The Turkish Airlines Business Class Experience
When I was living in Istanbul, I would fly Turkish Airlines from Toronto to Istanbul (and vice versa) with some regularity. I always enjoyed the flight, what with Turkish Airlines being my favourite airline, but I quickly learned just a little while back that business class on Turkish Airlines is another ballgame altogether.
For those who don’t know my story, I’ll rewind a bit, just to paint a picture.
Bri and I lived in the Osmanbey neighbourhood of Istanbul from 2014-2017, during a time of great transition for the city. There were ups and there were downs, but what remained constant was our never-ending love and appreciation of what we’ve both come to feel is the greatest city on the planet. We were teaching there, and were both incredibly fortunate to gain sincere insight and understanding into the culture, and to be welcomed with open arms. For a while there, it didn’t just feel like a home away from home - it felt like home.
In 2017, we moved back to Toronto. Bri went back into teaching, and I chased this whole blogging thing full-time, and it’s all worked out great. At first, I think I was a little lost, but as time passed, I regained my love for Toronto. The truth is, my family is in Toronto, and I’ve got so many close friends here, so it was only a matter of time before I got back into the groove.
I love Toronto. I’m proud to be from here (exemplified by my ebook on Toronto), and adore living here, but when Bri and I got the chance to team up with Turkish Airlines to head back to Istanbul, we leapt at the chance to go back.
The sights, sounds, and smells of Istanbul - well, they never leave you. They wait in your heart to be revived, and I think some part of you always knows that.
As you can imagine, our Turkish Airlines Toronto to Istanbul flight was a gleeful occasion for us both, especially as we were finally going to get the chance to fly business class on Turkish Airlines.
What I want to do today is talk about our Turkish Airlines Business Class experience, and especially our flight on the way there, which was in a way this beautiful bridge of reintroduction for us back to Turkey. The hospitality we experienced on the flight reacquainted us with what we cherished so deeply about our second home, so that when we landed, we were already in the mindset and headspace we needed to be to make the most of our journey.
It also didn’t hurt that our chairs reclined into little beds, so we were quite well rested, but I’ll get to all that later.
What is Business Class on Turkish Airlines All About?
I’ve alluded to this above, but the whole Turkish Airlines first class experience is summed up quite well by a phrase on the Turkish Airlines website, which just notes that they’re “taking Turkish hospitality to the skies.” That’s precisely how I felt. Whether it was the fresh squeezed orange juice (portakal suyu) or a piping hot cup of tea (better known as çay), the service really was on another level.
It was to the point where when we arrived in our destination, we were almost sorry to get off. Now, that is most definitely the first time that’s ever happened on a long-haul flight.
I’m going to dive a little deeper here and touch upon what I feel encompasses (and what you can expect from) the Turkish Airlines Business Class Experience.
The Turkish Airlines Business Class Seats
I am not a small man, but that did not matter in the slightest in business class on THY. Turkish Airlines business class seats have in-chair massage, a reading lamp, power supply, and the ability to screen off your own private area if you so choose.
The best part to me, was the fully lie-flat seats that open into a 193cm bed. For this first time in my life, I was fully stretched out on an airplane, sleeping like a baby. However, I never end up sleeping for too long on planes, and as such I also appreciated the ability to work. The rotating table was one feature that allowed me to be comfortable working whether it was with a notebook, or with my laptop.
Speaking of laptop, you get access to wifi on the flight. I try to separate a bit on flights, since I’m relatively inundated with work and internet during the rest of my life, but it was nice to do a bit of an email sweep in the sky before landing so I could just focus on enjoying myself when I arrived in Istanbul.
Throughout the flight, Bri and I would literally just intermittently look over at each and smile. We relished every moment of it.
The Turkish Airlines Food - Business Class Edition
I would maintain that the food in economy on Turkish Airlines is probably the best you can get in terms of airlines, but what you get in business class is on another level, which makes sense, to be honest.
The drink menu is exhaustive as you might imagine. Go for the fresh orange juice or lemonade to start, but if you’re looking for something of the alcoholic variety, you can do what I did and get a nice hefty glass of scotch on the rocks. The good stuff as well.
Beyond the ample snacks, and just the right amount of Turkish delight, the main meal that we dined on during our flight was particularly sumptuous. This is the meal that’s typically served once you’re settled in, and before people tend to sleep.
I started with a mixture of Turkish meze (namely cheeses, stuffed grape leaves, some traditional Turkish spreads such as a red pepper and walnut dip, and a little fruit), and some fresh, warm bread. That was followed up with grilled rosemary chicken breast, served with grilled asparagus and red pepper saffron risotto.
For dessert, there were a variety of traditional Turkish desserts, with several baklava with no shortage of honey and pistachio, which is just the way I like it.
Later in the flight, I also had a fresh tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with a chocolate mousse for dessert. Talk about spoiled, right?
What’s special to me about Turkish Airlines food is that it’s so reflective of the county from which this airline is based. I’ve flown plenty of national airlines that serve up incredibly generic cuisine that gives me almost no insight about the culture. I’m grateful that Turkish Airlines has seen that strategy and done precisely the opposite.
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Turkish Airlines Entertainment
Once again, Turkish Airlines entertainment is top-notch regardless of where you’re sitting, but there are a few tweaks they make for business class on Turkish Airlines that do really make a difference. For one, look at the legroom above in the picture! Keep in mind that I’m roughly 6 foot, 2 inches tall!
One thing that I very much liked that I hadn’t experienced elsewhere (besides the legroom) was the noise-cancelling headphones. They even managed to drown out of sounds of the hum of the engine, so whoever they had in charge of designing these bad boys did good work.
Beyond that, if you’ve flown Turkish Airlines before, you’ll know they’ve got some of the best in-flight entertainment available anywhere. They stay up to date with their inclusion of recent movies, plus they’ve got a good selection of classics as well. When I first get onto a Turkish Airlines flight, I always scope the whole library and place a heart beside things I may want to watch. I usually end up with about ten things that I’ve selected, and then I can simply use the easy to find “favourites list” if I do decide to watch something throughout the flight.
They also have thousands of songs, special programs for kids, and a whole bunch of games.
Suffice to say, you won’t be bored.
The Turkish Airlines Toronto to Istanbul Route
My preferred way to get from Toronto to Istanbul, regardless of class, is take the night time flight from Toronto (which typically leaves around 10:30pm), and arrives in Istanbul in the middle of the afternoon (typically arriving around 3:15pm). It means that you can sleep through the night, then arrive when you’d likely naturally wake up if you were still in Toronto.
What I love about this is that you basically arrive, drink some tea or what have you, and by the time you’re naturally tired again, it’s time to sleep. You wake up the next day ready to go. The aforementioned Toronto to Istanbul Turkish Airlines route makes it easy to combat jet-lag, quite honestly.
The route back from Istanbul to Toronto tends to leave in the early afternoon (around 2:15pm) and arrive in Toronto in the late evening (around 6pm). I like this route, too, because there’s no pressure to sleep if I want to just get a bunch of stuff done, and it never gets dark!
Naturally, my biggest preference is what I’ve spent this article talking about, and that’s the Turkish Airlines Toronto to Istanbul business class experience.
What Makes Business Class on THY Different?
The biggest difference, in my humble opinion, is that Turkish Airlines manages to effectively bring Turkish hospitality to the skies, and there’s just no other airline doing that. As I said before, the Turkish Airlines business class experience was so great, Bri and I didn’t even want to get off the plane!
It’s a finely tuned machine that leaves you wanting for nothing. They’ve thought of everything you could conceivably want, or at least that I could want.
I’ve likely flown Turkish Airlines over one hundred times (in fact, that number is probably too conservative), but to see how they do business class was a treat for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above.
For me, it’s nice to know that even if I can’t get back to Turkey anytime soon (and I hope I can), I can always fly with Turkish Airlines, and, for a moment, be transported back to Istanbul.
I want to humbly thank Turkish Airlines for hosting me as media. All opinions are completely my own. Below, I’d love to know in the comments if you’ve flown Turkish Airlines before or your thoughts Turkish Airlines business class! I respond to each and every comment personally.
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