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Until recently I hadn’t heard much about Turkish Airlines so when my travel agent presented them as an option for my upcoming European trip, I was interested in learning more.

For my proposed return trip to Germany, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul had more suitable flight times and connections for me than the usual suspects (Qantas, Etihad, Emirates and British Airways) and yet the most reasonable fare.

Any concerns the cheaper fare might reflect in the standard of the airline were quickly put to rest.

Turkish Airlines (TA) is a major player in global air travel flying to 126 countries (more than any other airline) and flying to 340 destinations, making it the largest mainland carrier in the world.

Traveling with a national airline often gives a glimpse of the culture of the mother country and this was indeed the case with TA where, from the minute we stepped on board we felt we experienced the best of Turkish hospitality.

My flight from Malaysia to Istanbul was aboard the 787-9 Dreamliner with eight rows dedicated to Business Class in a spacious 1-2-1 configuration allowing all seats to have aisle access.


The seats are within pods that have alternating configurations so, as a couple, we chose the centre seats in row three, as the centre seats in the odd numbered rows were angled to be more amenable to chatting to the passenger next to you. That said, there is a retractable screen that can be pulled up between the two seats to give privacy.

I found my pod quite spacious with areas to store a handbag and other items. There was also a handy pouch for paperwork as well as a jacket hook. Adjacent to the seat there were 110V power and USB outlets for handy charging and even a pull out mirror!

There were multiple buttons on the armrest for adjusting the seat position and multi-directional lamps. You’ll also find a blanket and slippers provided and a handy shoe bag.

The attractive Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries bag comes in four different designs but each bag contains the same collection of quality essentials (toothbrush and paste, earplugs) and Ferragamo products (face spray, body lotion and lip balm).

In addition, there was a pair of the softest socks, a useful hair tie and a very well-designed sleep mask for minimal pressure on the eyelids.

While exploring the bells and whistles of my pod, flight attendants brought around a selection of signature welcome drinks and a hot towel. I chose the refreshing raspberry lemonade and my partner chose the homemade Turkish lemonade with mint which was pretty delicious too.

The cabin crew were friendly albeit with a degree of formality. They spoke English well and were very helpful and polite when serving and very responsive to the call button when needed.

The highlight of the flight was definitely mealtimes. Turkish Airlines flights have a chef onboard and soon after we boarded, he was handing out menus and taking orders for our upcoming meal.

Dressed the part in a white uniform, complete with chef’s hat, it was a sight to see. We really felt like we were in a restaurant in the sky!

The table was elegantly set, complete with a faux candle, which was a nice touch. Little details such as a salt and pepper shaker each shaped like a minaret added a cultural element to the table setting.

The menu showcased Turkish cuisine based on staples of eggplants, olives and yogurt starting with a sampler of Turkish meze.

I had the fish (cod) as my main which tasted fresh and delicious. There was a variety of international wines and spirits on offer: I was keen to try the Turkish wines and they did not disappoint. In addition, there were some cocktail offerings and beers (Efes Pilsner and Heineken).

I couldn’t wait to try the desserts and, as if reading my thoughts, there was a Turkish dessert sampler on the menu. Needless to say, it was my favourite course.

Snacks are available upon request throughout the flight so you won’t go hungry. I’d also recommend trying the Aryan traditional Turkish yogurt drink which was served prior to the meal with a small plate of nuts.

When converted into lie flat beds the seats provide plenty of legroom (over a metre) with a footwell at the end. While there are apparently slightly bigger Business Class beds on other airlines, there was ample space in the pod and I slept comfortably. The cabin crew make the beds for you with a mattress pad and soft quilt.

As for in-flight entertainment, the large 18-inch TV screen can tilt so you can view it easily lying down or sitting up. It can be operated by touch screen and there is also a control panel in the armrest.

There was an impressive range of latest release movies as well as international movies with English subtitles. You can also listen to music, play games and watch the latest news. Denon noise-cancelling headphones are provided and they fit comfortably.

Unlimited complimentary internet is available if you are a Miles&Smiles Elite or Elite Plus member in Business Class. Alternatively, you can access internet up to 1 GB which worked reasonably well for what I needed it for: sending a quick message here and there through WhatsApp.

Breakfast started with a plate of freshly prepared fruit slices which I enjoyed and all too soon my adventure on Turkish Airlines drew to a close.

The flight arrived early morning with a long taxi to the gate. Istanbul Airport is huge and so getting to the Turkish Airways lounge took about 15 minutes to walk to from the gate.

The terminal is very modern and on the way to the lounge there was a plethora of duty-free shops – Istanbul being a luxury shopper’s heaven!

The lounge itself was huge with various seating areas and food stations. There was even a grand piano playing classical music in the background.

Here you can sample an array of foods from Turkish delicacies to Western favourites. Fresh food is cooked to order and there was also an extensive salad station, but for me it was hard to go past the impressive Turkish dessert stand.

I went for a wander and found a bar, video games room, golf simulator and children’s play area. There was also a massage service that I didn’t know about at the time, unfortunately!

You can book in to use the shower facilities which we did and found them to be clean and with all the essential amenities.

I was very impressed by my Turkish Airlines experience. It really made the flight feel like part of the travel adventure, not to mention the ease transiting to Europe and beyond via the Istanbul hub and the comfort and convenience of lounge access.

I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Turkish Airlines again and with their service to Australia set to increase from 21 flights to 35 in 2025, it’s a name we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future.


Flights: Malaysia to Istanbul. TK 61. (10hours 40mins). Boeing 787-9

Istanbul to Munich. TK 1629. (2hours 40mins). Airbus A330

Return: Frankfurt to Istanbul. TK1598 (3 hours). Airbus A321

Istanbul to Jakarta. TK 56. (11hours 45mins) Airbus A350-900