In 2018 we learned that Turkish Airlines placed an order of 25 Boeing 787-9s. A few weeks later, they announced their first destination of the first 787-9: Denpasar, Bali. I quickly looked to see if there were any seats available on the inaugural flight.
Within a couple of days after the announcement, there were a few seats left in Business Class. The price out of Istanbul was too expensive, however. Based on what I’ve seen in the past, there were certain markets where the fares were quite low when originating from certain places. These markets include Colombo (CMB), Cairo (CAI), Stockholm (ARN), Budapest (BUD), Prague (PRG), Oslo (OSL), Belgrade (BEG), Gothenburg (GOT), and a few others.
My guess was right. If I started the journey from Cairo, it would price at $1,216.00. For a round-trip long haul business class, that’s a total bargain in my opinion. I decided to book the flight with a stopover in Istanbul. During the stopover, I had a side trip to Athens, which I will cover in a separate post.
Fast forward, on July 16, my friend and I arrived in Istanbul from our side trip to Athens. We proceeded to the transfer desk. We attempted to assign our seats multiple times, but they kept changing. I assumed it was a new configuration, so they didn’t have the correct system put in place yet. Turned out, the majority of business class passengers were airline VIPs and press. We ended up sitting in the opposite aisle – He got 8K and I got 8A.
We had a few hours before our flight, so we decided to visit the lounge. I am going to write about the new airport and lounges in a separate post.
Flight Number: TK66
Route: Istanbul (IST) – Denpasar (DPS)
Schedule: 01:30 – 19:30
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-9
Cabin: Business Class
Date: July 17, 2019
Our flight didn’t leave until 1:30 AM local time, though my excitement started to build up! Right after midnight, we walked over to the gate area to see if there anything there – There wasn’t. It turned out there was no festivity at the gate. I was disappointed. It was a different experience compared to the Inaugural flight I took on Cathay Pacific A350-1000 from Hong Kong to Washington Dulles last year.
Boarding started shortly after. They invited business class passenger to board. I was the first passenger to board this inaugural flight!
It was a brand new plane. This was the first plane configured with the new business class seats. The interior looks modern. Turkish Airlines installed the same seats as Singapore Airlines’ 787-10s. The seats were manufactured and desgined by Stelia Aerospace.
I snapped photos throughout the business class cabin before taking my seat. The seat is comfortable and rather private. Though I had to say I preferred the reverse herringbone seats installed on Cathay Pacific’s and American Airlines’ planes. There are two types of window seats in the staggered configuration: True window seats – closer to the windows and aisle window seats – closer to the aisle. In this case, 8A and 8K are true window seats.
The seats offer a good amount of privacy. I couldn’t see other passengers in a sitting position. Though it has a noticeable flaw – the seat privacy blocks half of the window. After my observation, I find that seats 1A and 1K are the best because they have extra storage due to the bulkhead.
The flight attendant came to my seat and introduced himself. He offered a pre-departure beverage. The chef also walked around the cabin offering some finger food.
On this flight, they rolled out the new amenity kits by Versace. It is very nice and well-stocked.
Our flight was slightly delayed. The airline VIPs and the press walked throughout the cabin even when the plane was taxiing to the runway. I guess I’m not used to seeing this because, in the U.S., we would have returned to the gate, possible met by the police.
We finally took off shortly after that. At least there were two chefs in the business class cabin – it might have been three on the entire flight. The flight attendant came to my seat handing out the menu and took my order.
As previously mentioned, Turkish Airlines parters with Vienna based catering company, DO&CO, which is excellent. I also love the Turkish’s famous candle light dining.
I decided to order some Turkish Mezze and Grilled Swordfish Brochette. The chef also recommended me the soup, so I ordered the soup as well.
Dinner service started with canapés, mix nuts, and a glass of white wine.
The canapés were good.
The appetizer was fine, but nothing memorable.
The fish was good, but I wished it were saucier.
The soup never came – I think the chef forgot. But I was stuffed at that point. The chef asked if I wanted some dessert – I obliged.
The dessert was excellent. My favorite was the pistachio ice cream.
At this point, I was exhausted. The flight attendant offered me a turndown service. The bedding was comfortable, but the cabin was too warm for me.
Unfortunately, the flight was eventful. As far as I remembered, the cabin light was dimmed, but not turned off. The curtains that separate between business class and the economy cabin were open the entire time because people were going back and forth. I tossed and turned. I barely got some sleep.
I decided to wake up and watch a movie. The IFEs are pretty good. Though what I love about this flight is the WiFi. It is free for business class passenger and the speed is fast. To connect, you need to enter your last name and seat number.
As time past, breakfast service began. The ordered Potpourri of Seafood and Fillet of Beef Cutlet. They were excellent.
Once the table was cleared, I looked outside the window to this gorgeous view.
As we approached Denpasar, I flew above the cloud and you can see the tip of the mountains on the picture.
We touched down in Denpasar after 7 PM local time.
The coolest thing about this flight is that as we taxied to the gate, a water cannon salute welcomed us.
It was time to bid farewell. Door 1L and 1R were opened. Passengers deplaned through door 1L onto the jet bridge, while the VIPs and press deplaned through door 1R.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to be on the inaugural flight. For Turkish Airlines, it is a brand new type of aircraft, brand new business class seats, and a brand new destination. I will do it again whenever I can.
It was slightly below my expectations. There was no celebration at the gate. We did not even get a “first flight certificate”, other than a refrigerator magnet and a menu. The flight was eventful, which was very distracting.
On a positive note, the new business class seats are a nice upgrade from the current fleet. The Wifi is fast and free. The amenity kit is on the high-end side for business class. The food was good, though the execution could be better.
In the grand scheme of things, Turkish Airlines offers solid hard and soft products. The return flight from Denpasar to Istanbul was so much better. I will review that on a separate post. I’m excited to finally switch my loyalty to Turkish Airlines. I’m looking forward to flying with them again soon.
Now time to enjoy paradise in Bali!