Review: Turkish Business Class A330 Seychelles To Istanbul

Filed Under: Turkish

The last time I flew Turkish Airlines was back in 2013, so it has been over five years. I can’t believe that’s the case, given that they fly to more countries than any other airline in the world. I was looking forward to seeing how the product has held up over the years.

Turkish Airlines 749
Seychelles (SEZ) – Istanbul (IST)
Monday, April 23
Depart: 9:10PM
Arrive: 4:10AM (+1 day)
Duration: 8hr
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 4K (Business Class)

We boarded through the second set of doors, where we were greeted by the cabin chief and pointed left into the business class cabin. Turkish Airlines has 62 Airbus A330s, and they have very little consistency across the fleet — some A330s have forward facing flat beds, others have angled flat seats, others have recliner seats, and then some have herringbone seats.

We were lucky to be on one of Turkish Airlines’ A330s with herringbone seats, which are their only A330s with direct aisle access from every business class seat. If the interior looks familiar there’s probably a reason for that. This is a former Jet Airways A330, so it’s similar to the one that I’ve flown on Air Serbia between Belgrade and New York.

This particular Turkish A330 configuration had 30 business class seats, in a 1-1-1 configuration — there were 18 seats in the forward business class cabin (in six rows), and a further 12 seats in the rear cabin (in four rows).

Turkish Airlines A330 business class cabin

In the forward cabin, the seats in the center section faced the left side of the cabin, meaning that there were 12 seats facing the left aisle, and only six seats facing the right aisle (my preference is to always sit by the quieter aisle).

Turkish Airlines A330 business class cabin

Turkish Airlines business class cabin A330

Turkish Airlines business class cabin A330

I had assigned myself seat 4K, while Ford was in 5K. The seats had a good amount of wear and tear, though were still comfortable and in working order.

Turkish business class seat A330

Each seat had a small ottoman, which became part of the bed when you recline the seat.

Turkish business class seat ottoman A330

The tray table folded out from the side of the seat, and couldn’t be moved very much.

Turkish business class seat tray table

The entertainment screen could also be removed from the side of the seat and adjusted.

Turkish business class seat entertainment monitor

Also to the right of the seat were seat controls and a reading light.

Turkish business class seat controls

Turkish business class seat reading light

At the very back right of the seat was a small armrest, as well as the entertainment controller, headphone jack, USB outlet, and 110v outlet.

Turkish business class seat entertainment controls & power outlet

Then to the left of the seat was a bottle holder and a small storage area. I’d say the biggest downside to this type of seat is the lack of storage, as there’s not really anywhere to store things.

Turkish business class seat storage

As mentioned above, I liked sitting on the right side since it meant I was facing a wall rather than facing other passengers.

Turkish business class seat facing wall

One thing I found frustrating about the seats is that there were no individual air nozzles, which is a feature I value.

Already waiting at my seat upon boarding was a pillow and a basic blanket. At first I was worried this would be the only bedding (which wouldn’t have been horrible, though wouldn’t have been great either), but as it turns out there’s more bedding when they provide turndown service.

Turkish business class pillow & blanket

About 10 minutes after boarding, one of the flight attendants came by my seat to offer slippers, which came with a shoe bag.

Turkish business class slippers

A few minutes later I was presented with my choice of three pre-departure drinks, including orange juice, water, and a lemon mint drink. I chose the lemon mint drink, which was excellent. I like that the pre-departure drinks come with stirrers that say what they are (the opposite side had the drink name in English).

Turkish business class pre-departure drink

I was also offered some packaged roasted hazelnuts.

Turkish business class pre-departure nuts

Five minutes later a cart was rolled down the aisle with newspapers, amenity kits, and headphones.

Turkish business class magazines, newspapers, headphones, and amenity kits

The headphones were pretty good for business class — they were comfortable, and the sound quality was solid.

Turkish business class headphones

The amenity kit was good as well, and had a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, eyeshades, a shoehorn, earplugs, lip balm, body lotion, a brush, and some stickers you could use to indicate if you wanted privacy or not.

Turkish business class amenity kit contents

A few minutes later I was also offered a bottle of water.

Turkish business class bottled water

My initial impression of the crew was positive. They weren’t over the top friendly to the point of seeming insincere, but rather they seemed to provide genuine Turkish hospitality.

At 8:30PM it was announced that boarding was complete (14 of the 30 business class seats were taken, with most other passengers being German families). A few minutes later the captain made his welcome aboard announcement and introduced his two co-captains (as he called them). He announced that the flight time was 7hr45min, that we’d be cruising at 40,000 feet, and that we’d be pushing back in about 15 minutes.

At 8:35PM the cabin door was closed, and then the safety video was screened. As the video was screened the cabin chief came around to each business class passenger and said “I wish you a nice flight.”

At 8:45PM we pushed back, and then we had a quick taxi to the runway, back taxied the entire length of the runway, and were airborne by 8:55PM.

As we climbed out I took a look at the airshow for our flight to Istanbul.

Airshow to Istanbul

Airshow to Istanbul

I also checked out the entertainment selection, which was quite good. There were dozens of movies, and many that were quite recent.

Turkish business class entertainment selection

Turkish business class entertainment selection

Turkish business class entertainment selection

Turkish business class entertainment selection

Unfortunately Turkish Airlines doesn’t have Wi-Fi on these A330s.

About five minutes after takeoff one of the flight attendants distributed the cute menu and beverage list.

Turkish business class menu & wine list

At first service was slow to get started, until 40 minutes after takeoff, when meal orders were taken. The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

Once service got started it was very quick. Warm towels were distributed.

Turkish business class warm towel

Then a couple of minutes later drinks and nuts were served. I ordered a glass of champagne. There was no wine list so I’m not sure what the champagne was, but it was decent. My one recommendation for them would be that they mix up the nuts. I appreciate that they serve Turkish roasted hazelnuts before takeoff, but it seems silly to serve exactly the same nuts after takeoff as well.

Turkish business class champagne and nuts

The meal was served just 10 minutes after the drinks were brought out. While Turkish is known for their onboard chefs and elaborate meals, this flight had a simpler meal service, which I appreciated given how short the flight was. We were offered the appetizers, salad, dessert, and cheese plate all at once.

The appetizer consisted of roast beef and avocado, while the salad had cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. For dessert was tiramisu as well as a selection of cheese. The quality of all the food was great.

Turkish business class appetizer, salad, and dessert

As soon as my starter was cleared I was served the main course. For my main course I selected the grilled fillet of job fish, with grilled vegetables, pan fried potatoes, and lemon parsley sauce. The main course was good, but not as good as the rest of the meal.

Turkish business class main course

Ford had the grilled beef tagliata with grilled vegetables and chateau potatoes.

Turkish business class main course

After the meal the crew came through the cabin with a coffee and tea cart, though I passed, as I wanted to go to sleep.

Service throughout the meal was friendly and attentive, and I liked the speed of the service. The meal was cleared just over 60 minutes after takeoff, as we were approaching the coast of Somalia.

Airshow enroute to Istanbul

Airshow enroute to Istanbul

As I finished the meal a flight attendant asked if she could prepare my bed, which I agreed to, as I was tired. While my bed was being prepared I visited one of the lavatories — there’s one at the front of the cabin, and another between the two business class cabins.

Turkish A330 business class lavatory

The lavatory itself was basic and quite small, but I appreciated the Molton Brown toiletries they had.

Turkish business class Molton Brown amenities

I also briefly checked out the rear business class cabin, which was empty (at least the right side was, as there was a curtain around the left side). Interestingly in the rear business class cabin the center seats face the right aisle rather than the left aisle.

Turkish business class mini-cabin

Turkish has a nice turndown service, including an additional pillow and a mattress sheet (it doesn’t really offer much in the way of extra padding), as well as an additional blanket. Overall this is solid bedding for such a quick flight, though I did find the bedding to be a bit scratchy.

Turkish business class bed A330

I tried to go to sleep, though didn’t sleep well at all. I just tossed and turned for several hours. I was quite warm as I find that herringbone seats don’t get much airflow, and without an air nozzle, there wasn’t much that could be done. But I still got some rest, even though it wasn’t good sleep by any stretch of the imagination.

I finally decided to get up about 75 minutes before landing, as the cabin lights were turned on.

Airshow approaching Istanbul

Airshow approaching Istanbul

Within 10 minutes of waking up I was offered breakfast, which was served on one tray. This included fresh fruit, a few types of cheese, and an omelet.

Turkish business class breakfast

The omelet had mushroom & tomato, and was served with parsley potatoes and grilled tomatoes. Personally I was happy to be served an omelet without any meat on an airplane for once, as I don’t like breakfast meat.

Turkish business class breakfast

At 3AM local time the captain announced that we’d be landing in about 30 minutes, and a few moments later we began our descent and the cabin was prepared for arrival.

Airshow approaching Istanbul

Airshow approaching Istanbul

We ended up having a very smooth touchdown in Istanbul at 3:35AM, and arrived at our remote stand 10 minutes after that.

Turkish A330 Istanbul Airport

While I don’t like arriving at a remote stand in the middle of the night, I do appreciate that they had a separate business class bus, so we were brought to the terminal pretty quickly.

Business class bus Istanbul Airport

From there we headed off to the Turkish Airlines Lounge for our very long layover.

Turkish Airlines business class A330 bottom line

None of Turkish’s planes have terribly impressive hard products, and this product was about as good as it gets for them on the A330. I found the seats to be pretty comfortable, though they were also worn, and I wish the seats had air nozzles.

The good news is that everything about the Turkish soft product impressed me, from the excellent food to the friendly service to the amenities to the bedding. Turkish Airlines really has an excellent business class product, in my opinion, and this experience paled in comparison to my connection on their 777.

  1. I again feel that you (and many others) underrate the standard TK hard product. Particularly since you were traveling with Ford, the lack of all aisle access is no concern and you get a ton of space. Plus, as you mention, better airflow.

    I know that the ideal is direct aisle access, but that doesn’t trump all other concerns. For me at least.

  2. Herringbone is crap. How is it lucky you got that compared to their much nicer forward facing flat beds. You really prefer not to sit next to anyone even when you are traveling with a companion. The forward facing seats have way more room… much nicer screen, not angled in a weird position , so much room you can very easily step over a neighbor without touching them.

  3. Is 8 hours “such a quick flight”? You can cross 3 continents in 8 hours, I consider 8 hours to be quite long. Maybe it’s because in the US everything is seen as domestic even though flights are 6 hours.

    And this is probably the worst Turkish A330 configuration you can have. The A330 with the forward facing flatbed looks so much nicer and are a lot wider. Even the A330 with recliners look better than this configuration and they have wifi onboard.

  4. @James K.

    I can understand your POV, but having to climb over someone you know, or have them climb over you, can be annoying, especially if the person in the aisle seat is sleeping.

    I mean, for me, that’s the issue when it comes to aisle access.

  5. «which are their only A330s with direct aisle access from every business class seat.»

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t these A330s the only planes in TK’s fleet with direct aisle access for every seat in business class, regardless of plane type?

  6. @Ryan – once you do a 13+ hour long haul flight, even once, 8 hours goes by in the blink of an eye. Westbound daytime flights from Europe to JFK are nothing for me now that I have done Asia. Flying to LA is literally a hop, and I barely even think about flights to Florida anymore. Its crazy how exponentially longer flights get psychologically once you get over 13 hours. The last two hours on a 15 hour flight can feel longer than an entire 6 hour US transcon even when youre in J.

  7. Interesting – I flew the Jet Airways JFK-BRU route a dozen or so times in the 2009-2010 range. I remember loving the hard product a lot more than these pictures elicit, but then again I was still pretty green to the premium products at that point. However, I am positive that the middle row used to always face the other direction such that the A seats were the ones facing the half wall. Did Jet really have seatplans with the middle aisle going in both directions??

  8. @Ryan try flying once on a 12 hour or more flight and youll understand how 8 hour flights are considered short. In a 12 hour flight you board, dinner service, maybe a movie (2 hours), sleep for 6-8 hours, then wake up and have the remaining 2 hours for breakfast and some entertainment. Even more on a longer flight. Anything shorter than that is a pain since you cant get proper sleep and it just seems super long.

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