After having a fantastic time spending three nights and touring the island, I finally got back to Manila. I had nearly 8 hours to kill since my Turkish Airlines flight didn’t depart until 10 PM. I intentionally left a big gap between flights just to be safe as regional island hopper flights tend to get delayed. Fortunately, it wasn’t the case.
So what did I do until then?
Well, I went to the mall and had excellent Filipino food! Before I left the airport, I stored my carry-on at the luggage storage located inside the arrival hall, which cost 150 PHP for 3 hours.
As I mentioned before, it’s relatively easy to get around the city using the Grab app. That’s what I did to get to the mall and back to the airport. Around 6 PM, I retrieved my carry-on and head to the departure hall. Please note that only ticketed passengers are allowed to access the check-in counter area, and you do need to show a print out of your itinerary — yes, a printout, not the confirmation email on your smartphone.
In this series:
- Alaska Airlines Economy Class A320 Washington to Los Angeles
- Crowne Plaza Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles International (LAX)
- American Airlines Flagship Lounge at Los Angeles International (LAX)
- American Airlines Business Class 787-9 Los Angeles to Shanghai
- Cathay Pacific Lounge at Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
- Cathay Dragon Economy Class A321 Shanghai to Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International (HKG)
- Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International (HKG)
- Cathay Pacific Economy Class 777-300 Hong Kong to Manila
- Cebu Pacific Economy Class ATR72 Manila to Busuanga (Round-Trip)
- Al Faro Cosmio Hotel Coron
- Island Adventure: Coron, Palawan
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Manila to Istanbul
- Touristanbul – Free Istanbul City Tour Sponsored by Turkish Airlines
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Istanbul to Los Angeles
Check-in was a breeze. There were separate counters for economy class and business class and Star Alliance Gold members. Within minutes, I got my boarding pass along with the lounge invitation.
Turkish Airlines uses PAGSS Premium Lounge, which I will review on a separate post. But long story short, I ran into Victor and Olivier again — what a small world! They were also heading back to Shanghai that evening, so we kind of just hung out at the lounge.
About 10 minutes before scheduled boarding time, I headed to the boarding gate. Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) T3 is not the most exciting terminal, there wasn’t much to see and do there, so I wouldn’t come too early.
Flight Number: TK85
Route: Manila (MNL) – Istanbul (IST)
Schedule: 22:10 – 06:15+1
Duration: 13h 5m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300ER
Cabin: Business Class
Date: November 25, 2019
Boeing 777-300ER is Turkish Airline’s backbone fleet for their long-haul flights. Even though the fleet is relatively young, the business class seats are dated. This particular aircraft has a 2-3-2 business class seating configuration.
I assigned myself seat 2A. Waiting at my seat were memory foam pillow, noise-canceling headset, and slippers. The flight attendant then came around to offer pre-departure beverages and distribute the amenity kit. As usual, the options were lemon mint, fresh orange, fresh raspberry, and water — I chose fresh raspberry.
Turkish Airlines also offers excellent amenity kits by Versace. As you might know already, I’m a (hoarder) hardcore amenity kit collectors. Since I have the black and blue male kits, I asked for the female one.
Initially, another passenger was occupying the seat next to mine. After the main door closed, the flight attendant informed him that the first row was vacant, so he moved to 1A. Without a seatmate, this configuration excellent. Not only it is spacious, but I found the bed is very comfortable.
Turkish Airlines is known for its fantastic in-flight meal and dining experience by DO&CO. On long haul flights, they assigned two flying chefs in the business class cabin. On this flight, it was no exception. Chef Selchuk, who worked in my aisle, did a fantastic job throughout the flight, and took excellent care of me!
Turkish Airlines offers dine-on-demand dining, and the dinner menu reads as follows:
GRILLED VEGETABLES WITH PRAWNS
CHICKEN EMBUTIDO SMOKED TANGUINGE, GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
SWEET CORN SOUP
please choose from our selection:
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST
PENNE WITH WILD MUSHROOMS
selection of our dessert;
POTPOURRI OF TRADITIONAL TURKISH DESSERTS
MANGO & COCONUT TART
VANILLA ICE CREAM
SELECTION OF CHEESE
FRESH FRUIT SALAD
COFFEE AND / OR TEA
For dinner, I ordered grilled vegetables with prawns, followed by the main course, seafood salpicao.
The prawns were tasty and fresh. The seafood main course was perfect as well, though it wasn’t necessarily gourmet. To finish, I had mango & coconut tart and a scoop of vanilla ice cream — it was excellent!
Once the flight attendant cleared my table, he offered a turn-down service. Turkish Airlines’ bedding is excellent. Sometimes, the cabin temperature tends to get warm, which is a concern for me because I couldn’t sleep when it’s too warm. Fortunately, the temperature was perfect.
I had a night of uninterrupted 6-hour sleep. It wasn’t long, but we’re talking about quality sleep. I didn’t wake up the entire time; it even felt like I was sleeping at home, on a real bed. It was that good!
The lavatories are pretty standard, but they were immaculate. I noticed the crew cleaned it after every use. Unlike the amenity kit, they use Molton Brown for the skincare products in the lavatory.
At this point, we were 9 hours into the flight. I got up and walked to the galley to stretch. It seemed like all the crews, except the chef, were on the break. So I briefly chatted with him and checked out the snack bar, until suddenly my sweet tooth craved for the cheesecake.
Upon return to my seat, he brought me a slice — Yum!!
In general, I don’t really watch TV. I can’t even remember when the last time I turned my TV at home! That said, Turkish Airlines has a decent selection of movies and TV shows. But I didn’t even browse for movies. Instead, I just played with my phone as a WiFi connection on board Turkish Airlines is fast and free for business class customers.
About two hours before landed, the breakfast service commenced. It’s a bit too early, in my opinion, because some passengers still want to maximize their sleep. The breakfast menu was distributed along with the dinner menu. It looks almost like a questionnaire where you check the boxes based on your selections and preferences.
I ordered a few items from the menu. For the main course, I had a crepe with scrambled eggs and tomatoes, along with freshly squeezed mango juice and double shot espresso with milk.
The main course was delicious, but the coffee was exceptional. It was the best coffee I had in the sky.
An hour before landing, the crews started to collect the headphones and prepared the cabin for landing. We landed in Istanbul ahead of schedule. The new airport is massive, and it usually takes at least 30 minutes to taxi to/from the runway. For some reason, it didn’t take as long this time.
Turkish Airlines offers a free Istanbul city tour called TourISTanbul. Since I had a 7-hour layover, my ticket qualified for the morning tour, which I will review on my next installment.
All in all, it was a great flight. Even though the 2-3-2 seating configuration is dated, the seat is very comfortable to a point, it felt like my own bed at home. The flight attendants were professional, though not polished.
The dining experience by DO&CO onboard Turkish Airlines flight is always a treat. Chef Selchuk took really good care of me, and I enjoyed every meal he prepared. There is no doubt that this is the area where Turkish Airlines stands out the most.
I do love the new amenity kits by Versace. I believe they do offer eight distinct colors, four colors for each gender. I do have four at home, so I’m going to ask for a different one next time I fly with them. I wish Turkish Airlines provides pajamas on their long haul flights because it would’ve been a perfect set.
There is one thing I’d like to note. In general, Turkish Airlines flight attendants are professional, but they’re not necessarily friendly. They’re not rude or anything, but it’s something you wouldn’t find if you were flying on Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways. It could also be a cultural thing and a language barrier. But then again, sometimes I had fantastic crews on Turkish Airlines flights, for example, my connecting flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles, which I will review very soon.