Turkish Airlines Introducing All New Business Class Seat Next Year

Filed Under: Turkish

Turkish Airlines operates a huge fleet, as they fly to more countries than any other airline. They have an excellent premium soft product, thanks largely to their incredible catering from Do & Co.

However their hard product has left a lot to be desired. They have a few different types of business class seats. This is the seat Ben flew recently from the Seychelles to Istanbul:

And here is their most common long haul business class seat that Ben reviewed recently.

It’s fully flat but in a 2-3-2 configuration, meaning almost half of the cabin does not have direct aisle access, and a middle seat in business class is considered almost unforgivable in 2018.

B787s and A350s

Turkish has an extremely diverse fleet and from next year they will start to take delivery of two new aircraft types that will further diversify their fleet. They have 25 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and also 25 Airbus A350-900s on order. The Dreamliners will start arriving first.

Turkish is taking the opportunity to introduce an all new business class seat on these aircraft, and has revealed some details to Australian Business Traveller:

  • The layout will be an industry standard 1-2-1 (rather than the current configurations, which are up to 2-3-2)
  • The seat will have ‘high privacy’
  • The seat is still in the design stages
  • It will feature ‘individual enclosed storage areas and 44 inch knee distance’

The ‘high privacy’ sounds exciting as this may mean it will be suites with closing doors, similar to Qatar QSuites and Delta One Suites. However the Boeing 787 has a fairly narrow cabin, so the standard QSuites would not fit in this aircraft.

Qatar is designing a modified QSuite to fit into their 787s but as I have noted before, this is likely to be years away.

The ’44 inch knee distance’ could mean Turkish selects the Vantage XL seat, which is the the same seat Delta has modified (to include sliding doors) for its new flagship Delta One product.

Without the doors, a similar seat is used by Qantas and SAS:

Unfortunately Turkish Airlines has advised that there are no plans to retro-fit this new product in their existing fleet of around 90 wide body aircraft.

Bottom line

This is long overdue — its pretty crazy that an airline with such a strong soft product has such a poor hard product. Turkish is trying to compete with the ‘ME3’ (Qatar, Emirates and Etihad) to become some sort of ‘ME4,’ and while they have a fantastic lounge and food service on board, their hard product doesn’t really measure up. Then again, Emirates has a disappointing hard product on their 777s, which are the backbone of their fleet.

I’m not sure if they will go to the expense and trouble of actually installing sliding doors in business class to make private suites, given they are not planning to retrofit existing aircraft with the product. It would make such a massive gap between their business class products, that with their high rate of fleet utilisation and aircraft swapping, some passengers will be very disappointed when they step on board.

It’s always disappointing when an airline feels the need to introduce a new product that is significantly better than their existing product, but does not then install it into their existing fleet.

Turkish Airlines is expected to open their new lounge in the new Istanbul Airport at the end of next month. Given Ataturk Airport has been bursting at the seams for years, this cannot come soon enough.

What do you think Turkish Airlines’ new business class will look like?

  1. Any news on booking awards with Turkish via United? You can’t find anything when searching United’s site on any Turkish Airlines flight. I’m not sure if it’s a bug on United site, or they’re blocking it on purpose, or if it’s some US-Turkey political thing.

  2. This is unfortunate. Turkish has one of the best hard products of any airline in my opinion because of the unlimited foot space. This makes sleeping a lot more comfortable. I am not a huge fan of the reverse herringbone seats for this very reason.

  3. @James, any info on which routes these new planes will be flying on? I’m interested to know if JFK–IST will continue to have the current 2-3-2 or this new 1-2-1. Any thoughts?

  4. Finally, TK realizes that their biz hard product is extremely uncompetitive in 2018. I wonder what business class seat EK will install on their 787s, I hope it’s the a380 seat.

    Would you still say TK has the best hard product if you sit in the middle seat for 12 hours?

  5. The article does mention a “different retrofit” for the current fleet. Interesting choice to go with 2 different business class seats, but holding out hope for the Apex suite on the B777 and A330.

  6. I am looking forward to hopefully seeing the new airport and lounge when I fly Turkish at the beginning of November. I like sitting in the middle of the A330 as both people have direct aisle access. The hard product is in need of an update though to be competitive, so I am glad Turkish is doing one even though I like the current seats just fine.

  7. just forget about it. Turkish Airlines are so stingy with awards that it is near impossible to find any seats now or a year from now. no even on their own website for members.

  8. There are pros/cons to all these seats. I think the current TK offering on their 777s (even if it’s 2-3-2) is great for couples who want to travel together with a window. For reverse herringbone seats or the current 1-2-1, that’s not really possible.
    When I used to fly EK a lot, I preferred the 777 business class seats for sleeping for the great legroom (people claim it’s not fully flat but to me it’s flat enough to sleep over 7 hours in.)
    As for becoming an ME4, I think that’s only possible if TK offers First Class again.

  9. Everyone’s been doing Reverse Herringbone seats….. Turkish may do it too…..
    They’re making us wait for far too long…..

  10. Forgot to mention this earlier, but maybe TK is installing Panasonic Waterfront (basically modified B/E Super Diamond with a door)? Their description of the new seat mentions “individual enclosed storage areas”, which the D1 suite lacks

  11. While I understand that many solo travellers find this positive, I almost always travel with my girlfriend and we both LOVE the old/current seats. So much space! We both much prefer them to Vantage XL and Reverse Herringbone since it’s possible to strech out and sit two persons at the window… Sad news…

  12. @Choi lou
    You can upgrade an economy fare using miles & smiles easier than getting a straight award. You dont need saver availability. I don’t think is a bad option considering that straight award tickets on miles & smiles have large fuel charges anyway, but the upgrades only require the miles and no additional fees. You can also upgrade one way or even individual segments. I was able to complete my upgrade over the phone. My fare was semi flex economy which was not much more than economy discounted, so I am not sure if the economy discounted can be upgraded.

  13. This is a shame. That TK seat is so much better for sleeping in than the vast majority of popular “1-2-1” products.

  14. I love Turkish Airlines new uniforms too. It’s nearly a split-image of the old Alitalia uniform (which lasted like 1 year).
    TK are really upping the ante against the ME carriers. Well done!

  15. @ Steve – I said in the article that unfortunately TK will not retrofit their existing long haul fleet. So no chance of Apex Suite on the 777 or A330 aircraft.

  16. @James:

    I think this is what @Steve was referring to, bolding mine:

    However, Olmuştur says the new business class seat will be exclusive to the Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s and won’t be retrofitted to the current Airbus A330, A340 or Boeing 777 fleet.

    “We do not have any plan on the implementation of this new design for our existing aircraft, but so far we have a different retrofit project for the existing widebodies.

    So it sounds like the older aircraft will have something different, but it’s anybody’s guess as to what. But it could potentially be Apex Suites in a 2-2-2 fashion like KE.

  17. @ Adam R – my apologies. Given they are choosing a different product for their refit I doubt it will be as good as their new 787/A350 product…

  18. @James:

    That might be a good topic to explore…Apex Suites versus Delta’s Delta 1 and Qatar’s Q-Suites. All afford good-to-great privacy and direct-aisle access but the Apex Suites have some non-true-window-seat seats as they’re in a 2-2-2 staggered pattern versus the others in a 1-2-1 pattern. I think it could be argued that Apex Suites are still inferior to Delta 1 and Q Suites and it certainly sounds like TK is going with something along those lines. TPG did an article on it a while back and placed Apex Suites as inferior, but that’s highly dependent on personal preference, especially for couples wishing to travel together. But given TK’s A330s are already in a 2-2-2 layout, Apex Suites might make sense for the retrofit. Either way, this is great news as TK has typically great fares out of the US West Coast to Europe. I’m looking forward to the update(s).

  19. TK keeps their cabins way too hot — 24 deg C. They refuse to make it cooler ever on passenger request. This is why I refuse to fly TK.

  20. I think finally TK is heading the right track. I was suck and tired with 2-3-2 on 773 and 2-2-2 on A333. No privacy but leg room is super.
    Many occasions I sat next to people with smelly feet when they took off to wear socks on a 12-13 hr flight.

  21. I have flown the new a321 neo business seat last week and I can tell you I’m not impressed at all.
    5+ hours in one of the worst business class seat ever.
    Regarding soft product…. well it used to be the case now it’s really not impressive anymore and if you fly a lot with them it’s just boring. Nothing new for years.

  22. @Tigris23 @James

    Apparently the first couple of routes for the 787s will be Bali/Denpasar and Washington D.C.

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