Review : Turkish Airlines Business Class between Istanbul and Gothenburg on a Boeing 737

Last leg (or almost) of my trip back from Phuket with this Istanbul-Gothenburg. But why come back through Gothenburg when my starting point was Stockholm?

If I was coming back through Stockholm I had a flight right after my Phuket-Istanbul flight, I would arrive in Stockholm around midnight, and there I had to find a hotel, get there in the middle of the night and leave the next morning for Paris. The flight to Gothenburg, on the other hand, obliged me to spend the night in Istanbul, but I arrived in Gothenburg at the end of the morning, so I could continue with my flight to Paris. More comfortable especially as in this configuration it was Turkish Airlines who offered the hotel, which allowed me to test their accommodation service for long connections.

Check-in and ground course in Istanbul

I don’t know how many times I’ve passed through the new Istanbul airport since it opened less than a year ago but this is the first time I’ve experienced it landside with the passenger check-in process. Indeed, the other times I was systematically connecting.

If seen from the airside it is beautiful, from the landside you will see that it is just as impressive.

The minibus that brings me from my hotel drops me off in front of the terminal entrance, at the business class boarding gate.

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I enter the terminal. Sumptuous. Istanbul is probably the most beautiful airport in Europe today.

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I head to the business passenger check-in area as the app had been unable to issue a digital boarding pass. At Turkish, digital remains a real weak point.

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Well…I forgot to take the photos afterwards but the check-in is done comfortably sitting at the agent’s desk. Very premium.

Then I will move on to the police and security checks. The airport is already oversized in relation to its current traffic, but in addition, early in the morning, there are no people in the priority lanes.

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So here I am “airside”, in the duty free area.

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It’s an opportunity for me to stroll around a bit, as until now I’ve only been running through this area between flights with a break in the lounge.

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I have time on my hands and will take a break at the beautiful Turkish Airlines Business lounge where I will stretch out a bit to make up for the short night.

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It is finally time to take the long corridors of the airport and after 10 minutes of walking (ah the distances in Istanbul…) I approach the boarding gate.

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There are not many people there yet.

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I have time, the staff is not here yet.

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Boarding in Istanbul

The aircraft is there but the boarding starts late.

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The signage is finally being put in place.

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Finally we will board at 8.50 am instead of 8.20 am initially indicated but as usual Turkish Airlines plans very widely.

I am immediately offered a welcome drink (without alcohol) which will come with a bag of nuts.

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I will be given the menu which we will discuss later.

I don’t have a neighbour…the flight promises to be good.

Finally, we will close the doors at 9.28 a.m. for an initially announced time of 9.20 a.m.

Turkish Airline’s business class cabin

I had already shown you the Turkish Airlines medium-haul business cabin on the A321 that brought me from Stockholm and I expected to find the same product. Well, this B737 has the same product…only better.

We find the same seat and the same configuration in 2-2 instead of 3-3 in eco.

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Turkish Airlines is the only European airline to offer a real business seat on medium-haul flights, whereas the others make do with the same product as in economy with the central seat neutralised. This is a real plus.

It looks comfortable…and it is.

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What is different from the A321? The available legroom. On the A321 it was very comfortable, here it is impressive.

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This is what it looks like if I look at the other passengers…

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This is how I fit my 1.88m:

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I’ve never had so much business space on a medium-haul flight in Europe! Amazing.

Of course it is a recliner and not a full flat. The controls are classic.

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There are USB and mains sockets in the central divider.

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The screen fits in the armrest but I won’t be using it on this flight. But a quick test will confirm a recurring problem with Turkish: the poor responsiveness of the Touch screen interface.

Really a great cabin for a flight of less than 3 hours!

Turkish Airlines Business flight and service

Before take-off we will be offered newspapers which will be brought to us on a tray.

The take-off goes smoothly and once the cloud layer has passed we are brought an oshibori.

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Staff take drink orders.

The dishes arrive shortly afterwards. We are 7 for 16 seats in business: the service is fast. As always with Turkish, whether in medium or long haul, service in business is by cart and in two services.

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So they bring me a tray with a starter and dessert, the main course will come after the starter.

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To be honest, I’m not a big fan of in-flight breakfasts, so I often skip them.

The salad is good and fresh. The starter platter (cheese, meat, vegetables) is good, although a little light and a little chaotic in presentation.

Ah..I forgot to share the menu with you.

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I chose the scrambled eggs expecting the worst. Finally, the presentation is very good and the quantity is right.

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The eggs are light, it’s melting. I really don’t want to be a grumpy person, but I’m going to end up believing that Air France is the only airline that doesn’t know how to present properly cooked eggs.

Nothing special to say about the dessert which was good and light.

There was no alcohol on the menu for the meal (logical for a breakfast) but I will have cognac with my tea as a digestif!

For once on Turkish Airlines, the crew will not disappear once the service is over and will regularly bring me a refill of cognac and tea!

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I have two hours of flight time left to enjoy a movie on my iPad and take in the scenery.

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I finally put my seat in the reclined position.

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Comfortable for a medium-haul flight, isn’t it?

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The lighting in the cabin is very pleasant thanks to the “mood lighting” and I finish my flight peacefully.

Turkish Airlines crew

Very professional and friendly crew. Always a little smile, anticipating every request, serving drinks without having to ask. As I said before, if I often reproach Turkish crews for disappearing in the middle of the flight, this time they were visible and available during the whole flight.

Arrival and disembarkation in Gothenburg

We were a bit late at take-off and it’s not going to get any better when we arrive in Gothenburg. The weather conditions are very bad and landings are spaced out. I personally do not remember such an bumpy approach for a good ten years. The plane rolled very frequently and if the business cabin remained quite zen, the economy cabin could be heard screaming.

So no picture of the approach to Gothenburg…with the rain and clouds there is nothing to see.

We will be parked at a remote stand at Gothenburg which will require disembarking in the rain and wind. As Sweden is not known for its mild climate, it is surprising that the stairs used for the landing are not sheltered.

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We finally arrive at the terminal where we go through immigration in a hall that looks a bit prefabricated. I will have to go through landside again and then through security again to get my Lufthansa flight to Paris (via Frankfurt). It’s fluid but you can’t say that the Swede is in a hurry. I think that in Frankfurt and a fortiori in Roissy the slowness and casualness of the agents would have caused riots.

All that’s left is to go through the terminal (nothing to report…it looks like a 1970s countryside airport without any charm) to wait in the SAS lounge.

Bottom Line

A really nice flight, maybe my best in Europe in medium haul business with the superb cabin of this 737 which offers an incredible space. And we won’t hold Turkish Airlines responsible for the Swedish weather or the poor facilities at Gothenburg Landvetter.

For the record my routing :

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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