Turkish A330 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Istanbul! I just flew Turkish from the Seychelles to Istanbul, which was a 7hr40min flight.

In this post I wanted to share my initial impressions of the experience, and then I hope to publish my full review soon. Turkish flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, yet I’ve only flown them once in business class, and that was years ago (many moons ago I flew them in first class, when they briefly offered that cabin — good times!). So I’m very excited that I finally have the chance to try them again on a couple of flights (I’m connecting back to the US from Istanbul).

This flight was operated by an A330, and Turkish Airlines has about as many A330 configurations as they have A330s. Some have regional seats, some have angled flat seats, and others have flat beds. My particular flight (and a few of the other Indian Ocean routes) was operated by an A330 that used to fly for Jet Airways, so arguably it’s their best A330 configuration. I flew in a similar configuration on Air Serbia, as they also lease planes from Jet Airways.

The plane had a total of 30 business class seats, in a 1-1-1 configuration. While the cabin wasn’t especially modern or well maintained, it was still comfortable.

But my gosh did I fall in love with Turkish’s soft product. It’s not necessarily that Turkish offers the most sophisticated or polished experience, but everything about the experience was so well intentioned, and so Turkish. I love how much of their culture the put into their product, in terms of the food, hospitality, and more.

This was a 7hr40min redeye departing late at night and landing in Istanbul at 3:30AM, and despite that there were two excellent meals, both served efficiently. The quality was great, and again, I loved how aspects of the experience always reminded you that you’re on Turkish.

The first meal started with drinks and hazelnuts.

Then the starter, salad, cheese, and dessert, were all served on one tray. This included roast beef with avocado, a salad, a selection of cheese, and tiramisu.

For the main course I ordered grilled fillet of job fish.

Then breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, an omelet, cheese and veggies, and a croissant.

Note that this isn’t even their longhaul meal service, as the priority here was getting food out quickly. I can’t wait to experience their longhaul catering with the onboard chef on my connecting flight.

The amenities were excellent as well. There were slippers, an amenity kit, a light blanket, a heavier blanket, a mattress sheet, and two pillows.

I didn’t sleep well at all as I was extremely warm. These seats don’t have individual air nozzles, and I find the airflow in herringbone seats in general to be pretty bad. Perhaps it was also partly that I got so much sleep while on vacation that I just wasn’t that tired anymore.

The crew was also lovely. They weren’t over-the-top in terms of their attentiveness or the way in which they approached service, but I genuinely feel like they provided service from the heart, and to me that means a lot. I’ll take warm Turkish hospitality any day.

I’ll have a full trip report soon, but all-in-all I was really impressed by Turkish. I love how they blend their culture into the experience in so many ways, and I also think they have an excellent soft product. I look forward to seeing what they’re like on my connecting flight.

If you’ve flown Turkish business class, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. I’ve flown Turkish business long & short haul, I’d agree that the hard product was just alright but the food was amazing… definitely better than most European airlines.

  2. I think the service on board TK flights can only be summed up to being inconsistent. Sometimes great, sometimes awful and many indifferent ones in between

  3. Flew Turkish to our African honeymoon and Qatar Biz (non-qsuite) on the return. While the 2-3-2 layout clearly wasnt ideal on the longhaul (and the Africa segment had iPads instead of in seat screens) I actually preferred the overall Turkish experience to Qatar which I know puts me in the minority.

    I should mention that being 6’3” the spaciousness the bed comfort was a big factor there, but superior food and service was key as well. Its definitely not as private of a seat, but that didnt bother me in the least.

  4. Totally agree. Soft product by Turkish is among the best if not the best, both in Eco and Biz. Unfortunately their hub @ Ataturk is quite a nightmare and delays have to be taken into consideration when planning. On the plus, Turkish lounge is among the best business lounges where to spend a few hrs, so…

  5. Maybe I’m just tired, but I can’t see anything particularly Turkish in that meal service, as you say.
    It does look very nice, though.

  6. P.S. I will say that some of the best meals I’ve ever had on an airplane in economy were on TK (especially kofte). Their customer service in Istanbul and in call-centre is beyond atrocious, though, which put me off flying with them.

  7. I’ve flown Turkish several times from Germany to Asia via Istanbul.
    Hard product is bearable on the A330-300, but I dislike their 2-3-2 configuration on the B77W. Condition of the cabins lack in maintenance and cleanliness. Performance of the Crews is a hit or miss. I found the majority of them distant and not genuine frindly at all.
    Catering on Turkish is outstanding, both in quality and presentation. However, Turkish’s departure bank for Asian flights is past midnight, not particular the time to enjoy a three-course dinner.
    The biggest drawback forTurkish Airlines is their overcrowded Atatürk Airport hub. Majority of the arrivals/departures are by bus, the gate areas are crowded and the ground staff is unfriendly. CIP Lounge is nice but also overcrowded at peak hours with long wait times to get a shower.
    Looking forward to the new Istanbul Airport and hopefully a new hard product.

  8. Ahhh, the seats look there are the old Virgin Atlantic upper class seats. I discovered (this February) that Air New Zealand also licensed them for their 777s.

    Big advantage is that your feet are not confined at all:-)

    Is the bed made up by flipping the seat back over?

  9. I like Turkish but I would be annoyed if a 2 meal red-eye of less than 8 hours interrupted my sleep. Why are there so many gluttons who insist on eating at ridiculous hours..just because it’s free, or they can’t sleep, or what?
    Anything after 11.00pm they should serve a large whiskey and some cheese; that’s all you get.

  10. Cool, I didn’t know TK has this seat configuration. This is way much better than the 2-2-2 layout on most of their A330’s.

  11. Flying exclusively Economy (paid or miles discounted fares only), I couldn’t agree more.
    Flew LHR-IST-ICN-IST-CDG and the soft product was amazing.
    Decent meal in LHR-IST flight, great amenity kit in IST-ICN, and awesome flight attendants in all flights.
    The only downside was the chaotic immigration in IST, but other than that, I would fly them again.

  12. I’ve always had quite good experiences with Turkish, and I do love the cultural aspects of the soft product, though sometimes I find the food menu gets repetitive – I feel like I’ve had the mixed Turkish mezze a dozen times. That said, they’re one of the only European airlines to have a proper business class on their A320s, which is great flying out of TXL because you never know what you’ll get!

    One great thing that’s worth mentioning is that their frequent flyer program seems to count the entire trip as one sector for upgrade purposes – so when I’m flying TXL-IST-KBL, I pay 35,000 miles to upgrade both flights, not just one! It’s well worth it.

  13. Flew Turkish Biz in early March to the Maldives on both A330s and the 777 from Chicago. Neither flight offered herringbone seats though they were spacious and comfortable. On three of the four legs I found the soft-product lacking. The crew was fantastic but the food was cold/ undercooked. I will say on the return flight from Istanbul, the food was excellent. I figured that it was because we were leaving Do & Co’s hub. Best part about the trip though was certainly the lounge, highlight of my trip!

  14. Flew the A330 between SGN and IST in the 2-2-2 layout. On-board service and food, absolutely incredible. The seats themselves, decent with an obscene amount of legroom but definitely not the best. Like your flight, however, the cabin was way too hot. I don’t think that was an issue specific to your plane or seating arrangement.

  15. Finally something I can comment on. I flew them last year SFO-IST-FCO in Biz. The 777 was much more modern than this, so I hope you get to experience that on the way back. Food was delicious, drinks were great, and the lounge in Istanbul is incredible. Check out the entrepreneurial shark-tank like pitches in their entertainment system meant to drive investment in Turkey (some are pretty awful).

    The ground service does fall apart though once on the ground at Ataturk, hopefully with a new airport on the way they can fix that.

  16. I just got a one way business class on Turkish Airlines from Dushanbe (DYU) to Birmingham (BHX) for 55,000 United points – that’s the equivalent cost of the economy one way ticket and worth over 4 cents/point. United has great award availability on Turkish for obscure destinations.

  17. TK have an excellent soft product (comparable to SQ in many respects) and the hard product is decent for the price paid, however operationally they’re a complete mess.

    Their flights to and from the US have shocking on-time performance, many itineraries they sell are impossible to service (LAX-IST-OTP with a 1hr05m connection time) and a complete lack of communication and ownership.

    For example, the IST-SFO-SEA trip I just completed originally had a 2hr55m connection time. TK changed the SFO-SEA leg with no communication to one seeing a connection time of 1hr30m (and that assumes an on-time arrival at the gate – we didn’t deplane for 30 minutes after landing). TK have flat-out refused to take any responsibility for the delays and product downgrades involved.

  18. Turkish seems to be inconsistent. My last flight from St. Petersburg (Russia) to Guangzhou via Istanbul was bad. Food was good etc. But service was merely an economy class standard on both ways. No refills, some times not even by asking, the call button did not summon anyone when I tried to ask for some water (it was hot inside the cabin) 70 minutes before landing on both longhaul flights. Very hard to get any attention.

  19. I never flew this configuration on TK but flew their 2-2-2 layout in A330 or the 2-3-3 layout in B777. I agree that the crew can be a hit or miss. I feel that many of them are inexperienced. Then you get some decent ones and the experience takes on another level. On the other hand, I always found the flying chefs to be delightful. It seems that they will do anything to please the passengers. I read somewhere that the flying chefs are employed by Do&Co and they are not TK employees. Maybe that makes the difference.

  20. My experience in both – short and longhail business flights, not a single bad word for catering and service… also enjoyed whole plate of baklava:)

  21. We flew Turkish IAH-IST a while back (777 in 2-3-2 config). As you mentioned soft product, meals, hospitality was fantastic. Having an onboard chef was really special.
    We booked early enough to avoid the middle cabin seating. So 2 seats together, traveling as a couple, worked out fine. I must mention it was not even close to being a full fight at least in the rear compartment of business so it was much more relaxed atmosphere than what was going on in the front cabin, which was packed.

    My only complaint is for some reason, TK’s business class seat is just not that comfortable. Probably just me or perhaps I just keep comparing things to LH’s First (in their old 747-400 config) when you had your own F seat plus the full bed next to the window (up top). Either way though, I just couldn’t seem to get comfortable in my TK seat regardless of the seat adjustment – even when flat. Bottom line, I just was not able to sleep that well.

    As odd as it may seem I would prefer UAL’s original 787 Business seat over TK, but then again, I don’t know if I would sacrifice not flying on TK given the choice, primarily because the food, service, and hospitality on TK is superior over anything I have ever experienced on UA.

  22. LHR-IST I’d rather fly Turkish airlines economy than BA club Europe if I can one of the long haul planes. Decent food, more spacious seats and some IFE.

    I suppose with BA business they’ll give you enough alcohol so you’ll forget your paid £600 return for a cramped economy seat on an A320

  23. I flew with TK once in their now defunct Premium Economy as well as 4-5 times in business, flying from YYZ to BEG via IST. I do dislike their 2-3-2 configuration on the B77W that they use for the transatlantic flight as it gives you very little privacy and forces you to step over the fully reclined bed if sitting by the window or in the middle. I find TK’s food usually very good, and their presentation is great. I agree that the service is not very warm, just perfunctory. It’s very inconsistent when it comes to offering drinks and refills – you often have to remind them several times that you’d like more wine, etc. Then again, it’s USD$2,100-2,300 for a return flight from Toronto to Europe, whereas Air Canada or Lufthansa want at least USD$3,500-4,000 for the same flight. The only other reasonable airline out of YYZ is LOT – similar prices to TK.

  24. I flew TK on a short haul domestic flight a few years ago, IST-ADB, and was astounded to be presented with a full lunch service, with printed menu indicating the two choices, on such a short flight (70 minutes or so if memory serves) in Economy.

    Equally good experience flying IST-ZRH.

    I’d fly them again in a heartbeat. Would love to try a long haul.

  25. As long as you don’t have a 4-7 hr transit in IST, and don’t experience any IRROP, TK should be a fine airline.

  26. My experience is far from stellar with Turkish and I will avoid them in the future.

    23.12 GVA-IST-BKK

    Flight GVA-IST with NEK business class (cramped to say the least), no priority boarding, total mess at boarding, arrival around midnight in IST, nice lounge ? but not at this time there was NO warm food anymore, like everything is closing. Just basic things (like olive) and drink (really nothing special).
    Flight from IST, good dinner (I agree, but staff… not interested at all, I asked to try the different Turkish wine on the menu, but the FA did not care, I just get one glass. Then after dinner I sleep, I wake up late to realize they where already packing all the blanket and usual things 1h before landing. Impossible to get any kind of food for a quick breakfast, nobody care or answer the call button. Until i move to the galley and shout that I want something to eat like a snack or biscuit. Business class experience ??? A real joke.
    VERY DISAPOINTING EXPERIENCE IN FULL SEASON.

  27. TK has one of the best C product in the industry..talking about the product specifically..the food from Do&Co is the best! No doubt either regional or long haul catering ..always had a great meal! The quality is superb, good choices.. The amenity kit is solid but it would have been better if it is a branded one like Rimowa and well branded cosmetic products as well. The crew is one factor which was either good or bad..in all of my flights the majority are not good in command of the English language..Turkish expats or locals always get better service as there is no language barrier. The friendly /hospitable attitude is also either good or bad..it depends on the mood of the day..

    The pillow and duvet are okay and help provide a good sleep.

    Regarding the seats..on regional routes you have either a lounger or a full flat seat, so here I always had a good product.
    About the seats on longhaul I prefer the A330 or B777 ex Jet Airways with herringbone seatting than the standard 2-3-2 full flat seatings..as I cheerish my privacy..the worst are the ex Asiana angled seats or those beige/cream coloured angled seats
    like TG uses nowadays in their regional routes or GF used to have prior their current C seats..
    But their was one A 330-300 in the fleet ..the C seat resembles the former Kingfisher or Arik Air C class seat which was a full flat and very comfortable although you do not have a partition between you and your neighbour..

    All in all one of my fav carrier offering a great C product..the experience through Atatürk Airport is a different one though especially during peak times..lounge over crowded..have to wait for lockers, showers, seats and queue for food..waiting for the new Airport and hope of a more spacious area, especially quite rooms with huge loungers for a decent nap..

  28. Have you tried sleeping with your feet facing the wall in these seats? Not ideal, but should be much better in terms of airflow…

  29. Those seats appear to lack any privacy whatsoever. Am I missing something? The configuration looks very ill-conceived.

  30. Was on this same flight just last week. Flew business using ANA partner award miles. Never flying Turkish again. Got denied boarding in IST on flight back to YYZ. Had to buy another ticket to JFK (economy of course), then 2 other tickets on Delta on my own dime to get home. It’s truly said saying this, because I do like their product, but Turkish is unreliable, and unfortunately, their employees lack any sort of empathy, accountability, or customer service skills. not worth the hassle.

  31. Overall, a very inconsistent airline, from the service to the cleanliness of the planes. When it’s great, it’s great, when it isn’t…ugh.

    At least the food tends to be consistently good.

  32. Are those canned fake “ripe”olives? UGH bad fake olives are so not part of Turkish culture.

    I loved the food on my Turkish flights but find the planes so insanely hot I would never fly them again. I don’t want to experience a Turkish sauna on the plane thank you.

  33. I agree with Damon’s comment about the service being inconsistent. I fly TK extensively due to my work, for both short and long-haul flights. For the most part the service is good, and the food tends to be better than other airlines (especially Lufthansa which is the other airline I fly on a regular basis).

  34. Good post – I totally agree; i have flown Turkish business from London via Istanbul to Bangkok in the front cabin (August 2016). I loved Turkish Red they served in business; such a treat!
    Thank you for your reviews and honesty always!

  35. Do&Co food for the win! Even in economy! Do note though that the catering is generally catered so it’s more Turkish themed TOWARDS Istanbul – they generally then try to cater the food going away from Istanbul more like the destinations food. I think it’s pretty cool concept and really good quality even in economy!

  36. The cabin looks same as the Jet Airways cabin in their A330….
    The dope hard product of Jet Airways and the awesome soft product of Turkish…
    Lucky,you must have had fun….

  37. What a stupid orientation of the seats. Why would I want to be facing away from the windows and towards the feet of other pax? Who came up with this ridiculous idea?

  38. @YOW – I was thinking the same thing about the seats, and AC still has these seats on their A330s which they call “classic pods.” I experienced this seat most recently on a flight YYZ-AMS. Nothing wrong with it really, but absolutely no storage space. The reverse herringbone seats on ACs 777 and 789 (“executive pods”) are much better. I’m looking forward to an upcoming flight in the summer on the 777 so I can check out the new mattress pads that AC has added.

  39. Interesting to see all the positive accolades.
    My experience was similar to @Chris.
    DXB/IST/SFO – 6 months ago in a new 777.
    The food looked pretty, but most items uber uber salty.

  40. …. and still waiting for the Schleppig’s to break down and fly VN on a long-haul,
    perhaps CDG to HAN.

  41. I used to fly Turkish a lot leaving Iraq, but that was always in the smaller Airbus.

    Looking forward to my ATL-IST-TXL coming up.

  42. Without a doubt, TK has consistently the best food in the sky. You are also right about the very well intentioned, personal service. It isn’t the mechanical fawning you get from QR, SQ or CX, but much more of a Middle East family treatment. Also, TK consistently get fish right, which is so hard to do on planes.

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