I have to admit that Istanbul has always been on my bucket list of cities to visit but on this particular day, I was just as excited to fly Turkish Airlines Business Class for the first time. It seems that airlines all around the world just get it right compared to our North American brethren. Both the hard and soft product on European, Asian and Middle Eastern Airlines just seem to be in another league. There’s a certain romance to flying non-North American airlines and I was going to get to experience it for the first time.
As a Business Class passenger, we were given priority boarding on the flight so I took the opportunity (like a kid in a candy store) to rush down the jet bridge to get some photos of myself and my family in an empty cabin.
Upon boarding, we were provided with a refreshing welcome drink which was Turkish Airlines signature lemonade. I went with the strawberry lemonade and it was absolutely delicious. A lot of airlines offer champagne as a welcome drink but I’m not much into wine/champagne so it’s a bit lost on me.
While it’s a given that Business Class provides a lot of room that you don’t see in economy, I thought I would share with you just how much extra room there is.
One of the first things that you are given after the welcome drink and a refreshing wet towel is the brochure detailing the Bocha Sleeping Set that is provided to make your seat into a very comfortable bed.
On this particular flight, we had access to satellite internet and live TV. I managed to watch the Raptors get eliminated by the Cavs in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
As far as internet goes, it was complimentary for Business Class travelers and speeds were pretty impressive.
Next thing to be provided was the amenity kit. Now I have to admit that amenity kits are something that I lusted after when I dreamed of flying Business Class but I have come to realize that the only thing I really care about is the bag that the amenities come in because I can reuse those later for my toiletries.
On flights inbound to Turkey, Cerruti kits are provided to passengers and come with the standard fare of a toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/comb, hand cream, lip balm, ear plug, shoe horn, eye mask and socks. Additionally, you are provided with stickers that help the flight attendants know whether or not to wake you for breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast, prior to ordering your dinner, you are provided with a menu to denote what you would like for breakfast if you elect to be woken.
Much like a cruise, you can eat as much as you want (within reason). If you want an omelette AND fried eggs, go nuts. Just make your selection and everything will be brought to you about an hour to an hour and half prior to landing.
Next we were provided with the wine/liqueur and dinner menu. I must admit that I’m not much of drinker so I have no real idea if these wines are any good or not but at least you aren’t pulling out your credit card to drink them.
Apologies for the out of focus pictures but as you can see, the selection is pretty extensive.
Turkish Airlines is catered by Do and Co, an Austrian catering company that is well known for their high quality of food. I can attest that Turkish Airlines has the best food I have tasted in the air and are very good at making the meal an experience to remember.
You are provide a mezze to start and everything tasted delicious.
While you are awaiting the rest of your food, you are provided with your drink and warm nuts. As you can tell from the photograph, they don’t short pour anything. I believe I had half a bottle of wine in that glass.
As I was feeling a little run down, I also opted for a “wellness tea” which is served in a ceramic mug with a metal holder. While it is truly a work of art, the functionality of the handle leaves a lot to be desired.
Another nice thing about having dinner with Turkish is that you are provided with a battery powered flickering candle in a paper holder so that you can have a candlelight dinner in the sky.
The other thing that I found charming was that the salt and pepper shakers were in the shape of turrets that adorn the mosques in Turkey. They were also magnetic so that they don’t rattle off your tray in during moments of turbulence.
Forgetting to photograph the menu means that I can’t really tell you exactly what I ate but I do remember that the tomato soup was fantastic. Normally, this is something I would steer clear of on the ground but there is something about soup that lends itself well to being in a pressurized aluminum tube hurtling around the world at 32,000 feet.
The main course was steak and unfortunately it was a bit dry, though I have had worse steaks on the ground. I would recommend that if you fly Business or First, to skip the steak. More often than not doesn’t turn out great. On the positive side, the meal was presented beautifully. You won’t see a thin plastic sheet over a microwaved meal like you sometimes get in economy (if you’re lucky).
Dessert was pushed around on a cart and you choose what you want. I went with the strawberry ice cream and honey drenched baklava. I have to say that the dessert was delicious if not a bit overly sweet, plus who doesn’t love the novelty of eating ice cream in the sky? After dinner, I changed into pajamas and the flight attendants transformed my seat into a bed. I was pretty exhausted at this point so I didn’t get any pictures of the bed but you can trust me when I say, it was VERY comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I woke up 30 minutes outside of Istanbul.
One of the curious things about landing in Istanbul is that many of the flights seem to be serviced by air stairs rather than a jet bridge. I wasn’t too mad because I got to get up close and personal with the bird that flew us 7,700 kms.
Overall, this was an excellent flight. The only thing that I can say that might be viewed as a negative is that due to the extravagance of the dinner service, it often takes 2.5 – 3 hours to complete the entire service, which if you take off at 11:30pm, like we did, might a bit long. Luckily, I woke up refreshed and ready to explore Istanbul.