Flying With Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines is one of the best carriers in the world, and I regularly fly with them on medium and long distance flights. I flew with them to Nepal, when I went to hike Poon Hill, and the first time I went to Israel. Back then, I flew economy class and I have to say that, for as much as I dreaded the flight, it was a great experience.
Even in economy class, Turkish Airlines provides excellent service. The seats are more comfortable than the average seat in economy class with other airlines (trust me, I have tried a fair amount of them!); the staff is kind, welcoming and helpful; and the food is ten times better than the average airline food!
Turkish Airlines has excellent customer service. To my surprise, customer service agents are literally always available on Twitter, getting back to passengers within minutes. I send them a private message via Twitter to their profile when I needed to request a special meal, and sure enough they got back to me and got my meal right.
This may sound obvious to some, but trust me: it’s not. I don’t even know how many times I ordered a special meal (I am lactose intolerant) and ended up with a vegetarian meal which was obviously packed with cheese. My strong complaints afterwards got me copious amounts of miles, travel credit and what not.
None of this happens on Turkish Airline flights. The staff is always kind and helpful and ready to listen and solve any problem. From the moment of booking the flights to the check in experience (I have always found personnel with excellent sense of humor and great problem solving skills), from the customer service to the actual experience on board, flying with Turkish Airlines is nothing short of amazing.
That, and the fact that the prices are really competitive prompted me to buy yet another flight with Turkish Airlines, this time to travel to Cape Town. It was only later on that I decided that I wanted to treat myself a bit, and got an upgrade to business class.
Comfortable seats (that actually recline)
Flying business class means having plenty of comforts on board, that those flying economy won’t necessarily have. The main difference between economy class and business class is in the seat and in the space that passengers have. The rows of seats in economy class are very close to each other, and the seats hardly recline. It makes flying very tiresome, especially if – like me – you don’t get much sleep unless you lie down. The only way I can get some sleep in economy class is when the flight is almost empty and I manage to get a row of seats all to myself, so I can lay down.
Flying business class also means having fully reclining seats, which are so large that they basically become a small bed. But it gets even better when flying business class with Turkish Airlines. Here, a crew member comes to “prepare your bed:” while you go to the toilet to freshen up using the amenity kit provided (which includes the basics such as toothbrush and toothpaste, but also luxury brand lotion and lip balm), someone from the crew will fully recline your seat, place a cover, a soft pillow and a proper comforter.
The inflight experience is made even better by the fact that wifi is available on board. It may not be the best speed (after all, you are up in the sky), but it’s enough to do some basic emailing or to communicate via Facebook messenger or Whatsapp. I had a good time catching up with my family and friends and bragging a bit for flying business class.
In flight entertainment
Frequent flyers know how boring long flights can be. Some carry their tablet to watch movies, others take a book. I normally rely on in-flight entertainment, and long haul flights are the perfect occasion to catch up on all the latest releases that I may have missed. Turkish Airlines has an incredible selection of movies and TV series, and provides excellent noise cancelling headphones to passengers flying business class.
As I have said before, food on Turkish Airlines flights is generally good, even in economy. Flying business class means being treated to a proper gourmet meal! Upon boarding, while sipping a juice or mineral water kindly provided by the crew, the on board chef (yes, you read that right!) approaches passengers flying business class with a menu and asks them to make a choice between the various main courses available.
By meal time (I had dinner and breakfast on both flights), the crew comes by to open up the tray table and set it up with a small candle and cutlery. It then comes back with a huge tray packed with appetizers: there are various salads and vegetable dishes, as well as some deli, olives and cheeses (though I couldn’t try those).
The main course when flying business class seems to be prepared to order. I had a fillet mignon with a side of roast potatoes and vegetables on my flight and it was cooked to perfection (and actually much better than a steak I have recently had at a restaurant here in Cagliari!). I accompanied that with a glass of Merlot which I selected from the endless wine list, and it was absolute meal perfection!
The meal was completed with fresh, crispy bread, and an incredible selection of desserts – though by the time dessert arrived, I was really too full to pick any. Indeed, flying business class means eating a lot!
Breakfast time was similar: a choice of several main courses (I opted for the scrambled eggs, but there also were pancakes); a selection of fruits, breads and pastries, jams and honeycomb, and freshly brewed coffee. I normally starve after a flight, and have to have a proper breakfast as soon as I land, but after flying business class I didn’t even need to have lunch!
Access to the business lounge
One of the perks of flying business class is having access to the business lounge. Business lounges are good places to relax in between flights, eat, have a drink, have access to better wifi than that available throughout the airport, and take a shower too. I have seen quite a few in various airports, but the one in Istanbul is truly something else!
The first thing I noticed about the business lounge in Istanbul is that it’s massive. It took me a good ten minutes to walk around it after having placed my bags in the deposit. And it took me a while to realize that there was also a second floor (yes, the lounge spreads across two floors!), just as massive – and a fabulous, futuristic staircase leading to it.
Istanbul lounge for passengers flying business class is provided with a very large TV room, with 9 screens and noise cancelling headphones available so that you can watch your channel of choice. There even is a popcorn machine if you want to feel like you’re at the cinema!
There are multiple dining rooms that serve all sorts of international food. To be honest, I only had some salad and some peanuts as I was still quite full after flying business class on my way to Istanbul!
To top off the experience, the bathrooms are spotless and all are provided with a choice of soaps and moisturizers, and there even are showers and a massage room. I didn’t make use of the showers as my layover really wasn’t that long, but should I be back for longer I will for sure.
Flying business class with Turkish Airlines is an overall incredible experience. To me, it meant arriving in Cape Town fully rested and ready to explore. If you have bought a ticket to fly with Turkish Airlines, and your budget allows, I wholeheartedly recommend investing some money or miles to upgrade to business class. If not, rest assured that even when flying economy will be good experience.