Long story short, I was scheduled to fly on Turkish Airlines from Los Angeles to Istanbul on Christmas day. It was part of the return ticket of business class deal ex Manila I purchased a while back. I flew the outbound flights from Manila to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Los Angeles the weekend before thanksgiving — thanks to the costly mistake I made twice. Not!
In this series:
- Introduction: New Year 2020 In The South Pacific
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Istanbul to Manila
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Manila to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Satellite Terminal – Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL)
- Jewel Changi Airport
- Qantas International First Lounge – Singapore Changi (SIN)
- Qantas First Class A380 Singapore to Melbourne
- Qantas International First Lounge – Melbourne (MEL)
- Qantas Business Class 737-800 Melbourne to Christchurch
- Doubletree Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, New Zealand
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Tour Around the City
- Getting Lost in the Countryside: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
- Air New Zealand Domestic Lounge – Christchurch (CHC)
- Air New Zealand (Premium) Economy 787-9 Christchurch to Auckland
- My First Impression of Auckland, New Zealand
- Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart, New Zealand
- The North Island Must Do: Hobbiton and Rotorua
- Fiji Airways Business Class A350-900XWB Auckland to Nadi
- Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa – Nadi, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Business Class A330-200 Nadi to Singapore
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Malindo Air Business Class 737-900 Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu
- Shopping Spree in Thamel – Kathmandu, Nepal
- Cathay Dragon Business Class A330-300 Kathmandu to Hong Kong
- 16-Hour Delay on my American Airlines, with a Happy Ending
- Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to Los Angeles
- Fin: Final Flights and My Closure with American Airlines – It was Good While It Lasted
I arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas eve, after decided to have a last-minute side trip to Costa Rica, which I will talk about on a separate travel series. David and I spent Christmas Day in Los Angeles with family friends. We dropped off our rental car around 3 PM — he headed back to Seattle, and I headed to Istanbul.
I also had a chance to visit the Polaris Lounge in Terminal 6 and had a small bite just to experience the a la carte dining that everyone talks about. I then walked to Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), where my flight departed from.
Flight Number: TK10
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Istanbul (IST)
Schedule: 18:25 – 18:55
Duration: 13h 30m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300ER
Cabin: Business Class
Date: December 25, 2019
My flight was slightly delayed. We were scheduled to depart at 6:25 PM, but we didn’t push back until 6:41 PM. Previously, I mentioned that Turkish Airlines crews are usually professional but not necessarily friendly. I believe it has something to do with the culture and language barrier. However, they tend to be friendlier to Turkish speaking passengers.
On this flight, it was no exception. The service felt rushed, and the crews have a rigid personality. As you know, I’m a big
hoarder amenity kit collector. I flew Turkish Airlines quite often, so I have all of the colors of the male amenity kit. I asked if I could have the female one instead, and she simply said no. She just shrugged and told me if I wanted the female amenity kit, I could just swap with other female passengers. I didn’t want to make a fuss about it, so I just took whatever they gave me.
Waiting on my seat were a pillow, blanket, and slippers. The crews then distributed the headphones, amenity kit, and menu. I can’t help but noticed the chef rushed me to fill out the breakfast order card as he wanted it done before take-off.
We pushed back, taxied to the runway, and took off. Unlike U.S. airlines, the seatbelt sign was switched off 10 minutes after take-off, and the crew immediately offered a turndown service. A few minutes later, the dinner service started.
I love Turkish’ candlelight dining — they have one of the meals in the sky, thanks to their partnership with DO&CO. The dinner menu reads as follows:
selection from our trolley
marinated octopus salad
marinated seafood salad
beetroot with goat cheese
and / or
WILD MUSHROOM SOUP
please choose from our selection:
GRILLED WILD SEA BASS
FILLET OF BEEF
GNOCCHI WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE
from our trolley;
POTPOURRI OF TRADITIONAL TURKISH DESSERTS
CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
SELECTION OF CHEESE
FRESH FRUIT SALAD
sour cherry chocolate mousse cake
The canapé was served roughly an hour and fifteen minutes after take-off. It consisted of salmon, falafel, and mozzarella, basil, and tomato skewer.
The salmon was moist, warm, and tasty — it was excellent. The falafel was on the spicy side, which was good as well.
Forty minutes later, the crews and the chefs rolled out the appetizer cart. I had marinated octopus salad, salmon tartare, chicken brochette, and marinated seafood salad, as well as the soup.
They were all delicious, especially the soup.
For the main course, I had grilled wild sea bass — easily the best fish I had in the sky! It was very flavorful and moist.
Finally, the dessert trolley was rolled out with few items that were not listed on the menu — for example, cream puffs and chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla ice cream.
But since I have a sweet tooth, it wasn’t at all a problem. I decided to have cheesecake, cream puff, and vanilla ice cream.
The meal service was finally completed nearly three hours after take-off, which was excessively long.
After dinner, I immediately reclined and took a 6-hour nap. As usual, the bedding on Turkish Airlines flights is very comfortable, especially with the old 2-3-2 seat configuration. Despite the lack of privacy, I find it very roomy and spacious.
I woke up briefly for a bio break. The lavatory was pretty standard on this plane, and it was reasonably clean.
I went back to my seat and browsed the movie selections. I’m not a big TV person, so I didn’t watch a whole lot throughout the flight. Luckily, WiFi onboard Turkish Airlines flights are complimentary for business class passengers, so I worked a little bit and played with my phone catching up with social media. I also ordered the cherry mousse cake from the anytime menu.
I managed to take another 30 minutes of sleep until the breakfast service started, two hours before landing. I think it was a bit too early, especially when passengers want to maximize their sleep.
Breakfast started with fresh fruit and a few side dishes.
I specifically ordered homemade muesli, but I was served cottage cheese. I asked the flight attendant if that was a mistake. She said no, it was muesli. I told her, I tasted it and it was definitely cottage cheese. She then persisted that it was muesli. She finally asked the chef. The chef came to my seat and agreed that it was cottage cheese. He explained that there was a passenger in the economy who was allegedly allergic to wheat. I wasn’t too thrilled, but whatever.
There were two options for the main course: pancake and free-range fried eggs in butter. I’m sure the latter is yummy. I’m more of a savory breakfast kind of person, but I thought I’d order the pancake this time just to see if it’s any good.
The pancake was okay. It could’ve been better if there were some kind of syrup or cream or custard because the berry compote was tart.
We touched down in Istanbul at 6:20 PM local time and parked at a remote stand 17 minutes later.
I have to say it wasn’t the best Turkish Airlines flight I’ve had. The lack of hospitality becomes a norm as I take more and more trips with them. Of course, I had amazing crews before, like Ali and Chef Selchuk.
There is definitely room for improvement. The catering is impressive, but the service could be friendlier and personalized as it sets the tone of how good a flight would be.
That said, I will continue flying Turkish Airlines and am looking forward to sharing the experience on my connecting flight to Manila.
So stay tuned!