Is Turkish Airlines Ditching New Business Class Seat?

Filed Under: Turkish

Turkish Airlines offers one of my favorite business class products in the world, thanks to their exceptional soft product. Their food is among the best of any airline, their crews are friendly, and they have top notch amenities.

Turkish Airlines business class catering

Historically Turkish hasn’t had industry leading business class seats, so that’s why it has been exciting that the airline has been taking delivery of new planes.

Turkish Airlines A330 business class

Turkish’s New 787 & A350 Business Class Seats

Turkish Airlines has a total of 30 Boeing 787-9s and 30 Airbus A350-900s on order, which are intended to refresh their long haul fleet. The great news is that Turkish Airlines is installing new business class seats on these planes.

Turkish Airlines 787-9

I reviewed Turkish’s new 787-9 business class on the flight from Atlanta to Istanbul a couple of months ago, and had a great flight.

Turkish Airlines 787-9 business class

Turkish chose the same seat in business class that Singapore Airlines has on their 787-10s, which they use primarily for regional flights. Is it the world’s best business class product? No.

But I thought it was really solid, and it’s great to finally see Turkish offer direct aisle access from every seat in business class.

Turkish Airlines new business class seat

Up until now it was my understanding that Turkish would install these seats on all 787s and A350s, but they didn’t have plans to reconfigure existing planes.

Turkish Reconsidering New Business Class Seats

While it has yet to officially be confirmed by the airline, Turkish media is reporting that Turkish Airlines is planning on installing different business class seats on their upcoming 787-9s and A350-900s.

Reports suggest that Turkish has been receiving negative feedback from passengers about these seats (including how narrow they are), and has also been having maintenance issues with the seats.

If these reports are true, Turkish will maintain these seats for their existing six 787-9s, but will install a different type of seat on their remaining 24 787-9s, as well as 30 A350-900s.

The airline is expected to take delivery of nine A350s in 2020, and those would feature the new seats. The bizarre part of this is that typically seats are ordered years in advance, so I’m not sure if this would represent a significant delay when it comes to deliveries of these planes, or if Turkish somehow found a manufacturer that could have new seats ready within months.

Details haven’t yet been revealed about what seats Turkish would install.

My Take On A New Turkish Business Seat

Is Turkish’s new 787-9 business class the best in the world? No, it’s not. But I actually think it’s a solid seat, and if you’re traveling alone it represents a huge improvement over Turkish’s old business class seat.

Turkish Airlines new business class seat

A lot of people point out that this is a “regional” seat, just because Singapore Airlines chose this for their 787-10s.

I disagree — just because Singapore Airlines chose to install this on planes primarily flying regionally, doesn’t mean these are “regional seats.”

Turkish has 30 business class seats on the 787-9 between doors one and two, so the footprint of these seats is identical to just about all other leading business class products, including reverse herringbone seats, staggered seats with doors, etc.

Would it be cool on one hand if Turkish had an even better business class product? Sure, but the last thing the airline needs is more product inconsistency. They already have a countless number of business class seats throughout their fleet, and we don’t need even more product inconsistency throughout their long haul fleet.

That being said, I certainly wouldn’t complain if they installed Apex Suites in business class, or something…

Apex Suites on Korean Air

I’m still skeptical about the timeline and logistics of all of this, given how far in advance airline seats are usually decided on and ordered. This isn’t something you can change up with just weeks notice.

What do you think — should Turkish install a new business class seat on upcoming 787s & A350s, and if so, which one?

  1. Just one data point: I was on TK’s flight from IST to ATL two days ago. The seat controls on both seat 6K and 4K didn’t work and the crew couldn’t turn my seat into a bed or vice versa. Luckily biz class wasn’t full and they put me in 5A. I guess that could be one of the “maintenance issues” they mentioned in the article.

  2. I never understood why they chose this seat in the first place. As you point out, it is not even particularly efficient, and it has obvious design errors, like the privacy screens blocking the windows and communication in the honeymoon seats, and unnecessarily narrow footwells.

  3. I had a chance to experience TK’s new business class seats a month ago, and thought they were really good.
    I don’t understand how people are complaining about the seats being narrow…I had enough space and the seats were wide enough for me to feel perfectly comfortable.

  4. Last summer I flew SQ’s 787-10 and the seat controls had to be reset a few times to get them to work. It’s not a terrible seat but dislike the pod wrap around covering the window. If TK customers don’t like the width, swapping to APEX would really infuritate them. While APEX is private, the width of the pod is basically the width of the seat. There is no room for anything on either side.

  5. As a frequent TK traveller I am perfectly satisfied with the old seats. Comfortable and perfect for sleeping. I do not need anything fancy looking.

  6. I was really excited to try this product next year for my flight from IST to ATL, but now I’m a bit worried that I’ll run into issues with the seat. I didn’t know people were having issues with it.

  7. I flew TK from Panama City to Istanbul and everything was perfect. The seat was very comfortable, and the inflight service, food and presentation was impeccable. Yes. I agreed on TK Business Class being one of the best in the industry.

  8. Flew IST-BOG-PTY on 9/18. Didn’t find seat too narrow being 6 foot 2, the Versace amenity kits were good and the business class lounge is excellent in IST. However, numerous employees have no idea of the setup of business class on the 787-8 because the seating chart has not once been correct. Even with a cabin only 1/3 full, service was Terrible. One flight attendant for whole cabin and the rest never once came out. Food paled in comparison to lounge but better than average. On top of that my seat was broken as it did not turn into bed. Luckily could move to other seat.

  9. If this is anything like SQs seat, it’s like sleeping in a coffin. I got stuck in the seat and could barely get out of it after sleeping a couple of hours in it. It’s nice enough when you sit up, but not when it’s in bed mode.

  10. I like the new seat, but the privacy shield is poorly designed, blocking window view and preventing proper use of the armrest…

  11. I flew IST-ATL about a week ago and thought it was one of the better biz class flights around. The only “issue” was the fact that about half of the cabin passengers were 6-9 years old kids who were naturally very excited to be flying up front–they weren’t little monsters though or anything.

    Regarding the seat, I really enjoyed it (I also flew the SQ 787-10 version from DPS). My only real concern was that it was hard to adjust to good lounging position since it seemed I could only control the seat via different presets and then cutting them off early. Yes the privacy screen positioning isn’t ideal but it hardly detracted from the experience. For what it’s worth, I’m about 6′ and found the seat and footwell roomy enough for side-sleeping. Storage was also not lacking.

    Really hope they keep the new seats (or at least don’t revert to the old ones). For those that miss the old seats, you can have your fill on LOT 787 flights!

  12. I am with ron. I like the old seats better. I do not like the new seats. I don’t care about privacy. I am in a public space and I don’t need to hide from others.

  13. I actually think they may have already worked on another option. Personally I think there are better seats out there. Take a look at El Al’s business class or United Polaris. They offer greater comfort and the same if not greater efficiency.

  14. Whatever, these are not regional seats. Many mainline Asian airlines use incredible seats on wide-body aircraft on short flights. This is nothing new.

    If Turkish can upgrade them, all the better. But they aren’t garbage.

  15. The Stelia Opal seat which Turkish is using is in fact a ‘regional’ seat. Just look at the manufacturers datasheet, it confirms that this seat is just a standard business class seat and not a premium one.
    So world-class airlines like Singapore will use it just for regional flights, while third-rated airlines such as Turkish Airlines and Air Senegal may use it for non-intended longhaul flights.

  16. I prefer the old TK seats to the new. Privacy is overrated and is provided at the cost of comfort and space. I particularly hate seats that obscure the windows which these and the latest long haul SQ version do badly. I rate these seats as coffins and I’m not quite ready for that yet so I do hope TK will change their minds and even revert to the tried and tested current seat or at least to something like reverse herringbone without huge wrap arounds.

  17. I think on most airlines you can either have seat width and no privacy/storage, or privacy and a narrow seat. Or if you chose the Apex, narrow with privacy and no storage! I think an airline that gets it all right like Q-suites are rare but show it is achievable. I don’t think Turkish has the market to support such luxury however and should just pick something that makes sense like the seats that Austrian/Swiss have- storage, okay width and a mix of private solo seats and paired seats for those traveling together. I like privacy when I am sleeping on an overseas solo trip, but wish there were options that allowed me to travel with my young son without worrying he is too far away. A perfect airline haha!

    I love Turkish service and food and hope they find a good answer!

  18. Max, what exactly is a “Standard Business Class Seat”? Sorry, but the majority of “regional” products are recliners, not flat beds. Flat beds on “regional” flights are not the norm, also not on “world-class airlines”. And sorry, to compare TK to Air Senegal … I consider TK to be a world class airline, especially for their consistently good J product. No, they’re not SQ or QR or CX, but their product is solid.
    Also, I do have to say I kinda like their “old” seats…excellent to sleep in, and not a huge problem to step over your neighbor.
    In fact, reverse herringbone products such as CX or QR are much better privacy wise, but for space, TK or LOT win hands down with their “old” products.

  19. @Nightliner
    First of all, there are different seat manufacturers. Recaro, Collins Aerospace and Jamco are regarded as the upperclass and therefore expensive manufacturers. Then there is Zodiac which is in the middle, while Stelia is one of the cheapest manufacturers with the worst products from the customer point of view. Just search for reviews of the Stelia Equinox which is an absolutely horrible business class seat. Stelia is a subsidiary of Airbus which was founded to offer a cheaper alternative to these other manufacturers so that smaller airlines would also have the chance to buy new aircraft cheaply.
    In Asia, where regional flights easily can be multiple hours long, it is getting more and more common to offer true lie-flat seats as business class and not recliners as in the US where flights are shorter on average. Have a look at JAL, ANA, Singapore, Cathay, Korean, some of the chinese Airlines, Thai and Malaysia Airlines.
    Why I’m mentioning Air Senegal? They are also using the same Stelia Opal seat as Turkish Airlines. This seat is used by Turkish on their longhaul 787-9s, by Air Senegal and Air Calin on their A330s and bei Singapore on their regional 787-10s.

  20. “…..their food is among the best of any airline, their crews are friendly, and they have top notch amenities.”


  21. I fly Turkish about 20 times a year and avoid these cramped seats at all costs. It seems that they have been designed for people whose height is less than 5 feet. I always make sure to fly the 777 or the 330 so that I fly with the much better old seats.

  22. the old seats are good. I fly usually alone in business but sometimes with my wife and two children. pisses me off to have direct aisle in every seat. 90% of business class should have direct aisle but some seats in business should have a more adequate configuration for families. Qatar thought about that but others don’t seem to.

  23. Turkish’s current business class seat is by far my favorite. It is so much roomier and more comfortable than any of the cramped ones with all the privacy walls.

  24. As some of the other comments have suggested, if ain’t broke why fix it? As you said, the Turkish business class seats were the greatest but they were wide, they were comfortable and their soft product such as friendly crews and amazing (and plentiful food) compensated for the lackluster seat. So when something is going good, why mess with it (and as you have pointed out, sometimes messing with it doesn’t always result in the best outcomes)

  25. Every time I read a blogger comment on TK confirms how good TK is at dealing with influencers. How else would you explained that a business class offering 5 seats in a row as standard is tagged as ‘favorite’? While other smaller airlines with superior hard product, equally good food and better service are just ‘meh’ or ‘I don’t know’ or ‘soso’….

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