For the final leg of my trip back to the States, I flew in Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Washington DC. Turkish operates this route pretty frequently, with 10 weekly services. They are actually opening a lounge in Dulles for premium cabin passengers!
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
- 14. Park Hyatt Istanbul Park Deluxe Twin Room
- 15. Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (“July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”)
- 16. Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class Istanbul-Washington DC
Turkish Airlines (TK) Flight 7
Istanbul (IST) – Washington-Dulles (IAD) | Airbus A330-300
1445/1915 (11 hour 30 minutes)
Check-In and Boarding
As I mentioned in my review of the CIP lounge, Turkish Airlines has a dedicated check-in area for Business Class passengers. As is often the case, when flying from Europe to the US, there were a few security questions at check-in. They usually involve making sure no one has tampered with your bags, and that you’re aware of all its content. You get a special sticker on the back of your passport after this security check.
The boarding process was a bit of a mess. There was a station at the gate where my documents were checked once again, and technically there was a special Business Class line. However, (1) a lot of other passengers ended up getting in that line, and (2) the line only had one agent. As a result, a bunch of us was stuck when one of the Business Class passengers required
some a lot of extra time to verify. It took a good 20 minutes before another staff member yelled out “BUSINESS CLASS! EVERYONE IN BUSINESS CLASS! OVER HERE!” and directed us to a different line.
Once my documents were verified, I got to a waiting area for a bus that would take us to the remote stand. Unlike upon my arrival from Stockholm, there were no special buses for Business Class passengers. That was totally was fine, but nonetheless interesting. Perhaps they had a bus earlier, but I missed it since I was in line? Those with experience please feel free to chime in with your comments.
Business Class is arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration on this Turkish Airlines’ A330-300. There was a total of 28 seats, which were all occupied on my flight.
I usually like configurations where everyone gets direct aisle access, but after this flight I can actually see the merits of this particular configuration. The seat felt a bit wider than most reverse herringbone or staggered Business Class seats, and the cabin also felt more open and spacious.
If I can confirm a middle section aisle seat, I can actually see myself picking this A333 Business Class product over a reverse herringbone seat. However, on the 777-300ER, Turkish Airlines actually configure their Business Class cabin to be 2-3-2, so having someone climb over you mid-flight might warrant a different consideration.
The seats featured the same fabric design as their older Business Class product, but these new ones are all fully flat. I reserved an aisle seat in the middle section, so both my neighbor and I had direct aisle access. Waiting at my seat was a lumbar/waist support pillow, as well as a blanket and a pair of slippers.
The light blanket did the trick for lounging.
The slippers were made of a towel-like material, which was comfortable. It wasn’t super durable though, since mine tore towards the end of the flight. But I suppose it’s not something you usually take with you.
A set of noise cancelling headphones were also provided, though I just used my own and didn’t test these out.
The tray table swings out from the center console, and I liked that it’s a single flat surface (i.e. no folding).
Also in the center console was the remote for in-flight entertainment, as well as a privacy shield that can be pulled out.
There was also a reading light that flips out.
Right by the waist was a universal power outlet and the headphone jack.
Across from the seat was an ottoman, which also functioned as a giant storage cabinet. I was able to put a DSLR camera, a pair of shoes, and a shopping bag in there with no problem. Next to the ottoman was a separate magazine pocket, which was also spacious.
Shortly after I boarded, flight attendants came by with a selection of pre-departure beverages. I selected a raspberry drink with a strawberry in it.
For those who are curious, Turkish Airlines uses Riedel glassware.
Shortly after takeoff, menus were distributed. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Turkish Airlines is pretty known for their DO&CO Catering, which they call “gourmet entertainment.”
In the front of the Business Class cabin was a little bar station, where flight attendants prepared drinks. I think it looks kind of cool, but I couldn’t help but feel like I’m being “watched over” at times.
For long-haul flights, Turkish Airlines also has an onboard chef, who came by to take orders. In theory, it’s a nice touch that adds to the prestige of their Business Class product. However, in practice, I found that it took a looooong time to get everyone’s orders, and the meal service took almost 2 – 3 hours.
The meal service started with mixed nuts and a drink; I ordered an orange juice.
A selection of canapés arrived shortly after the chef took everyone’s order.
After the canapés, flight attendants came by to “set the table” for the main meal service. This consisted of a set of silverware, a bread “plate,” and a electronic candlelight. I don’t think a flickering LED light in a paper boat gives off a “classy dining” vibe, but it was kind of fun.
The bread plate had olive oil, butter, and mixed spices, as well as salt and pepper. The salt and pepper shakers actually have magnetic bottoms, so they stuck to the bread plate—super cool!
The flight attendants came by with a cart full of appetizers. Instead of ordering just one, you could select anything you want from the cart. I loved this idea, since I got to sample a bit of everything. There were a ton of options from the cart:
- Marinated seafood salad
- Salmon tartare
- Mini meatballs / homemade potato croquettes
- Marinated artichoke in olive oil
- Roasted red pepper hummus
- Beetroot and wheat salad
- Eggplant in tomato sauce
- Bocconcini, arugula leaves and cherry tomato
Following the appetizers, I had a roasted pumpkin and chickpea soup, which hit the spot for me.
For the main course, I selected the grilled king prawn, fillet of swordfish, and wild sea bass. It was served with cauliflower mousseline, sautéed spinach, and roasted red pepper. Also available were grilled lamb chops and spinach ravioli.
For dessert, flight attendants once again rolled out a cart with the different options. They all looked irresistible, and I mustered a lot of self-control to limit my selection to the dark & white chocolate mousse, chocolate ball with mango, and the a blueberry tart.
The meal service finished off with a coffee and tea service. I usually can’t sleep if I drink alcohol (weird, I know), so once again, I appreciated the variety of non-alcoholic beverages Turkish Airlines offers. I ordered a pot of herbal tea, which was (appropriately?) served with a Turkish delight.
The meal service took about 3 hours, which was a bit too long for my taste. For a 10-hour flight, I usually like to get at least 6 hours of sleep in, which was hard with a longer meal service. To be fair, it’s also one of the more elaborate ones I’ve seen in Business Class, and it was a daytime flight.
The amenity kit was distributed at the beginning of the flight, and Turkish Airlines actually has many varieties of them. For my flight, I received a Batman vs. Superman-branded kit.
It featured earplugs, eye shades, a dental kit, and Institut Karite products. There were also stickers where you could indicate whether you would like flight attendants to wake you up for the meal.
I thought the stickers were a nice idea, since it saves the trouble of having to ask each individual passengers. Well…I put a sticker on my seat before going to bed, only to wake up an hour out of Washington, and found out I had missed the pre-landing meal. Only one emoji sums up my feeling at the time: =.=”
The bathroom featured amenities by EST, with lemon scented cologne, soap, and hand lotion.
I particularly liked the fact that the bathroom trash can had a foot pedal; I always appreciate not having to touch the lid of a trash can!
It’s worth noting that the A330-300 was equipped with Wi-Fi, and Business Class passengers get free access. I input my name and seat number and was online!
Turkish Airlines had one of the more elaborate beddings I’ve experienced in Business Class. They provide a “Bohca” sleeping set, and even made a menu describing what it consists:
In short, it’s a set of duvet, pillows, and mattress wrapped in a package. Flight attendants proactively offered to make the bed for every passengers, which doesn’t always happen in Business Class. Interestingly, they unwrapped each package like you would unwrap a surgical gown in the operating room. …ok…maybe that’s not a common reference, but they basically touched the corners of the wrapper without touching the contents, instead dropping all of it onto the seat, which I was really entertained by (maybe too much so).
There was a separate set of controls by the head of the bed.
The bed was really comfortable, and I think it’s safe to say they delivered on the “Sleep Like a Baby” promise. Like I mentioned, I woke up about an hour out of Dulles, when flight attendants began getting ready for landing.
As I’ve said before, I usually like reverse herringbone products for the direct aisle access and privacy. However, I was really happy with this Turkish Airlines Business Class seat. The seats are oriented parallel to the fuselage, and felt wider than many reverse herringbone products. There were also plenty of storage space in the seat, which I appreciated. The bed was spacious, and I really slept like a baby.
The service was like my last Turkish Airlines (regional) flight, professional without being intrusive, overly friendly, or robotic. I was a bit upset that the crew didn’t wake me up for the pre-landing meal, especially after I arrived at Dulles rather hungry, and most restaurants had closed. The first meal service also took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but many would probably not mind that for a daytime flight.
Overall, I was really happy with my experience in Turkish Airlines’ Business Class product. I thought both their hard and soft product were pretty solid. With a comfortable bed, fantastic meal, and professional service, it checks all the boxes for a good Business Class product.