings and 35R for landings. This system is in place with tailwind up to 10KTS. That could have been the case and you could have been the only ones in fact departing into the wind.


  55. Turkish Biz is by far the best – over Swiss, LH, Brussels, and even UA new Polaris.

    The only thing I dislike is that one can’t see seat map/inventory PRIOR to booking.
    You have to keep fingers crossed that your preferred seats are available.
    Immediately after booking – you can see/pick seats.

    I called their call center in the USA and they too can’t see seat inventory prior to booking. Odd.

    ***** If you have a Known Traveller number/Global Entry – Take Note: Turkish airlines doesn’t know how to enter that information – it has to be done at the check-in counter ONLY and on the day of departure – Trust me I know – 3x trips now. ****

  56. One of my biggest complaints I have with bloggers who travel with someone they mix use of “I” and “US”. Gary does the same thing, and I feel that the story you are telling gets confusing. If you are traveling with someone, keep it that way.

    In regards to TK, they may not have the best hard product, but the soft products makes up for it 1000x over.

  57. I love TK biz class….the 777 and A330 are great. I love the hard product too. All the moaning and groaning about it, we now end up with super tight coffins on the 787 (and I suspect same seat on the A350). Darn it!

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