What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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Last week, Turkish Airlines flew two dozen of us White House Travel Bloggers to Turkey – and what a life-changing experience it was! Turkish Airlines’ slogan is Widen Your World – and our visit did just that. I’ll delve into my experiences in Turkey soon (you can follow along with the #widenyourworld and #lovefromturkey hashtags on social media), but first I’d like to show what it’s really like to fly Turkish Airlines Business Class. I’d never flown business class before, and WOW does it make a difference, especially on long-haul flights. I flew from Chicago’s O’Hare to Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport. There are a lot of photos - I'm a visual learner, and the educator in me wants to share. Here’s what happened…

What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

At ORD, there’s a daily flight to IST, leaving at 10:15pm. Checkin starts at 5:30pm, and there’s a separate line for business class checkin. It was fast, easy, and by the time I’d finished checking in, there was an attendant with a wheelchair there to take me to the Star Alliance Lounge. After working for a bit, it was time to fly! We were welcomed aboard with a selection of fresh beverages and a Godiva chocolate. We were also given a menu of the meals we’d partake in. I will say this right away – YOU WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY on a Turkish Airlines business class flight. Slip on your slippers, prop your feet up, and get ready.

Fresh beverages offered upon boarding. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Fresh beverages are always welcome!

Chocolate is always welcome.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Chocolate? Why yes, please.

Perusing the menu... From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

So many choices, only 12 hours in which to consume them...

After you take off, the food starts coming. Snacks, beverages (including a wide array of wellness teas!), appetizers, main courses, and desserts. There are little candlelight votives, linen tablecloths, magnetic salt and pepper shakers, and Turkish olive oil for your bread. All the food is prepared by Turkish Do & Co – we toured their facility in Istanbul and I’m impressed!

Flight with candlelight. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?'

Flight with candlelight

The cutest magnetic salt and pepper shakers, ever. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

The cutest magnetic salt and pepper shakers, ever

There’s a flying chef on each plane, and they plate your food according to your preferences. Talk about fresh!

Our flying chef with Turkish Airlines. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Our flying chef - who did NOT blink when I asked many questions

Appetizers. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Appetizers

Dinner - the steak was divine!  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dinner - the steak was divine!

Now, I will say that by the time the dessert cart came around, I was stuffed. But no, my favorite flight attendant told me she’d pick for me. Here’s maple ice cream, an apple strudel, fruit, and two different kinds of baklava (the green one is extremely delicious, and is a regional specialty from Turkey). I persevered.

Dessert. Yes, try them all!  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dessert. Yes, try them all!

By this time, combined with the late hour, I was ready to sleep. I plugged in my phone (there’s an outlet right at your seat), dove into my Crabtree and Evelyn kit bag provided, and found many accoutrements, including ear plugs and a sleep mask. I reclined my seat, a heavy linen blanket was tenderly wrapped around me, and a luscious pillow lulled me into sleep. Hours later, I awoke to a breakfast trolley going by. I’d ordered an omelette, but was so full that I asked for homemade muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, coffee, and fruit. It’s the perfect breakfast in flight – readying me for Istanbul!

Breakfast! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Breakfast (still sort of not hungry, but look at this...)

Flying to Turkey. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

Pretty soon, the Turkish coastline came into view. I was so excited!

The coastline of Turkey coming into view.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

More coffee, and I lounged in “bed” whilst waking up…

Lounging in bed with fresh hot coffee.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

There are movies galore, but I was too tired. Here’s a cool thing – after you land, the tv monitors switch to a camera on the front of the plane. We could see where the pilot was going!

Seeing where we're going on the ground at Ataturk.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

Now, here’s the best part of the flight – the friendly staff. I loved Ece, our flight attendant who told us about Turkey, that special green baklava, and cared for us during the 12 hour flight.

A friendly crew helps those 12 hours go quickly. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

The co-pilot was a hoot, and the entire business class staff left me smiling. 

Love the crew with Turkish Airlines! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

[Amazing adventures ensued. More to come!]

 

Now, within Turkey, we took a domestic flight to visit Ephesus and the Aegean coast. There’s a lovely buffet in the domestic Turkish Airlines business class lounge – I loved the map of all the places they fly (conveniently located near the coffee).

Turkish airlines - domestic flights locations! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

More coffee? Yes, please. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

More coffee? Yes, please.

After our whirlwind adventures through Turkey, we were ready to fly back (well, not exactly ready – we all wanted to extend our stay!). The wheelchair guy helped me through the checkin and zoomed me to the extraordinary Turkish Airlines CIP lounge.

Some White House Travel Bloggers at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Some White House Travel Bloggers at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul

Get ready – this is, by far, the most amazing airport experience I’ve ever had. Fresh fruit, airy design, gourmet food stations, simit carts, massages, beds and showers, a piano, coffee and tea stands, fresh meze and juice and dessert offerings, newspapers, a Turkish tea café, a putting range, an electric race car track, a library, movie theater (with popcorn!), and a wide array of seating arrangements. Take a look:

Istanbul's Business Class CIP Lounge - heavenly! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Love the touches of Turkish design. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Love the touches of Turkish design

Plenty of reading material, in a variety of languages.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Plenty of reading material, in a variety of languages

Classy bathrooms.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Even the bathrooms are classy

Turkish tea cafe.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Looking down at the Turkish tea cafe

A movie theater! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

A movie theater and popcorn machine

Fresh juices. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Chilled fresh juices

More lattes, please. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

More lattes, please

Our second round of caffeine... From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Our second round of caffeine...

Travel bloggers are good at hunting and gathering in large airport lounges. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Travel bloggers are good at hunting and gathering in large airport lounges

A work station, if needs must. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

A work station, if needs must. All Apple computers.

Look! A simit cart. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Look! A simit cart. It is my favorite food from Istanbul

 

Fresh countryside butter for our simit! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Fresh countryside butter for our simit!

Yes, I lost on this electric race track. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Yes, I lost on this electric race track

Fresh fruit in spades.  From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

and finally we had to pull ourselves away from this goodness to fly back home. Now, the airplanes for this leg were set to be updated 2 days after our flight back home to Chicago, so imagine even better seating!

Business class seating IST-ORD. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

What a view, and plenty of leg room. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Hot towels to freshen up. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Hot towels to freshen up

Hmm, what to choose? From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Hmm, what to choose?

and then, the food procession…

Snacks. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Appetizers. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dinner. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

More dinner. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dessert tray. From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

Dessert! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

I will say that the flight over to Turkey had the friendliest crew I’d ever experienced. The flight back to the US was more business-like, in terms of atmosphere. Overall, though, the service was extremely accommodating, the food was impressive, the seating was luxurious and spacious, the amenities bags by Crabtree and Evelyn and then Jaguar were useful, and I loved flying Turkish Airlines business class. Highly recommended!

Once we touched down in Chicago, I immediately started thinking about a return trip. 

Welcome to Chicago! From What's It Really Like to Fly Turkish Airlines Business Class?

 

Note: Turkish Airlines has just been named “Best Airline Europe” in the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. This is the fourth year in a row that the global airline has been awarded this prestigious award based on the votes of the traveling public. Turkish Airlines was also given the “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” and “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” for its exemplary in-flight offerings. I concur!

 

Behind the Scenes with Turkish Airlines: Food, Safety, Training, and Smiles

 

And more goodness on flying Turkish Airlines Business Class by my fellow White House Travel Bloggers:

Baby's First Business Class over at 20-Nothings.

 

 

I was flown to Turkey by Turkish Airlines for a truly remarkable journey – thank you so very much!

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators

 

 

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