Turkish Airlines excels in business class, but what about economy class?
My verdict: a solid flight, but nothing truly special. You’ll be impressed by many of the amenities, but economy class is economy class. Still, a positive verdict overall.
We checked in roughly 90 minutes prior to the flight. At Istanbul Ataturk, you proceed through an initial security checkpoint upon entering the terminal. We used a special line for Star Alliance Gold and business class flyers, but these security checks move quickly. Baggage is screened, but electronic devices and liquids can remain inside.
We approached the check-in desk in a special area for USA-bound flights. You can read about how Turkish Airlines handles the in-flgiht electronics ban here.
After quickly being checked in, we proceeded to the lounge. Since we were not flying in business class, we were unable to use the fast-track security/immigration that proceeds directly into the lounge.
We skipped breakfast at the Hyatt Centric Levent Istanbul in favor of lunch in the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge. As usual the food was wonderful and I enjoyed a delicious early lunch of kabobs, pide, and salad.
> Review: Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Our flight departed on time out of Gate 228, the gate I have always departed on when flying Turkish to Los Angeles. After checking in our larger electronic devices, we boarded the flight.
Istanbul (IST) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Depart: 1:00 PM
Arrive: 4:45 PM
Duration: 13hr, 45min
Seat: 45H (Economy Class)
FAs were smiled and greeted us, directing us through the galley and all the way back to rear economy class cabin.
An interlude: we flew economy class because my brother was booked in economy class by his company. My ticket, purchased just days prior, was only $435 one-way. Although business class went out only half full (economy class was close to 80% full), Turkish Airlines is not great about releasing last minute award space.
Midday congestion out of Istanbul led to a 75-minute delay, making an already long flight push to 15hrs long.
Turkish Airlines Economy Class Seat
Turkish maintains 49 seats in business class in a 2-3-2 configuration and 300 seats in economy class in a 3-3-3 configuration on its 777-300ERs. The economy class seats were relatively comfortable, but it would still be a long flight with 32″ of legroom (felt even tighter). Thankfully, the middle seat next to me remained open.
At each seat is a USB port (plus ethernet and S-video), passenger control unit, touchscreen IFE screen, bi-fold tray table, and coat hook.
Turkish Airlines Economy Class Service and Amenity Kit
Turkish does make extra effort to help make its economy class passengers more comfortable. After takeoff, a hot towel is offered. This towel is not just a paper towel, but the same towel used by American Airlines in premium cabins…
The blanket and pillow are nothing special, but the slipcase on the pillow is not the throw-away cover many airlines use.
Turkish also provides an amenity kit to its economy class passengers. Contents include socks, slippers, lip balm, ear plugs, eye shade, and toothbrush. Admittedly, I was impressed by how the nice was, even if the slippers were too small for my feet.
Turkish Airlines Economy Class Food
Service did not begin until over an hour after takeoff, starting with a beverage service. Turkish offers a delicious mint lemonade with fresh mint and lemons. This runs out quickly so I do recommend you ask for a glass during the initial meal service.
The following menu was distributed–
I ordered chicken satay for the first meal, which was edible but nothing great. Turkish wine is available. I wrote more about the meal here.
After the meal, hot tea or coffee was offered followed by water bottles:
The most surprising thing — I found myself starving between meals.
In the galley were two large plastic containers. One contained a cheese sandwich, the other cherry cake. The sandwich was a big letdown, as the bread tasted (and no doubt was) quite processed and full of preservatives. The cherry cake was nice.
A full three hours prior to landing the second meal service began. No choice: everyone who did not order a special dietary meal received pasta.
Turkish Airlines Economy Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Flimsy headset are available in your seat, so bring your own.
IFE selection was good, with many Hollywood movies plus a good assortment of movies and TV programming from around the world including several live TV channels. Music and games as well plus a camera–
Upon checking my laptop prior to boarding, a wi-fi card was provided with a special code to receive complimentary access onboard. Internet is not expensive anyway, but this was a nice touch.
I almost had a panic attack, though, because I could not connect to the internet for the first six hours of the flight. In fact, the crew stated that the internet would not work on today’s flight. Thankfully it kicked on and functioned slowly but adequately for the second half of the flight.
Turkish Airlines Economy Class Lavatory
Landing and Electronics Pick-Up at LAX
We enjoyed beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles we landed, about an hour late.
In the baggage claim area, Turkish reps were waiting for the electronics suitcases to arrive. Once they did, they efficiently returned devices by matching your claim ticket with the tag on the device. You also had to sign for the device.
This is a long journey in economy class, but I made it just fine. Although I miss Comfort Class (premium economy) on Turkish (removed from its planes) and would prefer to have flown United for the extra legroom in EconomyPlus, Turkish makes a real effort to care for its passengers. Hot towels, amenity kits with slippers, menus, and free wi-fi are nice features when flying economy class. I would not hesitate to fly Turkish longhaul again.