After a few days at home, it was back to Istanbul for the final portion of my trip. As we emerge from the pandemic era, Turkish Airlines can once again be relied upon for a full-service experience filled with culinary delights onboard its 777-300ER in business class.
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class Review
Using Turkish Airlines miles to book flights on Turkish Airlines is a great deal. Turkish Miles & Smiles represents one of the best transfer partners of Citi and Capital One. A one-way business class ticket from LA to Istanbul is 47,500 miles and about $300 in taxes, a superb buy.
As I arrived at my gate in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the crew was just boarding. Passenger boarding commenced at 6:15 pm, just 10 minutes prior to our scheduled 6:25 pm departure. Business class passengers have access to the Star Alliance Lounge, though I used the United Polaris Lounge in Terminal 7.
Turkish Airlines 10
Los Angeles (LAX) – Istanbul (IST)
Sunday, April 10
Depart: 06:35 PM
Arrive: 5:35 PM+1
Duration: 13hr, 00min
Distance: 6,851 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 3K (Business Class)
Onboard, I was greeted by a flight attendant who took a look at my boarding pass and then pointed toward the starboard side of the plane.
The Turkish Airlines business class seat on the 777 is controversial. The cabin includes 48 seats spread over two sections with a galley between them. Many dismiss the 2-3-2 configuration as an inherently uncompetitive business class product and I am certainly willing to stipulate I would never wish to be caught in a middle seat. Window seats also do not have direct aisle access.
Nevertheless, I do like these seats because your feet are not constrained in a small compartment. In the lie-flat mode, I find these seats quite comfortable for lounging and sleeping and when you are traveling with a companion and able to score two seats on the side, you have a lot of room to spread out and can easily converse.
I was traveling alone, however, and an Egyptian man sat down next to me and began speaking. I was fine with making small talk (I rarely start a conversation onboard, but will engage), but was happy when the section of three seats in the middle remained open at the conclusion of boarding and he excused himself and moved over.
Seats are controlled by a series of eight buttons and a preferred position can be locked into memory and then recalled on-demand.
On the side of the seat is a passenger service unit and a universal power outlet.
Each business class seat also had personal storage under the built-in ottoman which is large enough for a bag the size of your purse or for your shoes.
There’s also storage between monitors:
Bedding includes a pillow and duvet and flight attendants will prepare your bed upon request.
Flight time to Istanbul was just over 12 hours and I slept for over nine hours…it was lovely to wake up as we approach Istanbul well-rested.
I find the use of mood lighting onboard not only gives the cabin modern feel, but helps in adjusting to time change and waking up.
IFE + Wi-Fi
Turkish Airlines offers a large IFE library with hundreds of movies, TV shows, and games, as well as a wide audio selection and five channels of live TV.
In addition to a moving flight map, the 777 has two cameras onboard, including one pointing downward and another pointing forward.
Noise cancelling headphones from Denon were provided, which worked quite well.
Business class passengers enjoy free wi-fi onboard. Simply enter your seat number and last name on the wi-fi portal and you will be connected. As this was an overnight flight on a Sunday night, I did not have much work to do and spent the flight largely offline.
The views out the window during the first 45 minutes of the flight were breathtakingly beautiful.
Business class passengers have four dedicated lavatories, including two between the two business cabins and two upfront (though one upfront seems to remain locked for the flight crew).
Extra amenities included Paina eau de cologne and perfume, hand creme, and hand wash from Molton Brown (in addition to the standard soap).
Waiting on each seat was a shoe bag with slippers inside.
Flight attendants later distributed a Versace-branded amenity kit which included:
- Dental kit
- Eye shade
- Earp plugs
- Versace-branded skin products
- Lip blam
- Body lotion
- Scented mist
A hygiene kit was also offed with three face masks (early in the pandemic, Turkish authorities required that masks be changed every few hours), wipes, and hand sanitizer.
Food + Drink
The highlight of any Turkish Airlines flight is the catering, which includes a sumptuous multi-course meal and a superb beverage selection.
During barding, a pre-departure beverage was offered and I chose Turkish’s signature fresh mint lemonade, which is on the sweet side but always refreshing.
Onboard “chefs” are back (flight attendants dressed as chefs, that is) and these gentlemen welcomed passengers onboard and presented menus for the flight. They would later return to take meal orders and were responsible for plating the food during meal service.
After takeoff, drinks and nuts were offered (I tried the rosé wine). Next, my table was set for dinner, including the use of a flickering “candle” to give the meal table a bit more ambiance. Hot towels were also distributed.
Tonight’s menu included a selection of mezze, creamy mushroom soup, a garden salad, or seafood with grilled vegetables as the appetizer. You can mix and match, having one or having all four.
I tried the mezze, which included a dollop of tastes ranging from guacamole to tabouleh and hummus to grilled chicken.
I also had a bowl of soup, which was creamy, rich in mushroom flavor, and topped with croutons.
Finally, I rounded out my appetizer with a small green salad and a selection of bread, beautiful served with butter, olive oil, and Turkish spices.
Service was conducted via trolley, which provides the chance to look at the food before selecting it.
The rosé wine, a 2020 Kavaklidere Egeo was from Turkey and very nice.
For my main course, I chose grilled wild sea bass, served with Tuscany style vegetables, herbed potatoes, and a lemon basely sauce on top. The fish was lovely and the rosemary garnish and careful arrangement of the elements made it even better.
I concluded dinner wtih a slice of chocolate cake, a fruit salad, and herbal tea.
Movie Bar + In-Flight Snack
In between meals, a snack of a mozzarella sandwich with cherry chocolate cake is available, as well as a “Movie Menu” of sweet and savory snacks mixed mixed nuts, dried figs, cookies, and chocolate.
I stayed hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Flight attendants patrolled the cabin and frequently offered water bottles.
About two hours outside of Istanbul, breakfast began: another feast.
I started with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice and a cappuccino.
Breakfast starters included a large fruit plate, yogurt with apple compote, a chicken breast and smoked turkey, and a selection of cheese. Pastries and bread were also offered, along with butter and jam.
For my main course, I chose a tomato and mozzarella omelet (with sautéed spinach, buttered potatoes, and grilled tomatoes) over pancakes (with caramelized apple, wild berry compote, and vanilla sauce).
The croissant and danish were hot and flaky…simply perfect.
The omelet was perfectly cooked and goodness…with so much food I could not finish.
I did round out the meal with a Turkish coffee (no sugar please…).
Once again, Turkish demonstrated that its catering is unrivaled in terms of business class. Many come close, including Qatar Airways, Etihad, ANA, and British Airways, but I do believe Turkish Airlines is the best in terms of the quality and presentation.
I have found that service on Turkish Airlines has improved greatly over the last decade. When I first started flying Turkish regularly I found the service to be hit or miss and also found that many flight attendants lacked basic English skills. This is not the case any longer, at least on all my recent flights dating back the last few years.
Crews were gracious, courteous, and attentive. I really felt valued as a guest onboard and appreciated that these flight attendants took pride in providing excellent service onboard. A particular shoutout to Celin, pictured above, who was so kind to me during the flight.
Arrival Into Istanbul
We flew over central Istanbul on our way out the airport, before landing about 30 minutes behind schedule.
As is often the case at IST, we pulled up to a remote gate and deplaned via air stairs.
Turkish Airlines offers a dedicated bus for business class passengers which promptly took us to the terminal.
There, I faced a long line for immigration before finally making my way out of the airport and on my way into the city, where I would spend the next few night at the Four Seasons Bosporous.
Turkish Airlines offers an excellent in-flight product in business class with comfortable seats, great bedding, and superb food and drinks onboard. While I realize the seat itself on the 777-300ER will be a dealbreaker for some, I would encourage you to approach it with an open mind, especially if you are not traveling alone. For all that this seat lacks in terms of privacy, it makes up for in terms of space to sleep without feeling like you are in a coffin.
There is a dedicated business line for immigration at IST. Usually I am sent right through. Are you sure you didn’t just use the economy one on accident?
I wasn’t aware there was a dedicated business class line. This was the general line.
Yep, there is a dedicated business class immigration lane.
Is it the same lane for crew and diplomats? I didn’t think that way, because I’ve seen only crew going that way. I’ve entered TR at IST twice last several months, I’ve never be able to find it, although I always come from the right side of entrance to the immigration hall.
When exiting from TR at IST (landside to airside), yes I’ve been using priority security and immigration (I forgot which was first), though.
Please be advised this fast track immigration line is for Turkish Airlines business class only. Not applicable even for other Star Alliance carriers. If flying Turkish Airlines as last leg on a United codeshare flight, be sure to get a Turkish Airlines business class boarding pass at the gate.
Istanbul airport also offers (for a fee, of course) an excellent meet-and-greet service, IGA Pass, (www.iga.pass.com). IGA Pass personnel meet you at the jetway with a golf cart, zip you pass immigration, escort you to baggage claim, and even grab your suitcases from the belt. Not cheap but a huge help in traipsing through this extremely large airport after a long journey. IGA additionally can assist you when departing Istanbul, meeting your car/taxi outside the terminal with a porter and–best of all– having you go through its own dedicated entrance security, including lifting your bags on the belt. This alone has saved my back from wrangling my heavy suitcase!
Thanks Penny. I’ve used the Meet and Greet from IGA as well – it’s a nice service indeed.
Was the flight kept really warm? The last time my wife and I flew Turkish, the cabin was so hot, I woke up sweating and had a hard time going back to sleep.
I know that can be a problem, but the cabin was kept cool on this flight.
Food looks nice, but I would be well annoyed if I spent $600 on my “free” seat to be stuck in the middle.
I am always impressed with TK food and service. However, until the 777’s are updated with proper J seating I will avoid them at all cost. The seat for me is priority one. Same goes for EK. Just not going to ever support an airline in J anymore that actually still has a middle seat, let alone not providing all aisle access.
Amusingly, I’m the opposite. I will fly TK as long as they have this seat on the 777, so that I can sleep on the flight. I will avoid their 787’s like the plague, and will avoid them altogether once they “upgrade” their seats. My reason is the same as yours – because the seat is the most important one thing for me. The difference is that what matters to me about the seat is the sleeapability.
Funny how divided this is as far as the seats. For me, the more cocoon setting of the 1-2-1 layout with whoever is so much more relaxing. I can’t stand to have to sit next to someone, especially sleep next to them. I am more about privacy. With that said, if I knew the aisle was empty, of course this would be better, but these days, when is that ever a reality.
From my personal point of view, it depends on with whom you are travelling.
If I travel alone, will definitely choose the “cocoon” type of seat.
But if I am travelling with my family, will definitely choose this open concept, easier to talk with each other 🙂
Sleepability should be of no problem though… I am not very tall either.
Agree to disagree 🙂
Great food, although I am probably more excited about the shoe bag. It’s been a very long time since I last got one- no such luck over the past several years with long haul business class flights on quite a number of carriers (off the top of my head: AF, TP, KQ, AM, ET, LX, and I might have forgotten one or two more).
The food service you would get today is better than what you depict (your flight was last year). Today, the appetizer and dessert trollies are back where you can customize your choices. Soup is still on option.
I do not like sitting next to someone else, but if I can get a window/aisle pair to myself, I prefer the TK seating to any other business class option.
I don’t think anything is different today beyond the set-up of the trolley and perhaps the return of the cloth napkin. I could have ordered all appetizers or desserts if I wanted them.
Flights departing the US usually don’t use the buffet style appetizer trolley, that’s usually on the flights departing IST. It was like that even before the pandemic.
I like flying TK, and the paid tickets to backtrack from the US east coast to western Europe in Business Class sometimes are such a good deal I won’t use miles. I don’t do the B777. Turkish is consistent and uneventful, which honestly is just want you want for 12-14 hours sometimes. I have noticed the crews getting better, though I’ve found some of those working from IST into Europe who speak little English to be friendliest and last couple times with a light load were a little more relaxed.
One anecdote I tell about TK that kind of embodies the service: I had a flight where the wifi was being a bit challenging to connect. One of the flight attendants, when I asked if the wifi was working, said it was not being easy today, and took my phone and then proceeded to type in IP addresses and go in through some back way to connect me versus the regular web interface. I was impressed by the knowledge/training on this, and the fact that she took care of it (most carriers I feel would just say too bad).
I love the these window seats. Same with the old Qatar business seats. Your legs are not restricted and usually the aisle seat will either remain open or your neighbor will move to a different aisle seat. I usually use the aisle seat for dining and lounging and the window exclusively for sleeping (with FAs permission).
That’s if someone doesn’t sit in the seat next to you.
I fly 3-4 times per year from SE Asia to North America, usually on Turkish. The 777 is great when I am with my wife and we can sit together or when I am alone and have an empty seat next to me. It’s more comfortable for me than the 787 and 350. I opt for the center section aisle in row 5. As an Elite plus the airline seems to keep the seat next to me empty unless the flight is full. The food is good and I like the space. I find the 787 and 350 too tight. But at the end of the day I am happy to be traveling in business.
I always thought LAX to be more premium destination than SEA, YVR, etc, but why TK flies such inferior J product there, while they fly 787 reverse herringbone to SEA for years and a350 staggered or reverse herringbone to YVR for about a year? Is that because they want to meet the greater Y demand without increasing frequency?
They need a bigger plane/more capacity. That’s why they fly the 777 to LAX. pure and simple. People seem to think that airlines look and say ooh – that market is more “premium” than that one, so let’s put that product there. It’s more complicated than that, but in general, there are more seats on the 777 and the demand is greater to LAX so that’s where the plane goes. Period.
Not really sure either why you think LAX is “premium” versus others, or even what that means. having worked in network planning for a few large international airlines, I can tell you that people in the airlines dont think like that. It’s all what’s the demand and what’s the fare. That’s it. LAX is, surprisingly, not always as “premium” as some people tend to think it is.
But regardless, in this case, the 777 has the more J and more Y seats than any other, and TK can fill it. So that’s why the 777 goes to LAX.
I think everyone including you agrees with NYC and LON being premium routes. LAX, compared to SEA and YVR, most people would agree with LAX being the most premium among them, although SEA got Microsoft, Amazon, etc and ascending its position last decade.
TK used to fly 787 to YVR till the end of 2021, then switched to 777 till fall 2022, then switched again to a350. I thought 787 and a350 were snatched up by more premium/business destinations so less premium/leisure destinations like YVR got a leftover, namely 777.
Having worked in network planning at a few large airlines, and having made aircraft allocations to routes such as this, I can tell you that any notion of “premium” is never discussed. All that matters is average fare and demand. LAX in general has low fares. It’s not a high fare destination. But it has volume. So it gets bigger planes. In general. NYc and LON, for certain routes, have had both high fares AND high volume. So things could be different. Regardless, airlines assign airplanes to routes based on where they think theyll make the most money. No notions of markets being more premium than another, whatever that means, come into play. Things since Covid, btw, have changed things. Pre Covid there was a never ending supply of people- bankers and consultants for example- willing to pay $8000-$10k Roy trip from nyc to London. Not sure how much there is anymore. Pre Covid, there were tons of Chinese airlines at LAX offering dirt cheap tickets to Asia. The point is, things also can change overtime with shifting work patterns, politics, etc. LAX was never very high fare due to the huge amount of competition there and fragmentation of the market. I was never sure why people outside the industry thought it was “premium”. Maybe because it’s Hollywood? That didn’t necessarily translate to fares, but it did bring volume and good enough fares, so the market was served. Just my impression.
“Many come close, including Qatar Airways, Etihad, ANA, and British Airways, but I do believe Turkish Airlines is the best in terms of the quality and presentation.”
Have to disagree on some of those. Turkish does have good food, but I’d say Qatar, ANA, and JAL trump in the food department, in both taste and presentation. But it’s still a good way-above-average meal.
As for these seats…they’re nice if you are traveling with someone, but if I am traveling alone, their seats on the 787 are pretty good and I didn’t have a problem falling asleep in it. Interesting that you don’t have a problem with the lack of storage and privacy with these seats.
Kavaklidere Egeo rosé is a ten buck wine.
I am glad you didnt bring up SQ for comparison on food, flew SQ a few times recently and I have gone back to QR. Their catering is pathetic and it’s worse out of SIN, with limited selections, unappetising presentation and tableware, lack of differentiation between flights and taste wise leaving a lot to be desired.
Thanks for this review.
I just flew Turkish from Doha to Washington via Istanbul this past Monday. Overall, I thought it was okay, not great. And I was in Business.
The A321 flight from Doha to Istanbul actually exceeded my expectations in business class. Even though it was a 2:30AM departure, there was a full breakfast served which was good and service overall was good. Even though it was not a lie flat seat, I slept well in the reclining seat, with the footrest.
My connection to Washington was at 9:30 am on the 787. The 787 is their new plane with new business class seat product that has all aisle access. Except one thing. The seat wasnt very comfortable at all. It had this shell around it that really impacted width. I have broad shoulders and anybody with broad shoulders will find the shell confining and narrow. My shoulders were digging into it the whole time. Plus, the shell blocked viewing through the window, which I was sitting next to.
The food was only okay too. They started out with breakfast which was fine, but it was EXACTLY THE SAME as the breakfast I had received on my Doha – Istanbul flight, so the novelty was gone and it wasnt interesting. The big meal – the lunch thing – was served prior to landing. Unlike your flight, there was only one “chef” on my flight,a nd he demanded we give him our lunch orders, which again were served prior to landing, before we took off. He was in the other aisle from mine and we never saw him on my side. Service was extremely slow and by the end the flight attendants were running around and hurrying everybody up as we had to land. IN addition, they never offered me a refill on my glass of wine and I never had the chance to ask them for one – they were never around. This during a long and drawn out meal service that took nearly 2.5 hours. Food was fine but not great.
Overall, the short haul flight on Turkish impressed me whereas the long haul flight let me down. I used the 47.5 k miles so that was a great redemption. On my way to Doha I flew Qatar nonstop from Dulles. Despite the flight switching to a non- q- suite 777 with 2-2-2- seating at the last minute, I vastly preferred that flight, even the seat. It was wider than the seat on TK, and the service was better, and the food more to my liking. I’ll try TK again if needed, but will go in with expectations in line.
Mr Klint, was nice to read your trip report with Turkish Airlines, i just add.. the Fliying Chefs are real Chefs! .. the company hire and give the traning in DO&CO in Istanbul… many years before was a other airline in Turkey.. Atlas Global.. they dress the Flight Attendants like a chef..
Have a great Flights.. and i wait more trip reports!
I had the opportunity to TA on 777 from Jakarta to Istanbul (return). Though it’s 2-3-2 configuration, it’s very spacious and comfortable. Food was good and plenty. Service was good and it’s IFE provided with lots of choices.
THY min reklamını yapmayı bırakın, Washington dulles havaalanına 2019 ta uçmuştum economi de gayet iyiidi ,yolcu kalitesi iyi personel iyi memnun kalmıştık. 2023 şubat ayında aynı ekonomi sınıfı uçuş yaptık, THY mi orta doğu ülke vatandaşlarını taşıyan dolmuş uçakmı belli değil.para için %75 i Orta doğulu kural tanımayan ,oturup kalkmasını bilmeyen bir insan topluluğunu taşıyan havayolu olmuşsunuz.birde bussenes clas reklamı yapıyorsunuz.thy bin kalitesini sıfıra indirdiniz birde reklam yapıyorsunuz.
Typo… As I arrived at my gate in the Tom Bradly International Terminal,
I’m always impressed when airlines offer good, consistent catering from their outstations. It feels like outstation catering (even for Premium Classes) can be so hit or miss, but Turkish makes an effort to ensure consistency across all of its routes.
How do you eat all of that food-hollow leg? 😉
So that I understand this correctly: The trip took place on April 10, 2022, but the review was published 50 weeks later — essentially one year — on March 24, 2023?