Review of Turkish Airlines flight Istanbul Seoul in Economy

Airline Turkish Airlines
Flight TK 88
Class Economy
Seat 30B
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 10:15
Take-off 10 Sep 14, 18:25
Arrival at 11 Sep 14, 10:40
TK   #11 out of 66 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 628 reviews
By 8138
Published on 29th September 2014
Here I am with the second leg of my recent trip to Seoul onboard Turkish Airlines. After landing at Istanbul we were about to continue our schedule :

IST - ICN - you are here

On our previous flight from Prague we landed on time which meant we had some 2,5 hours for transit at Ataturk. After leaving the plane we checked FIDS to find out what gate we were going to depart from. Our flight TK 88 was already written there, but only flights leaving within next 2 hours had their gates assigned so we had to wait for a bit. Never mind as from the gate area there were nice views and both take offs and landings were visible with a lot off traffic around although it was TK aircrafts mostly, which became slightly uninsteresting after some time. I´m not sure if I ever saw such a big domination of home carrier as it was here at IST.
Ataturk airside left me a bit unimpressed as it felt a bit chaotic and crowded with people so we stayed just standing at the windows for the most of time.

Air Serbia A319 with MNG Cargo A300 in the back

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Nothing else but Turkish aircrafts

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BA 767 from LHR

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Soon about to board one of these ..

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Two hours to departure our gate 304 appeared on screens and we started searching where it was located.

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And in few moments we found out it´s just about a minute away from our arriving gate and aslo it´s on the … ground floor??! Okay, so why not. In the past I wouldn´t be happy about not using the jet bridge, but walking to the A330 using the stairs sounded exciting that day.

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Our gate area was pretty empty 2 hours prior to departure, but it started getting more crowded soon

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Boeing 777 prepared for flight to NRT

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I knew we were about to have a completely full flight as 3 weeks to departure it was impossible to book this flight anymore. I expected that most of pax would be Turkish, but it turned that Koreans dominated onboard.

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Our bus arrived about 50 minutes to departure and we were among the first to board bus number 1

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After they filled first bus with as many people as possible, we closed the doors and started our tour around Ataturk airport. Still it was almost only Turkish planes visible anywhere around.

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as well as this TK´s Borussia Dortmund logojet

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After a 3 minute drive we reached the ramp with many TK A330 parked. Which one is going to be ours?

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And it´s Trabzon ! TC-JNL, almost 4 years in the air

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A330 is some kind of amazing when you are this close. After arriving it took about a minute until bus doors were opened and we were among the first to step under this beautiful plane.

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Under the massive wing. As we were seated in the back section we moved to the back door.

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Boarding widebody by the stairs for the fist time for me

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I was really curious what I was going to see inside. Cabin on the previous A320 flight was disappointing so I didn´t have the highest expectations this time..

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.. but it was superb! FAs welcomed us at the door and we turned into first aisle.

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First thing I noticed were large displays and their resolution. So much better compared to older LH planes I experienced earlier this year.

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I also liked the seat colors. Pillow, blanket and headset were prepared at every seat.

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IFE seemed to be very good. Good screen quality and it also offered a lot of options.

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Seat quite comfortable in general, but it had a problem and that was poor legroom. I felt the legroom was even tighter than on A320 during PRG-IST leg. With a 10 hours long flight I was a bit affraid of that.

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IFE also had its camera option, this thing is simply great. Bad luck only the resolution isn´t so good.

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There were about 30 Turks in these red T-shirts. It seemed they were some musicans. There was a lot of instruments when we were waiting at baggage reclaim at ICN. Maybe they were the reason, why the flight was fully booked so long before flight.

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It took a long time until pushback started, maybe almost half an hour.

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After pushing back it took over 5 minutes to reach our departure runway.

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Entering 35L

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It was a noisy take off roll from our A330 and here we started climbing into Turkish sky with the Sun just about to set.

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We were offered with some nice Views of Istanbul, but Sun made taking nice pictures barely possible.

In few minutes we got over clouds and nothing else was visible below us. Meanwhile it started getting darker and the short night was about to begin.

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By this time it became clear we were about to fly ordinary route for Tk 88 flight. After departure we headed past the Black sea. After passing Tbilisi just before Baku we turned left a headed to the northeast past Kazakh Ust-Kamenogorsk

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Menu card and both Korean Arrival card and Customs declaration were distributed. We realized we don´t have a pen so I asked a Korean man seating over the aisle and he was kind enough to lend us his pen.

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These are the options for the evening meal service.

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I took OJ and turkish beer Efes first, both were pretty good.

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And then we both went for the seconds option - the Chicken. I found it very tasty so I was satisfied. Pudding in the back was also excelent. After filling myself I was reading through the in-flight magazine and later I fell asleep for some short time.

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Before Ust-Kamenogorsk we turned south and headed over Urumqi

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Most of the passengers were sleeping, my brother including

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Somewhere over China I raised the window shade and found out it´s not dark outside anymore

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At this time we were approaching Beijing and we were approached by the second meal service.

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It was scrambled eggs with toast this time and it was very bad to my tastes. Although I ate it I didn´t like it at all.

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Disappointing from TK, enjoyed eggs from LH much more.

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Does anyone know, why we had to fly around Beijing on both flights?

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Approaching South Korea over the Yellow sea

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I like the x-shape of this island!

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Spoilers were extended few moments after we started our descent

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Over South Korean soil

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Left turn later and here we were already guided to ICN´s rwy 33R

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The new Maglev track is visible next to the airport

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Landing at Korean Air Country

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We touched down gently on one wheel and then the rest parts of our A330 touched the ground and we braked hard to leave the runway

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Peach aviation is the first exotic airline we spotted

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Korean 777 rotating from 33L

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We parked next to this Garuda Indonesia A330.

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It took long until it was our turn to leave the plane. Although having plenty of time, I still managed to leave my usb cable connected to IFE which I found out on the hotel later.

After stepping into the airport I was amazed, it looked very good. Nice, new, it was airy with lot of light. Arrivals also offered nice views outisde. I really enjoyed walking down the concourse. After 5 minutes we got to airport shuttle which took us into main terminal bulding. We were among the first to leave it and so we arrived into immigrations well in advance compared to others. Imigration was completely empty at that time so it took us only about a minute. We got our baggage and arrived into Incheon arrival hall which was still as pleasant as the rest of the airport as we experienced it so far.
After changing dollars into Korean Wons we got ourselves something to drink and headed for the Airport express train to get to Seoul.
See more


Turkish Airlines

Cabin crew6.0

Istanbul - ISL


Seoul - ICN



After rather disappointing flight with TK before, this one was much better. The A330 was perfect - cabin was nice, great IFE, the feeling of the whole aircraft was good. Bad luck only legroom was not so good making long-haul flight less comfortable. There was still big difference from the cabin crew attitude. Men were rather good, they seemed professionals with not very much emotion into their work, but still I found them ok. Women were rather bad again and I didn´t have a good feeling from their performance.
Out of two meal services on this flight one was very good and the second was poor so I was maybe expecting a little bit more.

Airside at Ataturk offered nice views, but I didn´t enjoy the airport so much as it was pretty crowded and felt a little chaotic.

On the other hand Incheon was perfect. It seemed a little bit calm but nice and I felt really well inside the airport. The concourse built in 2008 is very nice. Immigration was a breeze for us. Landisde at Incheon felt very good as well. I had very good feeling about the whole airport so I can give only the highest marks.

Information on the route Istanbul (ISL) Seoul (ICN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Istanbul (ISL) → Seoul (ICN).


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

The average flight time is 10 hours and 23 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 119175 by
    jeromekl 3 Comments

    Thanks for the great flight report and photos! I believe the odd routing is to avoid North Korea.

  • Comment 119195 by
    AirCanada881 1617 Comments

    Thank you for this next leg, I have to say that I really like TK's A333's. The business cabin feels very intimate and it much quieter than that of the 77W. Now if only they added wifi it would be perfect.

    The seat pitch in Y does look abit tight, I would try and get an Emergency Exit row on these long flights :)

  • Comment 119343 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5606 Comments

    Awesome report! Glad to see that this leg was much better than the last, as I imagined it would be. The cabin looks really nice with those huge IFE screens. Overall, between the good catering and the rest, the product is definitely better than most of what you get on long-haul in Europe or North America. Crews, once again, seem to be hit-or-miss on TK. Thanks again for sharing!

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