Thursday, March 17, 2011

TURKISH AIRLINES FIRST CLASS TESTED


For an interim period Turskish Airlines is offering a First Class Cabin on the Boeing 777 aircraft on lease from Jet Airways. These planes mainly operate to Bangkok and Hong Kong some days of the week.

Unfortunately the service will eventually be discontinued so we made sure to try it before it is gone. We flew on the Istanbul - Bangkok route and vice versa. And we were truly impressed by the high ambitions of this airline. Everything was not perfect but the hardware and food presentation as well as amenity kit and packaging is superior to most other airlines...

Welcome message on the huge flatscreen


The seat
The seat is a mini suite with doors that close and create a private atmosphere. We thought that would feel sort of claustrophobic, but actually we loved the feature because it makes the cabin more quiet and you can sleep undisturbed. The Suite even has a do not disturb sign.


The flat screen is 23 inches and beautifully integrated into the front wall of the suite. The walls of the suite are upholstered with crushed satin and it creates an elegant touch.


The middle pair of suites photo taken from above. The cabin layout is 1 + 2 +1 with a total of 8 suites. The pair in the middle is great for couples and the sides ones the best choice for solo travellers.


The seat is controlled from a smaller LED display screen integrated into the armrest.

Safety demo shown on the screen

A blury side view of the suite


Dinner service on Bangkok - Istanbul leg

Welcome aboard, canapees and Louis Roederer Champagne

The huge table is set, reminds me of fine restaurants, or better.


Soup with nice presentation, bowl placed on a banana leaf

Starting off with Caviar, great presentation :-)


Followed by grilled giant shrimp, sallad and Parmesan shavings. Heavenly.


Chicken skewers with basmati rice and sauteed veggies. A bit dry.


The dessert trolley arrives. Full of choices. I went for some fruit and ice cream. But there were about six choices, too stuffed to handle it.


A blury pic of the ice cream and fruits.


The final touch, tea and petit fours. An amazing dinner comes to an end.


Breakfast service on Bangkok - Istanbul leg

Bircher musli and Turkish yoghurt along with bred basket



The hot stuff, eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes and sausage, I could have done without. Somehow cooked breakfast meals on airplanes has never worked for us.






The selection of cold cuts, vegetables and cheese was much better.






A generously sized fruit plate




The entire breakfast service in one picture. The dining table is huge. The pink drink is a breakfast smoothie. It was overly sweet but that is a matter of taste.



The amenities



A cut above the rest - the slippers are proper leather with a suede sole presented in a luxurious silk bag with the Turkish logo embroided. Presentation is key and Turkish seem to do it even better than the Japanese airlines.


The silk bag holding the slippers. A similar one was used for the pyjamas. Sorry no pics of the pyjamas. They are really comfortable satin style, dark blue and more luxurious than the ones I have received on LH, NH, OZ, TG and SQ.




A luxurious amenity kit. Inside the cotton bag is a leather bag packed with Bulgari amenities. I would have wished for something more creative than Bulgari, but again that is a personal opinion.


In flight magazines



The turndown service - 5 star


The seat goes completely flat with no uncomfortable cracks. They also lay out a thin mattress. But best of all they provide a real duvet with cotton sheets, two pillows of which one is full size. And note the red rose along with French chocolates. I think TK outperforms most 5-star hotels with their turndown service.



THE RETURN FLIGHT



We got to use Thai's First Class lounge in Bangkok with dining and a complimentary 60 minute full body massage. Such a great way to start a long haul flight. Above a picture of the treatment room.



Dinner service Istanbul - Bangkok



On departure the Champagne was not chilled enough. We asked for ice promptly delivered in a personal ice bucket. A sin to add ice to Champagne but at least better than drinking it lukewarm.




Wonderful table setting.


Wow, what a starter offering. Caviar, ceasar salad with shrimps and another sallad. It all tasted fantastic, ingredients were really fresh and definitely restaurant quality delivered by DO&CO Catering in Istanbul. I would say that meals out of Istanbul were better than out of Bangkok.









Followed by soup. This was a traditional Turkish soup and it was really sour and had an unpleasant taste in my opinion.

One of the main courses - white grilled fish with spinach and potatoes. It was really nice.





One of the other choices was chicken with rosemary, grilled vegetables and rice. Also nice tasting.


From the dessert trolley I selected a chocolate fondant and fresh fruit.







VERDICT


Turkish Airlines offers an amazing First Class which is definitely among the best in the world. The onboard food concept is generous and of very high quality. It is served on large plates which makes presentation lovely as well.

The drink list is not really First Class. The Champagne is sort of basic and could use an upgrade. When First Class was launched TK served Cristal for a while but that ended soon.

The suite and the seat is just perfect. One could not expect anything more, it serves all the needs.


The amenities are fantastic and a cut above most other airlines I have tried.

The only let down is the staff. They were all nice and friendly but English profiency really lacked. Also they are unused to working in Frist Class and are not interactive at all. They do their job and they try hard but they have a long way to go. Some training at Asiana would be useful.

The experience was still fantastic. I knew beforehand the issue with the staff and had leveled my expectations accordingly.

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