February 2, 2017

Review: Turkish Airlines B777 Business Class, Manila-Istanbul

Christmas & New Year in the Philippines flying Turkish Airlines Business Class

For the second time after three years, I celebrated Christmas and New Year in the Philippines, together with the Singelresor group. We were a group of 16 although I guess it could have been more. Our program started in Manila, the capital city and after that, we flew to Cebu to explore the oldest city in the country. Then we had four nights in Panglao where we visited the famous Chocolate Hills, the Philippine tarsier, and did the Loboc River Cruise among others and of course enjoyed the white sand beaches of the island. Then, we flew to Boracay, the world's best island for 2016 according to the readers of the CondΓ© Nast Traveler where we celebrated New Year 😍 From there, we flew back to Manila and took the long bus ride to Banaue to visit the 2000 year old Banaue Rice Terraces. Finally, on our last day in Manila, we visited the famous Pagsanjan Falls before taking our evening flight back to Stockholm. Unfortunately, the snow chaos in Istanbul Airport caused us to have an extra three nights in Manila where we were accommodated in the Belmont Hotel Manila. No doubt, it was one of the best Christmas and New Year celebrations I've had lately and would celebrate it here every year if only I could πŸ˜‰



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Turkish Airlines Business Class breakfast, Manila to Istanbul

Flight: TK 85
Departure time in Manila (MNL): 21:45
Arrival time in Istanbul (IST): 5:10
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 7A
Duration: 12h 25min
Date of flight: January 10, 2017
*Revenue Ticket, Business Class flight #123

NAIA Terminal 1

We arrived at NAIA Terminal 1 around 7:45pm, about 3 hours before our flight and headed directly to security.

NAIA Terminal 1

Check-in, desks 61-62

There was an extra passport control just before taking the queue for check in which fortunately went quickly.

There were 2 business class check in desks and we were accommodated by the first available one (desk 62) where we were helped by a friendly agent who did the check in process efficiently.

Moments later, we were holding our boarding passes as well as the Lounge Invitation card. I actually wasn't sure which lounge Turkish Airlines was using since the information I got from TK's social media account was confusing. I was told I could use either the THAI Airways Royal Silk Lounge or the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge. I was sure that we didn't have access to Singapore Airlines Lounge since it's located in Terminal 3 and that the THAI Airways Lounge actually closes around 8pm according to their website (and which I later found out was actually totally closed for renovation).

NAIA Terminal 1 Airside

Aircraft, Boeing 777-300ER

The beautiful Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER 😊

Boarding, Gate 9

Boarding gate

Boarding was scheduled at 9:40pm but it was not until 10:10 that priority boarding started beginning with those passengers with disabilities followed by those with kids and then business class and elite members.

Newspapers

Cabin

Turkish Airlines' business class cabin on the Boeing 777 has four rows in the main cabin and 3 rows in the smaller cabin (where we were seated), in a 2-3-2 configuration with a total of 49 seats. It was strange that we had one lady in our group who wanted to upgrade to business class using cash but was denied eventhough the cabin was not actually full.

Seats 7A & 7B

Seats 7A and 7B

Personal screens

I have flown on a similar Boeing 777 in November from Istanbul to Guangzhou so I would just be concentrating more on the service.

Ottoman

Around 10:30pm, the guy working on our side of the cabin came to offer some welcome drinks.

I settled for raspberry juice while Mike had the usual lemon mint. I have flown in Turkish Airlines business class a lot of times and I know that the flight attendant would come with a tray full of drinks but as soon as 2 to 3 guests have taken their welcome drinks, the FA would go back to the galley to refill his tray. Imagine how many times the FA would have to go back and forth to the galley if the cabin was full πŸ˜‰. Qatar Airways system is among the best in my opinion since the FA comes to your seat and welcomes you, then asks which drink you would have and if you would like a hot or cold towel. I guess its the best system outhere aside from it being really five star service 😍

Airshow

Airshow enroute Istanbul

Denon Headset

Moments later, we were offered the new DENON headphones and was reminded by the FAs that they would be collecting them again before landing.

From the new movies on board, I ended up watching "The Magnificent Seven" which I thought was a nice film.

Cerruti 1881 Amenity Kit

Afterwards, we were offered the amenity kit consisting of a Cerruti 1881 pouch bag, hydrating cream, lip balm, etc. It was actually the same one I got on my flight from Bangkok to Istanbul last November. Newspapers were also offered afterwards.

Inflight Safety Video

Then, the inflight safety video started to play. This is actually one of my favorite inflight safety videos since it's fun to watch so kudos to Turkish Airlines for this brilliant idea πŸ‘

By this time, the captain came on the PA to welcome us onboard and to advise us of our flight time of 12 hours and 25 minutes and that the temperature in Istanbul was 2 degrees with light snow. There was actually heavy traffic in NAIA. Pushback was at 11:12pm and 18 minutes later, we took off.

Take-off

View after take off

Turn-down Service

Moments after we were airborne, the FA came and offered to make our bed and which we gladly accepted.

My bed for tonight πŸ˜‰

Complimentary Wifi

As is the norm in Turkish Airlines' Boeing 777, there was wifi onboard which was complimentary to all business class passengers and economy class passengers with Elite and Elite Plus status. Otherwise, the value of 14.99 USD for 24 hours is also okay in my opinion.

Dining

Around 11:55pm, we were offered some hot towels to begin the meal service. Then we were offered the menu card and wine list while at the same time taking our drinks order. I settled for a glass of apple juice.

Menu card and wine list were offered which read as follows:

Beverage list

White wines (Prestige Narince 2015 and Chablis Premier Cru Les Joyaux 2015) and Rose wine (Kavaklidere Ideo 2015)

Red Wines (Doluca Karma Merlot, Chateau Lamothe Pontac 2014, Bodega Norton Privada 2013, Bodegas Breonia Crianza 2013), Port Wine (Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 2011)

The champagne was Taittinger Brut Reserve

Menu card

Menu card

Breakfast menu card

View of cabin from my seat with the inflight chef taking orders

Moments later, my apple juice was served together with some mixed nuts.

It was a bit turbulent so the FAs had to wait before starting with the table set up.

Table set up with Turkish Airlines' signature "Candle Light Dinner High Above the Clouds" πŸ‘

Grilled Prawns with Mixed Vegetables

The other choice was "Chicken Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach".

I also had the "Zucchini Soup" which was fabulous just like the prawns πŸ˜‹

For my main course, I couldn't help but choose the Philippine style beef stew while Michael had the fish.

Philippine Style Beef Stew, Pumpkin, SauteΓ©d Asparagus, Steamed Basmati Rice

The beef stew actually would have been perfect if it hadn't been too salty.

Grilled Cod Fish, Lemon Butter, Mediterranean Vegetables and Panfried Potatoes

To end the meal, I had some sliced fruits and desserts.

And a cup of green tea.

Just before everybody else went to sleep, we were offered a hot towel and a bottle of mineral water. Needless to say, I was able to get a good night's sleep πŸ˜‰

There were also some snacks offered according to Mike where he got some Pringles. I woke up around 4:45am (Istanbul time) and went to the lavatory. Unfortunately, it was not as clean as it was supposed to be, with small pieces of toilet paper on the floor. In my experience, Qatar Airways is very good in making sure that their lavatories in the business class cabin are always clean.

Around 4:50am, we were offered some hot towels which was followed by a choice of orange juice or water.

Turkish Airlines business class breakfast

My "Spinach Tomato Omelette" was served later and I was continuously asked if I wanted more bread which was a nice gesture.

Toilet & Lavatory

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

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 business class toilet

Around 6:15am, the captain came on the PA to advise us that we would start our descent in 10 minutes and that we would be landing at 7am, with the weather being partially cloudy. We landed at 6:54am and parked at Gate 227 which was the newer portion of the terminal.

Transitting in Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Turkish Airlines Lounge

As we had enough time for our connecting flight to Stockholm, we decided to head to the beautiful Turkish Airlines Lounge.

CONCLUSION

Finally, after being stranded in Manila for 3 days due to the winter chaos in Istanbul Airport, we were able to take the flight back to Europe! First, I have to commend Turkish Airlines for putting us to a very nice hotel (Belmont Hotel Manila). Unfortunately, we had to personally go to the Turkish Airlines Office at the airport to be rebooked earlier, which was really time consuming. During the flight, I thought the flight attendants were friendly although it could still improve. The meal was very good specially the prawn and the soup. Unfortunately, the beef stew was a bit too salty, otherwise it would have been perfect. Complimentary wifi was a big plus and which I was able to take advantage of. Overall, the flight was very nice although I wish they could have a better system when serving the welcome drinks, and that they could really keep the cleanliness of the lavatory. For the price we paid, I really think it was worth it and we would definitely fly with Turkish Airlines again in the future πŸ˜‰


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