Travel Date: June 2015, Monday
Departure Time: 0:50 AM
Flight #: TK 0607
Aircraft: 737-800 (Winglets)
I arrived at the gate at around midnight, and it was clear that this was a full flight. The Istanbul airport, and Turkish Airlines in particular, have made incredible efforts in the last few years to establish themselves as the gateway between East and West, battling it out with the Middle Eastern airports and airlines for that title, and it seems to be paying off.
As usual at Ataturk, passengers are allocated a “Boarding Group” during check in, which typically prioritizes Business Class/Star Alliance Gold passengers and passengers in need of assistance, and then goes from A to D. It wasn’t too long after I arrived at the gate that boarding started.
A note about seats
Business Seats on Boeing 737-800 are standard Business Class recliner seats. This is perfectly fine by me for daytime flights of up to 5 hours duration. However, for a 6:30 hour night time flight, I find these insufficient and lacking for a decent rest, ahead of a day packed with meetings as I had. For an airline that has invested millions in fleet renovation over the past few years, it is difficult to understand why they have a 737 servicing this route.
Yes, their prices are normally very competitive vs their competitors and therefore I find myself flying Turkish often, however on this route I believe their Business Class product is mostly competing with Flying Blue’s extensive Premium Economy offering rather than their excellent lieflat Business Class product.
As soon as we boarded, we were offered non alcoholic drinks, followed by newspapers, as is standard on all TK flights.
Crabtree & Evelyn kits were provided soon after. Nothing too fancy, but carrying more than required to make this a comfortable flight: eye shades, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, ear sockets and even a not-so-common comb.
Food in TK flights is of a high standard. With their own Chefs aboard each and every flight, they make it a point that you will enjoy your meal every single time.
Today’s menu featured Sea bass, Lamb Chops and pasta. I went for the Sea Bass.
The appetiser was a chicken Caesar salad of sorts, which was ok. The cheese selection was pretty good as always, and the chocolate dessert delicious. But the highlight was a wonderful poached sea bass which tasted as good as in any high end restaurant.
Overall the typical high quality service by Turkish Airlines. The one downside though, is the dealbreaker for me: on a 6-hour plus red eye flight such as this, the fact that the Biz class seats are merely recliner seats simply made it impossible for me to have a decent few hours of sleep, which directly impacted my ability to perform in the meetings I had right after landing. So whenever possible, I will always favor an(y) airline with fully flat seats instead.