Editor’s Note: The author of this story received a complimentary upgrade from Turkish Airlines.
Splurging on a premium flight ticket can be a tough decision to make. Will the extra cost be worth the experience? I tested out Turkish Airlines’ business class experience on a long haul flight (10.5 hours) to find out.
Turkish Airlines stands out from other airlines as it has two just two classes available to book: business and economy. (There are no first-class cabins on the airline.) Is its business class experience comparable to first-class, but at a cheaper price tag?
I flew Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul to Boston route, which costs around $600 for a one-way ticket in economy class. A business class fare for the same route typically costs around $3,000.
On a long flight, I think the number one most important feature of a premium cabin is the seats. Specifically, can you lie flat in them? That’s what makes the most difference in having a comfortable flight experience that allows you to arrive at your destination well-rested vs. landing feeling like you haven’t slept in days.
No matter how good the food or amenities are, if you’re stuck sitting upright in the same position for hours on end, you’re going to have an uncomfortable flight.
Fortunately, Turkish Airlines’ business class seats exceeded my requirements. These premium seats are packed with features and are extremely comfortable. And yes, the lie-flat seats open into a 75” bed with the touch of a button so even the tallest passengers can comfortably sleep fully reclined.
When you’re ready to rest, alert a flight attendant, and they will make up your “bed” for the flight with a mattress pad, pillow, and duvet so you’ll feel like you’re in a five-star hotel.
The seat connects with a built-in footrest to offer even more reclining room, and under the footrest you’ll find plenty of storage space, so you can stash your personal item without needing to store it overhead for takeoff and landing.
Small touches like personal USB power outlets, personal reading lamps, lockable storage, suit hangers, and massage features add to the luxurious experience.
A privacy screen can be lowered or raised to separate yourself from the person next to you as needed.
Each seat has a large television that’s loaded with plenty of options for movies and entertainment so you won’t be bored when you’re not sleeping.
Food and Drink
Meal service on Turkish Airlines’ business class feels like dining in a fine restaurant. A white hat wearing chef comes to take entrée orders, and then an array of appetizers are wheeled out so passengers can choose à la carte. On my flight, canape options included red pepper hummus, caprese salad, cheese pastries, and traditional Turkish dishes.
Meals are served with fresh, warm bread, and a faux candle on every tray adds to the restaurant-like ambiance.
Dessert service is decadent, with options like cheese, chocolate mango balls, and Turkish ice cream tempting passengers to indulge.
Drinks are available throughout the flight, and the non-alcoholic options are almost as good as the harder stuff, featuring freshly squeezed orange juices, wellness herbal teas (designed to help with everything from jet lag to relaxation), and homemade ayran (a Turkish yogurt drink.)
A wide range of spirits and wine will pair with any meal (there’s even Taittinger champagne if you’re feeling celebratory.)
Business class passengers are offered a complimentary in-flight comfort kit from either Coccinelle or Hackett. Each bag contains useful amenities including an eye mask, plush socks, earplugs, lotion, and lip balm.
The kits include genius stickers that you can place on your seat to indicate to the cabin crew if you’d like to be woken up for meals or prefer not to be disturbed.
Denon noise-canceling headphones are distributed to business class passengers to use during the flight, which really helped drown out any ambient sound and created a restful environment.
Complimentary WiFi is available for business class passengers. Up to 1GB is free for all business class flyers, and unlimited access is granted to those with Miles & Smiles Elite status or Elite Plus cards.
The baggage allowance is larger for business class tickets than economy—and includes two carry-on bags which is a great perk. Additionally, checked bags belonging to business class passengers will be labeled with a priority label and should be delivered to baggage claim faster after your flight.
Is it Worth the Money?
Turkish Airlines’ business class offers a comfortable, relaxing flight complete with lie-flat seats and impeccable food and beverage service. With tickets costing significantly less than first-class but offering a similarly luxurious experience, it’s worth the splurge. Consider it an investment in your vacation to arrive well-rested and ready to explore.
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