While the thought of a middle seat in a business class cabin seems dated, Turkish Airlines offers a spacious and comfortable product onboard its Boeing 777-300ER. This review covers my Turkish Airlines 777-300 flight from Istanbul to London in business class.
Turkish Airlines 777-300 Business Class Review
This flight was part of my one-way journey from Cotonou (COO) to London (LHR) via Istanbul (IST). I paid 42,500 Turkish miles for a one-way business class ticket, plus about $400 in taxes/fees.
During my layover in Istanbul, I visited the Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge, a lounge I have reviewed before. Addressing the pandemic, the lounge had retooled its buffet to offer individual portions in disposable packing.
I had slept through breakfast on my flight from Cotonou and enjoyed a hearty breakfast including several barista-made cappuccinos, delicious Gözleme, and a cheese sandwich.
> Read More: Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul (IST)
The gate area for my flight to London was quiet. As this was the week the world finally woke up to COVID-19, most cancelled their travel plans and few passengers took the flight, a sign of what was to come in the months ahead.
Turkish Airlines 1985
Istanbul (IST) – London (LHR)
Sunday, March 15
Depart: 01:30 PM
Arrive: 02:35 PM
Duration: 04hr, 05min
Distance: 1,550 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 4A (Business Class)
Onboard, I found an empty business class cabin and had it to myself for several minutes. It was only toward the end of the boarding process that a few additional business class passengers boarded.
Turkish Airlines offers 49 lie flat seats in business class onboard its 777-300ERs. Spanning seven rows, each row has seven seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Although the thought of a middle seat in business class seems so outmoded in 2021, one thing I love about the Turkish Airlines business class seat is that your feet are not constrained. That actually makes sleeping easier. Sure, aisle access becomes an issue on a full flight, but the cabin is configured to be booked to 42/49 (86%) without utilizing the middle seats. Window and aisle seats are the same (unlike on some carriers, where the size of the cutout varies).
I chose a window seat, 4A, which turned out to be missing a window. Avoid that seat. I could have easily moved, but just decided to stay put.
Notice all the room in lie-flat mode, even with the lack of privacy:
Seat controls are located in the center console along with a USB outlet, universal plug, and limited personal storage under the armrest (the space was big enough for a tablet or small laptop). There’s also a large storage cabinet inside the ottoman.
Privacy dividers are available between each seat, but provide only limited privacy.
The front cabin includes four rows while the rear cabin includes three. The rear cabin had four passengers, making a total of eight in business class.
Although the cabin was empty, it was fully-staffed. That essentially gave each passenger their own flight attendant. A smiling flight attendant offered a pre-departure beverage of water, lemon mint juice, raspberry juice, or orange juice. The orange juice was freshly pressed and included an orange slice.
While I would not call the flight attendants chatty, they were extremely attentive and did not pull a disappearing act after the meal service. I asked for another orange juice 30 minutes prior to landing and was obliged (in a plastic cup):
Food + Drink
Menus were distributed along with hazelnuts prior to takeoff. Today’s lunch selections included grilled lamb chops, grilled chicken, or artichoke ravioli. All delicious, but the choice was instantly clear for me: lamb. meal service began shortly after takeoff with a hot towel.
The appetizer was seafood-based, including salmon, shrimp, and trout. The tray also included a small green salad, a selection of cheeses, and a profiterole (cream puff) for desert.
Although the portion was small (I suppose I could have asked for another), the lamb was delicious. In fact, this would turn out to be my best airline meal of 2020. The dish included buttery mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. Had the meat been cooked a medium rare instead of well-done, it would have been even better. I would have also preferred fresh fruit over the cream puff, but an excellent meal overall.
Coffee and tea followed, but I was already over-caffeinated from the lounge.
IFE + Wi-Fi
After lunch, I checked out the in-flight entertainment. Prominent warnings about COVID-19 filled the screen in its default mode. Turkish offers a wide selection of movies, TV shows, games, and music. Today, however, I tuned into live TV (CNN). The topic of the day would be the topic of the year: coronavirus.
Turkish Airlines provides noise-cancelling headphones from Philips in business class.
1GB of free wi-fi internet was included for business class passengers, though internet speeds were terrible.
No amenity kits was provided on this flight. Turkish Airlines does provide amenity kits on longhaul flights in business class.
The 777 has spacious business class lavatories with black stone countertops and Molton Brown soap and hand lotion. I liked the “faux” window on the wall.
Turkish Airlines treats its business class passengers well and remains one of my favorite carriers. The pandemic has ushered in a cutback in onboard service, but hopefully the full service, as I experienced on this flight, returns later in 2021.
This story is part of my An African Adventure As The World Shut Down trip report.
I enjoyed reading your review – Thank you. My family and I exclusively fly BA / OneWorld for Longhaul and US domestic, so it is always nice to read reviews from other airlines. That said, my family’s BA elite status is to too valuable (e.g. ability to use AA Flaghip lounges when flying domestically – of course, there are all shut for now) to change alliances.
Great report, brings back memories of happier times- indeed my last flights were on TK, just a couple of weeks prior to yours.
For any readers who are not familiar with flying within Europe and may think that this is the type of transcon service you normally get, it is worth noting that the business class alternatives to Turkish Airlines on these routes generally involve flying an A320 with economy seating, maybe 34″ pitch if you’re lucky (on BA you have to make do with 30″), and the middle seat blocked. The soft product is also rather far behind TK in most cases- only Aegean’s comes close.
I flew this same route on BA in J back in September, and as you described, was nowhere near as nice as this.
Funny how different it was for me. I used to be OneWorld Sapphire (mainly for CX even while in US) but AA ruined it for me. Both their FF program and lousy customer service. I couldn’t justify giving them my money anymore. Years ago I switched to StarAlliance and that was one of the best choices I ever made regarding my business and travel. It also doesn’t hurt that I travel to Asia quite often which StarAlliance absolutely dominates that continent (when BR launched out of IAH it was a game changer for my business in Taiwan). Two things I miss though about OneWorld are CX and their lounges at HK and Qantas. Flying IAH-SYD on UA is nice but DFW-SYD on QF was special.
I think Turkish is great as a couple but not great as a single (I guess except when the cabin is empty….)
Lie flat for a sub 5 hr route and Comfort class sold as business for a 7 hr overnight flight?
As for the seats, I’d rather have a middle seat if that means no cramped footwell. The 2-4-2 on many of UAs Hawaii routes are very comfortable for sleeping
This review makes me nostalgic. I flew TK a handful of times before the pandemic and was blown away by the catering quality. Then I flew them again this past August from Istanbul to Chicago and is was nothing short of sad how bad the pre-packaged food was. A complete 180 degree turnaround, and it left me utterly disappointed after already having experienced how great they were pre-Covid
As always, TKK has a great on board experience! Shame it was such a short flight only from Constantinople to London.
I do enjoy the Swiss planes which actually do have windows in the lavatories.
Thanks Matthew! Brought back so many memories of my many business class flights over the years on Turkish 777s. Besides more legroom, another positive of this layout is the ability to take over an empty seat next to you – the window seat is a bed for the duration of the flight (with bedding) and the aisle seat is for lounging & eating. Privacy and even more space. 🙂