November 7, 2016

Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Stockholm to Istanbul

Trip to Guangzhou in Turkish Airlines Business Class & Guangzhou to Mumbai in Qatar Airways & Etihad A380 First Class

A few months ago, I came across some tips on Flyertalk about a cheap business class fare from Vilnius to Toronto on Turkish Airlines and since I wanted to earn Elite status in the airlines' Miles & Smiles program by the end of this year, I did not hesitate and booked the flight. Unfortunately, a schedule change forced me to cancel the flight and look for another option. I had some miles left on my American Airlines Advantage account so I thought I could redeem them flying from Guangzhou to Mumbai in first class. Flying from Mumbai to Bangkok was easy since Air India flies direct between these two cities. After thoroughly planning the trip, I ended up buying an open jaw ticket in Turkish Airlines business class, from Stockholm to Guangzhou and back from Bangkok to Stockholm. It actually turned out perfectly well as I was able to fly Qatar Airways A380 first class from Guangzhou to Doha and then to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, I was able to visit the newly opened Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa and from Abu Dhabi, I flew on Etihad's A380 to Mumbai. It was 8 flights in 6 days which was really tiring but who cares when you're flying in first and business class 😉



Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Stockholm to Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class, Istanbul to Guangzhou
Review: Hilton Guangzhou Baiyun
24 hours in Guangzhou, China
Review: Premium Lounge, Guangzhou Airport (CAN)
Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Guangzhou to Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class, Doha to Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa
Review: Etihad Airways A380 First Apartment, Abu Dhabi to Mumbai
Review: Loyalty Lounge, Mumbai Airport (BOM)
Review: Thai Royal Silk Lounge Concourse C West, Bangkok (BKK)
Review: Thai Royal Silk Lounge Concourse C East, Bangkok (BKK)
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Bangkok to Istanbul
Tour Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Stockholm

 Turkish Airlines business class meal, Stockholm to Istanbul

Flight: TK 1796
Departure time in Stockholm (ARN): 17:15
Arrival time in Istanbul (IST): 22:45
Aircraft: Airbus A321-200
Seat: 3C
Duration: 3h 30min
Date of flight: November 1, 2016
*Revenue Ticket, Business Class flight #116

Check-in, desk 44

I arrived at the airport about 2 hours before departure and went directly to the check in desk for business class passengers which was desk 44. Desks 41-42 were for economy class passengers while desk 43 was for baggage drop off. I already had my mobile boarding pass to Istanbul but not for the Istanbul-Guangzhou flight since visa had to be verified. Elin, the check-in agent helped me with the check in process although it took time to verify if I needed a visa or not. I was just spending a night in Guangzhou and then flying again to Doha so I actually didn't need a visa. Guangzhou is one of those Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, etc. which allows visa free transit of up to 72 hours. Since more and more cities are being added, some agents are not sure which cities are included. A few minutes later, Elin confirmed that I didn't need a visa after which, she gave me my boarding pass to Guangzhou.

Since I was flying in business class, I had access to the Fast Track lane. I used the one being used by Norwegian passengers (located to the left of the check-in counters) as I find it much closer to the lounge.

SAS Business Lounge

SAS Business Lounge Arlanda Airport food selection

It has been years since I last visited the SAS Business Lounge which was actually remodeled and enlarged in September 2015.

SAS Business Lounge Arlanda Airport kid's room

Due to it's expansion, the lounge has now three phone rooms, a TV corner and a new kid's room. I left the lounge a few minutes after 4pm and then went to the passport control, as Turkey is not a Schengen member.

Boarding, gate 18

Again, before entering the departure gate, passports were checked. Around 4:50pm, boarding started with business class passengers, those with status and those needing help getting priority boarding.

As usual, there was a trolley with international newspapers.

Seat

My seat 3C, was an aisle seat. The aircraft was an Airbus A321-200 with a 2-2 configuration (and real business class seats) with 5 rows and a total of 20 seats. The cabin was actually full, with 4 kids onboard.

Already waiting at my seat was a blanket and a pillow.The reading lamps are located between the seats.

Seat controls located on the right armrest

Very spacious legroom

Reading materials inside the seat pocket

IFE magazine, duty free catalogue and safety instruction card

IFE controls and headseat

Under the left armrest, you will find the personal screen. Unfortunately, there were no films to watch except for the airshow which was the same being shown on the overhead screens.

Overhead screens

View of the cabin from my seat, with the inflight chef on her way to the galley.

A few minutes after settling in, I was offered something to drink and I chose the usual lemon mint.

The captain came on the PA around 5:10pm to welcome us onboard, give us flight info and advised us of our flight time of just 3 hours. A few more minutes and the flight safety video started to play.

Dining

It was a bit turbulent so the seatbelt sign remained on while we were offered hot towels.

A few minutes later, the inflight chef came to offer the menu card and beverage list.

Turkish Airlines business class menu card with the "Turkish Airlines Open, Antalya" on the cover.

The menu read as follows:

Menu card

Beverages

Minutes later, the inflight chef was back to take our drinks order and I settled for a glass of apple juice. The white wine onboard was a choice between Spanish and Turkish.

Potpourri of Mezze with salmon and avocado, selection of cheese, homemade apple meringue tart

Moments later, the meal was served in a tray consisting of the appetizer, cheese and dessert. Bread was also offered afterwards.

Sauteéd fillet of beef

For my main course, I went for the beef which proved to be an excellent decision as it was very tender.

Then, it was time for some liquor, coffee and tea.

I ordered my usual cup of green tea to end the meal.

Just an observation, the inflight chef was clearing the glasses and cups without using a tray, unlike the flight attendants of Qatar Airways.

Toilet & Lavatory

The lavatory had the usual hand lotion and cologne from Eyup Sabri Tuncer.

Toilet

About 35 minutes before landing, the captain once again came on the PA to give us updated flight info and that we would be landing at 10:25pm. We actually landed at 10:13pm and reached the gate after 5 minutes which was ahead of our schedule.

Transit in Istanbul Airport

Turkish Airlines suite room, Istanbul Airport

I decided to check out one of the suite rooms in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge (as I had not seen one before) where I rested for about an hour.

CONCLUSION

My last four flights in business class (where I traveled to Panama) were all with Turkish Airlines so I pretty much knew what to expect on this flight. I loved the fact that the seats on this flight were real business class seats and not those economy class seats which Lufthansa, British Airways etc. are using when flying within Europe. The lack of a personal screen showing movies was a bit disappointing since the flight duration was long enough to be able to watch at least one movie. The food as usual was superb specially the salmon and the beef. The inflight chef was very effective and did a great job as she was alone in serving all 20 passengers and there was just the purser in the galley helping her. Overall, I enjoyed everything about this flight although I wished they had a much better personal screen where one could watch a movie. To all the crew on this flight, "Teşekkürler!"


Related Posts:

Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Doha-Kathmandu

Review: Lufthansa First Class, Dubai-Frankfurt