Aloft with Turkish Airlines and a Visit to Their New Lounge in Istanbul

Photo courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines is trying hard to please discerning air travelers and it shows. We flew on Turkish Airlines (TK) for the first time on a recent trip to Turkey. We were not looking forward to the long air-journey between Los Angeles and Istanbul, but the time went quickly and we totally enjoyed the flight. Here is why. We flew Turkish Air’s “Business Class.” They do not have a service they call “First Class,” but we could see little difference. There were four rows of seven seats in the forward business cabin of our Boeing 777-300ER with plenty of room to stretch and move around. 

TK’s other service classes are ‘Economy’ and ‘Comfort.’ The ‘Comfort’ class has all the aspects of ‘Business’ class on other airlines. 

TK Business Class in-flight service offers personal care kits with flight socks, eyeshades, lip balm, and other items. They also supplied Godiva chocolates, premium champagne and top-shelf alcoholic libations, plus an absolutely delicious menu with meals excellently paired with exceptional wines – and imagine this – an on-board chef. Yes, a “Flying Chef,” complete with white kitchen tunic and hat is on every trans-ocean flight. 

Our chef rustled up fresh meals in the galley, and assisted the cabin crew in making sure every Business Class passenger was completely satisfied with the cuisine. 

The food throughout was simply outstanding 

We were particularly impressed with the fish. For dinner, we each had an exceptional entrée of Grilled Halibut with lemon butter and accompaniments. Delicious!

Making room for baby 

There were two infants in our cabin, and the seat configuration in Business Class is such that a bassinet (provided by the airline) fits nicely on the ottoman under the entertainment screen, where mom and dad can keep a watchful eye on baby. 

That’s entertainment 

The on board personalized entertainment system is chock full of games, music, TV, and abundant first run and classic movies. There is plenty of quality entertainment to hold your interest throughout the trip. 

If you want to read, each seat has an adjustable gooseneck light – nice touch. 

Working in the sky 

If you care to work on board, there are electrical plugs for your electronic devices and ample workspace for papers and such. The side console is a great place to put your drinks and never-ending snacks while you work. 

Sleeping on an airplane

Photo courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Do you have difficulty sleeping on an airplane? The generous seats in Turkish Airlines Business Class fully recline and that, plus plush pillows and cozy comforters, made all the difference in our getting a good night’s sleep, and waking refreshed for a scrumptious breakfast before landing in Istanbul. 

Even the lighting system wakes you gently with colored lights changing in intensity, just like the rising sun. 

Modern aircraft 

Our Turkish Airlines flight on the Boeing 777 made for a relaxed journey to Turkey. By the way, Turkish Airlines also flies the Airbus 330 and 340 from other US locations. The choice of airplane depends on the departure gateway city. Overall, Turkish Airlines has a new fleet of almost 200 aircraft. 

Direct non-stop flights from the United States 

Turkish Airlines flies directly to Istanbul from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. Flight times range from approximately nine-hours from New York, to a little over twelve-hours from Los Angeles. 

The Istanbul Hub 

The airport in Istanbul

Once in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines can connect you to 190 global destinations. They are also members of the Star Alliance, and if you include the alliance destinations, you have access to over 1,290 airports in 189 countries. 

Turkish Airlines flies to Africa, The Americas, Central Asia, Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and Russia. 

The Istanbul Lounge 

Istanbul has a very efficient and modern airport, and is the global hub for Turkish Airlines. It is also the site of Turkish Airlines new International Lounge for Business Class passengers – and what a lounge. 

We had occasion to spend some time in the new lounge while we waited for our flight to Los Angeles. Seating varies from easy chairs to table chairs and all are available to suit your needs and well-being while you await your flight. 

The lounge is also a finger foodie’s paradise with complimentary soups and sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, sweets, fresh fruits, salads, soft drinks, bottled water, and fresh squeezed juice. 

We were able to connect to the internet free and use the business center to send a fax. 

The lounge also has a pool table, piano, a shower facility, and a prayer room for those so disposed. 

Our recommendation 

Turkish Airlines has many reasons to be proud. They have won many awards during their 75+ years of service to the world. In 2011, they were named Europe’s Best Airline by Skytrax, and the honor is well deserved. 

We are pleased to recommend Turkish Airlines and believe it to be one of the superior airlines in the Star Alliance. 

Happy travels. 

See all the photos we took on board the airliner and in the Istanbul lounge by looking here

You may also like to read our first article in our series on Turkey. It is about vacationing in Bodrum and you can find it here

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff – Photos of airplane in flight and extended sleeper seat are courtesy of Turkish Airlines

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