Turkish Airlines Flight 33 Business Class Istanbul, Turkey-Houston, Texas – Review

By Ramsey Qubein on 25 June 2013
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Turkish Airlines flies to a growing number of cities in the U.S. and Houston’s George Bush IMG_1564Intercontinental Airport is its newest destination. In the coming years, Turkish plans to add Boston and Atlanta to its roster of North American gateways that already includes Los Angeles, Toronto, and Washington Dulles. Turkish is a member of Star Alliance and was recently recognized as the world’s top airline in terms of number of global destinations served (currently over 200).

Connecting through its Istanbul Atatürk hub can be a fascinating experience for the traveler, as a glance at the flight information displays reveals listings for destinations as varied and exotic as Bilbao, Spain; Bremen, Germany; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Mogadishu, Somalia; and Ulaan Bator, Mongolia.

While transfers can be quick, multiple flights arriving at peak periods cause delays as passengers queue up to re-clear security. IMG_1514Passengers coming from the airline’s immense network of domestic flights must also walk from the domestic terminal to the international terminal, which can be a lengthy haul, but lucky business class travelers and Star Alliance Gold flyers have access to a terminal with private immigration, security, and immediate access to the airline’s top-class lounge. This recently redesigned space has a billiard’s table, cinema area with popcorn, roaming masseur, and multiple snack stations preparing light meals (including grilled meats and fresh salads) sure to satisfy the peckish traveler.


Upon boarding, business class passengers will find a fresh duvet and large pillows awaiting them at their seats.  IMG_1567Amenity kits are delivered by cart after boarding, and many have been the recipient of global awards including one that doubles as an iPad case and is stuffed with Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries. Other versions of their amenity kits are packed with Lanvin toiletries and are ideal for stowage of charging cords, cameras, or normal toiletries. Slippers are thoughtfully provided allowing passengers to move about the cabin without having to don shoes.

Large-screen TVs, with a seemingly endless supply of TV, short subject, and movie programming make extra-long flights (just over 12 hours in the air in this case) quite bearable. Noise-cancelling headsets are at every seat as are outlets for charging laptops and smartphones. Complimentary wireless Internet access is also available on most of the carrier’s Boeing 777 aircraft, but the service can be spotty at times. However, it isn’t clear how long this year old service will continue to be free. Still, there is something unique about sending an e-mail while at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.

Newspapers were distributed together with the amenity kits, but welcome drinks had to wait until everyone had boarded. Treats such as freshly made lemonade and strawberry juice are among the offerings, but on most flights, champagne waits to be requested and is happily supplied. The onboard chef introduced himself soon thereafter accompanied by a tray of signature golden Godiva chocolate boxes.


All seats on Turkish Airlines’ long-haul flights in business class are flat beds, in individual pods, stretching out with ample space between units. Seat pitch varies widely by aircraft, but the Boeing 777-300ER on which I was traveling provided 78 inches between seats with a most comfortable width of 22 inches. Included in each pod is an ottoman that lifts up with ample room to store a carry-on bag.

Click here to continue to Page 2In-Flight Service, Meals, and Arrival

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