Review: Turkish Airlines 787-9 (Business Class); Istanbul – Atlanta

READ MORE FROM THIS TRIP

Introduction: From Cold To Hot and Checking The #1 Country Off of My Bucketlist 

• Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (Toronto Airport)
• Review: Air France / KLM Lounge (Toronto Airport)
• Review: Air France A350 (Business); Toronto – Paris
• Review: Air France A320 (Business); Paris – Stockholm
• Review: The Generator Hostel (Stockholm)

• Review: Norrsken Lounge (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: Menzies Executive Lounge (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: American Express Lounge by Pontus (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: Stockholm Arlanda Lounge (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: Qatar Airways A350-1000 (Business); Stockholm – Doha
• Review: Four Points By Sheraton Doha
• Review: The Westin Doha Resort and Spa
• Review: Al Safwa First Class Lounge (Doha)
• Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER (Business); Doha – Muscat
• Review: Sheraton Oman Hotel (Muscat)
• Review: Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz Carlton Hotel (Muscat)
• Review: Primeclass Lounge (Muscat)
• Review: Turkish Airlines 737-800 (Business); Muscat – Instanbul
• Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge (Istanbul Airport)
• Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge 787-9 (Istanbul – Atlanta)

I departed the amazing Turkish Lounge and made my way to my gate (B3). Surprisingly, there was an extremely long line of passengers already waiting to pass through passport validation an hour before boarding.

However, there was a separate fast line for business class passengers, both at the passport validation and the gate door.

…and there’s my beautiful bird. 😍

I’m a huge fan of Turkish Airlines’ incredible business class product. Previously their flagship aircraft was the 777, which featured fully flat business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. That’s why I was really excited to review Turkish Airlines’ new 787-9 business class.

But before I dive into the review let me share how I booked this trip.

Redeeming Miles For Turkish Airlines Business Class

I knew that I wanted to fly Turkish’s new 787-9. Fortunately, Turkish utilizes the plane back into Atlanta (where I live). So I booked business class by using 57,500 Aeroplan miles + $55.76CAD ($44.11USD).

That’s a pretty fantastic deal for considering it included a 6 hour business class flight from Muscat to Istanbul, an 8 hour layover, amazing lounge, my own “hotel room”, and then this 12 hour business class flight from Istanbul to Atlanta.

I transferred those points from Amex Membership Rewards. Given that Aeroplan’s redemption rates have low mileage requirements and lack of carrier imposed surcharges, this award offered the best value.

Turkish Airlines Business Class 787-9 Review

Turkish Airlines Flight 31
Atlanta (ATL) – Istanbul (IST)

Scheduled Departure: 3:40PM
Scheduled Arrival: 8:10PM
Duration: 12hr30min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 6A (Business Class)

I boarded through the second set of doors, where I was greeted by the cabin chief and a flight attendant, and pointed left into business class. Turkish Airlines’ new 787-9 business class consists of a total of 30 seats, spread across eight rows.

Turkish did not choose an especially common seat for the 787, as they selected a product that’s so far otherwise only found in Singapore Airlines’ 787-10 business class (used primarily for regional flights).

This was my first time flying in this kind of staggered business class seat, and I was impressed by the design. I thought the finishes were beautiful, from the logo on the bulkhead, to the patterns on the seats.

In the center section, odd numbered rows have the two seats that are closest to one another, which are often preferred by those traveling with someone. They’re also further from the aisle, so have more privacy from the aisle (though less privacy from your neighbor).

Then even numbered rows have seats that are closer to the aisle. These center seats would generally be my last choice — you don’t have a window seat, and you’re also not close to the person you’re traveling with, if that’s something you value.

Window seats follow a similar pattern. Window seats in odd numbered rows have the seats closer to the aisle and further from the window. Usually it bothers me the extent to which these seats feel “exposed,” though Turkish offers huge privacy shields, so that’s less of an issue than in other staggered configurations.

Window seats in even numbered rows are closest to the windows, so they’re the most private and have the best views, so these seats would be my first choice. These seats do still have privacy shields on the window side, so you only have an obstructed window view in most cases.

I was seated in seat 6A (a window seat) on the left side of the plane.

The seat (above) is 5A. I’m using this photo because it shows how beautiful these seats are. I loved the patterns, in particular the quilted felt pattern on the “shell” of the seat.

As you can see there was a storage compartment, which is where the headphones were located during boarding.

That compartment could fully be closed, and there was also a simple pull-out mirror just to the right of the compartment.

To the right side of the seat at elbow-level were both the entertainment controller and seat controls, both of which were easy to use.

Then on the left side of the seat was a reading light, as well as several settings to control lighting at the seat.

The tray table extended out from the front of the seat, and could be folded over in half. I liked how big and solid the tray table was as it covered most of space in front of my seat. There’s nothing worse than having to search for additional space because your table is too small.

Generally, one of my biggest issues with staggered seats is that the footwells tend to be on the small side, so it’s tough to get comfortable. Additionally, your shoes don’t fit under the footrest (like THIS or even worse THIS). So, how was the footwell in Turkish Airlines’ new business class?

I wouldn’t call these spacious (I’ve had tighter), but my shoes were stored away and I like that.

But (arguably), one of the most important aspects of the seat…individual air nozzles — YAAASSSSS!

So, overall how does the seat rank? I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite business class seat, but I would consider it an above average staggered seat, particularly for the privacy it affords.

Waiting at my seat upon boarding was a pillow and blanket. When it was time to sleep there was more bedding, including a more substantial blanket, so this is mainly meant for when you’re relaxing. I’ll talk about this in a bit.

HEADPHONES

While not Bang & Olufsen or Bose quality, the headphones at my seat were quite good.

DRINKS

Shortly after settling in, the extensive pre-flight service began.

The happy and attentive flight attendant taking care of me introduced himself by name and offered me a pre-departure drink, with the choice between fresh orange juice, lemon mint juice, raspberry juice, or water. Check out those drink stirrers and how they tell you what you’re drinking.

FOOD MENU

A moment later the chef came by my seat to present me with the menu and drink list for the flight. The chef also gave me a pen, asking me to fill out the dinner card before going to sleep.

Slippers and Amenity Kit

A few minutes later I was offered a sturdy pair of slippers along with a shoe bag.

Then we were offered Versace amenity kits. Surprisingly, I forgot to take a photo of the amenity kit and then later in the flight I gifted it to a teenage girl who had mistakenly walked into business class from economy. Sorry, next time I’ll take a photo.

At around 3:30PM the main cabin door closed with the business class cabin was about 75% full. At that moment the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time and cruising altitude of 39,000 feet.

A few minutes later we began our pushback, at which point the safety video was screened.

The airport is gigantic so our taxi time seemed very long however, after arriving at the runway, we were number one for takeoff and were airborne within a few minutes.

As we climbed out I browsed Turkish’s excellent entertainment selection. They had a great selection of movies and TV shows. While I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best systems out there, it is substantial.

As you probably know by now, I enjoy listening to music so I quickly headed for the music selections. Personally, I think the variety of music on a plane will give you a glimpse into how “in touch” the airline is with their clientele. And Turkish does quite well! Although, I did find some surprising categorization like when did Gorillaz become R&B?

Lil Wayne is R&B too? Interesting!

One aspect that I’ve never seen on any other airline but I found fascinating is “Artists’ Top 10.” Simply, pick an artist and their Top 10 songs of all-time are played. I spent most of my flight saying “Wait, (insert popular song) isn’t on here? No way!” or “Wait, that song is in their Top 10?? WOW!”

I love Santana so I listened to his Top 10 numerous times…this is a 12 hour flight after all.

WIFI

Turkish Airlines has wifi on their 787-9s, so after takeoff I connected to that.

Ordinarily Turkish Airlines charges $9.99 for a one hour pass or $14.99 for a 24 hour pass, which is extremely reasonable when you consider there are no data caps. But it gets even better than that. If you’re in business class wifi is free — you just have to enter your last name and seat number.

Free wifi is such a nice touch. The catch is that on their older planes the wifi was really slow, while the speeds on the 787-9 were excellent.

LAVATORY (…and Bidet)

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff, at which point I checked out the lavatories.

While there were two lavatories behind the business class cabin, only one was for business class passengers — the one in the back right was for business class, while the one in the back left was for economy (and the curtains were arranged in such a way that it was obvious). On top of that there was another lavatory in front of the cabin.

The business class lavatory behind the cabin was huge. It even had a bidet, which I haven’t seen on other Turkish planes.

As is the norm on Turkish, they had lovely Molton Brown amenities.

I was also impressed by how clean they kept the lavatories. They constantly refreshed them between uses, and they were spotless even at the end of the flight.

They also had fresh…plants?

Additionally, they had a large changing table. From all the parents of the world with infants…thaannkkk you Turkish Airlines! You would be surprised how many airlines do not have it.

I returned to my seat and about 15 minutes after takeoff the crew distributed warm towels, warm nuts, bottled water, and champagne.

Turkish Airlines is known for their incredible business class meal service.

Anyway, the dinner menu read as follows:

Then the drink list read as follows:

Though the service isn’t quite as intricate on some flights to Istanbul, on flights from Istanbul they serve both the appetizers and desserts off trolleys, so you can choose exactly what you want.

50 minutes after takeoff the chef brought out tablecloths.

About 85 minutes after takeoff I was offered the starter. Similar to Qatar and a few other airlines, Turkish also has those faux-candles.

I was served the main course about 90 minutes after takeoff.

Lastly for dessert I had the traditional Turkish desserts.

Overall, I thought the meal was extremely tasty.

The service throughout the meal was excellent. In general I love service on Turkish — I find that it’s friendly, professional, genuine, and consistent, which is a combination I can’t say about many airlines.

Upon the conclusion of the meal I was also presented with snacks:

On the 777 Turkish has a small walk-up snack bar, so my guess is that the snacks that are brought to you are intended to replace that, since the 787 doesn’t have any sort of snack bar.

By the time the meal was done we had just over nine hours remaining to Atlanta.

I decided to recline my seat and try to get some rest and the flight attendant insisted that he prepare my bed. This consisted of them offering each passenger a mattress pad and a thicker blanket.

On the plus side, I loved how the seat felt like a cocoon due to the shell. This is a really private seat.

However, it is also a bit on the narrow side. I’m a stomach sleeper so I had no problems but when I was laying on my right side my knees would hit the side of the seat. I don’t think the seats are too tight, but if you are a side sleeper, then sit in a “far” left window seat if you like to sleep on your left, and sit in a “far” right window seat if you like to sleep on your right.

I got nearly 7 hours of solid sleep (the flight was smooth and the cabin was cool, plus I had an air nozzle).

That was perfect as it would allow me to get a bit of work done before arriving in Atlanta. I ordered a Turkish coffee. Not only are Turkish’s coffees tasty and strong, but I love the mugs they come in.

About two hours before landing the lights were turned on in the cabin and warm towels were distributed. At this point dinner was served. They had collected orders before everyone went to sleep, so they knew what people wanted. That sure makes things easier.

At 7:05PM the captain announced that we’d be starting our descent shortly, and would be landing in about 45 minutes. 20 minutes later the crew prepared the cabin for landing.

We ended up touching down in Istanbul at 7:45PM. We passed Delta’s A350 on the way to the gate. Delta’s A350 is next on my list. I want to review this plane so bad!!

The drive to the terminal took about 15 minutes. RIGHT ON TIME!

FINAL STAMP

I’ve long thought that Turkish Airlines has one of the best business class soft products out there, though their hard product wasn’t as competitive.

However, their new 787-9 is a massive improvement, and all things considered this business class experience ranks in my top three in the world.

There’s so much to love about Turkish’s business class product — comfortable seats, individual air nozzles, fast and free wifi, genuine and professional service, and amazing food. I absolutely love Turkish Airlines!

I will say, however, there is something pretty unique about Turkish’s older 777s and A330s. The seats are standard forward facing business class seats where you don’t have to put your feet in a small footwell, and can sit next to a travel companion comfortably. So “new and cutting edge” isn’t always better.

Well done Turkish Airlines…well done!

What do you think of Turkish Airlines’ new business class? Which seats do you prefer the 787 or the their 777 & 330’s?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s