For a long time, Turkish Airlines has been my go-to choice for business class flights between the US and Europe (see why). They offer a great service onboard and I have always been satisfied with their business class cabin, even if it has been getting dated. Now, check out the new Turkish Airlines business class!
Review of the New Turkish Airlines Business Class – The Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Earlier this year, we learned about what the new Turkish Airlines business class on their incoming 787 Dreamliner would look like and then I found which routes they would start out flying it on. Finally, I was able to experience it for myself on an 11 hour flight from Atlanta to Istanbul this past week. I will say more below but the new Turkish Airlines business class finally delivers a hard product to go with their excellent onboard service and catering.
One of the first things that Turkish Airlines did right with their new business class was to give aisle access to all. This is a nice change from their A330 with their 2-2-2 configuration and an even better change from their 777 with its 2-3-2 configuration (though we flew that with our family and having 3 across can be nice if you have 3 family members altogether!).
They now have 8 rows featuring 1-2-1 in a staggered configuration. These business class seats themselves are not new to the industry and are not even the best business class designs flying today. But, it is a great upgrade from their old business class and I found the new privacy and space to be excellent.
Where to Sit in the New Turkish Airlines Business Class Cabin
If you are traveling alone and want as much privacy as possible, you are going to want the even-numbered seats on the window sides. These seats are closest to the window and have the desk area between you and the privacy shield.
If you are traveling with someone, you are going to want to sit in the odd-numbered seats in the middle of the cabin. These seats are the closest to each other.
Otherwise, the odd-numbered window seats are closest to the aisle while the even-numbered seats in the middle of the cabin are furthest away from the seat next to it.
I would stay away from row 8 on the window sides as it may get a bit noisy since it is the galley and the bathrooms behind it. Also, Turkish flights board through the door between economy and business so if you want to get off right away, I would sit in a row like 5-7.
Business class passengers get free internet onboard. All you need to do is to enter your last name and your seat number and you are good to go! It was not really fast at just about 2-3Mbps but it was acceptable for getting some light internet work done onboard. Plus, it is free!
The New Turkish Airlines Business Class Seat
Rather than try to describe it all with just my words, here is a look at a bunch of photos to highlight what the new Turkish Airlines business class seat looks like. Note that this is Seat 7A, which is an aisle-side seat near the window (the odd numbered window seats are closer to the aisle while the even numbered window seats are next to the window itself).
This was something that was a bit curious as I am not sure why Turkish felt they needed this. In business class, all passengers are supposed to wear a shoulder strap in addition to their seat belt at the waist. It connects with a latch at the belt so it can be disconnected during flight to still let you keep your seat belt on. The flight attendants kept making sure all passengers had this shoulder strap on for both takeoff and landing.
I would imagine it could be due to the closer proximity of the entertainment display as opposed to the huge distance between you and the screen on the old configuration? At any rate, I absolutely was not a fan as it was not adjustable and it was a bit too low for my frame so it dug in a bit to my shoulder. Again, it only needs to be on for like 2 minutes on take off and landing so it is not that big of a deal but I still didn’t care for it.
The Seat Itself
I had heard from some that they did not like the new seat being thinner compared to the old seat. I did not find it to be that much slimmer at all. I found it to be comfortable for both sitting and sleeping and it was actually quite a bit more comfortable for sitting than the old seat.
When you have the footrest come out, it actually is something of a sliding platform that moves with it to connect it to the base for the lie-flat configuration. I really only noticed this when I was checking for something I thought I had lost. 🙂
There is plenty of space in the footwell! This is a nice thing for Turkish since their older configuration is a completely open setting with a footrest that is quite far from the seat (most people would not be able to reach it without having the seat in some kind of recline mode). So, going to a footwell can be a bit of a gamble for passengers who are very used to more room for their feet.
Austrian is a bit on the cramped side and SWISS can be ok but I found Turkish to be better than both. Not only was there plenty of room for my size 12 feet to be upright in the space but I really had to stretch it out to touch the end of it when reclining.
The Seat as a Bed
Turkish Airlines provides a thin, padded covering for the seat when you go into bed mode. It takes them just a minute to get that done and ready for you and it still is quite comfortable. The pillow you have at the base of your back when you get to your seat doubles as your sleeping pillow, but with a pillow cover that they put on it during the bed making process.
It could be that I was quite tired but I slept for a solid 5 hours on the flight – something which is kind of rare for me. I found the bed to be comfortable and lying on my side or back worked just fine. It stays a bit elevated near the head which gives a better feel for sleeping and something I found to be to my liking.
Again, the footwell is large enough that you can stretch out and not hit the back (as long as you are around my 6’1″ height or less) and it is high enough that you can put one foot on the other while lying on your side and not have a problem.
My one major issue with the older Turkish Airlines business class cabin has always been the temperature – it always feels hot! I always change into the coolest clothes I have when I want to sleep because it is always really warm.
For the new Turkish Airlines business class, Turkish did something that many business class cabins do not make available – they put air vents in on the ceiling! Not only did they put the dual vents in but it really worked well! It stayed consistently cool for the whole flight and when you blasted them, you would actually feel a bit chilled! This is great if you like to sleep with a light blanket on you!
The overhead bins are great for keeping all your stuff in there as each seat as their own bin. You can also put your bag(s) in the footwell or under it (which is the area for your shoes or other storage). In addition, Turkish added another great little thing which actually makes for a better seat experience. Where the power plugs are and where Turkish makes available their headphones, there is a small sliding door that lets you put things in there and keep them near you but secured.
It is an area where I stored my phone, headphones, and camera with enough room for all. The door is quite secure to keep it all in during any turbulence or landing. Again, this was just a small touch but something I enjoyed far more than the seat side areas for storage. However, you cannot put something like a tablet in the storage compartment while you could in a seat side storage compartment.
Turkish has always had a great selection of entertainment onboard though they kind of throw a mix of TV season episodes in there (for example, they may have Season 4 of some TV show but with just certain episodes instead of the whole season – on another flight at a later date, they may fill in the missing episodes while removing the ones that had been in there). They offer headphones in business class, though not noise cancelling (but they do a good job of blocking out noise anyway).
You can control the TV from the unit itself or the remote that is secured next to the seat. Turkish allows you to browse on the remote while something else is playing on the screen, which has always been nice. The two things I really liked about the new Turkish Airlines business class entertainment had to be that every button works and does so precisely (the old business class really needs some calibration in this area) and that the new screen was very modern and sharp with good contrast.
You do have the option of streaming media from your phone or tablet to the entertainment unit by downloading an app and keying in the code for your seat. I did not use it but that would be a nice option as well.
There are some small light controls on the right side of the seat near the top of the partition. But, the real control panel is on the side with the desk/surface area. It is a disappearing panel so you need to rub your fingers across it (above the remote) to get it to light up. I actually really liked that as it added to the aesthetic.
The controls are touch sensitive and worked promptly. No problems at all, but this is a new aircraft so I do wonder how responsive they will be over time. That was the nice thing about actual buttons – it felt more tactile and also was a mechanical issue.
Believe it or not, I actually did not take any photos of the food! Part of this was because I was so exhausted when the dinner came around (I only ordered because grilled salmon was on the menu and I had to see how they handled it) and part because I did not expect it to be vastly different from their already-wonderful food and catering.
Like Austrian, Turkish has a flying chef that handles the business class meals. Their food has always been excellent! If you are flying from the US, you likely do have the option for the Dining on Demand schedule. This is quite helpful since most Turkish flights departing from the US leave after 10PM or so and food service will likely not get to you until at least 11PM or so. Many travelers just went to bed so having the option to get the food later can be great.
But, I have found some things like salmon to be a hard thing to get perfect on airplanes in the past. I really wanted to see how they did this time. I will say it was very close to perfect! It tasted wonderful but just didn’t flake as perfectly as other salmons I have had on the ground. The sides with it (potatoes and green beans) were also tremendous and very flavorful. I was glad I had ordered it as it was one of the better business class meals I have had.
When you board a Turkish Airlines flight in business class that departs at night, the menu will include a breakfast menu on the left. You get a pen and are supposed to fill out what you would like for your breakfast. There has always been an egg dish (which I have found to be good) but this menu had something I had not seen before – pancakes with blueberries and pineapple. Of course, I ordered that! The pancakes were good but not the best I have had but certainly better than Hyatt Place pancakes.
The new Turkish Airlines business class did not disappoint at all. I am definitely going to be trying to book flights on it to the US going forward whenever I can (at present, they are only flying their 787 on the Washington DC and Atlanta routes). The seat was very comfortable and I loved the privacy. The food was great, as always, and I even loved the storage options.
Not only all of that, but this all takes place on the Boeing 787, one of the most passenger friendly aircraft with many technological advances to help the passengers travel better and feel less travel-worn. Together, it is all a winning combination with the new Turkish Airlines business class!