TRIED & TESTED FLIGHTS

HONG KONG–IS­TAN­BUL

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

Turk­ish Air­lines B777-300ER Hong Kong–Is­tan­bul; Vir­gin Aus­tralia A330-200 Mel­bourne–Hong Kong

BACK­GROUND

Turk­ish Air­lines (TK) cur­rently flies to 121 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. As a busi­ness class pas­sen­ger I was in­vited to Plaza Pre­mium lounges in Hong Kong (of which there are four in Ter­mi­nal 1). I headed to the newly ren­o­vated Plaza Pre­mium East Lounge but found a large 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 on­board chef. I was sur­prised to find the over­head locker 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 too; 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.

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. (Prices for non-busi­ness class pas­sen­gers are US$9.99 for one hour or US$14.99 for 24 hours).

Around 2345 the crew be­gan to make pas­sen­gers’ beds by lay­ing a ground sheet and a quilt. A hot towel at mid­night was fol­lowed by a drinks or­der – I chose a full­bod­ied Sevilen Plato (South­ern Plateau) Syrrah, with earthy, pep­pery notes.

A visit to the bath­room re­vealed sur­pris­ingly spa­cious fa­cil­i­ties, with Molten Brown ameni­ties, green plants and a pleas­ant flo­ral fra­grance.

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, with Hol­ly­wood hits ac­com­pa­nied by an IMDB rat­ing – an­other nice touch. There was also a se­lec­tion of TV shows, live news (namely BBC and Al Jazeera), mu­sic and games. Ad­justable noise-can­celling head­phones by Denon were ef­fec­tive and light­weight with com­fort­able 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 sil­ver spi­ralled dessert trol­ley bear­ing a se­lec­tion of clas­sic desserts: 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, with only about an hour to land­ing.

AR­RIVAL

We touched down at 0450. Turk­ish Air­lines busi­ness class pas­sen­gers are el­i­gi­ble for the fast lane at im­mi­gra­tion – but must show their ticket stub. I had no checked bag­gage and was swiftly through by 0515.

VER­DICT

De­spite the 2-3-2 lay­out, this turned out to be a very de­cent prod­uct with a com­fort­able bed al­low­ing for a good rest. I par­tic­u­larly liked the ot­toman stor­age so­lu­tion, the top-notch F&B ser­vice and pre­sen­ta­tion, good se­lec­tion of IFE and friendly cabin crew ser­vice. Tamsin Cocks

What stole the show was a “flick­er­ing can­dle”. The clever light bulb in pa­per il­lu­sion was a lovely touch re­marked upon by sev­eral pas­sen­gers

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