Review: Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class Istanbul to Hong Kong

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (September 30, 2020): Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Istanbul to Hong Kong.

Last week, I published a trip report of my experience flying Business Class onboard a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 from Hong Kong to Istanbul. Today, I publish my review of the return leg, which offered a very similar experience, except for the fact that the Boeing 777 aircraft featured a different cabin with an older, rather dated design (smaller TV screens and no privacy screens compared to Turkish Airlines’ newer Boeing 777s). Overall, I was not impressed by the carrier’s poor Business Class layout (2-3-2) although the soft product (catering and amenities) were excellent. Turkish Airlines plans to upgrade its Boeing 777-300ER jets with a new Business Class seat over the next four years, in a move that will introduce direct aisle access for every business class passenger.

Have you ever flown with Turkish Airlines? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

  • Trip: Istanbul to Hong Kong
  • Airline: Turkish Airlines
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Aircraft registration number: TC-JJT (built in 2014)
  • On time departure: Yes (1.50 am)
  • On time arrival: Yes (5 pm)
  • Miles: 4990 miles
  • Flight time: 9 hours
  • Seat: 3A
  • Class: Business Class

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Facts & figures about Turkish Airlines 
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities & bedding
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences
  10. My verdict (score)


1. COST OF MY TICKET

I paid 14,500 Hong Kong Dollar (around 1800 euros) for my return ticket from Hong Kong to Istanbul. I booked the ticket directly on the Turkish Airlines website.


2. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT TURKISH AIRLINES
  • Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier of Turkey.
  • The airline was established on 20 May 1933 as “Turkish State Airlines”.
  • The carrier flies to 125 countries and serves more destinations non-stop from a single airport than any other airline in the world.
  • Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance since 2008; Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline alliance (it also includes Lufthansa and United).
  • Turkish Airlines has the 12th largest fleet in the world, operating a mixed aircraft fleet with B787s, B737s, A330s, A319s, A320s and A320s.
  • In terms of passengers numbers, Turkish Airlines is the world’s 11th largest airline.
TURKISH AIRLINES BOEING 777-300ER
TURKISH AIRLINES BOEING 777-300ER

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777 features two Business Class cabins located in the plane’s front section. The front cabin contains the bulk of the Business Class seats (28 in total, spread over 4 rows), while the rear cabin has only 21 seats, spread over 3 rows. In both cabins, the 49 forward-facing Business Class seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 layout, which means that passengers allocated to seats A, E and J do not have direct aisle access. Obviously the 2-3-2 layout isn’t ideal, but on a positive note, the legroom space for each seat is fantastic. And while this configuration is one to avoid if you are traveling solo (since you don’t want to end up in the middle seat), it might be acceptable when you are traveling with a family.

The cabin itself has an open and airy feel, although some would describe it as a total lack of privacy as you can easily see the other Business Class travelers throughout the flight. Turkish Airlines operates two ‘design’ versions of the 777-300ER. Unfortunately, the aircraft that flew me to Istanbul was outfitted with the older of the two, which meant a rather dated design, no privacy dividers between seats, and smaller TV screens (the decor definitely felt less chic compared to the Boeing 777 aircraft that flew me to Istanbul a few days earlier).

For a seat map of Turkish Airlines’ B777s, click here.

TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

Turkish Airlines’ B777 Business Class seat has a generous pitch of 78 inch (198 cm), which is defined as the space between one point on a seat and the same point on the seat in front. The seat width – defined as the space between the armrests – is 22 inches (63 cm).

The center console (between paired seats) holds a tray table, which needs to be pulled out. The console also features a panel with the seat controls, which is easy to use although it’s not the most straightforward (I still have no clue what the option “M+” or “MR” stand for). The entertainment controls, power outlets and headphone jacks are located underneath the center armrest in a somewhat difficult-to-reach pocket.

Each seat features its own 15,4 inch HD TV, which is controlled by the handset in the center armrest. Below the TV monitor is a large ottoman or footrest which becomes part of the flatbed once the seat is fully reclined. The seat doesn’t feature a lot of storage space: there’s open storage compartment for shoes or other large objects located under the footrest, and there’s an open box for some smaller items (glasses, wallet, phone, etc …) next to the TV. The ottoman also serves as an extension of the seat in bed mode. And it has to be said, but the seat is very comfortable in the bed mode: instead of a contracted footwell in many of today’s Business Class cabins, the bed – which is almost 2 m or 78 inches long – is open and there is room to spread out, especially if you sleep on your side.

What are the best Business Class seats

  • The paired seats (A&C or J&L) are quiet good for couples.
  • If you are traveling solo, choose one of the aisle seats (C, D, H, J) so you don’t have to climb over your seatmate’s legs to reach the aisle.

What are the worst Business Class seats

  • Middle seats (marked by the letter ‘E’ on the seat map) are flanked by other seats on both sides, so avoid them if flying alone, and if traveling with a partner aim for the window pairs instead.
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED)

5. AMENITIES & BEDDING

Turkish Airlines’ offers Business Class passengers the following amenities on longhaul flights:

  • Formia partnered with Versace to create Turkish Airlines’ his and hers long-haul Business Class kits, representing the first time the Italian luxury brand has been available on board any airline. The kits come in a variety of colors and sizes and contain Versace skincare products and a miniature eau de toilette for each gender.
  • High quality noise-cancelling headphones, produced by audio manufacturer Denon.
  • Bedding comprises a rather thin pillow, a warm blanket, and an excellent mattress pad.
  • Slippers & shoebag
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SLEEPING AMENITIES
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS SLEEPING AMENITIES
NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

6. MEALS

Turkish Airlines really does a good job of providing a memorable culinary experience at 30,000 feet, hence why it ranks among the airlines with the best inflight food. The carrier’s catering is provided by Vienna-based Do & Co (which is also responsible for Austrian Airlines’ unmatched catering). Each longhaul flight has an onboard “flying chef” – dressed in starched whites and with a towering toque – who greets boarding passengers at the plane door as if to welcome them into a restaurant and who is in charge of all Business Class cuisine. Turkish Airlines is also the only airline to offers a candlelit dinner above the clouds as its classy table set-up includes silverware, a bread basket, accoutrements like olive oil and S&P, and a battery-powered “candle”.

During this overnight flight from Istanbul to Hong Kong, dinner service started with mixed nuts (including pistachios) and a choice of beverage. Next, I had the following selection from the sleek menu:

  • Starter: assortment of stuffed mini-pastries
  • Starter: wild salmon tartar and marinated prawns
  • Main course: “Karniyarik” traditional stuffed eggplant, lamb cubes, tomato sauce, grilled pepper, and buttered rice
  • Dessert: sweet curd and apricot brioche, served with vanilla sauce

Food tasted excellent, but the portions were rather small. A walk-up bar was set up in the Business Class galley after dinner service, offering a selection of packaged snacks and fresh fruit for those passengers that got hungry again during the flight. Breakfast was served 90 minutes prior to landing in Istanbul, and I had the following selection from the breakfast card:

  • A mixed berry smoothie, juice, fresh fruits, croissant, cheese, cold cuts, and Bircher muesli
  • Main breakfast course: cheese and tomato omelette, served with sauteed mushrooms
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS: FLYING CHEF
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS: FLYING CHEF
PRE-DEPARTURE DRINK
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST
BREAKFAST

7. ENTERTAINMENT

Turkish Airlines offers excellent inflight entertainment. The program offers dozens of movies, TV shows, games, and podcasts.

INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

Turkish Airlines offers WiFi on its Boeing 777 aircraft. 1 GB of complimentary internet service is provided to Business Class passengers.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

# CREW: The cabin crew onboard this flight provided excellent service for the duration to the flight. On a side note, the airline has paired up with Milan-based Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta to create the crew’s stylish uniforms.

# LAVATORY: There are two Business Class lavatories on Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777s, both located in the galley between the two Business Class cabins. The lavatories are stocked with luxurious toiletries, including a set of Molton Brown’s Orange & Bergamot hand wash and hand lotion.

TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
TURKISH AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY

10. MY VERDICT
  • Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
  • Food (quality): 9/10
  • Food (quantity): 7/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 8/10
  • WiFi: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Cabin design: 7/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10

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3 Comments

  1. I have flown Turkish Airlines Business Class many times on long-hauls, including several times on the routing you took. Agree that the seating configuration is the weakest aspect of their service, and I’ve always made sure to get an aisle seat on the 2-seat side of the cabin. What keeps me coming back to Turkish Airlines is their incredible service and the high quality of their product and food. With well over 30 flights on their long-haul routes over the past few years, it is always consistent and impeccable. Am willing to keep going back to them based on that alone, although am glad to hear they will be upgrading the seating configuration in the next few years.

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