TRIED & TESTED FLIGHTS
Turkish Airlines B777-300ER Hong Kong–Istanbul; Virgin Australia A330-200 Melbourne–Hong Kong
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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