On my recent ANA flight the departure was delayed about 30 minutes. ANA personnel apologized no less than 4 times, beginning from the exact minute we didn't push from the gate on schedule. Today's flight on Turkish Airlines didn’t begin boarding until departure time and left 30 minutes late. Not one announcement was made at the gate or apology made on the aircraft. Being skeptical of the flight in the first place, I was even more concerned the next 11 hours were going to be quite unpleasant.
Out of the six different carriers I was flying on this round the world trip, Turkish Airlines was the least exciting to me. I'd read about them, all the great airline ratings they have, but the individual reports from flyers said otherwise. Something didn't corroborate and I was beginning to think my report on this trip wasn't going to be positive.
Wrong. What a great flight! I'm happy to fly Turkish Airlines any time, any where. Mission accomplished on this round the world venture. Two Star Alliance members with excellent reward availability are ANA and Turkish Airlines and I would recommend them to anyone.
This ride was on one of their newer Airbus A330 aircraft. It's a nice plane. Except the washrooms are very small and there was only one lavatory for the business class cabin which sat 28. Today's cabin was 1/2 full and I had to wait everytime. With the seat belt sign on for a good 6 straight hours due to a strong headwind, I can only imagine the lines in the economy cabin. At times our airspeed was 380 making the winds over 150mph. It was a long flight, fortunately it was good flight.
The cabin is attractive. Turkish uses the Zodiac Aura Lite seat and they are comfortable. There is a good 4 feet of leg room. With the seat upright I could barely reach the ottoman and I'm 6 feet. But it's 2x2x2 so if you’re on a window, you have to step over your neighbor. I didn't have a neighbor today. But I can see where having one would be an issue with regard to having a place for stuff. There is just a small tray table between the seats. And I dislike where the controls are for power, headphones and audio plugs. In fact I had to use the flashlight on my phone to find a plug and could hardly insert the jack when I found it. But the seats are comfortable to sit in and laying down as well.
I was in 4A but my tray table got stuck so they moved me to 1A once airborne. The crew kept busy all flight so if that's normal protocol, when the lights are down and your sleeping, expect galley noise up front. Also they place a serving stand for drinks in front of seats D and E in row one, which means if you are sitting in row one the flight attendants are always in the area. The best seats in my opinion are in row 3 and 4.
The crew was fantastic. They couldn't have been any nicer, any more attentive or friendlier. One young lady showed a genuine smile any time she made eye contact with anyone. Counting the on-board chef there were 5 flight attendants in business class.
Turkish catering is by DO&CO, who's reputation for airline catering is outstanding. They cater for Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian as well. All these airlines consistently rank at the top for inflight food service. The food was outstanding on this flight. In fact it's all about the food and service. Let's dig in.
Main meal service begins with the first trolley. Place settings, bread dish with butter, olive oil and spices and the "candle" for your "Candlelight Dinner above the clouds". Great care is taken to arrange your table properly.
Trolley service is a big part of the Turkish dining experience.
First a trio of canapés are served. One was a piece of watermelon with a creamy cheese on top, another was guava fruit I believe and in the middle chicken with a tumeric spice. All excellent.
Then the appetizer trolley is brought out and you can select as many of the dishes as you'd like, or have the flight attendant give you a taste of everything which is what I did.
Turkish tradition calls for a soup serving with today's excellent offering a mushroom soup.
After the main meal the dessert and cheese cart is wheeled out, which can be most dangerous as it was stacked with goodies!
Finally the Turkish Coffee cart is brought out with a large selection of coffee and tea as well as a SECOND dessert. (I refrained from indulging in all the sweets I'm sorry to report!)
More opinions of Turkish Airlines
When you look at a picture of something you form an opinion. Then sometimes when you see the live version you are either pleasantly surprised or disappointed from your visual expectation. In the case of the Turkish Airlines cabin I was pleasantly surprised. It’s very nice.
For my tastes the Zodiac seat is comfortable. It’s the two seats together along with the lack of table space that I don’t care for. There is however plenty of storage in the ottoman as well as a box that holds a pair of slippers, headphones and all the magazines, safety cards, etc. next to the ottoman. The food tray is standard size and there is a light next to your shoulder as well as the IFE controller.
Once you are seated the flight attendant welcomes you with a small square peanut butter goodie that’s really tasty and they hand you the “Bohca” card, which describes the “bundle” of sleep products you’re provided. There is a pillow, waist pillow, mattress pad and duvet. The crew will make up your bed at anytime. The products are soft, warm and comfortable and the picture of the baby sleeping is adorable.
A simple standard item amenity kit was passed out along with the slippers. The kit included some stickers you could use to inform the flight attendant if you wanted to be woken for meals or left undisturbed. The case was based on the current Turkish Airlines “Superman” sponsorship.
Before landing a second meal was served. And for me this meal was even BETTER than the first. I had the filet of beef, and while it wasn’t the prettiest dish, the “rice Demi glaze” was incredible. Restaurant quality all the way, just not presented well.
The IFE system was fine with nothing special to inform you of. My issue was the distance to the screen without a way to move it closer. However with this type of seat the alternative is less leg room.
This crew was really good. I had read some blogs that weren’t flattering towards Turkish Airlines flight attendants. That was not the case on this flight. While I had a translation issue with one, which wasn’t a big deal, this crew really made the flight enjoyable.
The A330 is a nice plane. The outside camera view was a nice touch.
The flight was over an hour late arriving, partly due to a late departure. The reason for the late departure was the crew didn’t arrive until a few minutes before scheduled time. So they must have been on an overnight and arrived late therefore not allowing the minimum rest period. The other issue were the winds. I made my connection without issue. Fortunately Ataturk Airport has a fast track lane for business class passengers to clear customs. Because of the delay however I wasn’t able to visit the lounge, reviewed to be one of the best.
I will take Turkish Airlines again, anywhere. It was a great flight. Besides, how could you not like the parting gift.
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