Turkish Airlines B777-300ER business class
BACKGROUND Turkish Airlines currently flies to 120 countries – the largest number served by any single carrier. A recent order will see 60 widebody B787-9 Dreamliners and A350-900 aircraft join the fleet starting from next year.
CHECK-IN I arrived at Hong Kong International airport at 2100 for the 2300 flight to Istanbul. I headed to the newly renovated Plaza Premium East lounge (one of four Plaza Premium lounges at Terminal 1) but found a queue of 40-odd people, so decided to skip the lounge entirely.
BOARDING I arrived at the gate at 2225 to find boarding in full flow. Embarking passengers were greeted by cabin crew and an on-board chef. I was surprised to find the overhead locker already filled with passenger blankets. I rearranged the contents to make space, but would have appreciated some assistance.
THE SEAT The business cabin is set up in a 2-3-2 formation, which isn’t ideal, but there is plenty of legroom for each seat. Storage options were good; a large ottoman felt more secure for storing valuables.
A shared armrest and a small drinks tray were the most awkward parts of the neighbouring seat design (aside from the window passenger having to step over their neighbour when reclined), however a divider does allow for some separation.
The lie-flat (177 degrees) bed is extremely comfortable and generously wide, and the bed recesses behind its own shell to give a decent amount of privacy.
BEST SEAT Avoid all E seats – these being in the middle of the three-seat centre row. Aisle seats B, D, G and J are preferable for easy access without having to clamber over your neighbour, unless you prefer a window seat (A and K). Avoid rows 4 and 5, as these are located either side of the galley and toilets. 4A and 4K also lack a window, making them doubly worth avoiding. Row 1 and 2 probably offer the most peace and privacy, being at the front of the forward cabin and furthest from the galley. Based on my experience I would also avoid row 7, where the overhead cabins seem to be used as storage by the airline.
THE FLIGHT We pushed back at around 2300 and took off promptly. Wifi is available on Turkish Airlines flights and is free for business class passengers, as well as Miles & Smiles Elite and Elite Plus members.
Around 2345 the crew began to make passengers’ beds by laying a sheet and a quilt. A hot towel at midnight was followed by a drinks order – I chose a full-bodied Sevilen Plato (Southern Plateau) Syrah.
Dinner tables were laid at 0015, with dinner served at 0045. The presentation was fantastic, but what stole the show was a “flickering candle”. The clever light bulb in paper illusion was a lovely touch remarked upon by several passengers.
I browsed the IFE system while enjoying my appetiser. The large screen is too far to reach by hand, but can be operated by a responsive touchpad device located next to the shoulder. The movie selection was wide-ranging, and there was also a good choice of TV shows, live news, music and games. Adjustable noise-cancelling headphones by Denon were effective and lightweight with cushion padding.
My main dish of grilled cod with Tuscany-style vegetables, herbed potatoes and lemon parsley sauce was tasty and satisfying, but was beaten by the dessert trolley bearing a selection of classic puddings: tiramisu, panna cotta and brownies plus cheese, fruits and coffee.
After dinner I managed to get a really good sleep – so good, in fact, that I slept right into the breakfast service.
ARRIVAL We touched down at 0450. Business class passengers are eligible for the fast lane at immigration – but must show their ticket stub. I had no checked baggage and was through by 0515.
VERDICT Despite the 2-3-2 layout, this turned out to be a decent product with a comfortable bed. I particularly liked the ottoman storage solution, the F&B service and presentation, good selection of IFE and friendly service.
What stole the show was a “flickering candle”. The clever light bulb in paper illusion was a lovely touch remarked upon by several passengers