Turkish Airlines – Johannesburg to Istanbul, Business Class

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Some months ago there was a mistake fare, on Turkish Airlines from Johannesburg to Switzerland when booked via United’s web site. TK honoured the fare and so I was booked to fly from JNB, to Istanbul and then on to Zurich.

TK’s web site does not allow advance seat selection (when you ticket other than at their web site), and so I called them a few days before travel to book some seats, without incident. The web site did allow me to do online check-in and having printed my boarding passes at the Hyatt, I was able to go through Security and to the lounge without having to deal with TK.

The departure from JNB arrives from Cape Town but the through passengers do not disembark and in fact, the aircraft uses a remote stand requiring buses to the aircraft.

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On boarding it seemed that 90%+ of the Business Class cabin had been on since Cape Town and there was a rush to get back to their assigned seats as the ex-JNB passengers boarded. My Seat, in row 2 on the aisle was towards the front and I had problems taking pictures as so many people were on board already. This was my view for the 10 hours of my flight.

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The crew came around with menus, basic amenity kits and the offer of a drink, soon after departure. The on-board chef asked to have the breakfast cards back as soon as possible, before we went to sleep.


Breakfast order card:

Drinks and nuts soon appeared:

A small taster arrived, which was pretty good in truth:

The table layup was pretty well done, including an LED battery powered tea-light:

The starters came on a cart with the lights flickering in the cabin. A nice effect and one I had not seen anywhere before.

The crew allowed you to select what you liked the look of from the cart.

I chose these items:

Once you had finished, then the soup arrived:

My main course of lamb was excellent. Lamb is one of those things that survives being eaten at altitude really well and I could certainly recommend it on most airlines if given a choice. It’s one of those little tips people always ask whether I have, but which I forget until I have lamb again at 35,000 feet.

I skipped desert and cheese as the service had taken so long. The right aisle had two people serving, whilst the left, mine, had one and so the service was SLOW! Other people have commented about this and I have to say its true. I got probably 5 hours of sleep because of how long it all took. Truthfully I would question whether I would eat again on TK, for although the food is very good, the service was too slow.

About two (yes TWO!) hours before landing it was lights on and breakfast served.

The highlight of the meal were the fresh fruits which were flavoursome and well presented in a good portion:

The omelette however was vile, and I barely ate half.

This service took an hour and then it was lights off until landing time.

So, a nice plane (although full) with some very odd service arrangements. Would I fly again, yes, but I would want to understand more about the service, so I can work it around my sleeping pattern.

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