Oslo-Istanbul in business class on Turkish Airlines: I’ve had better experiences

A pleasant flight, as usual with Turkish Airlines in business class between Oslo and Istanbul even if I find that in the past I’ve had better service.

At last, things are getting serious, and after a few “pre-positioning” flights between France and Norway, I’m finally on my way to my final destination, Saigon, with a connecting flight to Istanbul.

Here’s a reminder of the air routing for this vacation.

You’ll find a summary of the articles about this vacation in Vietnam at the bottom of the page.

Check-In and ground experience

I was able to check-in online from end to end the day before my departure, which doesn’t happen that often with Turkish Airlines. Not having been able to benefit from a late check-out at the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport, I left my room at midday.

All I have to do is cross one street and I’m in the terminal.


My flight is at 6pm but I can’t do otherwise.

Turkish Airlines has its own check-in counters at the far end of the terminal. When I arrive, they’re checking-in for the 2:00 p.m. flight (Turkish Airlines operates 3 daily rotations between Istanbul and Oslo).


In Oslo, the Turkish airline’s handling is operated by SAS, which is rather good news. I go to the counter and the SAS agent tells me

  • oh you leave on the 18h…there we check-in the 14h00… I can check you in but your suitcase will be put aside and…there is a risk. If I were you, I’d come back at 3pm“.

Given the problems I’ve had with checked-in luggage recently, I’m not going to be told twice and trust the agent, who seems to know her stuff.

As a result, I find myself with more than 3 hours to kill landside, with my suitcase.

So I embark on an exploration of this airport I’m discovering.

It’s bright and warm…


Obviously there’s work in progress…In the background, high up, is the SAS lounge.


A glance at the departure board to analyze the traffic…


If Oslo is considered one of the three SAS hubs, it has nothing to do with Stockholm, let alone Copenhagen. In long-haul, I see a Newark (SAS), a Dubai (Emirates), a Doha (Qatar Airways) and a Fort Lauderdale (Norse). There’s also an Ethiopian Airlines flight, but it’s leaving for Stockholm in 5th freedom before probably reaching Addis Ababa.

While the location is very pleasant, there’s almost nowhere to sit and wait except a Starbucks.


I’m going to get some fresh air outside to enjoy this great sunshine, hoping for the same weather when I get back, as I’ll be staying the weekend to visit Oslo.


Time flies, but not fast enough for my liking.Time flies, but not fast enough for my taste. So I head down to the arrivals level, where I remember seeing restaurants the day before.

Norwegian doesn’t seem too difficult to understand…


A Burger King, a Japanese restaurant, a pizerria…. I’ll end up sitting on the pizzeria’s outdoor terrace, enjoying the sunshine and a few local beers.


TripIt tells me we’ll be late. No worries, my stopover in Istanbul is just over 3 hours, which becomes 2 hours 50 minutes.


In the end it will take much longer, but that’s another story I’ll tell you in due course.

It’s finally time to check-in after more than 3 hours of… exciting waiting. Fortunately, the beer was excellent.

Nobody in the business class queue, I check-in my suitcase in 2 minutes.


Heading for security checks.


It’ll go fast with the Fast Track. Cleverly, any luggage that “raises questions” is passed on to a second agent, who performs a thorough screening. It avoids slowing down the queue and asking people to open their bags.

Now let’s head for the lounge.

The first SAS lounge is located immediately after the checkpoint, but this is a domestic lounge. It is important to know thatNorway is not a member of the EU so the airport is split into two parts: a domestic part and an international part, itself divided into Schengen (without passport control) and non-Schengen (with immigration), since there is an agreement with the EU on the free movement of people, but not goods.


So I go to the international zone.


As soon as I pass through the separating doors, a huge duty free shop awaits me, followed by a whole host of boutiques in a very pleasant shopping area.


For salmon lovers…this is Norway after all.


I finally reach the lounge…

Firstly, an “OSL Lounge” for all airlines excluding SAS and Star Alliance (except Ethiopian).


And on the other side, the SAS business and Gold lounges. I’ll be going to the SAS Gold lounge, which I presented to you recently.


I’ll be leaving the lounge a little before boarding time, as I have to go through immigration to reach the non-Schengen zone.


Contrary to appearances, it goes very quickly and I reach my boarding gate.


The aircraft is already here.


Boarding passes are checked before entering the boarding lounge.


The empty business class line will allow me to overtake everyone else and get in without waiting.

An area of the lounge is reserved for business class and Star Alliance Gold passengers.


Boarding begins at the exact time, and thanks to this separate area, boarding priorities will be strictly respected.

Turkish Airlines’ A321 Neo business class cabin

This is Turkish Airlines’ new medium-haul business class cabin, which I had already discovered between Gothenburg and Istanbul.

Unlike other European airlines, whose business cabin is the same as economy with only the middle seat neutralized, Turkish Airlines offers a 2-2 configuration with a recliner seat.


I’m in 2A, window side.


The legroom is very comfortable.


The screen is of good quality and size.


I won’t tell you more about the IFE, which I won’t be using, preferring the stock of films and series I have on my iPad.

The remote control is classic.


The table is located in the armrest.


On the other side are the seat controls (mechanical, not electric) and the headset.


Power and USB sockets are also available.


A seat that will prove very comfortable, even if I do miss the cosy lounge feel of their old cabin.

The flight and the service

No sooner had I settled in than I was offered a choice of welcome drinks (non-alcoholic).


The menus are distributed quickly.



Food and beverage orders will be taken on the ground.

We are finally ready to leave.

Safety instructions will be broadcast during the taxi. Once in Turkish, once in English…by the end it’s quite long and tedious.


Apparently there’s a specific version of the video for business class.

Finally ready for take-off.


We say goodbye to the Norwegian countryside and break through the light cloud cover.


Hot oshiboris are handed out and the starters arrive shortly afterwards, along with salad, cheese and dessert.

I chose the mezze.


It’s good, but I’ve had tastier mezzés on this airline. The dish on the right was a little heavy, however.

Then I had the “Islim Kebab”, slow-roasted homemade tomato sauce, buttered rice.


The meat is good, the rice very well cooked, but the vegetables lack taste. Once it’s all mixed up, it’s good, but compared with my previous meals on Turkish Airlines I remain somewhat disappointed.

To finish, the cheeses are decent and the chocolate cake good and light.

I’ll order tea and sparkling water afterwards. The tea arrives immediately, but the flight attendant forgets the water. After a few minutes I ask her colleague…who goes off to the galley, continues her work and…won’t bring me my drink. I ask again to the first one, a little exasperated, and my water finally arrives on the third attempt. She apologized, telling me that they hadn’t understood each other.

The kind of bug I’m not too used to on this airline.

The flight continues without a hitch…


The crew will not be too visible in the cabin during the last two hours of the flight.


Pleasant staff, but some shortcomings and little presence in the cabin after the main service.

Arrival and disembarkation

The approach is an opportunity to take beautiful photos of Istanbul and its surroundings.


The landing will be a little rough, but for once the taxi to the terminal won’t be too long. The crew graces us with the usual “welcome to Isanbul, the meeting point of the world” announcement.

We disembark in empty corridors and it’s a long walk to go through security again (probably because Norway is outside the EU).



By reflex I look at the departure board and ….


I see that my flight to Saigon, originally scheduled for 2:50 a.m., will leave at 6:25 a.m.!

I already had plenty of time ahead of me, and now I have no reason to rush.

There will be hardly anyone at the security checkpoints, and I’ll quickly be on my way to the connecting route.


And that’s it! The story of this long connection and the flight to Saigon in the next issue.

Bottom line

A fairly pleasant flight, even if Turkish Airlines has accustomed me to much better food and, above all, service. But it’s better than most European medium-haul airlines.

Not my best flight on Turkish Airlines all the same.

As for the delay of the next flight…well, that’s the story of the next flight.

The articles about this vacation in Vietnam

1Travel diaryPreparing for vacations in Vietnam
2FlightParis-Stockholm – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
3LoungeSAS Gold lounge – Stockholm
4FlightStockholm-Oslo – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
5HotelRadisson Blu Airport Hotel – Oslo Gardermoen
6LoungeSAS Gold lounge international zone – Oslo
7FlightOslo-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A321Neo)
8LoungeTurkish Airlines Miles&Smile Lounge international zone – Istanbul
9FlightIstanbul-Saigon – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A350)
10HotelRenaissance Riverside Hotel – Saigon
11RestaurantAnan – Saigon
12RestaurantHoa Tuc – Saigon
13Travel diarySaigon city tour
14LoungeVietnam Airlines Lotus lounge (domestic) – Saigon
15LoungeLe Saigonnais lounge (domestic) – Saigon
16FlightSaigon-Hanoi- Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A350)
17HotelJW Marriott Hotel – Hanoi
18RestaurantGia – Hanoi
19RestaurantTung Dining – Hanoi
20Travel diaryCity tour of Hanoi
21LoungeVietnam Airlines Lotus Lounge (domestic) – Hanoi
22LoungeSong Hong Lounge (domestic) – Hanoi
23FlightHanoi-Phu Quoc – Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A320Neo)
24HotelSheraton Long Beach Resort – Phu Quoc
25Hotel JW Marriott Emerald Bay – Phu Quoc
26LoungeHoa Sim Business lounge – Phu Quoc
27FlightPhu Quoc-Saigon – Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A320)
28LoungeLe Saigonnais lounge (international zone) – Saigon
28FlightSaigon-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A350)
30LoungeIGA Lounge (zone internationale) – Istanbul
31LoungeTurkish Airlines business lounge – Istanbul
31FlightIstanbul-Oslo – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A321Neo)
32HotelRadisson Blu Plaza Hotel – Oslo
33RestaurantKatla – Oslo
34Travel diaryCity tour of Oslo
35FlightOslo-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS Plus (A320)
36FlightCopenhagen-Paris – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
37Travel diaryDebriefing of my vacation in Vietnam
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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