Before I start with all the dusty photos of me in safari clothing, I thought I’d give you all a glimpse of Turkish Air, which was a surprisingly fabulous flight!
I have never flown Turkish Air before, but we wanted to use our miles for the flight to Rwanda so this was basically the only option. My friend Tim said they were nice, but I wouldn’t have expected our journey to Africa to be some of the nicest flights I’ve ever had! I’d rate them second only to Singapore Air. (Though I’ve never had the chance to fly Emirates.)
So for the plane/airline-geeks out there, there’s a detailed review below. (The rest of you will probably find this boring so you should maybe stop reading now.)
We were looking at two back-to-back 13 hour flights so I used my United miles to buy us Business Class seats. It was well-worth the miles, even though the second flight turned out to be only 6 hours. (Not sure why the United app said it was longer – though a pleasant surprise to find out it was 19 hours of flying instead of 26.)
The seats on this plane are very well-designed. There are generous amounts of leg room, plus a small cubby to hold your shoes and smaller bags, the top of which becomes part of the bed when you lay down.
The seat has a lot of buttons. (I’m still not sure what MR and M+ were for.) And there was an external lombar cushion as well. The table rotates 90° in case you need to easily get out of your seat during the (fairly long) dinner service. In other words, they really thought about how to make people comfortable.
In addition to the standard amenity kit (toothbrush, socks, lotion), they also provide slippers! This is a fantastic idea – its much easier and more comfortable to wear slippers instead of jamming your swollen feet into your shoes every time you need to go to the toilet. And they also provide noise-cancelling headphones for the in-flight entertainment system.
Before takeoff, they come around with fresh juices – orange, lemon & mint, or strawberry & lime. And they really do taste fresh. The flight attendants introduce themselves to you, and sincerely welcome you aboard. The hospitality on both of our flights was really impressive – people seemed genuinely friendly and happy to help. They should give lessons to United.
You’re then presented with a ridiculously large menu – one side is for pre-ordering breakfast, while the other half is dinner. They give you a pen to indicate your breakfast options which is collected by the chef. Yes, the chef. He’s wearing a chef’s hat and jacket, and was presumably making our food.
Dinner service starts with nuts, wine, and a flickering tea light. The fake candle was a nice touch, and they had a really nice wine selection. (Tattinger Reserve was their onboard champagne – I approve.)
Next you’re presented with a plate of small appetizers. My vegetarian meal almost never makes any of my flights, but it didn’t seem to matter this time. There were 3 things on the plate: I enjoyed the spanakopita and gave the shrimp to The German. We weren’t sure what the third item was, so neither of us ate it.
What followed was a selection of more appretizers from a trolley they wheeled down the
aisle. There was a huge selection of things like mixed chickpea salad, baba ghanoush (which was very good), watermelon & feta, etc. This was accompanied by warm bread with a side of oil & herbs or butter.
And then, before the main course, they offered pumpkin soup. (The volume of food on this plane was ridiculous.)
Its worth noting that almost everything was served on actual plates with real glasses and decent cutlery. And the most adorable salt & pepper shakers! (Which weren’t entirely easy to use, but I still appreciated the theme.)
While I didn’t love my main course (gnocchi), The German had a steak that looked like it was plated in a restaurant.
Next was the dessert trolley. They had cheese, fruit, chocolate lava cake, baklava, and fresh strawberries with whipped cream.
And just when we thought they couldn’t possibly offer us anything else, they came by with a huge selection of tea (with macaroons). It was ridiculous.
Hours later, dinner is finally over and they come by to make your bed. They add a pad to the length of the lay-flat seat, and give you with a nice big pillow and a thicker blanket.
A few hours before landing they wake you for breakfast. I was particularly impressed that they don’t just flip on all the lights at once (like the harsh ending to a nightclub)but gradually raise the lights on a dimmer. And everything has a warm hue to it so you don’t feel blinded.
The in-flight entertainment system had tons of movies and tv shows. They also had the option to view the cameras outside the plane (which I love). And when we approached the end of the trip, a notification came up to let you know there was connecting gate information – so handy! (I have many criticisms of the overall UI for the system, but we had a short connection so I was thrilled for the gate info.)
The best part about it all? I wasn’t freezing! This is the only plane ride in memory where I didn’t need a blanket and a coat to stay warm!
So if you have the chance, I highly recommend Turkish Air!