Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class Review
Toronto to Istanbul
Business Class on Turkish Airlines' 777 service from Toronto to Istanbul was a real treat! The service was fabulous, the seats were fantastic - and the food was absolutely over-the-top! Here's my review of the experience from start to finish.
Turkish Airlines - at the Airport
Check-in was simple and straight forward. The agent issued my passes all the way through to Beirut and I was off within minutes to security. Unfortunately, business class travelers on TK are not able to use the expedited lines in Toronto - which I found odd. I was lucky the queue for coach passengers was relatively short. I settled in for pre-departure snacks and cocktails at the Maple Leaf Lounge. This is one of Air Canada's flagship lounges and it has an impressive dinner buffet and fully stocked bar. (Review to come)
There was a bit of a mob waiting to board the flight in Toronto. Passengers needing assistance, families, and business class all boarded at the same time. This created a bit of commotion at the gate during pre-boarding - but once I was in the cabin - everything was forgotten.
Turkish serves very colorful 'mocktails' prior to departure. They had a choice of beverages that ranged in color from bright red to lime green. I chose the citrus one - and it was delicious....very refreshing and a nice signature touch.
I loved the seat on TK's 777. It extended to a fully flat position, had plenty of places to store items inflight, and was extremely comfortable. In the sleep position it extends to 75 inches - or 6.25 feet! It also has a privacy screen and reading light to ensure you don't bother your seat-mate if you need to work (or take pictures) during the flight.
When it was time to go to sleep, my flight attendant pulled out a full set of bedding which included covers, duvets, and special pillows! They really know how to pamper their guests on overnight flights.
The entertainment systems on the 777 were practically limitless. I mean it! They had over 350 films and tv programs, 600 CD albums, and audio book channels. There was streaming live television - and wifi for passengers who had to connect. I had to take a break so I left the internet alone- but it seemed to be a popular pastime for most of the flyers on my trip.
TK really has one of the best business class dining experiences I have ever come across. For the most part, the meal service beats anything most asian and european carriers offer -- and in many cases exceed what one finds in First Class on most north american airlines.
Anyone who knows me - knows how much I love champagne - - and TK did not disappoint. Soon after take-off, flight attendants came through the cabin with Tattinger Brut Reserve - which is a great bottle of bubbly. They paired it with an amuse bouche (no picture as I consumed it too fast!) - and nuts.
For the main meal - they featured two whites: a Prestige Narince from Anatolia (which I really liked) - and a Chablis. They also had a rose (which is rare to see on an airplane) - two reds - - and a port. On top of this they had many top shelf spirits - and some turkish specialties including Raki (an anise based libation).
Nothing was pre-set on Turkish. At the start of the main service, an impressive cart was rolled out that housed all of the flatware, napkins, side dishes - and even a candle! I felt that was a really nice (and original) touch. While it's electronic - - it looks real - and I could see all of my fellow passengers taking a peak inside the paper sac that housed it. I have to point out one more thing that delighted me - and it's the salt & pepper shakers. They were in the form of stylized middle eastern minarets. I am sure some of those go missing on each flight.
TK offered a choice of appetizers to start - and I went for the shrimp. They were delicious and I decided to continue with seafood for my second course - - having swordfish. It was slightly dry - but very tasty. There was also a soup on the menu - -but at that point I was getting complete overloaded - so I decided to call it quits!
Dessert & Tea
A HUGE cart came out at the end of the meal with all kinds of desserts on it. I almost felt like one of the title characters from Hansel and Gretel. There was a mountain of Turkish Delights, cookies, squares, custards, and cake. I am a huge cheese lover - so I decided to stick with that.
The dessert trolly was quickly replaced with the tea cart. I have to say I have never seen such an impressive tea service at 33,000 feet! TK appears to be in direct competition with some of the Japanese carriers on this front. They had regular teas, herbal teas, and medicinal teas to choose from -- - all served in elaborate cups and pots - and on ornate trays.
I was actually still stuffed from dinner - when it was time to have breakfast -- so I left most of it on my plate. TK had a number of dishes to choose from -- - and all of them were available for pre-order at the start of the flight. I went for the fresh fruit and eggs - but they had plenty of other options.
The Lavatory (!)
I would almost never take a picture of the lavatory on an airplane. However, the facilities on TK's 777 are a little bit different - and I thought I would show you what the sink set-up looks like!
Our flight parked at a remote gate - but the transfer was totally painless for business class guests. There were two specially equipped busses on hand that were solely dedicated for premium passengers. They had leather seats - and departed within minutes to the main arrival hall. I was transferring internationally - and there were special line-ups for business class passengers.
Within no time I was in the stellar CIP lounge. This is the TOP business class lounge in the world - and a pure nirvana. Here's my review of the CIP Lounge in Istanbul
I wouldn't hesitate for a second to take Turkish Airlines Business Class again. If fact I would go out of my way to fly it. Both the hard and the soft product was amazing. I loved the seat, the meal service and the whole experience. TK is truly a leader both in the sky and on the ground when it comes to business class. It's easy to see why they are growing so fast!