Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2082 posts, RR: 8 Posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 9625 times:
Part II: The Return TK flight from LAX to BKK via IST in Business
As promised, I will write a report on the return flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines’ Business Class. First I have to apologize for the lack of cabin pictures as the flights were pretty full on both segments but since I have pretty much showcased the cabin on the first two segments, I don’t think you will miss out much. Second, I have lost my log towards the end of the flight, as the paper slipped under the gap between the side storage bin and the seat. It was impossible to retrieve it, so my departure time is not as accurate as I like. Thankfully I have flightradar to fall back to, so I retrieve the flight route and related data. Anyway, these two flights showcased extremes of Turkish Airlines – a very good flight from LAX to Istanbul and a very poor flight from Istanbul to Bangkok. Consistency is severely lacking with Turkish Airlines.
September 13, 2012
TK 10 LAX-IST Lv1820 Arr1710+1 Boeing 777-300ER TC-JJK “Akdeniz”
Check-in at LAX:
As my uncle’s car entered the final stretch of 105, I saw the beautiful Turkish Airlines’ 777 landing at R/W24R around 4pm. It arrived early, which meant an on time return departure. Tom Bradley was going through extensive renovation, but I am very concerned about the ground traffic, as the curbside can’t really be expanded even though the terminal itself has gotten larger in size.
Turkish Airlines uses Aisle C for check-in, and it was very busy in the economy line. The business class check-in counter was clearly labeled and there was only one passenger in front of me. The agent was friendly and she checked me all the way to Bangkok. To give TK credits, their outsource ground agents were pretty good at least in the premium area.
Despite not particularly busy, TSA line at TBIT was slow, as they only opened two counters, but at least there was a priority lane. As expected Turkish Airlines uses Star Alliance lounge and despite with only the late Lufthansa and Swiss flights, the lounge was pretty busy. There were still seats available but I could imagine the afternoon rush and the late night rush. There were some hot food available, including a very nice Thai Chicken Curry Soup, along with sandwiches and light packaged snacks. There were many self-service beverage stations throughout the lounge. I got some peanuts and Milano cookies, as mid-flight snacks were lacking in Turkish Airlines. Who knows if they will serve the sandwiches?
Air Berlin A330 with the BER Brandenburg airport logo – heading to Dusseldorf this afternoon
BA Oneworld logo jet
Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER TC-JJK “Akdeniz” a 2 years old jet – beautiful in this warm California afternoon
Gate 103 this afternoon
Boarding began at 5:53pm and there was a business class boarding line on the left of the gate. Priority boarding was strictly reinforced and the whole boarding was less chaotic than Istanbul. There were two jetways used, which made the whole boarding process easier. At the door, I was greeted by the F/A and thank goodness that they were smiling today. It meant a decent flight for one of Turkish Airlines’ longest flight.
The cabin at boarding
My seat 2K
Pre-takeoff beverage of orange juice, water, and champagne were served, along with Godiva thins, along with amenity kit (old style, not iPod case) and slippers. Menus were personalized today, which was a good sign. There were indeed two chefs on board today.
I remembered the boarding was completed on time for the 6:20pm departure, but for some unknown reasons, we were being hold in the gate for an extra fifteen minutes. LAX was not very busy at this time of the evening, and we took off from R/W25R at 7:03pm for this twelve hours and twelve minutes flight. The routing was a bit unusual, as we did not head towards North after takeoff. We flew towards Kingman and Flagstaff in Arizona as we reached our initial attitude of 33,000feet. Then we continued to head east towards Gallup, Lamar, Lincoln, Omaha, Ames, Waterloo, Oshkosh, Manitowoc and Traverse City before reaching Canada. We flew past Elliot Lake, Amos, and Labrador City before climbing to 35,000feet and towards the Atlantic Ocean. We did not cross Greenland today and remained a bit south of it and climbed to 37,000feet before reaching the Irish Coast and cities of Enniscrone, Ballyjamesduff, Vriginia, and Drogheda. We then flew over Liverpool and Manchester airport, and then towards Lincoln, Amsterdam, Dortmund, Floss, Nitra, Budapest, Arad, and after passing Burgas, we began our descent.
Shortly after takeoff – a beautiful early evening here in LA
The Bathroom – I managed to take some shots of the bathroom before takeoff. The black color scheme is nice but dirt is very visible, especially water stains. The bathroom was becoming nasty within short period of time. The trash can is also too small for a long haul aircraft used on a twelve hours flight.
Dinner is served shortly after takeoff. The procedure is the same as always – hot towel is first served, and then beverage order is taken. Linen is placed on your table and then beverage with mixed nuts!
I have a glass of champagne and a bowl of mixed nuts is served. I miss the old canapé service.
Table is then setup individually and water is then offered along with the meal.
Bread is then offered and today’s selection included nice French baguettes, soft white and wheat rolls.
Really nice baguette
Selection from our trolley
Salmon Tartar/horseradish cream
Shrimps in olive oil
Stuffed eggplant marinated in olive oil
Spicy lentil salad/goat cheese
“Borek” homemade cheese puff pastry
I have a selection of everything.
Salmon tartar and the homemade cheese puff pastry
Please choose from our selection:
Grilled Fillet of Beef
Mustard curry butter
Sautéed leaf spinach & leeks/mini carrots
- Basically a sweet and sour prawn dish – a bit too sweet for my taste
Goat Cheese Ravioli
Sautéed artichokes and asparagus
Assorted cheese, fresh fruit and dessert from our trolley
Green tea ice cream
You can basically order everything and my selections today are the strawberry strudel and chocolate tart.
Coffee and/or tea
Digestives from our trolley
Once again, this course never made its appearance and this sort of bothers me, as the F/As choose what to and what not to serve. If this course is being cut, the menu should be edited accordingly. The F/As basically did not serve tea and coffee until breakfast time and of course, on request. The meal itself is once again good, but there are not many beverage refills during the flight. They should set up a beverage trolley so the F/As do not need to run back to the beverage station every time they need to refill a beverage. The whole procedure is poorly designed.
Lights were turned off after dinner service as most passengers settled for the night. I was very tired this evening, so I went to sleep after watching a few episodes of “Big Bang Theory” and after we left the US air space. But I noticed that they actually set up a mini beverage stations in the self-service bars instead of clearing the beverage station ASAP. The same dried fruit packages and fig candies were available. The F/As are a bit nicer on this flight and the F/A serving our aide is very good. She is friendly and personable, unlike other stoic F/As. She actually made an effort to serve the sandwiches midflight and not to mention offering some beverages.
Smoked salmon and cheese sandwiches (no additional desserts like IST to USA flights)
Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2082 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 9632 times:
Breakfast was served about two hours prior to landing and the breakfast cards were collected sometimes during midflight.
Please choose from our selection:
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Fresh carrot juice
Homemade mango smoothie
Black tea (Turkish Blend)
Herbal seat selection
Smoked turkey and pastrami
Sautéed leaf spinach
Additionally we serve:
Seasonal fresh fruit plate
Selection of cheese
Oven fresh bread selection
The breakfast was served in two different courses and each course is well prepared and tastes fantastic. I enjoy the meal very much.
The entertainment system worked well until after breakfast and it was frozen till a few minutes prior to landing. At least I got to switch on the plane camera channel to watch the landing.
Descent began at 4:43pm Istanbul local time and we landed on R/W05 at 5:15pm, and after a very short taxi, we parked at gate 226 four minutes later. 226 is also the furthest gate in the terminal, which means a long walk to the transit area. The transit process was simple and I was back in the departure level within a few minutes. It was certainly a very busy day here in Istanbul.
September 14, 2012
TK 64 IST-BKK Lv2005 Arr0925+1 Airbus A340-300 TC-JDK “Diyarbakir”
I immediately headed over to the lounge, which was crowded and I had difficulties finding a seat. I think with the current rate of expansion, even this huge lounge can’t handle the amount of traffic that TK is expecting. Compared to the relatively quiet scene a few weeks ago, it is like crazy here. I did not take any more pictures.
I originally planned for showers, but the waiting list were more than ten and the concierge said that it would take more than two hours. I presume there are only a handful number of showers available. The lounge, despite its huge size, cannot handle the amount of traffic nowadays. TK really needs to build another lounge soon or indeed IST is too small to handle the amount of traffic flowing through the TK hub. I finally found a spot to settle down, check a few emails and had a few quite bites.
There was a last minute aircraft substitution changing from the smaller A330-200 to the larger Airbus A340-300 but my hope for a less full business class cabin quickly disappeared as I entered the almost full cabin. On the Airbus A340-300, there were six rows, instead of four row of seats, in a six abreast seating arrangement. Boarding began early at 7:20pm and boarding was completed by 8:03pm. We pushed back two minutes later and took off from R/W35R at 8:23pm. Flying time was eight hours and forty-five minutes and we started at 35,000feet before climbing to our final cruising attitude of 37,000feet over India.
The F/As on this flight were not too friendly but at least the lady serving our aisle try to eek out a smile. She actually was the one, who tried the best, and I could not say the same about the purser, who was not really here today, and the other male flight attendant on the other side was borderline hostile. Headsets and the new I-pad case amenity kit were already placed on each seat, and slippers were later passed out along with newspapers and magazines. Pre-takeoff beverages were offered, as well as Godiva thins. Very familiar routine as of now! There was no printed menu tonight. The chef had to take entrée order by passing out the only two copies of menus she had to each pair of passengers asking for their main course choices. I asked the chef for the menu later and she finally revealed that due to some passengers with nut allergy were on board today, they had to change the food served and did not load any menu. However, the meal was the same as the flight from IST to LAX last month. So I did not miss much, but it was good to know that Turkish Airlines took nut allergy seriously, as noted by repeated announcements asking passengers not to consume any peanut products.
The motto on our flight today was to get all the meal services finished as soon as possible. Without the mixed nut services, beverages were done quickly. The setup trolley soon made its appearance.
The bread selection was very limited today and both dinner and breakfast features simple French or wheat rolls and no garlic bread was offered, as well as multi-grain rolls. French rolls actually tasted very well.
Soup – Traditional Turkish wedding soup with lamb cubes – basically a lemon cream soup with sautéed lamb cubes
Entrée choices – same as the Istanbul to Los Angeles flight in August
Tomato concasse/sautéed leaf spinach
Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Creamy celeriac & potato puree
Eggplant stuffed with red peppers
- excellent entrée – no wonder they ran out on my IST to LAX flight
Sautéed Artichokes/cherry tomatoes
Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2082 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 9632 times:
Once again the coffee/tea/digestive/petit desserts service did not happen and hot drinks were available on request. The whole hot meal service began with linen passing out at 9pm and finished at 10:20pm, when bottled waters were passed out. The F/As wasted no time in clearing out the beverage self service stations but at least they left out some bottled waters and the usual packages of dried fruits and fig candies. As of this point, I was so tired that I quickly felt asleep for the rest of the life. The seats were the same as the Airbus A330-200s with the sliding sleeper seats. I managed to find a nice sleeper position and the width was actually a bit better on the Airbus then those on the Boeing 777s. It had to do with the design of the armrest.
Lights were turned on again at 2:45am/6:45am Bangkok time and with no breakfast cards available, the F/As just passed out trays featuring a cheese plate starter, along with a small citrus salad, museli, and glass of orange juice.
Dawn over Southeast Asia
I love the A340s with these four beautiful engines
There were two entrée choices – Omelet with sautéed mushrooms and tomato or Scrambled egg with Potato gratin
I will appreciate some side meat dishes, but the scrambled egg tasted excellent and egg was still running and not dry.
Breakfast was completed at 7:25am Bangkok time and there were still at least an hour and thirteen minutes prior to our descent point. I could not help to think that breakfast was served too early. They could have waited another thirty minutes to serve breakfast.
Descent finally began at 8:38am and we landed on R/W1R at 9:08am. We parked at gate G2 at 9:16am. We parked next to a Mahan Air Airbus A310-300 EP-MNP.
Finally a few cabin shots after landing
In conclusion, Turkish Airlines really has some urgent issues that they need to address. The rapid expansion has caused some major issues in terms of inflight service and the quality of flight attendants. I honestly can’t say that I am very impressed with Turkish Airlines’ business class. The catering is amazing, but there is a lack of variety after four long haul segments. Of course it will be nice if the F/As can offer all the services listed in the menus. Only one set of crew rolled out the post-dessert tea/coffee/digestive/petit desserts service and only two sets of crews made any attempt to offer tea and coffee service. There was almost no beverage refills during the meal service and beverage glasses were often left empty unless one asked for more water and wines. That is not acceptable in a premium cabin. Flight attendants range from friendly to hostile and I think TK has many issues to work on. They need to introduce a beverage trolley that can roll out in between courses of meals. It is too bothersome for the F/As to walk back and forth between the beverage stations and passengers. Daytime meal service needs to be more relaxed. The lounge situation is also unacceptable and they need to find ways to expand the seating area or have a second lounge.
Anyway I hope you enjoy this return report!