Mikeonbehind the curtain

Turkish Airlines Short Haul Business Class on the A320

turkish-airlines-trip-report-a320 After my week in Cairo I took advantage of the free Istanbul tour from Turkish Airlines by laying over for more than 7 hours. Unfortunately that meant my flight left Cairo at 3:30am. After being dropped off at the airport at midnight, I made my way to one of the four small EgyptAir lounges. 

EgyptAir Lounge at Cairo

While the lounge itself is new and nicely appointed, they are small, and the food is awful. Well at least at 1 in the morning it was. Dry sandwiches and a pasta that would give the worst airline meal a run for its money. The soup kettle was on high with loud boiling noises eminating from it. I didn't dare stand within 10 feet in case it erupted.

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Turkish Airlines A320 Business Class

Luckily my time in the lounge was short as boarding started almost an hour early. Surprisingly to me, Turkish offers two by two business class seats on their A320. I was expecting 3x3 with the center seat blocked. The seats were very comfortable with more recline and a larger pitch than their domestic USA first class counterparts. 

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A few minutes after take off, around 4am, breakfast was served. This would be the start of a marathon day of eating. 

The first course included cheese, olives, fruit, bread, turkey and more. After completing the first course the second course was an omelette with spinach. The omelette was tasty with a good portion of olive oil flavor coming through. Overall it was a very nice (although early!) meal.

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The flight attendant came through the cabin several times on this short two hour flight. The large screen IFE provided a number of on demand movies and TV shows. 

One of the other business class passengers tried to make his own flat bed to get some shut eye on the short flight before landing in Istanbul:

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For a flight leaving at 3:30am I was very pleased with the hard and soft product. The flight attendants worked continuously during the short flight and the food and IFE were very good. After landing I made my way to the Turkish Airlines lounge then downstairs to join the free Istanbul tour offered by Turkish Airlines.

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Comments

#1
A. S. January 28, 2012 at 05:52 pm

Turkish Airlines was voted "Best Airline in Europe" by Skytrax last year and it's not for nothing. They're a solid airline that came a long way in a very short time and is still constantly improving. What drives this, in my opinion (and no, I'm not Turkish or in any way biased!), is that you get the sense that every employee is proud to be doing what they're doing.

As for the business class setup, you got sort of lucky. TK is in the process of upgrading "some" of their short-haul aircraft with "true" business and you happened to get one of the new ones. I flew the same route two months ago and got that the standard European setup you mentioned. The soft product was identical to what you got, though.

@A.S., I am surprised "that you get the sense that every employee is proud to be doing what they're doing." Perhaps in the IST lounge, but I've seen just the opposite onboard.

I've flown all over with TK the last few months--HKG-IST-LAX twice, EBL-IST-RIX, ECN-IST-BEY, and FRA-IST-FRA. They have a great product, great lounge, but lousy FAs. Most cannot be bothered to crack a smile or make eye contact and they are not attentive once the meal service is over, even on an intercontinental flight. That's not to say I haven't had a few good crewmembers on all those flights, but by in large I have been very disappointed.

I love TK and always look forward to my next trip with them, but I don't yet see the pride displayed by employees and I don't think it just a cultural thing.

#3
A. S. January 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

@Matthew: That's very strange -- I always expect to hear different experiences, but to be the complete opposite is strange! Sorry to hear it. I flew them on 4 short-haul and 4 long-haul trips in 2011 and got this impression over 90% of the time! Admittedly, the long-hauls were to/from GRU -- everyone is always happy to be going to Brazil! ;)

#4
Markus April 17, 2012 at 09:11 am

I am a big fan of this ambitious airline. The prouct itself is excellent (apart from these ugly green seats sometimes to find in Eco). But the people there can be very nice but also very rude. It's unpredictable and so flying with them is like a roulette. And they should improve their safety record over the next years. In Europe they are known for their bad reputation concerning this. Many people avoid flying with them.

#5
kim May 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

You mention taking the free Istanbul tour. Was it easy to arrange upon arrival? My son will be flying ACC to INS to JFK with 12 hour layover. Any info appreciated

#6
Mike May 5, 2012 at 11:34 am

@kim if your son is flying in and out on Turkish Airlines, then the tour is very easy to organize. I'll write a post later this weekend on the topic but in general, after clearing immigration, head to the right towards Starbucks and there is a tour counter there. Simply show your boarding passes and wait for the tour to start at 9am.

#7
kim May 5, 2012 at 01:14 pm

Thanks so much Mike! Will look forward to your post - he departs ACC next Saturday. Will he be able to pick up Western Union money transfer at the airport and will he need one day visa? If so- cost?

#8
Mike May 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

@kim the visa is USD $20. There are money exchanges in the terminal, but I have no idea about Western Union. There's lot of ATMs though.

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