Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-2, Dubai – Istanbul


Turkish Airlines is one the major carriers in Star Alliance. With flights to more destinations than any other carriers, and service to over 123 countries, they are almost a necessary carrier to deal with if you’re going to piece together large international Asian or Africa redemptions on a Star Alliance Frequent Flier Program. Our flight today was part of that strategy; using their services to get from Dubai up to Poland. We hopped on our first leg of the day courtesy of their wide body services leaving Dubai International Airport.

This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-2 Dubai – Istanbul

“Turkish Airlines connected us on a mid haul flight from Dubai to Istanbul with great catering and a comfortable angle flat seat. However, the airline mis stepped with queues of over 200 at check in, pretty dis-interested staff throughout the day, and gum left on the foot rest seat when boarding

Unfortunately, the crappy ground treatment at DXB continued. The flight was scheduled to originally depart at 6:55 AM, which was re-scheduled to 8:20 AM on our check in. After some time at the Dubai International Lounge, and some better time at the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, we held in the gate holding lounge at 8:15 AM with no action. 

Departure Gate: Dubai Terminal One – Gate C1
Daylight Gates at the end of the Concourse at Dubai Terminal One
Turkish Airlines 
Business Class
DXB-IST (Dubai International Airport – Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul)
TK763 – Business Class (I)
6:55 AM – 10:45 AM
April 26, 2014
Booked: Airbus 330-300
Flown: Airbus 330-200

Boarding Turkish Airlines:

An announcement was eventually made for business class boarding and the gate was swarmed. It was probably among the worst boarding experience I’ve ever had. We didn’t have any effort or attempt to enforce any boarding zones or priorities. There were two other gate staff at the rear of the holding area not attempting to help. This left one poor lady attempting to check boarding passes of all of the two hundred and fifty passengers. To make matters more rosy, there was other ground staff pushing a wheel chair out of the gate area in the opposite direction of the crowd asking people to let them thru. I asked her to wait since we couldn’t move and she brushed me off “…but I have another flight to get to”.

Somewhere through this, another manager type person turns up on the jet bridge side wearing traditional Emirati garb, yelling out loud “What is this? Move back people!” but made no efforts himself to make any announcements or correct the situation. It was a comical “everyone for themselves” situation, which I found less amusing considering I had been up since 3:30 AM today. I know… “first world problems” but if you are going to advertise premium services for premium passengers, then premium passengers actually expect to receive what was paid for.

Priority Boarding Turkish Airlines at Dubai

On Board Turkish Airlines Business Class:

Once we were through the mess, we entered onto the plane via double bridge boarding into a pleasantly recently reconfigured Turkish Airlines Business Class cabin. It was a bit surprising with the double jet bridge… Frankly, if you don’t care about the boarding experience, why bother with the effort of double bridge boarding?

On board in the Airbus 330-200 series cabin, we had pleasant colors on the angle flat seats. The business class configuration today was 2-2-2 with staggered seating between the aisles and the center row. The inner seat against the window does not have direct aisle access, meaning that you have to step over your travelling seat mate.

While these seats are great for travelling with a partner, they are not so private for travelling on your own since you have to share a bank of two seats. The most private seats are against the windows, whereas the center bank seats are likely the most exposed.

Turkish Airlines Business A330 Lie Flat Business Class Seats
Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 Lie Flat Seats – Center Bank
Turkish Airlines A330-2 Seats
Turkish Airlines A330 Seats – Outer

From the seat itself, there was a reasonable view of the cabin. The Turkish Airlines Business Class seats are relatively low, making for an airy space. There are no partitions between the aisle seats and the walkway, so the aisle seats have some exposure.

View of Turkish Airlines Seats
Turkish Airlines Business Class Cabin

Getting back to the angle flat seat itself, the seat had multiple controls. They included head rests, a lounger function, and a massage feature.

Seat Controls
Seat Lounge and Do Not Disturb Features

The video controls were controlled via wired remote.

Updated Next Generation Wired Remote

As we settled into the seat, we waited for the rest of the cabin to board. The staff appeared pretty apathetic, but I guess they had gotten up at 3:30 AM like the rest of us and probably hadn’t been paid in 2 hours sitting on the ground waiting for an inbound aircraft.

Setting the tone of the attitude of the whole experience so far, I was witness to some really disrespectful and rude behaviors by other fellow business class passengers. I witnessed a man talking down to flight attendants to stow their bags for them in the overheads because they arrived last and the bin space immediately above their seats were taken. I am guessing the FA’s on Turkish, based on the regions that they serve, are somewhat exposed to this on a regular basis.

Despite the nice redesigned cabin, Turkish continues make an impression. Yep, that’s someone else’s wad of gum on the foot rest. Obviously overlooked by the cleaning staff, it was immediately present when I sat down. MrsWT73 also had her own piece for her seat (not pictured).

Left Over Gum Marked the Foot Rest in the Business Class Cabin

Pre Departures Services:

We were offered a pre departure beverage of lemon and mint again today. MrsWT73 had orange juice. The Turkish Airlines Lemon and Mint is always a great choice and a nice and tasty way to start a flight.

Pre Departure Beverage Service
Lemon and Mint + Orange Juice with Readily Identifiable Markers

Time to Take Off:

As we got underway, we had onboard and cabin announcements in Turkish, English and Arabic. We didn’t get any apologies or mention of the two hour delay from either cabin staff or the pilots. We had a quick taxi outbound with great plane spotting. I think I saw 12 Emirates Airbus 380’s on the taxi and take off.

Emirates A380’s at Dubai International Airport
Views of the Dubai Skyline on the Climb to Altitude

On the way out, I followed the flight track on the video screen. The flight track was to take us up over the Persian Gulf, through Iraq over Turkey then up to Istanbul.

Flight Track for DXB-IST

The Amenity Kits: Unbranded with Bogner

As we got to altitude, amenity kits were handed out right off the trolley cart along with newspapers. It was a middle of the road amenity kit with some useful items in it. The kit itself was unbranded and marked as “Turkish Airlines”, while featuring Bogner moisturizing creams.

A Turkish Airlines Labelled Amenity Kit
Turkish Airlines Amenity Kit

The Meal Service: A Full Breakfast

As service continued the flight, breakfast menus were handed out. Our drink order was taken but no meal orders taken. Turkish Airlines typically features a long elongated menu and separate drinks card. There is not always a wine list offered with the drinks card, or rather, on the ten or so Turkish Airlines Business Class flights, I’ve usually only seen them presented on the long haul business class flights.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Breakfast

The food was presented in two courses. Since I was still feeling a little ill, I managed to peck away at a bit of food but not too much. MrsWT73 approved of the catering which was the standard (and typically excellent) DO & CO catering. 

A Fresh Appetizer Plate that was off menu

I continued on with the Omelette with Cheese and Potatoes.

Omelette With Cheese

After breakfast, I attempted some more sleep. The blanket that was left on seat that had the thickness of a Kleenex. It was like trying to sleep with a napkin over you. 

Despite this, I did end up sleeping for a few hours. Overall, the seat was much more comfortable than the Thai Airways Airbus 330 Business Class seat. This was in part due to the angle of the Turkish Airlines Seat lying almost fully flat, and the comfortable foot rest that contained the left over gum depository.  

Our flight path today took us well around Syria and eventually into a holding pattern outside of Istanbul Ataruk.

Arriving to Istanbul Ataturk International Airport:

We eventually landed in Istanbul Ataturk airport and taxied to a very remote stand by the Turkish Technick hangars. 

On disembarkation, the business class passengers got the opportunity to board a short VIP bus. Economy class passengers were held back to allow biz to disembark. We ended up landing 1 hour 52 minutes late off schedule. 

Turkish Airlines Business Class Impressions:

I want to love Turkish Airlines but I just can’t. On the plus side, they play well in Star Alliance, offer a great reward availability calendar, have great catering and service so many destinations. Turkish Airlines are making attempts to be better with an updated cabin, better lounge environment and great catering.

However, it’s difficult to enjoy the experience with long queues with ground staff, the attitude of the staff is apathetic and disinterested, and your connection experience is terrible that you never want to come back? Overall, the flight itself was quite a gruff experience with staff that served competently, but without any real compassion or warmth to their jobs. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was here at Istanbul Ataturk that Turkish Airlines (or ground staff at Istanbul Ataturk Airport) lost my luggage.

2 Comments on “Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-2, Dubai – Istanbul

  1. Agreed, their staff is a hit and miss – I fly them quite regularly from the US to Pakistan – the first sector usually has great staff the second has staff with horrible attitudes (can’t blame them as the passengers are horrible)


    • Turkish Airlines isn’t a bad way to earn Star Alliance Miles. Their network is so expansive through the Middle East / Africa corner of the world and they play well with premium cabin reward availability. Despite the service, and occasionally their customers, they are a relevant carrier in the airline game.

      Thanks for reading.


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