By Barbara Penny Angelakis
Photography courtesy Turkish Airlines
Türk Hava Yollari
Having flown in all three levels of service with Türk Hava Yollari known simply as Turkish Airlines, I can describe the comfort quotient as “good”, “gooder”, and “goodest”. The seats even in economy are comfortable with a 17” seat width and sufficient leg room due to a 31/32 seat pitch. This attention to comfort is based on the airlines philosophy as described to me by Regional Sales Manager Cem Ongen. “Turkish Airlines is not merely a source of safe, state-of-the-art transportation to my country, but it is the first contact a traveler will have to experience Turkey’s renowned hospitality”. Consequently the airlines intent is to provide the best possible service from the moment you step aboard until you disembark at your destination in Turkey, ready to begin your odyssey in a country that spans both Europe and Asia.
As mentioned, there are three levels of service: Economy, Comfort Class, and Business Class. Turkish Airlines Comfort Class is similar to the Business Class on most other airlines providing wide ergonomic seats with pull up table, entertainment screen and control panel, all hidden in wide arm rests. Each seat is equipped with an individual LED light so you can read without disturbing others by turning on the overhead light, and several pillows and a comfy blanket are waiting when you approach your seat. The steward presented me with high-end earphones that fit over, not in, my ears, along with an amenity package containing a toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs, lip balm, eye mask and socks, but most importantly… she proffered them with a smile; a rare commodity on today’s crowded and stressed flights. Also rare was the excellent food service with linen napkins, real flatware and plates. The food was slightly upgraded coach fare. Most of the service staff - from the check-in gate to on-board - spoke excellent English so communication was easy; again a rarity on international flights, and a much appreciated courtesy to the English speaking traveler. But in the event that you run into someone who you can not communicate with, simply ask to speak to a supervisor or another staff member. Travel is stressful enough without having to struggle to be understood.
Turkish Airlines Business Class is equivalent to First Class on other airlines with separate check-in and seating prior to the coach class which protects you from the boarding protocols. The seating configuration is 1-2-1 providing a measure of privacy, with the seat width a comfortable 22 inches which converts into a flat bed position. All of the amenities mentioned in Comfort Class are duplicated here with the addition that the seats have lumbar support in sit-up or flat bed position, a plus for a long flight with a sore back. Each seat has its own entertainment console with tucks neatly into the side of the seat and the complimentary amenity pack contains a convenient “Do Not Disturb” tag, the usual toothbrush but with a generous travel size toothpaste tube, a hairbrush, shoe horn and socks, plus Hermes of Paris Eau D’Orange Verte cologne, body lotion and moisturizing face emulsion all in convenient travel sizes.
In business class the food service was far more upscale with a real chef on board preparing the meals. The main meal offered a trolley selection for appetizer, a soup, in this case Artichoke with olive and pepper croutons, a choice of meat, fish or pasta made to order by the on-board chef for the entrée, an assortment of cheeses and fresh fruit, and selection of desserts. The second meal service also offered a good selection and while not exactly gourmet was way above the usual airline fare. Of course, the beverage service was on-going and always served with a warm and friendly smile.
A voucher given at the time the boarding passes are printed allows entrance to the business class lounge at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. It is a spacious area at the airport’s lower level, with ample and very comfortable seating, excellent sandwiches and small plates, nice desserts, and a variety of soft drinks, fruit-juices, beer, and top-shelf alcoholic beverages. There are a couple conference areas for quick business meetings or privacy when working on a computer and a free Wi-Fi network covering the entire area.
Turkish Airlines serves more than 180 international destinations with two daily flights from New York to Istanbul. For their entire schedule please visit:
© July 2011 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.