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Why Turkish Airlines’ Business Class is one of the best

LLM writer Keri Bridgwater heads to the skies to see what makes this award-winning airline so good.

By Keri Bridgwater  |  October 23, 2021
turkish airlines bed

Founded in 1933 with just five aircraft, today Turkish Airlines operates a fleet of 371 passenger and cargo planes and flies to 326 destinations in 127 countries, making it the world’s largest mainline carrier by the number of destinations served.

Widely complimented among travellers and AvGeeks alike for its stellar customer service and top-notch food and beverage programme, the airline’s famed ‘flying chefs’ returned to the sky this year, serving restaurant-quality meals at 30,000 feet, much to the delight of business class passengers. Luxury extras like Versace branded amenity kits and spectacular five-star lounges put the Istanbul-based carrier head and shoulders above the competition.

All-new business class cabins

turkish airlines plane
The brand-new Dreamliner makes for an even more perfect flight

While air travel can be exhausting, and no one likes arriving at their destination with crumpled clothes feeling less than fresh, from priority check-in to extra baggage allowance, there are a multitude of perks when it comes to flying business class. Turkish Airlines’ business class service was already a multiple award-winner, but with 30 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft set to join the airline’s rapidly growing fleet over the next four years, this brand-new aircraft with brand-new seat design (and a much more desirable 1-2-1 configuration) adds a real cherry on the top to make for an even more perfect flight. 

First, there are the modern full-flat seats (complete with an in-chair massage option), firm but fluffy pillows and cosy blankets, plus a very civilized turndown service. Then, there are the active noise-cancelling headphones by Denon at your disposal and when it comes to onboard entertainment options, those are first-rate as well, with a diverse selection of English-language films and TV programmes. The in-cabin experience extends to the bathrooms, which come stocked with Molton Brown amenities, including hand lotion and a refreshing cologne spritz, and, on some international routes, even a living plant or two.

Luxury amenity kits

turkish airlines versace kits
Turkish Airlines partnered with Versace on their attractive long-haul business class amenity kits

In a first-ever move for the Italian fashion house, Turkish Airlines partnered with Versace on their attractive long-haul business class amenity kits and freshening up mid-flight never felt so fabulous. Available in four colours and two design styles within the women’s Versace-branded kit, you’ll find in-flight essentials (eyeshade, socks, earplugs, a hairband and dental kit) along with a Versace Eros pour Femme moisturiser, lip balm and mist spray. While the men’s business class bag also comes in two design styles and features the same goodies, minus the hairband, with luxury skincare products and Versace Eros cologne for men. 

On short-haul business flights across Europe and the Middle East, travellers can look forward to receiving a Molton Brown branded kit and in another aviation first, long-haul economy passengers are treated to their own stylish version by designer luggage brand, Mandarina Duck. Incredibly well made and stylish to boot, all Turkish Airlines travel kits are equally lovely to take home as a keepsake or gift to a lucky friend. 

Award-winning cuisine

turkish airlines chef
Flying chefs provide delicious gourmet dishes for dining with a difference

While the airline is renowned for offering a premium travel experience, their award-winning dining service and Flying Chef programme (yes, they really wear a toque and chef whites) makes eating above the clouds a different experience entirely – business class passengers on flights of eight hours or more can even have their meals served by LED candlelight. Menus are seasonal and prepared with fresh ingredients – many of which are sourced from farms across Turkey – and the resulting gourmet dishes are elegantly presented on tray tables set with tablecloths, china dinnerware and miniature salt and pepper shakers.

Menu standouts include a generous piece of honeycomb from the city of Erzincan in eastern Turkey with clotted cream (kaymak) from Afyon in western Turkey along with an Anatolian-style spicy pepper and tomato spread for breakfast, and a flavourful grilled swordfish brochette with celeriac potato purée and Tuscan-style vegetables for dinner. There’s a solid wine list with several Turkish white and red varietals available in addition to non-alcoholic ‘Fly Good, Feel Good’ options like fresh juices and wellness teas. 

Passenger safety at the forefront

turkish airlines crew
Turkish Airlines has won several awards for their commitment to passenger safety

Ranked a five-Star Global Airline by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) since 2017, travellers can trust the quality of services and amenities of Turkish Airlines’ record of excellence. It’s won a slew of awards, too, including Best Business Class in Europe and Major Airline in Europe in TripAdvisor’s (Travelers Choice Awards​) and Europe’s Leading Airline 2019 (World Travel Awards). The airline was recently also awarded Diamond status by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying for their continued efforts to ensure passengers the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitation throughout the pandemic.

TV personality Mehmet Oz, otherwise known as Dr. Oz, has shared his expertise with Turkish Airline’s passengers since 2017, fronting the airline’s TK Extra Care hygiene programme, which among other ‘check-in to arrival’ safety initiatives, provides all passengers with a hygiene kit containing face masks, hand sanitizer and antiseptic wipes. A thoughtful extra touch and added peace of mind for many a traveller.

Flying from the UK

istanbul mosque
The historic city of Istanbul is one of the fastest growing cities in the world

Whether you fancy jetting off to the Maldives, Mumbai or Mauritius, Turkish Airlines operates direct daily flights from London Stanstead, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports with all long-haul routes connecting via Istanbul. Depending on your final destination, layovers will, of course, range from a few hours to more than eight.

While the airline’s Istanbul stopover service is currently suspended due to Covid-19 (hopefully back soon), rooms with private bathrooms can be reserved at the centrally located YOTELAIR (for a four hour minimum) inside the international transit and duty-free area on the departures floor. Moreover, with its profile as a must-visit travel destination on the rise, Istanbul is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the world – fully vaccinated travellers can incorporate a multi-night stopover without needing to quarantine on arrival to Turkey and in some instances even show a negative PCR test result.

Istanbul Airport is state-of-the-art

istanbul airport
Ultra-modern Istanbul Airport is strategically placed to connect more than 60 destinations within just three hours’ flight time

Turkish Airlines’ brand-new home is the state-of-the-art Istanbul Airport. A major crossroads for Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and strategically positioned to connect more than 60 destinations within just three hours’ flight​ time, the airport is charting an impressive course to become the world’s largest international travel hub with a predicted eventual capacity of 200 million passengers​.

With a construction budget of $12 billion, the ultra-modern facility (the biggest built-from-scratch airport terminal in the world) officially opened in 2019 and provides passengers with a seamless travel experience – it also just scooped second place on the World’s Best Airports List in the 2021 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards. 

Exclusive airport lounges

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Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is one of two lounges at Istanbul Airport giving exclusive access to business class travellers

Business class travellers get exclusive access to two lounges inside Istanbul Airport: Turkish Airlines Business Lounge and the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge. Located over an elevated 9,600-square-metre mezzanine, each can accommodate 720 passengers across various modern and well-designed spaces – from private suites with shower and bathroom facilities to relaxation areas with day beds and roving massage therapists.

In addition, there are six private meeting rooms set up with video and teleconference facilities for anyone working on the go. A dedicated gallery space with a rotating selection of contemporary artwork from the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Turkish Airlines Business Lounge) and a cinema serving fresh popcorn (Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge) also feature.

Passengers can also look forward to an array of chef-prepared Mediterranean fare, including freshly grilled meats to over 40 mezzes from across Turkey. Serve yourself beverage cabinets are dotted around both lounges, as are tea gardens stocked with loose-leaf teas and Turkish delight and coffee stations serving traditional Turkish coffees to cappuccinos. Entertainment options are plentiful, too, from relaxing live piano performances and a wall of news channels with headsets in different languages to a golf simulator. 

Lounge access: The Business Lounge is also available to Star Alliance Airlines business class passengers. The Miles&Smiles Lounge is open to all passengers flying business class, Turkish Airlines economy class passengers with Miles&Smiles Elite, Elite Plus and Star Alliance Gold membership.