Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-3, Istanbul – Montréal


Turkish Airlines has grown its service to Canada by offering flights from Istanbul to Toronto and Montreal, with future expansion planned for Vancouver. Today’s flight was to it’s newest Canadian destination at the time, Montreal. Thanks to great award availability, we were able to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in well fed style, courtesy of great DO & CO catering and a terrific meal service.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) 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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.

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Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-3, Istanbul Atatürk International Airport – Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

“Turkish Airlines Business Class international long haul offers even better DO & CO catering, tea lights with your meal, and a funky Porsche Design Amenity Kit, partnered with excellent award availability”

Turkish Airlines
Business Class
IST – YUL (Istanbul Atatürk Airport – Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport)
TK35 – Business Class (I) 
2:10 PM – 5:30 PM 
April 21, 2015
Booked: Airbus 330
Flown: Airbus 330-300

We left the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Atatürk and headed for Gate 216. Walking through Atatürk airport was similar to walking through the Istanbul Grand Bazaar; a mess of groups of people headed all directions. . .

We arrived to gate 216. The gate was totally full of people to the point that people weren’t being allowed to enter the holding lounge. This is where the Turkish Experience falls well behind it’s competitors. I recognize that this is probably an airport authority problem, but when you can’t even get into the gate to get on the plane, the priority handling experience is significantly lessened. I don’t know who thought this was a great design for a wide body jet? 

IST Gate 216: A packed area spilling onto the main concourse
“Please Wait Outside the Gate Area”
Turkish Airline Priority Boarding

There was a priority boarding announcement, but again, there was no real ability to get to the front since there wasn’t enough room for people to get out of the way. It was likely a fire hazard in many countries but certainly not here. MrsWT73 had it with the line up, and made a whole hearted attempt to navigate to the front with her rolling suitcase like the parting of the seas whereas I took a more distinctly Canadian approach of not worrying about it. 

On Board Turkish Airlines Business Class:

It was single jet bridge boarding today with a massive queue. On board, the Airbus A330-3 aircraft, we turned left and we headed up to seats 2A and 2B. The Airbus 330 was a newer version than our last ride on Turkish Airlines Business Class New Delhi – Istanbul with upgraded AVOD on demand on this second leg.

As I have described before, it’s worth noting that there are 4 versions of the Airbus 330 currently in service, and only the 330-3 has the fully flat seat, whereas the other versions in a 2-2-2 business class configuration have an angle flat seat. There is also a A333-2 version with herringbone seats in a 1-1-1 business class configuration that we flew Turkish Airlines Business Class Mahe – Istanbul that does also offer a full flat seat; however this configuration is a bit of an outlier, as there are only a few of them flying around out there.

If you’re interested in what the Airbus 330-2 business class experience looks like, you can see our medium haul leg on Turkish Airlines Business Class Dubai – Istanbul, so you can check there if you want another review on a medium haul flight in Turkish Airlines Business Class.

Getting back to today’s flight, the configuration in Turkish Airlines Business Class on today’s Airbus 330-3 is 2-2-2, featuring a fully flat seat. There were 8 empty seats in business class today.

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330 Fully Flat Seat
Turkish Airlines Business Class Cabin with Staggered Seating
Turkish Airlines In Seat View from Seat 2A & 2C

The seat featured upgraded Advanced Video on Demand, controlled by a wired remote.

AVOD Controls with a Wired Remote

The seat itself featured 8 way adjustable seating configurations, along with express recline features. There was also a timed massage feature built into the seat.

Seat Functionality with Massage Option

Our aircraft was built with the Live TV and Wifi Features, among the newer features of the Turkish Airlines Fleet.

Overall, the Turkish Airlines long haul on board experience was vastly better than it’s short and medium haul experience and the Istanbul Atatürk transfer connection experience. We had an excellent flight that surpassed all expectations. 


Pre Departure Services:

We were offered a pre departure beverage of mint and lemon juice, along with a towel service. The lemon and mint drink is a staple of the Turkish Airlines Business Class experience and something I look forward to every flight when I fly with them.

Lemon and Mint Pre-Departure Beverage

I did some plane spotting while we were waiting to depart Istanbul Atatürk. There happened to be a Royal Jordianian Airbus 320 Jet next to us. We eventually taxied out toward a departure on runway 35 L. There were some great Istanbul views on departure and climb to altitude. 

Royal Jordanian Airbus 320 on the ramp at IST
Camera View Departing on Istanbul Atatürk Runway 35L
Mosque Spotting on the climb from IST
Mosque Spotting on the Climb from IST

As with our last flights, service on Turkish appears to start on the left aisle and move down to the right aisle. Since we were seated in 2 A/B, we had the opportunity to be served first. This started with a newspaper offering from the trolley.

The Amenity Kit: Porsche Design

After we had reached a safe cruising altitude, the amenity kits were dropped off. The long haul amenity kit has been upgraded to a Porsche Design kit similar to the purple ones we had received on Thai Airways Business Class Seoul – Bangkok. Except that this version is a stylish and contemporary Porsche black and featured trendy Acca Kappa products.

Porsche Design Amenity Kits
Amenity Kits Featuring Acca Kappa Products

In the pre-flight service, the menus dropped off, along with Godiva chocolates. It was a bit strange getting chocolates before eating, but hey, who’s complaining?

Pre Supper Godiva Chocolates?
Turkish Airlines Business Class Menu
A Four Course Late Lunch

The wines were also featured in a separate list. The wine list presents as very directory like, with a lot of information contained on the menu cards. If anything, Turkish Airlines should be applauded for having a lot of wine on offer; two whites, one rosé, four reds, one port and champagne.

La Carte Des Vins
Turkish Airlines Business Class White Wines IST-YUL
Turkish Airlines Business Class Red Wines IST-YUL
Turkish Airlines Business Class Red Wines & Champagnes IST-YUL

The Meal: A Four Course Late Lunch

In a traditional flair, service of the meals was direct from the trolley. I’d flown Turkish Airlines many times but this was my first long haul (over 5 hours) with them in Business Class. I have to say that Turkish has upped their game on their long haul versions compared to their short and medium haul flights. The meal was absolutely massive and of a quantity that you’d expect in a genuine first class offering.

The meal service as started with the Turkish Airline Tea Lights, which were small LED tealights. It was a bit of a gimmick, but a nice touch that I haven’t seen in any other business class cabin anywhere else. 

Table Setting Preparation from the Trolley

The table was set with traditional Turkish spices, DO & CO olive oils and a candlelight.

Turkish Tea Light placed table side
Turkish Spices and DO & CO Olive Oil

I started with a Gin and Tonic, along with some almonds.

Pre-Supper Beverage with Almonds

The supper service started with an Amuse bouche, described as Assorted Canapés.

Assorted Canapés

The starters on offer were “on request” from the cart. This meant that you could select one or all six of the starters. There was a great selection of wild salmon tartare, seafood salad, chicken ceasar, stuffed vine leaf in olive oil, herbed yoghourt, herbed white cheese and black olives, shepards salad with white cheese and Turkish style cheese with spring rolls. It was reminiscent of the excess of the days when Lufthansa used to serve an etagière in First Class, except that here you could have “even more” than just three appetizers.

Appetizers on Offer from the Cart
Service of Appetizers from the Trolley

After being presented with all that delicious food, I ended up with a seafood salad, wild salmon tartar, an a chicken Caesar salad.

Seafood Salad, Wild Salmon Tartare and Chicken Ceasar Salad

Generally unique to Turkish Airlines Long Haul, Turkish Airlines was also offering a soup course. Today, it was Turkish Lentil soup with an olive tapenade bruschetta. 

Turkish Lentil Soup with Lemon and Olive Bruschetta

For the main course, I went with the grilled Sea Bream today. It was pretty good considering it was fish on a plane, and something different than what you’d usually be served at 35,000 + feet. 

Grilled Filet of Sea Bream, tomato concasse with olives, grilled zucchinis and sautéed potatoes.

After all that gluttony, I also enjoyed dessert consisting of Vanilla Ice Cream with strawberry topping.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry Topping

After dinner, we were flying over the mountains of Austria. Having spent all that time in dry and dusty India. it was neat to see mountains for the first time in a while. 

The Mountains of Austria

In Flight Entertainment:

Turkish Airlines is now offering free wifi internet for all business class passengers. Regular rates for other travellers were $9.99 USD for 1 hr or 14.99 USD for 2 hours. I was able to sign in using my complex last name and seat number assignment and connected to the internet without any issue. The speed was a little slow, but it was fast enough to upload some Instagram or Facebook media postings. 

Modern Advanced Video on Demand
Flight Length Indicator along with Timed Countdown

I turned in for some sleep after the meal service. A light mattress pad was available, in addition to a heavier quality pillow. Lights went off for about 70% of the flight. I was able to sleep for about 6 hours. I was pretty knackered since we had started in India that morning on Turkish Airlines Business Class New Delhi – Istanbul so it was a long travel day. MrsWT73 had a lighter sleep, being disturbed by the light from the galley. I also slept through the snack offering.

The Second Meal Service:

A second meal offering was given about 2 hours prior to landing. The menu was presented at the beginning of the flight and read as follows.

First up was mozzeralla and tomatoes, paired with orange juice and Turkish coffee.

Mozzarella and Tomatoes

It was followed by some straightforward rigatoni that was looking slightly microwave nuked, but still tasted great.

Rigitoni Pasta: It’s seen better days

Landing at Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport:

At the conclusion of the second service, I took in the flight monitor one last time as we approached New Brunswick in Canada at 38,000 feet altitude on the flight path.

The Last Minutes of Our Flight with Turkish Airlines

We had a circuitous landing approach in to Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. It ws complete with a view of the Olympic Stadium that took 30 years to complete. For those that are unaware, per wikipedia, the total expenditure (including repairs, renovations, construction, interest, and inflation) amounted to C$1.61 billion, making it—at the time all costs were paid off—the second most expensive stadium ever built (after Wembley Stadium in London).

The Montreal Olympic Stadium that was built without official architectural plans
Montreal Skyline Views

We were off the flight relatively quickly thanks to our Seat 2A and 2C assignments. There was double jet bridge disembarkation at doors 1L and 2L, which made things even more speedy. We arrived to Canada Border Services Agency checking passports at the top of the ramp for ISIS supporters.

Our Turkish Airlines A330-3 at Gate 55 at YUL

We made it through Nexus quickly and down to get our bags (which took a long twenty minutes). We were clearing immigration and customs into Canada. As a result, we had to have our baggage with us, as we cleared customs before our Air Canada Business Class Montreal – Vancouver flight.

A Busy International Arrivals Hall at Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Along with a twenty minute wait for baggage claim

The Bottom Line: Turkish Airlines Long Haul:

Turkish Airlines long haul was much more impressive than the medium and short hauls services that we had flown with them in the past. It is clear that they are attempting to go after Emirates’ business as their catering on board is nearing, if not surpassing the quantity of Lufthansa. If only the transfer connection in Istanbul was a little better and less congested as it seems they are quickly out growing their facilities at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. The service experience also needs a slight increase as sometimes they are a little rough around the edges. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again on a long haul flight in the future.

If you have flown Turkish Airlines Long Haul, did you enjoy the terrific catering by DO & CO ?

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