Category Archives: Turkish

Tokyo for the New Year: Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita (IST to NRT)

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


TK 50
Istanbul (IST) to Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Friday, December 27th
Depart: 5:15pm
Arrive: 11:15am +1
Duration: 11h
Boeing 777-300
Seat: 1K

I underestimated how far the gate was from the lounge, so by the time I made it there, it was already near the end of the boarding process. Boarding takes place in the door behind the business class cabin, so that means that coach passengers aren’t walking through the business class cabin. My seat mate was already comfortably settled in his seat, so I made my way to the other side of the cabin to take a picture of the seat.

Seats 1A and 1B

Seats 1A and 1B

Turkish Airlines has their business class cabin in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means that not all seats have direct aisle access, but there are only four rows in the cabin, so each seat still feels pretty spacious as there’s a lot of space between rows. This also means that it’s relatively easy to climb over seats, so it was okay that I didn’t have direct aisle access from my window seat.

View from 1K

View from 1K

Seat controls

Seat controls

While settling in, I was offered a pre-departure beverage. There was a blanket, pillow, and slippers already at my seat, and I liked the fact that the blanket wasn’t staticky and felt cool to the touch since I often find airplane cabins to be overheated. We were also soon handed menus and a Godiva chocolate, although there seemed to be lots of frantic running around by the flight attendants. In general, the service appeared a little bit disorganized, as my seat mate and I had to ask for things like headsets from the flight attendants.

The in-flight entertainment service had a pretty extensive movie selection, but it was a little hard to navigate as the movie categorization was a bit odd. For example, “Miss Congeniality” was listed in Action instead of Comedy. But their selection was superior to that of Austrian which I had just flown.

Pre-departure beverage

Pre-departure beverage

The menu included a breakfast card to fill out as well as the dinner menu. There wasn’t an option to say that you don’t want to be woken up for breakfast, so you might want to say that explicitly to a flight attendant if that’s the case.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Regular menu

Dinner menu

After taking off, the lengthy dinner service began. First up came some mixed nuts, which seemed somewhat gratuitous given the amount of food on offer coming up, and those were soon followed by some amuse bouches of what I believe was a meatball, a fried cheese stick, and an eggplant tart.

Nuts

Nuts

Amuse bouches

Amuse bouches

Next up was the place setting and bread. I found the fake candle in paper to be a quaint touch.

Place setting

Place setting

They then wheeled around the appetizer cart. I didn’t partake in much, but one of the chefs continuously tried to push more food onto me. I did try to the soup, which I did not think was very good.

Appetizer cart

Appetizer cart

For my entree, I selected the pasta with eggplant, which was edible, but that’s about it.

Pasta

Pasta

Finally came dessert, which was a little overly sweet but still tasty.

Dessert

Dessert

From beginning to end, the meal service took about 3 hours. And the pre-departure service started two hours prior to landing. I’m all for a good meal, but it might be hard to get a full night’s sleep on these flights given the length of the meal services.

After the meal, I reclined my seat into bed mode. Turkish’s business class offers fully-flat beds, and although there’s not as much privacy as other business class products, the seats do feel spacious, and there’s no restriction of the foot space in a cubby. While I felt that the seat could have used more padding, I found the seat to be quite comfortable for sleeping.

Seats in fully reclined mode

Seats in fully reclined mode

Turkish Airlines business class bed

Turkish Airlines business class bed

No restricted foot space

No restricted foot space

I woke up shortly before the breakfast service was to begin. I enjoyed the beverage selection and got a smoothie and some carrot juice, and the first course consisted of cheeses, olives, and some cold vegetables.

Breakfast first course

Breakfast first course

For my entree, I had the scrambled eggs with toast, which was passable. When the chef came around with the bread basket, if I showed the slightest bit of hesitation, she would just load up my plate, so I wound up with a lot of selections from the bread basket.

Breakfast entree

Breakfast entree

Overall, the flight was comfortable, the in-flight entertainment was good, and the service was fine. While others I know have raved about the food on Turkish, I found the food to be okay with an extensive selection. I’d happily fly them again, and the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is a treat.

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Tokyo for the New Year: Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (IST)

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


The Istanbul airport feels like one of the most crowded airports I’ve been to in recent years because Turkish Airlines seems to be growing like crazy, and I’m not sure that the airport has the capacity to serve all of its current needs. I feel like trying to walk quickly through the terminal is a lost cause because there are so many people milling about, and you see people just sitting or even lying down on the sides of the hallways trying to get some sleep.

But Turkish Airlines has a great lounge at this airport. I’d say it’s probably the nicest business class lounge that I’ve been to, which means that it’s accessible to people with Star Alliance gold status (this also means that it’s quite crowded given that so many people have access).

Turkish Airlines lounge entrance

Turkish Airlines lounge entrance

This lounge is quite large with numerous seating areas, multiple food and drink stations, and amenities like a movie theater, children’s playroom, self-playing piano, and luggage lockers. I’ve never had a problem leaving my luggage unattended in most lounges (in spite of the announcements that leaving your bags unattended is a security risk), but it’s nice to have a place to store your belongings if you have a lengthy layover and want to leave your bags in the lounge and explore the airport.

Pool table and library

Pool table

Airy open sapces

Airy open sapces

Luggage storage

Luggage storage

The food and drink options were extensive, and there were many Turkish foods on offer. For drinks, they had Ayran, a salty yogurt beverage, and for food, they had things like pide (Turkish pizza), grilled meats, a selection of cold mezze, and baklava for dessert. While none of the food was gourmet, I’m hard-pressed to think of a business class lounge with more extensive food offerings, and I would’ve happily eaten more had I not been eating constantly already during my flights.

Non-alcoholic drinks

Non-alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks

Dessert buffet

Dessert buffet

Food buffet

Food buffet

Salad buffet

Salad buffet

Pide station

Pide station

Nuts buffet

Nuts buffet

While I was there, the least crowded part of the lounge was the atrium, which had large windows and a self-playing piano, but there was also very loud construction going on. I saw that there was some construction work going on near the shower suites and day rooms for passengers with long layovers, but I hope the construction is to expand the lounge itself.

Atrium

Atrium

Self-playing piano

Self-playing piano

Children's playroom

Children’s playroom

I also took a shower during my time at this lounge, and I had to wait about 45 minutes for a shower to open up. I’m not sure if this is normal, or if this was due to the fact that some of the showers were out of commission because of the construction.

Two things that I felt were a little strange about this lounge: 1) the acoustics of the rooms made it so that I could sometimes hear the conversations of people seated far away from me; and 2) there were lots of staff in this lounge, but it felt very much like a college mixer for the staff as most seemed more interested in chatting away with each other than actually providing service to passengers. But overall, this is a great lounge with incredible offerings for business class and Star Alliance Gold passengers.

Tokyo for the New Year: Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague (PRG) to Istanbul (IST)

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


TK 1768
Prague (PRG) to Istanbul (IST)
Friday, December 27th
Depart: 11:30am
Arrive: 3:05pm
Duration: 2h 35m
Aircraft: Airbus 320
Seat: 2A

I didn’t have boarding passes for my onward flights to Istanbul and Narita, so I had to go to the transit desk at Prague and get my boarding passes. This ate into my already short connection, so no lounges for me in Prague, and by the time I arrived at the gate after walking pretty quickly, I was one of the last to pass through security and get onto the plane.

Turkish Airlines is a little bit special in the European market since their regional business class product isn’t just a blocked middle seat, but it’s instead very similar to domestic first class in the US with large recliner seats. Some of the planes are showing their age, though, as the cabin on my flight looked like it had seen better days and the seat controls were pretty old.

My seat, 2A

My seat, 2A

Old school seat controls

Old school seat controls

Similar to domestic first class

Similar to domestic first class

A flight attendant went around offering Turkish delight and pre-departure beverages, which I enjoyed as I’m a fan of Turkish delight.

Pre-departure Turkish delight and mint lemonade

Pre-departure Turkish delight and mint lemonade

They also had menus for this relatively short flight with a full hot meal service of appetizers, entree, cheese, and dessert.

Menu for the flight

Menu for the flight

I had heard a lot about how good the food on Turkish is, but it didn’t blow me away on this flight. The food was definitely better than what you’ll find on domestic first class flights in the US, but my entree of ravioli was not cooked very well (or rather, it was cooked too well) and the dessert was a little bit odd. But I can’t complain too much given that they do a full meal service on a flight that barely breaks 2 hours.

Appetizers, cheese, and dessert

Appetizers, cheese, and dessert

Entree

Entree

Overall, Turkish is a great choice of intra-Europe flights as they offer the nicest business class product that I know of. The seats are nicer than the normal blocked-middle-seat configuration you find on most airlines for intra-Europe business class, and the food was decent.