Review: Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class Istanbul-Washington DC

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:

Turkish Airlines (TK) Flight 7
Istanbul (IST) – Washington-Dulles (IAD) |  Airbus A330-300
1445/1915  (11 hour 30 minutes)
Business Class

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Boarding

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.Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Boarding

The Cabin

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Cabin

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Cabin

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 Seat

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Seat

The light blanket did the trick for lounging.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Blanket

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Slippers

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Slippers

A set of noise cancelling headphones were also provided, though I just used my own and didn’t test these out.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Headphones

The tray table swings out from the center console, and I liked that it’s a single flat surface (i.e. no folding).

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Table

Also in the center console was the remote for in-flight entertainment, as well as a privacy shield that can be pulled out.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Privacy Shield + Remote

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Privacy Shield + Remote

There was also a reading light that flips out.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Reading Light

Right by the waist was a universal power outlet and the headphone jack.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Headphone Jack + Power Outlet

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Ottoman Storage

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Ottoman Storage

Meal Service

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Pre-departure Drink

For those who are curious, Turkish Airlines uses Riedel glassware.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - 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.”

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Menu

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Menu

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Menu

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Menu

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Onboard Chef

The meal service started with mixed nuts and a drink; I ordered an orange juice.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Amuse Bouche

A selection of canapés arrived shortly after the chef took everyone’s order.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Canapes

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Candlelight

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Candlelight Dinner

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Candlelight Dinner

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!

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bread Plate

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

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Appetizers

Following the appetizers, I had a roasted pumpkin and chickpea soup, which hit the spot for me.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Soup

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Main Course

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Dessert

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Dessert

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Dessert

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.

dsc_0711

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Herbal Tea + Turkish Delight

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Herbal Tea + 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.

Amenities

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Amenity 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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Amenity Kit

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.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bathroom

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bathroom

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!

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bathroom

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Bathroom Trash Can Foot Pedal

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 Business Class A330 - Free Wi-Fi for Business Class Passengers

The Bed

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:

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bohca

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Bohca

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bohca

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).

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bed

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - Bed

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 – Bed

There was a separate set of controls by the head of the bed.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 - 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.

Overall Impression

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.

Comments

  1. Just a small quibble about the review which, btw, I thought was good.
    If you are going to do a review, make sure it is complete. Not everyone has their own headphones and since you didn’t bother to test theirs because you had your own, we’ll never know if they were any good.

  2. @Patrick – as someone who has flown TK in Business on the A330 this month, I am happy to add the missing piece: The airline-provided headphones are decent and reasonably, but they are not actively noise-cancelling. I tried them but then switched to my own actively noise-cancelling Sonys.

  3. @Patrick Everyone knows that if ONE electric items work, they will ALL work the same way throughout the universe. Are you serious about being that picky about a review? If you invest in your own noise cancelling headphones, I assume you are investing so you can have your own when you travel and you get the quality you want. If not, it’s hit or miss, even with the same brand on the same plane, whether you will get a good pair or not. Such is life.

    @Enoch One a side note, you didn’t review the seat belt buckle to see if it was easy to open and close and how the metal felt to the touch. Also, can you measure the lumens being emitted from the reading lamp as well? Good review, but seriously lacking in quality content that matters the most. Please try and be more thorough in your next review.

      • @Gadfly There is a difference between sarcasm and trump-style replies. I wasn’t nasty, I was sarcastically pointing on the lunacy of the criticism of the review because of this one item being left out. The resources and materials wasted for the headphones to be opened just to test them out is simply a waste. To have to sanitize them and then repackage them is so wasteful. I instead applaud Enoch for not wasting the materials with no real need of use. Maybe some of us are okay living with the fact that ‘since (Enoch) didn’t bother to test theirs because you had your own, we’ll never know if they were any good.’ The horror of living with the unknown. (that is also sarcasm @Gadfly)

        i seek a thousand answers, i find but one or two, i maintain no discomfiture, my path again renewed.

  4. Enoch, great review indeed. As your seatmate on that flight, I’m glad to see your pictures of the dinner service, because as you may remember I slept through the entire meal! The food looked tasty and I’ll look forward to my next opportunity to ride Turkish Business Class and to hopefully stay awake for the service next time. Those seats and linens really are comfortable and tailored for “sleeping like a baby”, as they so accurately advertised. Your comment about the spaciousness of the cabin, and parallel seating configuration reminded me of what a great layout they chose for the A333. It was very sleek and easy to move around. I thought the seat pitch was quite better than many business cabins that I’ve flown over the years. Again, great review of TK7, I look forward to reading more of your posts. Travel well my friend!

  5. 1) Turkey is NOT Europe

    2) this seat config is quite common… KLM, Delta…just as an example. So I’m kind of wondering that you just realize now that hbones are not so wide compared to this one.

    3) TK staff is unfortunately moody, their service can be from average to outstanding – which means that a lot of US carriers can learn from themm since they are to often from catastrophic to average.

    4) it makes me laugh seeing that US residents think to have third world experiences abroad, while they have third world carriers and airports. Example? DXB Emirates lounge, DOH Qatar First class lounge, and IST TK lounge. Sure, there are things which need to be improved, but you should also mention that such airports and high quality lounges can not be experienced in the US.

    • 5) I nearly forgot. Don’t forget that the attendants spoke English with you, and most probably even other languages. Can you tell me how often you have an at least bilingual attendant in the US? Even Spanish is mostly only spoken by natives… Empasize this more please

      • Hi Vicavica, thanks for stopping by! As someone whose native language is not English, and studied my way to be functionally native in three, I don’t take anything like that for granted. It’s obviously impossible to draw direct comparisons to every single one of my previous experiences, but I hope you will find that in my reviews, I try to focus on aspects of the soft and hard products that are particularly memorable. With audiences that have flown through the US, I am sure they are drawing parallels and comparisons to their own experiences. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many of them already agree with several of your points!

  6. Thanks for the great review. The seats and bedding look/sound comfortable. I agree with you that a wider middle/aisle seat in this configuration beats a (reverse)herringbone, some are downright claustrophobic and I don’t like the angled screens you can’t use during take-off/landing…
    The food looks good, too, although I think moderation when it comes to dessert is completely overrated – go try all of them, for your readers sake 😉
    The Batman kit is a nice touche – I’m sure kids of travelers will prefer that bag over a Tumi/Ferragamo/… bag any day…
    Service sounds mixed – missing my meal prior to arrival after a long flight would make me unhappy!
    I’m looking forward to trying TK’s business class and lounge soon for the first time…

  7. I love this configuration as I mainly travel with someone. Agree with prior comments that many of the “pods” seem really tight. I call them coffin-like! LOL!

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