Asia, the Long Way: Turkish Business Class Tokyo to Istanbul

I left the United lounge shortly before the revised, scheduled boarding time.  The flight status TVs throughout the lounge had out of order signs next to them (despite being on) that didn’t exactly inspire my confidence.  Our departure was a bit further delayed, giving me a moment to snap a few pictures of the plane and take a quick walk to the end of the pier before boarding commenced.

Poor business class award availability for this flight notwithstanding, the cabin was quite empty:  15 of the 28 seats were occupied.

Turkish 51
Tokyo (NRT) to Istanbul (IST)
Friday, March 30th
Depart: 12:28PM
Arrive: 6:51PM
Duration: 12 hours, 23 minutes
Aircraft: 777-3F2ER (TC-JJL)
Seat: 2B (Business Class)

Like Air New Zealand’s safety video featuring the All Blacks (when your flight’s IFE is working properly), Turkish Airlines has a slightly off-beat one of its own with Manchester United.

The obligatory, pre-departure flight show:

The menu read as follows:

Since I had requested a vegetarian meal, my appetizer came preplated rather than served off of the cart.

After the meal, the flight attendants closed the window shades and turned on the mood lighting for our long flight across Asia.

About two hours out from Istanbul, we had a second meal service.

Overall, I was impressed by the Turkish Airlines business class product’s superb soft product, but I felt the seat left a bit to be desired.

New planes with new interiors goes a long way at providing a compelling hard product.  When I took this trip in late March, the 777-300ER I was on was about 13 months old; in comparison, the Thai 747-400 I took to Tokyo was about 21 years old.  That said, as a hard product person, the question I had for myself was “who would put up with a middle seat in paid business class in this day and age?”  It’s a question I ask myself every time I see the legacy United’s “new” 8 abreast business class product on its 747’s and 777’s.  (I shudder to contemplate United’s old business class product for long-haul travel, even if I enjoy their p.s. service domestically.)  In comparison, Air New Zealand fits 26-28 lie-flat business class seats, each with direct aisle access, on its 777’s in the same space that Turkish Airlines uses to fit 28 angled lie-flat business class seats, consisting of 8 window seats and 4 middle seats without direct aisle access.

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One Response to Asia, the Long Way: Turkish Business Class Tokyo to Istanbul

  1. Pingback: Is TK C class really that bad? - FlyerTalk Forums

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