October 19, 2016

Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Panama via Bogota

Trip To Panama Flying in Turkish Airlines Business Class

Last month, Mike and I traveled to Panama for the first time where we stayed four nights in the beautiful capital, Panama City. We flew with Turkish Airlines in business class although we had to originate from Budapest instead of Stockholm since the fare was much cheaper starting from the Hungarian capital. Between Stockholm and Budapest, we took the direct flight on Norwegian. Since I have Diamond status with Hilton, we stayed at the Hilton Panama and Waldorf Astoria Panama where we got upgraded to a Master Suite during our stay at the Hilton Panama. We also had a chance to stay at the Radisson Decapolis Hotel which was also a nice hotel, although not as nice as the two Hilton properties we stayed at. When in Panama, you should never miss doing the Panama Canal Tour as it was definitely the highlight of our trip. Take note that they don't have tours everyday so make sure you check the availability beforehand. Our trip to Panama was one of the best trips we've had and having flown in Turkish Airlines business class, it couldn't have been better!


Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Budapest to Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Panama via Bogota
Review: Hilton Panama
Review: Radisson Decapolis Hotel, Panama City
Review: Waldorf Astoria Panama
Top Attractions in Panama
Review: Copa Club, Panama Tocumen Airport (PTY)
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Panama to Istanbul
Photoreview: Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Arrival (IST)
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Budapest

Turkish Airlines' special plane "Kushimoto" bound for Panama

Flight: TK 800
Departure time in Istanbul (IST): 2:10
Arrival time in Panama (PTY): 11:00 (+1)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 2A
Duration: 15h 50m including 1h 30m in Bogota Airport
Date of flight: September 21, 2016
*Revenue Ticket, Business Class flight #113

Turkish Airlines Istanbul Lounge

Golf simulator, Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

We had about 3 hours before our connecting flight to Panama so we stayed in the beautiful Turkish Airlines Lounge. We left the lounge at 12:50am since the departure gate was a bit far from the lounge.

Boarding, gate 302

Boarding was delayed and there was no priority boarding either as the aircraft was in a remote stand and there was no separate bus for business class passengers.

We took the bus to the aircraft and reached the plane around 1:45am just before it started to rain.

Aircraft

This special plane "Kushimoto" was named after the Japanese village whose people helped save a large number of Turkish crew from the Turkish ship that sank due to a typhoon while on a goodwill voyage to Japan in 1890.

Cabin

The business class cabin has a 2-2-2 configuration with a total of 22 seats, 3 of which were empty and were used by the pilots.

Kushimoto frame

Seat

My seat 2A was a window seat.

Already waiting at my seat was a blanket, a pair of slippers and headphones.

Spacious legroom

Seat controls on the left armrest

Power ports and headphone socket under the right armrest

Reading lamp

USB socket under the right armrest

The headphones unfortunately needed an upgrade as most airlines in business class offer a much better headphone nowadays.

Personal screen, magazine rack and bottle holder

IFE magazine, safety on board card, etc.

Under the left armrest, you would find the entertainment controls.

From the movie selection, I ended up watching "The Huntsman: Winter's War".

Turkish Airlines business class blanket

There was a bar located in front of the cabin where the predeparture beverages were mixed.

Since the cabin was almost full, it took awhile before all the passengers could stow their luggages and take their seats. Minutes after settling in, we were offered something to drink and the choices were water, orange juice, raspberry juice or lime with mint.

I chose the raspberry juice which was very good.

Business class slippers

Then, it was time to be offered some unisex amenity kits. The Jaguar pouch included  a 30ml Jaguar body lotion and lip balm. Also included was a pair of socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, comb, shoehorn, eyeshades and earplugs.

Minutes later, the safety video was played and we started our taxi. At 2:45, it was time for take off.

Moments after the seatbelt sign was turned off, the male flight attendant offered to make our bed. He was working with two other female flight attendants and the inflight chef which I thought was okay given that they were very organized and was able to do the service smoothly. Arrival forms were also distributed for those staying in Colombia.

Dining

Menu card and wine list

Business class menu

The breakfast menu form was also distributed where you would need to tick your choices and give it back to the flight attendant before you sleep.

Drinks menu

As usual, the bar was set up again, this time with all the alcoholic drinks on display.

As for my post departure beverage, I chose a glass of apple juice which was served with some mixed nuts. The inflight chef also came to take our main course order.

Moments later, we were served assorted canapes (marinated olives, toast and minipizza) which were very good.

Then it was time for the table set up including a candlelight which Turkish Airlines refer to as ...

"Candelight Dinner high above the Clouds"

We were also offered some bread.

Roasted Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup, pistachio pesto

Grilled Wild Seabass

For my main course, I chose the Grilled Wild Seabass, tomato sauce prawns, sauteed leaf spinach, chateau potatoes which was excellent. The other choices were Grilled Chicken Skewer and Traditional Style Baked Minced Beef Pastry.

Fresh Raspberries & Mascarpone Cream

We were also offered some Turkish coffee although we declined.

And to end the service, bottles of mineral water were distributed. By this time, I was already sleepy and eventhough the seats on this aircraft do not turn into a fully flat bed, I was still able to sleep for a few hours.

View from my seat!

White cheese and Chicken sandwich, Demel's petits desserts

About 5 hours before landing in Bogota, some snacks were offered and Mike decided he'd have some although I declined.

Breakfast

More than two hours left before landing in Bogota, drinks and hot towels were offered.

Business class breakfast

Mike's main course was the Scrambled Eggs & Turkish style cheese Pastry, Sauteéd mushrooms.

I on the other hand chose the Traditional Black Sea Region Omelette which I thought was okay.

The captain came on the PA to give us updated arrival info about 30 minutes before landing in Bogota. One thing I noticed was everytime they would make an announcement, the film I was watching would automatically rewind.

Lavatory & Toilet

Business Class lavatory

The lavatory offered the usual cologne, foam soap and hand lotion by Eyup Sabri Tuncer.

View before landing in Bogota.

We landed in Bogota Airport at 8:05am with a temperature of 17 degrees. It was later announced that due to Colombian regulations, all transiting passengers should stay in the aircraft. It was also announced that there would be a change of crew.

We had about 1 hour and 30 minutes in Bogota Airport and during this time, airport officers came to check our boarding passes as well as the other 5 who were continuing on to Panama. They also asked which hand carried luggage belongs to who. Also, during this time, all the new blankets were loaded and general cleaning was done. We later found out that it would only be picking up passengers in Panama and would fly directly to Istanbul which means they won't be stopping here in Bogota anymore. Some new passengers also boarded the plane, who were all on their way to Istanbul.

Bogota to Panama Flight

About 9:15am, we were offered some water or orange juice by one of the flight attendants.

Around 9:30am, it was announced that boarding was completed. We were offered slippers by one of the female flight attendants but declined since we already got them from Istanbul. The captain came on the PA to welcome us onboard and to advise us of our flight time of 1 hour and 10 minutes.

20 minutes later, we started our pushback from the gate and later the safety video began to play. Unfortunately, we were delayed due to heavy traffic.

View after take off from Bogota Airport

As soon as the seatblet sign was turned off, the flight attendant came to take our drinks order and I chose a glass of apple juice. Moments later, a snack was served consisting of two open sandwiches and a biscuit. Unlike the crew from Istanbul, the crew here was a bit disorganized that our drinks order came after we have already eaten our sandwiches.

Apple juice

View on the way to Panama

View before landing in Panama

The captain once again came on the PA about 30 minutes before landing and advised us of the current weather conditions in Panama which was cloudy with occasional thunderstorm.

Landing at Panama Tocumen Airport

We landed at Panama Tocumen Airport at 11:32am, more than half an hour behind schedule.

CONCLUSION

My first long haul flight on Turkish Airlines in business class was a few years ago so I was excited how this flight would turn out. I loved the fact that they are one of the few airlines together with Austrian and Etihad with an inflight chef. The meal was fantastic from dinner to breakfast. The crew from Istanbul was also very professional and did an excellent job during the meal service. The candle light dinner which is an original from Turkish Airlines was also a nice touch. The seats on the other hand were not the best and I hope they would upgrade them so that sleeping would be a much better experience specially on this long flight. The IFE is also something to be upgraded since they didn't have the advanced Airshow so one wouldn't know his exact location during the flight. Lastly, the crew on the flight from Bogota although okay, could have done a better service since it was not normal to get your drinks order after you have already finished eating your meal. Overall, it had been a very nice flight and considering the price I paid for, it was indeed very good value for money. To all the crew on this flight, "Teşekkürler!"


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