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Turkish Airlines: Birmingham to Istanbul

This is my first trip with Turkish Airlines in TK1970 and I planned it originally in Economy Class. With an upgrade on the day, I experienced the lounge and wanted to see what Turkish had done in business with the A321neo product.

Turkish Airlines: The Wait

Flight TK1970 departs from Birmingham BHX to Istanbul IST and was the first medium length flight I’ve done from Birmingham. Once through security (fast-track), I tried out the lounge, which closed 30 minutes later and made my way to the gate. This is one of those waiting areas where everyone has to show their passport to enter.

The flight was delayed about two hours in total: one hour at the gate and a further hour on board.

The Seats

The livery onboard is a deep charcoal grey with piping and highlights in a rich sand colour. These movable headrest wings are imprinted with the Turkish Airlines logo. The sand colour way is brought through to the seat belts. 

After boarding, business class customers are offered a choice of non-alcoholic drinks. I chose a raspberry-based drink. It was quite sweet, but still nice.

The staff were a delight to work with. When I let them know I wanted to take a picture, the staff member went back to get the fun little swizzle sticks for each flavour! And yes, I checked that she did not want to be in pictures.

Although this is not a lie flat product, the business seating is still roomy and comfortable.

You have control over the recline of your seat and an electronic footrest. 

There is a hanger for your jacket.  The tray table is tucked neatly into the arm rest and is spring loaded. 

Turkish Airlines: Facilities

The IFE (in-flight entertainment) screen is very impressive in business at 13″ and really very good in Economy too at 12″.

Each seat came with a pair of headphones (see below). I was going to say that I think the majority of people now travel with their own noise-cancelling headphones (I do), but is that right, do you bring headphones (add a comment below)?

Each seat also has this sand-coloured pillow for added comfort.

Turkish Airlines: Business Class Food

Right when I bought my upgrade, the sales agent advised me that only one business class meal was available on board. As I was the first to buy the upgrade, that meant I got the meal!

The scheduled flight time is 3 hours and 45 minutes. The length of the menu seemed about right: a starter, a main course and a small dessert.

Before long, we were up in the air. The A321a neo was very smooth at take-off (see my video review) and above the grey clouds of Birmingham, there was still some darkening blue sky.

Barely were we above the clouds than service began with a hot towel. Yes, I’m a fan.

I had thought the starter would be small. In fact, it was Turkish meze, a selection of items served on proper china (no tinfoil here!). From left to right, I had a stuffed vine leaf (fragrant), turned vegetables in an artichoke turned bowl, tomato-bulgar wheat, baba ganoush with white cheese.

Note that the dessert and cheese course (in the small black bowl on the left) were served at the same time as the starter.

Well, that’s a close-up of a bread roll! Must have had the zoom still on!

I was offered a choice of main course and I went with the Turkish meatballs. These were very burger-shaped to my mind, and quite firm. In my humble view, adding some breadcrumbs to the meat lightens it a bit, but perhaps that is not traditional in Türkiye.

I did not know what that green vegetable was. It looks like courgettes/zuccini but had a little bit of chewiness.

After dinner, everyone turned to their screens to catch up on a movie or with their emails. Business Class customers get 1GB of free data (really) which was relatively fast. No limitations on social media versus email versus streaming.

All too soon, there were just 12 minutes left as we made our descent into Istanbul. A first visit for me.

Arriving into IST Istanbul Airport

On arrival in Istanbul, the typical transfer time by car to the Old City is about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. The bus journey can take over 1 and half hours. I pre-booked a service, which was clean and fine. However, be warned, passport control can be VERY slow. I waited for over an hour to be seen by a very grumpy service agent.

Istanbul Guides

Check out these guides to popular sights from Big Gay Travels:

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