Review of Turkish Airlines flight Istanbul Shanghai in Business

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK26
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 10:10
Take-off 11 Apr 15, 00:40
Arrival at 11 Apr 15, 15:50
TK   #12 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 575 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 7042
Published on 19th May 2015
Hi everyone. This is the continuation of a brief RTW trip in April of 2015. The trip started out with a desire to sample Turkish Airlines and visit the city of Istanbul. It grew from there. The final product came in the form of: SNA-DEN-FRA-LHR-IST-PVG-SEA-LAX. For this journey I utilized Southwest Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines.

I will break the journey down as follows:
Planning and LH DEN-FRA http://flight-report.com/en/report-10178.html
FCT and LH FRA-LHR http://flight-report.com/en/report-10216.html
LHR Lounges and TK LHR-IST http://flight-report.com/en/report-10275.html
TK Lounge, Istanbul, and TK IST - PVG (This Report)
DL PVG - SEA (coming soon)
AS SEA - LAX (coming soon)

I had about 7 hours between flights in Istanbul. Immigration was a breeze and I was in a taxi to the old part of town with great efficiency. I will put some bonus photos of Istanbul at the end of this report.

My return to IST was accomplished via the tram. It was easy and very affordable. I boarded in Sultanahmet, changed lines at Zeytinburnu, and was at the airport within about an hour. The train was very crowded but I would expect it to be on Friday night.

Security and immigration were quick and I set a direct course for the Turkish Lounge. I had read so many positive reviews I was excited to experience the lounge myself. For some reason my BP wouldn't scan at the automated lounge entry gates so a new one was generated. I don't think the attendant that helped me ever uttered a word to me. It was an odd interaction but I attributed this to language, perhaps? I entered and stored my luggage in the handy lockers.

I was initially overwhelmed by the size of the lounge. I wanted to take a lap to get an idea of what was available.

Looking down the entry hall.

photo 20150410_120103

In case a recital breaks out.

photo 20150410_120739

Grand central stairway.

photo 20150410_120817

Golf anyone?

photo 20150410_123347

Grand prix.

photo 20150410_123359

The design of the lounge is all well and good but who am I kidding, I'm here for the food! In this regard the lounge truly excels. The variety and quality of the food offerings were as fantastic as any lounge I have visited, including First Class facilities. I would even put this lounge above the United Club East in Denver. ;)

The food offerings are laid out in a very decentralized manner, which I appreciated. It appeared to me to never be too crowded as a result.

First up some fresh pide.



Fancy some olives?

photo 20150410_125559

How about tortellini?

photo 20150410_125304

Maybe something from the grill?



Simit?

photo 20150410_123555photo 20150410_123601

Yoghurt?

photo 20150410_125322

Pasta?

photo 20150410_140549

I limited myself to the pide, some olives, and the grilled items and everything was top notch. I am a big fan of Mediterranean cuisine so perhpas I'm biased. The selection of olive oils alone was something to behold.

Several cocktail stations were setup around the lounge.

photo 20150410_125043

I don't know exactly what this is but it tasted of anise and was quite nice.

photo 20150410_141521

Salty snacks to accompany your cocktail?

photo 20150410_125410

Last but not least the sweets. I don't have a sweet tooth but I really found some of these Turkish sweets to be lovely.



I had such a nice culinary adventure I was sad when departure time arrived. No worries, a delay!

photo 20150410_150330

At around 2am boarding began. You wouldn't know this unless you were observant and noticed the scrum around the podium.

Our aircraft.

photo 20150410_152756

The interior is clean and well outfitted. The seats seem identical to the A330…except, what is that??, A middle seat in J? Oh no, that won't do.



The middle seat is hardly competitive in a world where reverse herringbone direct aisle access seats in J are the standard. It did make for a fun game of musical chairs as those who were assigned the middle tried to swap to other vacant seats before boarding was complete. Some people have no shame. I was in a window, by choosing, but had the pleasure of climbing over a nice chap from Brazil when I needed to use the lav in the night.

A welcome chocolate was offered as well as a pre-departure beverage. I opted for the raspberry, which contained a strawberry, interestingly.

photo 20150410_154459photo 20150410_161422

Soon we were in the air having taken about a 90 minute delay.

photo 20150410_172033

Oshibori were distributed along with a Turkish Delight.

photo 20150410_172711

The meal service began and this is where Turkish Airlines stands out as in a class of their own. This is a now 2am departure in business class where a supper service of some kind could be appropriate. But no, they have on offer a full meal service more on par with first class than business. Very impressive.

The menu with the brilliant idea of having the pre-arrival meal on a form for the passenger to select the items so that they may arrive quickly and efficiently to maximize sleep time.

photo 20150410_173608photo 20150410_173624

Start with the champagne and warm nuts. I dig the ramekin. (never thought I would have an opinion on a ramekin)

photo 20150410_175621

The amuse bouche.

photo 20150410_180318

The candle. It's these touches that make meal time on TK really special.

photo 20150410_181625

Again the seafood starter. All fresh, light and lovely.

photo 20150410_181634

There was a salad, some yoghurt sauce, and another veg-en-croute type thing.

photo 20150410_181652

At this point most of the cabin was eating. I was surprised as I often see people go to sleep right away wiht this time of departure. I was happy for them, so sleep through this would be a shame.

The artichoke soup was splendid.

photo 20150410_182642

The mixed grill main. The kofte stood out here. Perfect flavor and texture for something prepared earlier and re-heated is quite a feat.

photo 20150410_184257

While I am trying to be disciplined to only take a bit or two I am running out of steam.

Small cheese selection, by my choosing. I guess I didn't have a dessert as I cannot lay hands on a picture.

photo 20150410_185540

Some scotch as a digestif.

photo 20150410_191021

I also neglected to get a picture of the bedding. TK does a nice turn down service with a pad, blanket and pillows. The bed is quite comfy despite the lack of privacy and having the hurdle another guest to get out.

Cabin after service. Time to get some shut eye.

photo 20150410_191957

I managed some fitful sleep. Having a substantial meal and trying to sleep directly following is not a good plan. That's OK, I wasn't here to sleep. I was here for the TK experience.

Before too long it was light outside, we had crossed the whole of Asia, and it was time to have breakfast.

Initial tray with starter, Turkish coffee, orange juice and fruit.

photo 20150411_001732

I selected the poached eggs. Much to my surprise they were perfectly runny in the yolk. Well done again TK.

photo 20150411_003802

Whacky Chinese airspace vectoring.

photo 20150411_022052

On short final parallel approach with an MU 777-300ER.

photo 20150411_024551

Looks like a nice day in PVG.

photo 20150411_024939

After a brief taxi we were parked at Terminal 2 and off the plane. No effort was made to disembark the business class guests before economy.

Bonus: Some sights around Istanbul. The brief visit only confirmed what I know already, I need return for a proper visit. It's a beautiful place.

See more

Verdict

Turkish Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering9.0

Turkish Airlines Lounge

10.0/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services10.0

Istanbul - ISX

5.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Shanghai - PVG

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

I went into this encounter having high expectations for the Turkish Airlines lounge and on board food programs and these expectations were exceeded. From a culinary perspective I had to remind myself that I'm flying business class and not first.

Unfortunately everything else on offer from TK was the very definition of average. The seats on the 777 are not competitive for an airline that doesn't offer a first class. The service from both the ground and inflight staff was indifferent at best.

I suppose every airline can't be everything to all travelers. Turkish Airlines has a fantastic food and beverage program on offer but it falls down in the manner in which it is delivered.

Information on the route Istanbul (ISX) Shanghai (PVG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Istanbul (ISX) → Shanghai (PVG).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Turkish Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 10 hours and 13 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

  • Comment 136927 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thank your for sharing this FR!

    The timing of this flight is very strange, I wouldn't think a flight leaving at midnight and arriving at 4pm is very unattractive for most people.

    I had about 7 hours between flights in Istanbul.
    - I was expecting you to spend the entire layover in the lounge, lol, but at that length of quick hop into the city is always advisable (unless the airport is out in BFE). The TK Lounge is a phenomenal place. It's what a lounge should be, even on a Friday night, it doesn't look crowded and there are a ton of excellent food/activity options. A great way to spend a couple of hours in between flights.

    I don't think the attendant that helped me ever uttered a word to me.
    - This is my experience more often than not as well.

    The TK hard product does not excite me at all. As you mention, the 2-3-2 is unacceptable in the modern age. On top of that, the seats seem like they don't offer a lot of privacy.

    The Do & Co catering looks very strong. I like the design of the salt and pepper shakers. The seafood starter looks very tasty and the cook on the meat looks great for an airplane (even though I never order beef on planes).

    Small cheese selection, by my choosing.
    - That plate looks so sad with such a meager selection, I think those grapes wanted some friends. Completely understand the bloating factor right before heading to bed, makes for a rough nights sleep.

    I selected the poached eggs. Much to my surprise they were perfectly runny in the yolk.
    - That's the advantage of having chefs on-board.

    Nice air-to-air with MU and beautiful bonus of Istanbul.

    What were the criticisms of the crew? You don't talk about them in the report (which might give us a hint that it was impersonal service)?

    • Comment 316426 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 926 Comments

      Hi NGO85, thanks for the comments.

      the cook on the meat looks great for an airplane (even though I never order beef on planes).
      -I believe it's lamb.

      That's the advantage of having chefs on-board.
      -Indeed. I thought at first they were just flight attendants in funny hats based on how much service they performed in aisle but the cookery was so good I have to assume it was given special attention.

      What were the criticisms of the crew?
      -There was just no connection. Nothing was proactive. I had to initiate requests for refills, etc. Maybe the warmth of the Lufthansa flights earlier in my journey clouded my impression.

  • Comment 136928 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and detailed report with nice shots of your short visit to IST.

    Glad that the TK lounge not only met but also exceeded your expectations. Catering wise is probably the best J lounge in the world with different stations that provide a temptation at every turn.

    It seems that on those long haul flights that depart after 12A, TK offers a shortened dinner version that skips the appetizer trolley where one can choose from a wide array of choices. I believe that dessert is still offered from the trolley though which is a nice touch. Food is always top with TK and they are the leader in this area.

    The seats in the J cabin are not competitive and I would love to see TK adopt something similar to CX or the new AF. To be honest I am a bit surprised that they have not adopted a layout with more privacy. New amenity kits have been introduced and hopefully the menu design should be revamped.

    The staff can be more customer friendly and unfortunately that has always been a weak point with this carrier. I have run into indifferent crew but thankfully I have more positive interactions than negative ones when it comes to FA's.

    • Comment 316427 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 926 Comments

      Hi Jetsetpanda, thank you for commenting on the report.

      Catering wise is probably the best J lounge in the world with different stations that provide a temptation at every turn.
      -Well said! I usually hesitate to use the best label but here, well, I've never experienced anything as exceptional.

      I believe that dessert is still offered from the trolley though which is a nice touch.
      -Yes, and a cart with a giant Turkish coffee contraption. It was pushing 4am local departure time when that coffee was going by. I didn't see a single taker.

  • Comment 136937 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Amazing FR with lots of detail! Thank you for sharing it with us :).

    Have heard many nice things about the TK lounge at IST but never actually seen it on pictures. It's truly an impressive lounge, the best I have seen so far.

    Very disappointing J config. The seats don't seem to offer a lot of privacy, had expected more from an airline like TK.

    Catering looks good, which is pretty normal stuff on TK.

    Unfortunately the crew wasn't the best which I'm not so surprised about. Flown TK on 8 different flights (Narrow and wide-bodies). Catering was good on most of the flights but the service from the crew was quite disappointing on all of my previous flights.

    Thank you for the bonus from Istanul, see you on the next one!

  • Comment 137207 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4998 Comments

    Awesome report! The TK IST Flagship lounge enjoys a great reputation and it is well deserved. The diversity of food in the lounge is so impressive.

    I would even put this lounge above the United Club East in Denver -- WOW...so you know it much me AMAZING :-P

    The seats looks comfortable and I don't mind the open feeling of not having partitions everywhere like in most modern J cabins, but you are right that a 2-3-2 configuration in 2015 is no longer competitive.

    The catering looks great and that is a fancy ramekin, lol. Food is definitely one thing that TK does right, consistently.

    Istanbul is a great city. I've only been for a short weekend mileage run. I also need to go back for a proper visit.

Login to post a comment.