Shortly after I arrived to Stockholm from Bangkok on my Thai Airways flight, I was on my way to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. For this 3-hour flight flight, I got to experience the old Business Class product on Turkish’s A330-200.
This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:
- 1. Trip to Southeast Asia – Introduction
- 2. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (King Room)
- 3. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (Junior Suite)
- 4. EVA Air Royal Laurel (Business Class) “Hello Kitty” Jet Houston-Taipei
- 5. Grand Hyatt Taipei (Haunted?) Grand Suite
- 6. InterContinental Hong Kong Patio Room
- 7. Coral Executive Lounge Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 8. AirAsia “Premium Flex” Chiang Mai to Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 9. Conrad Bangkok (King Room)
- 10. Conrad Bangkok Executive Lounge
- 11. Conrad Bangkok Presidential Suite Bedroom
- 12. Grand Hyatt Bangkok Grand King Room
- 13. Thai Airways 777-300ER Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Stockholm
Turkish Airlines (TK) Flight 1794
Stockholm (ARN) – Istanbul (IST) | Airbus A330-200
1105/1535 (3 hour 30 minutes)
Since I was leaving Schengen Area, I had to go through passport control, which was located right in front of the boarding gates for non-Schengen flights. Boarding began about 25 minutes before departure, staring with Business Class and those requiring special assistance.
Though it admittedly looked a bit dated, the cabin felt open and spacious overall. Business Class featured angled flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, with a total of 22 seats.
It’s worth noting that this is an older version of Turkish Airlines’ Business Class product. They have a new product on their A330-300 aircrafts, which feature flat beds, though still in a 2-2-2 configuration (coming up in a few installments!)
I assigned myself an aisle seat in the left section, and found the seat to be pretty comfortable for lounging. (The picture is of a seat in the middle section for illustration purposes)
It was a short flight, but I still had the intention to check out the bed. Unfortunately, many of the buttons were actually so worn out that they were non-functional. With a half empty Business Class cabin, I tried a few different seats and they all had one problem or another that prevented the seat from going into bed mode. Perhaps that’s why this aircraft got relegated to regional services.
The center console also has a table, as well as three cocktail “platforms” that swing out from the sides and the front.
Under the seat controls were a headphone jack and the remote for in-flight entertainment. There was also two universal power outlets between seats.
A little hidden behind the seat was an ethernet jack and a USB port. I was able to charge my phone through the port with no problem, though I wasn’t able to check whether the ethernet jack was functional.
Next to the headrest was a flexible, “bendy” reading lamp. There were two different brightness settings.
Opposite from the seat was a nicely sized screen for in-flight entertainment.
Under the screen were a few storage options. There was a plastic caddy cutout of sorts, underneath which was a shelf that probably would be perfect for amenity kits on a longer flight.
Next to the screen was a coat hook, which was a nice idea, but hanging a coat there would probably obstruct the screen. Though I imagine during colder months, flight attendants would be ready to hang those up in a separate closet.
The magazine pocket was gigantic, and seemingly would expand to hold just about as much as you want to put in. At some point during the flight, I managed to put my laptop, camera, a few magazines, the blanket, and a pair of large over-the-ear headphones in there.
Just seconds after I settled down, a flight attendant brought over a tray of pre-departure drinks. I absolutely loved the drink stirrers that also bore drink descriptions.
I first selected the lemon-mint, which was super refreshing.
The flight attendant saw that I was excited about the pre-departure beverage presentation, and insisted that I also try the raspberry drink (with a real strawberry in it!)
Perhaps because I don’t drink alcohol much, I always appreciate airlines that offer a wide selection of “mocktails.” Turkish definitely earns high marks for that.
I flew Turkish Airlines a little over a month after the coup attempt, and they had a special message that played while we taxied. I previously wrote about it in more detail here.
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) had a decent selection; a few comedies that I liked each had multiple episodes, which was nice. It’s definitely not as extensive as say, Emirates’ ICE, but got the job done for this short hop. I actually really liked the home page of the IFE system; it’s one of the more comprehensive ones I’ve seen.
Business Class had a pretty load factor, with only about 40% of the seats occupied.
At the risk of generalizing a little bit, flight attendants were what I would consider “European friendly,” which I quite liked. That is to say that there was no excessive small talk like I’ve sometimes experienced with American airlines (and restaurants), and no over the top language and gestures that you sometimes see with Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. Flight attendants were friendly and attentive, and did their service in a pretty comfortable pace and manner.
Shortly after we’d reached cruising altitude, flight attendants came by with printed menus. It’s always a nice touch to see a printed menu on a short flight, let alone a separate drinks menu.
Turkish Airlines is famous for their catering, which is done by DO&CO. It seems to be a pretty strong partnership, since they print DO&CO’s logo all over their dining supplies, everywhere from the menu to the napkin ring. Turkish Airlines even go so far as calling their in-flight meals “Gourmet Entertainment.” I have to agree—I was absolutely positively entertained by the food served onboard.
The appetizer was a “potpourri of meze,” including wild salmon and avocado, smoked eggplant salad, Turkish style bulgur salad and yogurt, and carrot hummus.
For the main course, I had the grilled swordfish brochette, which was served with black olive potato mousseline and sautéed Mediterranean vegetables. The other two options was a macaroni and cheese, and a sautéed fillet of beef.
I watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory after lunch, and it was time to land.
We landed at a remote stand, and as a result had to take a bus to the main terminal. I really appreciated that Turkish Airlines had a special minibus for Business Class passenger, since it allowed me to get back to the terminal quickly without having to wait for a large bus to fill up.
I didn’t take any pictures of this, but the customs and immigration at Istanbul Ataturk airport were crazy. The line was extremely long, and talking to a few people it’s not uncommon for it to take over an hour. Luckily, Business Class passengers get their own dedicated immigration counter, so I was through within a matter of minutes.
In case you can’t already tell, the pre-departure beverage service gave the flight a good start and a nice first impression. This was only a short regional flight with Turkish Airlines, but I really liked a lot of their soft product. The food was very delicious, the service was professional, and the dedicated Business Class shuttle bus and immigration counters were nice touches.
The seat was comfortable, if a bit dated. I definitely wouldn’t be super thrilled if this was my seat for a long-haul flight, but for a regional service it’s much better than what I’m used to in the States.
I will have more to comment on with my review of their long-haul service from Istanbul to Washington, D.C., so stay tuned for that!