Few More Bites of Turkish Delight: Turkish Airlines Business Class on A333 + Istanbul Airport Lounge

Have you ever had an experience where one good thing unexpectedly happens to you that it completely overwrites the not-so-good things happening beforehand and changes your mood for the better? Well, this was definitely one of my moments.

I was on my way returning to the States from my parents’ home. After a long, sleepless first leg, I couldn’t wait to get on my next flight and take proper rest. Alas, the transfer process is not as easy as I thought. As most airlines do, Turkish place additional security measures at the gate for passengers bound to the U.S. This means more line, more carry-on bag check, and more wait. To top it off, I got the dreaded ‘SSSS’ mark (you can read further here) which means I had to go through additional ‘random’ full-body check. All this resulted in me being one the last few passengers to board. Fortunately no good deed goes unpunished as the boarding pass scanner beep loudly after reading mine and the TK agent quietly write my new seat number by hand: 1A – now this is worthy of a big smile.

The Flight

  • TK 81 Business Class
  • Istanbul Attaturk (IST) – Boston (BOS)
  • 14:35 – 18:15 (10h 40m)

TK does not have the most modern or innovative premium cabin offering – in fact, I would say it is pretty outdated. Their business cabin has a 2-2-2 layout which means no direct aisle access to some passengers, and their in-flight entertainment contents rank at the low end of the spectrum. While the seat has limited storage space and the console’s response is less than smooth, it does lie fully flat and has ample leg room which is a huge plus for a 10+ hour flight.

While the hard product may be a bit of a letdown, TK has something that differentiates themselves from the competitors: in-flight meal. I admit I am a big fan of turkish food and all of the food I had on this flight tasted wonderful to me, but even if you don’t, TK is catered by Do & Co which is renown for the quality of their onboard meal. Aside of the taste, I also give high mark for the presentation (‘candlelit’ dining in the clouds? why not) and that passengers could choose their appetizers and dessert from the cart. Meal portion was rather on the generous side, too.20170113_110816253_ios

Final Words

Overall, I think TK has a decent enough J product for their price range (note that they also offer cash upgrade at check-in). Although I do wish they consider upgrading the seats to catch up with the competition and make the whole premium experience more balanced. Oh, and maybe ask their flight attendants to smile more.

Extra Bits

For some people like myself, travelling into/through Turkey won’t be complete without visiting the infamous Turkish Airline lounge at IST. While I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 3 hours in Istanbul Airport (nothing to see here, better go visit the city), I would definitely recommend visiting what I consider to be one the best business lounges out there.

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This 2-storey facility, while can be very crowded during peak hours due to it being the only Star Alliance international lounge in vicinity in addition to the insanely high number of destination TK serves, is a haven for passengers. Its subtle yet authentic decor pleases the eye and it has all the things that I think a good lounge should have: delicious food offering, sufficient seating, good lounging chairs, shower, nap room with proper bed, kids area (or things that can keep children occupied), and praying space. I especially like the fact that regardless of where you sit, you won’t have to walk far to reach the food and beverages.

If only they can address the capacity issue during rush hour (a third floor, maybe?), this will be a perfect 10 in my book.

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