Turkish Airlines is the award-winning national flag carrier of Turkey. Since being formed on 20th May 1933 with a fleet of 5 aircraft, Turkish Airlines has become a leading global airline company in its 78 years of distinguished service. Turkish Airlines is a proud member of Star Alliance, and operates from its global hub at Istanbul International Airport to 172 cities in 82 countries using 161 state-of-the-art aircraft. Turkish Airlines, which is a fully scheduled airline, carried 29.1 million passengers in 2010. It employs more than 14,000 people worldwide. In 2010, Turkish Airlines celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special ‘75’ logo painted on its aircraft and painted some its A320 aircraft in the old original 1970s airline livery. The initials 'THY' stand for Türk Hava Yollari (meaning Turkish Airlines).
In contrast to other European flag carriers in the 21st century, Turkish Airlines is proud to be the fastest growing airline in Europe and in 2009 was voted the best airline in southern Europe. The Istanbul (IST) to London Heathrow (LHR) route is hugely popular with 31 flights a week between the two cities. Another strong connection between Turkish Airlines and the United Kingdom is that Turkish Airlines is the main sponsor of the Manchester United Football Club. The three and a half year ‘multi-million’ pound deal was signed in 2010.
In the United Kingdom, apart from London Heathrow, Turkish Airlines also flies regular scheduled flights to Birmingham, Manchester, and Stansted. In total Turkish Airlines operates 43 flights a week between Istanbul and the United Kingdom. Another strong indicator of this is that because Turkish Airlines is a proud member of Star Alliance, whose members also include Lufthansa, United Airlines, and BMI. So therefore, because of this link with Star Alliance, this flight was in code share with Lufthansa and BMI.
Turkish Airlines operate the Istanbul to London Heathrow route using a variety of aircraft types depending on the seat occupancy. These include the Airbus A320, A321, A330-200, A330-300, Boeing 737-800 and even the Boeing 777-300ER variant. On this route, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft was used.
Route: ISTANBUL (IST) to LONDON HEATHROW (LHR)
Departure date and time of flight: April 2011, 07:55am local time (Istanbul)
Flight number: TK1979 (ICAO callsign: “Turkish 1979 heavy”)
Flight duration: 4 Hours 10 minutes
Class: BUSINESS CLASS
Aircraft type: AIRBUS A330-343 (6 aircraft in service)
Aircraft registration: TC-JNI (Delivered on 13th of October 2010)
Aircraft’s name: Konak
Frequent flyer programme: miles & smiles
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
Business Class: 22 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration,
Economy Class: 228 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration
Punctuality of the flight:
Departed on time, and landed on time as well. Istanbul airport was reasonably quiet during the early morning period. The aircraft, named Konak, was parked at gate 226- right at the far end of the airport terminal (near enough to the cargo terminal). We took off on time, making our way across a rather hazy Europe. As we approached the greater London, it became clear that the weather in the UK was also very hazy. With easterly winds running in London, we had to go all around north London, firstly over Lambourne, and then made a u-turn somewhere over Bovingdon to make a final approach into Heathrow’s runway 09L. This gave the opportunity to provide stunning views of Windsor Castle and Berkshire as we gently made our way in behind a KLM Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The ‘Flying Dutchman’ joined us from behind somewhere over the English Channel- (and somehow overtook us above London to land first!).
Amazingly, it only took less than 30-minutes from the point where we started our decent (somewhere over the Dutch coast) to landing at Heathrow’s runway 09L (that’s roughly 130 miles or so). Then it took another 30-minutes to taxi to the gate at terminal three from the runway, which is a distance of about one mile. Interestingly this 30 minute taxi to the terminal felt longer than the 30 minutes it took for us to get from the English Channel to the airport (now, that really puts things into prospective!).
Any baggage issues:
No issues regarding the baggage. With Turkish Airlines, passengers travelling on Business Class can carry 2-luggage bags upto 32 KG in total, with 2 hand bags of 8 KG each.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
No issues. No issues. This was a connecting flight with only a short 1-hour wait before the next flight. Very convenient connection without any delays.
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
Passengers in Business Class were offered welcome drinks consisting of fresh orange juice, fresh apple juice, Turkish mineral water, and champagne. Usually what you find is that most ‘fresh orange juice’ drinks that form part of airline meals are heavily concentrated and taste like water with a splash of orange squash (or something similar), however it must be said that the orange juice on Turkish airlines is authentically fresh orange juice (with the orange bits in as well). Perfect quality and it tastes extremely good. Highly recommended that you drink it without the ice, as it tastes even better (otherwise the ice will dilute the rich authentic taste).
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
On Turkish Airlines, passengers in Business Class are offered a selection of drinks including fresh orange juice, fresh apple juice, mineral water, and champagne. On this flight there were also a selection of international and Turkish wines and beers.
White Turkish wine: 2008 Kavaklidere Narince (Anatolia)
Red Turkish wine: 2007 Doluca Karma
Turkish beer: Efes Pilsen
Turkish liqueur: Tekel Ozel Uretim (sour cherry)
On this flight, the welcome drinks were accompanied with a packet of Turkish hazelnuts and a selection of canapés. Turkish Airlines offers the hazelnut because it originates from Turkey, and forms part of Turkish cuisine.
Comments regarding the first meal:
Turkish Do&Co, the gourmet entertainment company, provides in-flight catering at Turkish Airlines with their colourful and inspiring menus containing equally sensational dishes. All the menus come written in both English and Turkish. A la carte menus are provided in Business Class while set meals are provided in the Economy Class.
A round of fresh fruit juices and other drinks were offered to wake up the senses (just cannot stress how good it feels to drink that fresh orange juice!). The meal tray consisted of a load of seriously good food. First up was a tray containing freshly cut cheese slices, feta, and a thick cream, which went fine with fresh green and black olives. The following were the options available for the main breakfast dish:
· Wrap with scrambled eggs, baked mozzarella, chicken sausage, grilled green peppers, and cherry tomatoes.
· Scrambled eggs, turkey, ham, and cheese toast with herbed sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and green peppers
I opted for the second option. The turkey meat goes well with both ham and cheese toast with sautéed mushrooms. The green peppers are of an incredibly good taste. Accompanying the main dish was a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit, another small bowl containing chicken & turkey breasts and a thick raspberry flavoured yogurt. The chefs at Turkish Do&Co make amazing scrambled eggs with toast, and have a way with in-flight catering that is just magic.
The cabin crew offered a generous helping of a selection of warm ‘oven fresh bread’ from the basket that included freshly made chocolate chip croissants and Danish pastries.
Passengers were again treated to a selection of freshly brewed coffee, which included both Western coffee and Turkish coffee.
Stainless steel cutlery in the Business Class cabin is provided by ‘Isik’, and proudly displays the engraved symbols ‘THY’ followed by the Turkish Airlines logo. All other cutlery in the Business Class cabin is provided in fine bone china, again with the Turkish Airlines logo and black ‘THY’ symbol engraved at the bottom of each piece.
Comments regarding the after meal drinks and in-flight snacks:
Passengers were treated to a selection of freshly brewed coffee, which included both western coffee and Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee has a slightly stronger flavour and is normally taken without milk. A lovely cube of Turkish Delight is accompanied with the Turkish coffee. There was also a variety of digestives available including Baileys, Cointreau and Frapin VSOP Cognac. Good food like this should never be wasted.
Throughout the flight, passengers were able to enjoy a variety of snacks including free flowing drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) from the galley.
Comments on the in-flight entertainment system:
Huge headphones with noise cancellation technology were offered in the Business Class cabin. The 15.6-inch PTV screen, which is in place behind every seat, can be used to watch movies, choose any kinds of music to play, watch how your flight is progressing, catch up on current affairs, or play computer games with. The digital AVOD (Audio Video on Demand) in-cabin entertainment system is in use on this route. Passengers can select their program either from the panel in the arm of the seat or simply by touching the screen. Programs the AVOD system fall into three categories: 'Information', 'Entertainment’, and 'Communications'. Altogether, there are over 120 channels and levels of entertainment to absorb during your flight. Then there is always the five-star quality in-flight magazine of Turkish Airlines, SkyLife, to keep you mesmerized with many stories and useful information.
Connections enabling passengers to listen to, or watch on their individual screens, content on their personal iPods or USB devices are available on this aircraft (the Airbus A330-300).
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The hospitality on Turkish Airlines is just top notch. The staff are highly trained and provide a truly five-star service comparable to the likes of a top quality five-star hotel. Even in the most highly pressurised of situations, the cabin crew have a smile on their faces, and this is key difference that makes Turkish Airlines stand out from the rest. A quality that separates a good airline from a very good airline is one where the cabin crew at the very good airline will greet the passenger before the passenger greets the cabin crew. It has to be said that this mark of high quality stands out clear for the staff of Turkish Airlines on this flight.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort) :
The Business Class cabin of the Airbus A330-300 on Turkish Airlines has a 2-2-2 seat configuration. Because this was a medium haul flight (less than 5 hours), during the day and within the European region so therefore there was no amenity kit provided.
There are 22-Business Class lie-flat beds on the Airbus A330-300 each with 159 degrees recline providing a very spacious legroom. The Business Class seat has a 61.0” pitch and is 21.0” width. It reclines back enough for you to have a very comfortable lie down for a long flight. Lovely suede leather and cotton material that is pleasing for the eye. Each seat in Business Class has electronic buttons on the bottom left hand corner that control the seats movements and comes with its own personal night light that is easy to control, as well as a built-in back massage system. If you need a back massage then all you need to do is press the button. The food tray is neatly placed inside the left hand armrest, while the Personal TV (PTV) screen is neatly placed on the back of the seat ahead. There is also AC power and power available for your laptop built in every seat. This is a very convenient feature.
In a nutshell, if you are a seriously minded business frequent flyer, have a hectic and busy business lifestyle where you are constantly moving around and need the essentials of business life at the touch of a button (even in the sky) then Business Class on Turkish Airlines is for YOU.
Turkish Airlines logo and livery:
The airline's striking logo consists of a crane flying inside a white circle symbolizing the common migration of the birds in Turkey. The logo is a crane bird with wings above the body. The simple yet powerful design of the wings also refers to the crescent in the Turkish flag.
The "Eurowhite" livery consists of a snow white coloured fuselage with large navy blue ‘TURKISH AIRLINES’ lettering across the starboard and port side in capitals. On some smaller aircraft, such as the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 737-800, the word ‘TURKISH’ is written in capital navy blue letters, while ‘AIRLINES’ is displayed right underneath in light grey colours. The national flag of Turkey is displayed about one foot to the right hand side of the blue lettering. A huge silver coloured tulip is painted on the fuselage, running from the rear of the wing to the tail. The belly of the fuselage is painted in light grey. Every plane is named after a city or town in Turkey, or any of the seas and lakes scattered around the Turkey’s coastal waters. The tailfin of the aircraft is painted in a bright red colour with the company logo wrapped in a white circle.
Priestmangoode is the company responsible behind the re-branding of Turkish Airlines as a key part of the airline’s strategy to position itself as a major European carrier. Priestmangoode delivered a complete re-design, starting with new interiors across the entire Turkish fleet.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 10
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
Special thanks goes to
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
Proud media partner of QATAR AIRWAYS