Business class onboard the Turkish Airlines 787-9 is a solid overall product and even better if you are traveling solo.
Instead of booking nonstop to Los Angeles on the 777-300ER, a product I have reviewed before, I booked to Atlanta on the 787-9. Last-minute space was available using Aeroplan miles via transferred American Express Membership Rewards points. I was even able to add domestic connections on United for no extra miles to get me all the way back to LA. The trip cost 55,000 Aeroplan miles and about $110 in taxes.
After a long layover in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge in Istanbul, I proceeded to my gate. Boarding commenced about 45-minutes prior to departure despite indicating a boarding time of one hour prior to departure on the boarding pass. Additional security checks were conducted at the gate, as occurs for all U.S. inbound flights.
Istanbul (IST) – Atlanta (ATL)
Tuesday, February 4
Depart: 3:40 PM
Arrive: 9:10 PM
Duration: 11hr, 45min
Distance: 5,759 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 8A (Business Class)
Stepping onboard, I was impressed by the muted color of the cabin. You could call it boring, but I thought it looked sleek and will probably age well.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Seat
Turkish offers 30 flat-bed seats in a single forward cabin onboard its 787-9. Seats are similar to what Singapore now offers on its regional product, but by no means inferior…I found the seat quite comfortable.
Rows 1-7 have four seats per row, staggered in a 1-2-1 configuration with “honeymoon” seats in the odd rows and more private seats in the even rows. In terms of window seats, even-numbered seats are true windows (A, K seats) and provide more privacy. Row 8 simply has two window seats on each side.
My seat was close to the lavatory and galley and therefore not a seat I normally would have chosen, but it was the last window seat in the cabin when I booked. As it turned out, the noise and foot traffic was not a problem.
The seat can be adjusted via push button controls and features a cabinet with a sliding door that is very helpful to store you valuables in during the flight. Power ports and a USB charger are easily within charge.
The tray table essentially folded out of the seat in front of you (under the screen) which I found quite practical.
When it comes time to sleep, the footwell is certainly more constrained than the business class seat on the 777-300ER or most A330-300 variants, but the tradeoff was worthwhile not to have someone next to you. If traveling with a loved on, I still like this new seat, but the 777 or A330 becomes much more attractive.
Turkish offers a light blanket for lounging, then a heavier, but soft blanket for sleeping with mattress pad and plush pillow. Turkish cabins are notoriously warm, but the 787-9 has individual air vents above each business class seat.
Almost the entire flight was in daylight, but the dimming windows on the 787 worked well (though not as well as physical blinds).
After dinner I managed a nice long nap, sleeping for the majority of the flight.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Service
After settling into my seat, flight attendant Mehmed welcomed me onboard and offered me a choice of drink.
Shortly after, his colleague, dressed as a chef, appeared to offer me a menu. There were also two female crewmembers making their rounds. Everyone was friendly…I experienced some of the best service I ever have on Turkish during this flight. For example, I was addressed by surname on several occasions. Drinks were refilled. Flight attendants did not disappear after the meal service. Mehmed made my bed as well.
Mehmed fell ill during the flight…so ill flight attendants requested a doctor onboard to treat him (he ended up taking an adjacent business class seat). I hope he is doing better now and don’t know the nature of his illness.
The taxi is long at Istanbul and it took us about 40 minutes to get into the air due to the afternoon rush.
The safety video is screened first in Turkish, then in English…be prepared to interrupt your movie for 10 minutes.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Turkish offers a huge library of movies on-demand, with over 250 to choose from. It also offers live TV, games, music, TV programs, an interactive flight map, and a nose and underbelly camera.
Noise-cancelling headphones from Denon were offered and worked well. Annoyingly, these were collected about an hour prior to landing (we were given disposable headphones to use).
Wi-Fi worked onboard, but it was data-capped and fairly expensive. However, business clsss passengers do receive a free wi-go card good for 50MB of data. Sadly, I forgot to turn off automatic updates on my phone and ate up the total data allocation in mere minutes. I did not bother to reconnect.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Amenity Kit + Slippers
I loved the Versace amenity kit, though you’ll forgive me for thinking that this was a a Hermes bag. That Hermes orange is like the green color at Tiffany…so linked to the brand that for others to use it is likely to cause consumer confusion…ah, it brings back memories of my Trademark Law class.
The contents of the kit included:
- eye mask
- ear plugs
- dental kit
- Versace branded:
- body lotion
- lip balm
- refreshing mist
Slippers were also offered, though no pajamas.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Lavatory
Lavatories onboard still feature Molton Brown soaps and hand cremes, but the green plants that used to make the lavatories look so nice in business class are no longer present, at least on the 787. The toilet offered a bidet.
Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Dining
Be prepared for a feast when you fly Turkish longhaul business. I mentioned earlier that the chef came around the cabin to introduce himself, offer menus, and a hot towel prior to departure. He said he would return to take my meal selection after takeoff.
I love lamb; it’s my favorite meat. And there was lamb on the menu. But I was too dumb to pre-reserve a meal (Turkish now offers this service) or at least tell the chef to hold one. Seated in the last row of the cabin, I was regretfully informed when it came time to take meal orders that there was no lamb left. Oh well.
After takeoff a choice of drink was offered with mixed nuts and canapés. I love the juices on Turkish and moved from fresh raspberry juice pre-takeoff to lemon-mint juice.
Next, the table was set for dinner, using a trolley. Turkish places a “candle” at each seat, which is a nice touch. I also appreciate that no trays are used, the butter is not rock hard, and olive oil is offered too.
An appetizer cart appeared…you could order as much or as little as you wanted. I tried a bit of everything, including pea soup, Caesar salad, king prawn, dolma, eggplant hummus, smoked trout, and yogurt.
Once the dishes were cleared away, the main course appeared. I snapped a picture of the lamb as it was coming by, but the chicken was actually just fine…very moist and flavorful actually.
I think the best part of the meal, however, was saved for last. Dessert was truly a treat, again served by cart, with delicious Turkish pastries, ice cream, fruit, and a strong cup of Turkish coffee. The chilled chocolate bar and ice cream over a bed of sliced almonds was so delicious.
Prior to landing, dinner was served. I had a Turkish dish the chef recommended that was like a beef minced pastry. It was tasty, but I was still a bit full from the massive dinner I had hours earlier. Sticking to the juice theme, I had fresh squeezed orange juice to drink. The appetizer included mozzarella and grilled vegetables plus green salad and the main course also had grilled vegetables on the side. I skipped the chocolate mousse for dessert, but did have a cappuccino. This meal was served on a tray.
Sure, I was disappointed to have missed out on the lamb, but overall I greatly enjoyed the meals on Turkish.
We landed on-time in Atlanta and I left with a smile on my face. This was a very nice flight with a comfortable seat, working wi-fi, cool cabin, and delicious food. Service was great and I really cannot think of anything directly that could have been improved. Well done Turkish Airlines!
Great review! How can AA/UA/DL not look at this catering and say, “ok, we need to step up.”
Of course, now, who knows what the future holds in premium cabins. We may be looking back at these pre-corona virus reviews as the last “Golden Age of Flying.”
Totally agree with Stuart. How can TK have such a great quality product and make money; while the US airlines cant?
Also this article really makes me miss flying atm.
I would be concerned about the illness of the FA..
Not sure whether you got a test for coronavirus and whether all pax on that flight did
Curious how you think the seat compares to Polaris…even though it had its start as the SQ regional product (right?) to me it looks like a distinct step up vs. UA’s offer (whose angled seats in particular I find terrible). Plus these just have more privacy esp. if on the aisle.
I also have no problem with the Polaris seat…the extra privacy is a bit of gimmick, since it’s not needed for UA window seats and the middle seats have that large privacy divider that slides up. If anything, I think the UA seats are padded a bit better.
I flew this flight ATL-IST in January. Very nice overall but I found the seat to be very tight around the shoulders and the foot cubby far too small for my size 13.5’s. The air nozzles were truly wonderful.
I agree – for a “business class” product – TK probably has the best service, food, and presentation.
Love flying them from my base in SFO to many places via IST.
I flew on TK in J last week, though on the 777.
The orange amenity kit you have pictured and described is actually the “ladies” amenity kit. For men, there’s a brown leather one (you can see both versions in earlier photos of the seats). The contents of each version are similar but there are mens/womens versions of some of the personal care products.
I agree, TK does an absolutely wonderful job of the food, service, and most things. Not to mention the over-the-top IST lounge. Once the current world calamity passes, I look forward to flying TK in business again. I sure hope such wonderful experiences are not lost once we come out the other side of this.
When i read your TK reviews (OMAAT’s and other colleagues’, too), i feel that you get a special treatment. Joking of course, but still.
I have been a TK frequent flyer for 10+ years, and my experience is mostly very different.
Like, take my most recent flight: awfully dirty cabin, indifferent staff, tray presentation, no dine on demand, ridiculous meal timeline etc.
Glad you enjoyed it, and hope i can have a flawless TK flight at least once, at some point 🙂
I thought about you when I published my full lounge reviews — I get that the food doesn’t change, but isn’t there still enough variety to give you a bit something different each time? There’s 20+ options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…plus all sorts of coffees, tea, juice, alcohol, soft drinks. I’m in United and Lufthansa lounges all the time and they never change either (and have a more limited selection to start from), but a little salad here, a sandwich here, some eggs here…it doesn’t get too bad.
I agree that LH F lounge menus don’t ever change, but LH SEN lounges? Hm. Whenever i am there, the buffet is different. Sure, the ever-present sausages are always there, but the soups, main courses and desserts do vary. Meanwhile, they never do in TK lounges.
Anyways, on my recent visit there was almost zero food in IST lounge. Sad times…
Le Chef est une VASTE PLAISANTERIE, cela sert seulement à Amuser le GO GO comme vous, lorsque vous paierez vous MÊME, Vos AVIS seront Différents, pour terminer Turkish Airlines a le meilleur service en ÉCONOMIQUE, le CHEF qu’il reste au Sol
Meals look phenomenal. TK has a great product. Frustrating about all the delays at take-off; I would have thought they fixed that in their new airport.
The seat is nice, yea, but the privacy shield can be a bit annoying when trying to look outside the windows. And if you’re trying to speak with the person next you in the honeymoon suits.
The window seat is way too difficult to look out of. I can do without the wall next to the window.