Turkish Airlines – TK8, TK675
The first leg of the trip from DC to Tanzania involved a Turkish flight from Washington Dulles into Istanbul. Check in was pretty smooth as we arrived about 2.5 hours before departure and there was no one in the business class line.
My biggest fear was that I might be asked to check my bag but the agent took one glance and said, “nope that should be fine for business class”. Thank goodness because the vacation will involve very remote locations and if the luggage is delayed it may never catch up with me.
The ticket included access to the Virgin Atlantic lounge at A32 so we headed over. I have never been to this lounge before so very interested in how it compares
Although not very large the lounge had 2 levels and very chic. We grabbed a table and made an order since I had not eaten all day. We started with the Chicken Curry with Naan, Wine and Strawberry Sorbet. Everything was excellent!
Seems like in no time at all they announced boarding so we headed down to the gate. I knew this Turkish Airlines product was not very impressive by reviewing on various sites. The plane is the A340-300. It has only 2 cabins with about 24 in the first cabin. The seats are not lie-flat but angled. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my time in economy long hauls, including a non-stop 17hour flight from the US to South Africa, so not exactly complaining but it seems that more airlines have moved onto an upgraded business class seat so a bit disappointing but moving on…
Where Turkish Airlines shines is the food and they did not disappoint. We pushed back from the gate 20 minutes early and crew started out with a tray of juices. In cabins outside of economy you expect a little something special and I thought that they should have Champagne to offer but you had to request so of course I did and it was supplied no problem.
Where Turkish Airlines apparently does not shine is the flight crew. Pretty bad. For the most part they seemed inexperienced. On one occasion I requested water and it never came, on another occasion bread and it got lost on the way too. Oh, and after the meal service we sat with our trays for way too long so we rang for assistance which did not show up. Finally I got up for the restroom and came back and the trays still there. I finally had to go pull back the curtains and ask for help. They could clearly hear the call (I could hear it even in the restroom) but they just ignored it for whatever reason.
Well, back to the food, it was outstanding. The shrimp was so good, I got the last one, as all of the courses. Take a look at the pictures. Note to self, entrees do run out so if that’s important to you sit on the left side towards the front by the window as that is where service and orders seem to begin.
We arrived about 40 minutes ahead of schedule to Istanbul and headed straight for the famous CIP Lounge and all I gotta say is WOW. The lounge is huge and full. Although full it did not seem crowded since there are so many sections.
I took a quick shower and stored all the bags in the lockers near the entrance.
They have about 10 different food stations that prepare various items from, curries, flat breads, fruits, desserts, salads, open spirits and wine bar and popcorn for the theatre area. I didn’t know where to start. Again, all the food was delicious and plentiful, very bright clear and open.
We originally had only an hour for the lounge – not nearly enough time – but our connecting flight was delayed for 2 hours so in addition to enjoying the lounge we took a walk around the terminal.
This next flight was on a 737-900. I think a smaller plane but newer. Still angled seats and 2 cabins. Where the first flight, the cabin was full, this flight there were only 6 of us – half full. Boarding was smooth and again no Champagne….come on TK.
Different verse same as the first….food great great great crew sucky ucky ucky. They ran out of the fish entrée so we went with the chicken. Tell me, how do you only have 2 of a certain popular entrée when you have six on board in our cabin??? – right the cockpit crew got it. Well, the chicken was outstanding but again the crew was rushing me. Maybe I am wrong but tell me, if they grab your tray while you have food on your fork is that rushing….just a bit?
The first flight had a chef just dedicated to cooking and preparing the food – something Turkish Air is known for and that was a nice touch, this flight did not but food was still very very good.
The movie selection was pretty good but given a choice I would not select Turkish Air Business Class product again.
Check out my review of the DFW American Express Centurion Lounge here.