Turkish Airlines has one daily flight to Istanbul from Los Angeles and it departs at 6:45 PM from the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The flight is operated with a Boeing 777-300ER with three classes of service: business, premium economy (Comfort Class) and economy. I recently flew this exact same flight on my last trip to Greece and had a really good experience in both economy (outbound) and premium economy (return). You can read my flight review of Turkish Airlines’ economy and premium economy here.
If you want to read a more recent review, you can click here for my Turkish Airlines 777-300ER Business Class review from Istanbul to Los Angeles in December 2016.
I’m not gonna lie. I was pretty excited for this flight. Turkish Airlines has one of my favorite premium economy and economy class products and I was really looking forward to experiencing their business class product. I got to the airport early to hang out and explore the new terminal.
The ticket counters opened three hours before departure and even then, there were several people waiting in line already. Luckily, there was a dedicated business class check-in counter and I was checked in within five minutes of waiting in line. I received my boarding pass and an invitation to the new Star Alliance Lounge.
On this trip, I actually got a chance to visit both the Star Alliance Lounge and the new Korean Air SkyTeam Lounge (using my Priority Pass membership). You can read my review of the Star Alliance Lounge here and my review of the Korean Airlines SkyTeam Lounge here.
Flight: TK 10
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Los Angeles (LAX) to Istanbul (IST)
Depart: 6:45 PM on Wednesday (7:01 PM actual)
Arrive: 5:35 PM on Thursday (5:53 PM actual)
Duration: 12hr 50mn
Seat: 3K Business Class
About five minutes before departure time, I made my short walk from the lounge to gate 148 to take pictures of the bird. After a few minutes, boarding began with business class and Star Alliance Gold members. I handed my ticket to the Gate Agent, walked down the jet bridge and entered the aircraft through door 2L. Finally getting to turn left, instead of right, I found my seat in row three on the right side of the airplane. The business class cabin was comprised of four rows of seven seats for a total of 28 seats (2 x 3 x 2). And yes, I know what you guys are thinking. That is a horrible configuration and I would hate to be that person stuck in the middle seat also.
Waiting at my seat was a large pillow, blanket, slippers, noise cancelling headphones and a Crabtree and Evelyn branded amenity kit. The amenity kit was really nice and doubled as an iPad case. The kit included a pen, comb, shoe horn, eye mask, earplugs, socks, toothbrush/paste, and Crabtree and Evelyn branded hand cream and lip balm. The Boeing 777s have huge overhead bins and I was able to easily store my carry-on bag and backpack away. I quickly settled into my seat and the flight attendant came by to offer me a pre-departure beverage, Turkish Delight and a small Godiva chocolate box. Alcoholic drinks were not served on the ground.
The seats were full 180 degree, lie flat seats with 22 inches of width. When fully reclined, the seat extended to the ottoman giving you a total of 75 inches of sleeping space. The seat controls were located in the center armrest and were fairly simple to understand and operate. The seats were equipped with a back massager and a center divider that could be raised to offer a bit more privacy from your neighbor.
On this flight, the cabin was almost full with 26 of the 28 seats occupied. Once the passengers were all boarded, the two onboard chefs made their way throughout the cabin and distributed dinner and breakfast menus. It’s such a novel idea and I loved that Turkish Airlines had onboard chefs. I don’t know if they actually did any cooking (or anything more than what the flight attendants did) but I just loved the idea of having a chef onboard.
The food menu and wine list was extensive and I literally wanted to try everything. The fat kid inside me was very happy.
As departure time approached, the Captain came on the PA and announced our expected weather and travel time into Istanbul. We pushed back from the gate and took off west towards the ocean. LAX is one of my least favorite international airports but there is one redeeming quality, the views of the Los Angeles coastline after takeoff. I tried to take a picture but since this was a nighttime flight, it didn’t turn out so well. Just take my word for it 🙂
Once we reached our cruising altitude and the seatbelt signs were turned off, the flight attendants came by with warm scented towels, another round of drinks and began our dinner service. Dinner started with a ramekin of mixed nuts and a plate of assorted canapes.
Our tables were then set beautifully with attention and detail. Every seat was given a little tea light to give you the illusion of having a “candlelit dinner.” I know. It was a little gimmicky but I thought it was a nice touch.
Appetizers were served from the cart and I loved every bit of it. Menus don’t always do the food justice and I loved being able to see what I was ordering. As the cart came by, I just pointed at everything I wanted and she plated it all in front of me. Appetizers were followed by a creamy zucchini soup and my grilled salmon main dish.
After dinner, another cart came by with a selection of cheeses and desserts. Again, just point and choose. This is such a brilliant idea and I don’t know why more airlines don’t do this.
The food was catered by Do&Co, a gourmet catering company, and it did not disappoint. It was one of the best meals that I have ever had on a plane.
After dinner, the cabin lights were dimmed and I took this time to explore the in-flight entertainment system. The Turkish Airlines Planet IFE system was fantastic. There was a large monitor and a huge selection of on-demand movies and tv shows, live tv programming (news and sports), games, music and a moving map. Every seat was also equipped with a universal power outlet, USB port and two mini reading lamps.
Now, if you guys have been following my blog then you know that I love food. Airline meals never fills me up and I always end up walking around looking for more food. But not this time. This guy was well fed and ready to settle in for the remaining nine hours of my flight. But for the sake of this review, I did peruse the business class bar area. It was decent and had a selection of alcoholic drinks, juices, water, sandwiches and other snacks. Nothing amazing but good enough if you had the mid-flight munchies.
Seeing that this aircraft was Wi-Fi enabled, I connected to the network and tried to go to Facebook and Instagram. However, the service was so spotty and slooooow that I wasn’t able to do much browsing. I tested the WiFi several times throughout the flight and it was consistently spotty and slow. It just became more of a tease than anything. But considering that the Wi-Fi was free fifty-free, I really couldn’t complain.
Not getting much internet surfing done, I decided to watch the second Hobbit movie. Like I said earlier, the IFE monitor was very crisp and clear. I only wished there was an option to dim the screen as my seatmate was trying to sleep. I felt bad every time he tossed in his seat thinking that my movie was keeping him up.
Seat comfort wise, I found it to be great in both the sitting and sleeping positions. However, it wasn’t so great in the lounging position. Because you couldn’t control the individual parts of the seat, it was hard to get into a comfortable position to just lounge in. I also wished there was a small storage space for items like your cell phone, passport or glasses. But other than those minor complaints and the lack of privacy from your seatmate, the seats were great for sleeping and I snoozed for a bit after my movie.
About two hours outside of Istanbul, the cabin lights were turned on and the flight attendants prepared for our breakfast service. I had the fruit plate, muesli and cheese and mushroom breakfast crepes. Again, the food was delicious.
Now, a note about the flight attendants and service onboard. I have heard many people complain about Turkish Airlines service but honestly, I didn’t have a problem with our crew. I’m a pretty low maintenance passenger so I didn’t really interact with them much outside of the standard meal services. Some of them spoke English better than others and they did try to listen and interact with all the passengers. During the flight, they walked the cabin several times and checked on us to see if we needed anything.
Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t blow me out of the water by any means but they were friendly and the service was great. I had no complaints whatsoever and would compare their service to any of the other European carriers.
Once landed in Istanbul, business class passengers were given priority immigration passes. This turned out to be a huge benefit as arriving/transiting through Istanbul is a gigantic nightmare. I was able to clear customs within 30 minutes. And a reminder to you if you are planning on visiting Turkey, they no longer have visas on arrival. You must apply for a visa online prior to arriving into Turkey. You can apply for one here.
My final thoughts:
So now that I have flown on all three classes on Turkish Airlines, I am happy to report that they are still one of my favorite airline to fly internationally. They may not have the best business class hard product but it’s a decent seat and great for couples traveling together. Their food catering is fantastic and you would be hard pressed to find a better business class meal anywhere.
Overall, I enjoyed my first experience on Turkish Airlines’ business class and I would definitely fly them again. Comparing them to my previous flights on Air Canada, Lufthansa and United, I would actually prefer Turkish Airlines to get across the pond.
For those of you that enjoy a lot more pictures, I created a photo slideshow for you here.
Other trip reports in this series:
- The new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- The new Korean Airlines Skyteam Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines business class from Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Hilton Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines business class from Istanbul to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa Senator Lounges at Frankfurt
- Asiana Airlines first class from Frankfurt to Seoul
- Asiana Airlines first class lounge at Seoul
- Asiana Airlines business class from Seoul to Shanghai
- Westin Bund Center Shanghai
- VIP lounges at Shanghai Pudung International Airport
- Thai Airways business class from Shanghai to Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Spa and Lounge
- Thai Airways first class from Bangkok to Paris
- Star Alliance Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Paris to Montreal
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Montreal
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Montreal to Los Angeles.