Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class B777-300ER, Istanbul – Toronto


Turkish Airlines aims to position itself as an alternative to the Middle East Three carriers of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. By flying to over one hundred and twenty one countries, by offering connectivity through his hub in Istanbul, and by offering Star Alliance reward availability, it has uniquely positioned itself as a competitive force in the world’s air travels. We would fly their Business Class services westward from Istanbul to Toronto after our trip to the Seychelles.

This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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 B777-300 ER, Istanbul Atatürk International Airport – Toronto Pearson Internatonal Airport

We had arrived into Istanbul, Turkey on Turkish Airlines Business Class Mahé – Istanbul. We spent the morning on the free Turkish Airlines TourIstanbul E-Tour, taking in the Galata Bridge, the Domabachçe Palace and other great sights. We returned to the Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and proceeded through security.

Arriving to Istanbul Atatürk International Departures
The Turkish Airlines Business Class Departures Zone
The Departures Hall of Istanbul Atatürk International Airport

We headed into the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge which is directly accessible from a dedicated Business Class security screening access point for Turkish Airlines passengers. We’ve visited this place several times over the years, so please feel free to click through to see more about the lounge above.

The Direct Access for Business Class Travellers into the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge

At about one hour and fifteen minutes prior to boarding at 12:50 PM and with the “Go to Gate” sign flashing on our local flight information display boards, we headed down to Gate 227A. This was my last trip through the Istanbul Atatûrk airport before it relocated to the new facility in late 2018. Frankly, it’s was not a sad moment for me. I found the Istanbul Atatürk International Airport to be overcrowded and congested on my trips through.

Navigating Through the Congested Istanbul Atatürk Concourse
Crowds Everywhere Had Become the Norm at this Airport

Boarding Turkish Airlines:

As usual, it was a very Turkish Airlines haphazard and crowded boarding experience. The gate area was totally packed, with no real room to move around. At the gate reception, our passports and boarding cards were checked and we entered into the holding pen. Turkish doesn’t seem to out much effort into this part of the whole process, as it seems to replicate itself everywhere, whether flying Turkish Airlines departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport , New Delhi Indira Ghandi International Airport, Dubai International Airport or elsewhere.

Our Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300 ER taking us to Toronto
A Crowded Boarding Area Experience
Followed by a Crowded Business Class “Priority Boarding” Experience

We finally got through the scrum. There were two jet bridges hooked up to the plane today but the first one, at door 1L was guarded by an attendant and completely closed. We all boarded through door 2L.

Turkish Airlines
TK 17 – Business Class (I)
IST – YYZ (Istanbul Atatürk International Airport – Toronto Pearson International Airport)
June 12, 2018
2:15 PM – 6:00 PM
Booked: Boeing 777-300ER
Flown: Boeing 777-300ER

On Board Turkish Airlines Business Class:

Turkish Airlines Business Class on the Boeing 777-300 ER is set up in a 2 – 3 – 2 configuration. These seats are great for travelling with a partner, but less exciting if you are traveling alone as you’ll have a seat mate with you and no direct aisle access without stepping over someone. There is also a middle seat in the center bank of three that is best to be avoided if you like easy aisle access as you’d be blocked on both sides.

I went to my assigned seat which was 6K. This seat was in the second mini business class cabin. I put my bag in the overhead bin and reached for my camera to take my first photo of the seat. I was grabbed by a flight attendant who was assisting the boarding process who promptly stopped me and scolded me: “No photos of the inside of the aircraft”

Turkish Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300 ER Seating
A Window Seat on the Turkish Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300 ER

There’s nothing like a let down to the start of a flight for a trip report writer to hear those “no photography” words. I had to be more discreet throughout the flight. Thankfully he ended up serving the other half of the cabin throughout the flight so I was able to continue with the “non commercial personal experience” documentation of my travels. As I didn’t get around to taking more seat photographs, I’ve included some other Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300 ER Business Class Cabin photographs from our flight out.

A Turkish Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300 Cabin
These Seats are Great for Travelling with a Partner, but not so Great if Travelling on your own
A Lumbar Pillow was Available on the Seat

Getting back to our flight, the seat view is reasonable. The seat featured the standard fully flat recline, along with a massage feature and lumbar support adjustment.

The Seats had a Monitor and Storage Compartment for Shoes
Fully Flat Recline Functions with a Lumbar and Massage Function

There was also a bag for our shoes located on the seat when we arrived. Inside the bag, there were some slippers at our seat, which were left on the foot rest.

A Handy Shoe Storage Bag

Pre Departure Services:

As we were located in the second of two small business class cabins, we had all other passengers streaming through the business class cabin. The boarding seemed to be a bit behind and people were running around not getting settled; asking about wifi operability and things like that. As a result, the pre-departure drinks never arrived until about five minutes before the departure time.

I went with the last Lemon and Mint special of the trip, whereas MrsWT73 asked for champagne; which was shortly delivered off the tray.

A Pre-Departure Lemon and Mint Beverage

The menus were presented while we were on the ground by the usual Turkish flying chef with chef whites. As always, this involves a lot of reading on Turkish since everything usually has a description. I personally find that the Turkish Airlines Menu’s are pretty institutional given the amount of writing on them.

A Turkish Airlines Business Class Menu
Turkish Airlines Business Class Menu: Istanbul – Toronto
Turkish Airlines Non Alcoholic Beverage List

Dinner orders were eventually taken while we were on the ground.

The wine list for today’s flight was good but not spectacular. The best part of it was the vast selection, although the presentation of the wine list could likely be a bit better if they went to a Qatar model with pictures of the bottles since the library list of descriptions isn’t too appealing or aspirational in my humble opinion.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Wine List
Turkish Airlines Business Class: Wine Wine List
Turkish Airlines Business Class Red Wine List
Turkish Airlines Champagne and Rose Wine List

Departing Istanbul:

We had an interesting taxi through Istanbul Atatürk Airport. As I had mentioned earlier, it was the last time that I will be through here. There’s always interesting aircraft flying to and from Istanbul, and theywill surely carry over to the new location.

We passed a Kuwait Airways B777, an Urkaine Airlines International B737 and an Iraqi Airways A320-200 plane on our way out.

There are so many outstation stands that they really have outgrown this particular facility at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport. There was a sea of Turkish Airlines fins as we headed towards the runway.

A Turkish Airlines Parking Lot of Remote Stands

We had a clear day as we departed on Runway L35. We had some great views of Istanbul as we climbed to altitude.

Departing on Runway 35 Left
Views from the Wing Departing Istanbul
Mosques of Istanbul mark the Community
A Wide Sprawl of Istanbul on the Horizon

Once we got to altitude, a towel service was provided. There were pretty straight forward and unscented; not like some of the other carriers that scents their towels with lemon or other fragrance.

A Towel Service

A newspaper and magazine service was also provided from the trolley.

The Amenity Kits: Molton Brown

The amenity kits were handed out after the towel and newspaper service.. Today, they were attractive Molton Brown amenity kits. I didn’t know the brand name Molton Brown before and was surprised to see that they had a Royal Warrant for toiletry products for Queen Elizabeth the Second. The bag was a contemporary soft sided bag which was a neat alternative from the usual hard sided kits you typically get.

Molton Brown Amenity Kits
A Nice Amenity Kit featuring Molton Brown Toiletries

The Canada Border Services Agency Customs and Immigration cards for Canada were also handed out. These would be among the last paper cards I would ever receive as Canada switched to a wholly electronic process in the summer of 2018.

In Flight Entertainment:

The in flight entertainment was an upgraded variety that included a flight path, a Mecca direction marker and prayer times.

Our Flight Track From Istanbul to Toronto
The Next Prayer Time is Listed on the Entertainment System
The Entertainment System Featured Aspirational Images from Turkey
A Broad Selection of Movies were Available
Convenient Remote Control for the Entertainment System

The Meal: A Full dinner Service

Candlelight Dinner high Above the Clouds

The dinner service started reasonably promptly after take off. It started with a Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne and nut service.

The flight attendants dropped off the usual Turkish Airline tray of spices, salt and pepper, DO&CO Olive Oil, along with the “Candlelight Dinner high Above the Clouds”” LED light that simulates a nice candle. It’s a bit of a gimmick but I still happen to like it.

Tattinger Brut Champagne and Nuts
Candlelight Dinner High Above the Clouds

Turkish Airlines does their food service the old fashioned way from the trolley. I think this is an elegant touch. It’s always neat to see what items are available in the event you’d wish to change your mind and select a different dish.

Service Direct from the Trolley

After the candlelights were delivered, the appetizers were presented from the trolley. Travellers can really pick whatever they want from about six different appetizers and you’re not limited to one offering.

We were seated in Row 6 and had by the time the trolley had made it to us, there were some shortages and some items that had run out.

“Assorted Canapes” to start
The Appetizer Trolley Being Rolled Out – Travellers can select any or all appetizers

I had salmon tartare and seafood salad, along with soup with spices.

Seafood Salad with Salmon Tartare and Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Pesto and Parmesan

My main course was steak and arugula. The steak was not bad but surprisingly bland in terms of seasoning when compared to the usual tasty DO & CO catering.

Steak and Arugula with Tomato Carpaccio

Dessert was brought around on the trolley after a short break from dinner while the flight attendants put away the dinner. Again, by being in Row 6, some of the desserts were missing. I had a Turkish Dessert and Ice Cream. Truly heavenly.

Turkish Dessert and Ice Cream

Dinner concluded with a second towel service, which was a nice but unexpected touch. The dinner service was a much more leisurely affair with service concluding at about the 2 ½ hour mark after take off. The crew were pleasant to deal with and relaxed about their duties.

The shades were drawn at the end of dinner service business class cabin was turned down.

I had our flight attendant make up the mattress pad and bed. I turned in and slept for about 5 hours. The sleep was much more comfortable on this flight. The longer and wider configuration of the Boeing 777-300 of 2 – 3 – 2 configuration suits me more than the Air Canada XM styled seating that we had on our Turkish Airlines Business Class Mahé – Istanbul configuration on the Turkish Airbus 330-200. I managed to get about five and a half hours of solid sleep.


The Second Service: “Before Landing”

I woke up to the clattering of dishes and service of the second meal. We were over Quebec at this time with a little less than 2 hours left in the flight. I don’t usually turn down a meal so I woke up and went for some food.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Menu Second Service: Istanbul – Toronto

The meal was offered promptly, and started with mixed salad which included mozerella and tomato and a green salad with olive oil dressing.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Mixed Salad

The spicy chicken brochette was okay. It hit the spot but it was not super memorable and you won’t confuse it with a chicken brochette off the grill in Morocco by any means.

Spicy Chicken Brochette with Sautéed Spinach and Rice

Turkish Airlines passed out comment cards for the in flight service. We had an exceptional Turkish flight attendant who was very pleasant, courteous and a pleasure to interact with.

We descended into Toronto with the tail end of our long haul Turkish Airlines flight drawing to a close.

Nearing the End of Our Turkish Airlines Flight

We arrived to Toronto Pearson International Airport at Gate E71. For some reason, the airport was a bit slow getting the jet bridges linked up. We had about a 7-10 minute wait. Eventually they got the doors opened and we disembarked at L1. We were up onto the upper deck and through towards Canada Border Service Agency customs and immigration fairly easily.

Arriving into the Hallways of Toronto Pearson International Airport
Viewing the Tilted Spheres Sculpture at Toronto Pearson
MrsWT73’s red backpack is full of souvenirs.
Welcome to Canada: Arriving to Canada Customs and Immigration
Followed by an Express Moving Sidewalk to Customs

We found our way through the arrivals areas and the express moving side walk to Canadian Immigration. We managed to pass through the Nexus line at Immigration with no waits. As usual as with entering Canada using Nexus, the first two kiosks that I walked up to were broken (frozen). We eventually navigated our way through the process.

Within twenty minutes of stepping off the plane, we were in the baggage hall. Also unfortunately, as is typical in Canada, the baggage was very slow to arrive. We were waiting at the carousel for 35 minutes. I think this is because everything is being X-rayed by Canada Border Services Agency prior to being put out on the belt.

Toronto International Airport International Baggage Claim

Once we had collected the bags, we took the train over to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in the Toronto International Airport for the night prior to connecting onwards to Air Canada Signature Business Class Toronto – Vancouver the next day.

My Thoughts on Turkish Airlines Business Class:

Turkish Airlines is a great way to get around when redeeming frequent flier miles. Turkish Airlines has been traditionally very generous with their reward availability. Their DO & CO catering is exceptionally tasty, if not a bit repetitive and similar tasting time after time. The Candlelight in the Clouds LED Tealight feature always entertainments me, and their Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is exceptionally spacious with something to offer everyone. I generally look forward to my Turkish Airlines flights, and this one was no different.

If you flown Turkish Airlines from North America to the Middle East, do you prefer it over the Middle East Three of Emirates, Etihad or Qatar?

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