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Review: Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class (part 2)

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This is the second part of my review of Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER business class service.

In part 1 of my Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 business class review (click here), I looked at the rather underwhelming Turkish Airlines seat and cabin layout.  In this article I want to look at the food.

You should remember that I only flew from London to Istanbul and the service may be different on a longer flight.

The bizarre in-flight Turkish Airlines chef

If you read my Etihad First Class reviews you will know that the airline has a First Class chef.   There is a menu, but if you don’t like it he will make you something to order.  There are a lot of different ingredients carried on board and he will pretty much knock up whatever you want based on those.

It’s great.

Turkish Airlines also advertises an on board chef.  This is nothing like that.  Here is a picture of a Turkish chef in action, although this is not the guy I had:

Turkish airlines chef

Turkish Airlines food is prepared and served in the same way as British Airways.  In some ways it is worse, because they plate it in front of you.

What I mean is that the food is still in the silver foil and they tip the food out of the container onto the plate in front of you.  Not great.  I think even BA has stopped this now.  Since last year, BA crew even unwrap and plate the sandwiches in Club World rather than drop a plastic packet in your lap as they used to …..

What does the chef actually do?

You have absolutely no flexibility in what you eat.  You get what is on the menu.

The chef isn’t ‘cooking’ anything – Turkish is just reheating silver boxes of food like most other airlines

He isn’t even ‘arranging’ the food – it gets dumped out of the container onto a plate in front of you

I found it bizarre.  I don’t have problems with any of the above points, just to be clear, but if you are going to serve your food like that then there is zero need to dress up a member of cabin crew in chefs whites.

The Turkish Airlines business class menu

The physical menu, it is worth mentioning, was a folded sheet of paper.  Forget any idea of a nicely bound document such as you get on Etihad, Qatar, Emirates or British Airways.

Looking at an article in the in-flight magazine, Turkish Airlines aims to share a vision of Turkish cooking with the world.  What this means, based on my two flights, is that you will struggle (at least for appetiser and dessert) if you are not happy with Turkish-inspired food.

This is what I had on the way to Istanbul:

Appetiser (you get all of these items on one plate):

Popourri of meze (smoked salmon in daikon and claudio sauce, stuffed sun dried red pepper, white cheese tabbouleh) with roasted eggplant salad

Turkish Airlines business class food

Selection of main courses:

Lamb shank with cannellini beans, tomato sauce, buttered rice

Chicken en papillotte, spring vegetables, wild thyme

Macaroni and cheese, cheddar sauce, tomato


Turkish style oven baked (served cold) rice pudding

Turkish 2

What I had was OK.  I took the chicken for the main course (see above) which tasted fine although, as it was wrapped in paper, it was a bit messy.

The cold rice pudding was quite good but – as I have a German wife – cold rice pudding is part of my life anyway.

The drinks list was on a par with BA.  There was no separate wine list so I can’t compare the quality of what was available.  The selection is certainly not premium, however.

As I said in Part 1 of my Turkish Airlines business class review, Turkish – on a long-haul aircraft – is a great choice if you need to fly from London to Istanbul in business class.  I believe they have a long way to go to compete with the Middle East ‘big three’.

In the next part of this series, I will look at the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul (click here to read).  It has a reputation for being one of the largest business class lounges in the world, but does that mean it is any good?

Comments (56)

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  • Leif says:

    I flew Manchester – Istanbul – Almaty in business class recently. The experience was quite different from Raffles’s, probably mostly because of different aircraft (Airbus and Boeing 737).

    -Food – good quality, nice presentation (no foil packaging in sight), good selection
    -Good wines
    -Service – friendly and helpful staff
    -Good space (sounds better than in the 777) including USB and AC outlets
    -Vast IFE selection

    -Seats do not recline flat, very poor sleep

    We also had the “fake chef” and it does seem like a pointless PR ploy.

    Looking forward to the review of the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul – I spent quite a few hours there and was reasonably impressed. Even got in a game of billiards!

  • DH says:

    See my comments on the other review, but again I always look forward to the food and drink on TK. They have really invested in it providing Do&Co catering and I always eat everything – not so on other airlines.

    Plus i get a pre take off drink (love the mint lemonade with fresh mint garnish) and a hot meal on a short domestic flight!

  • rams1981 says:

    My wife always complains BA planes aren’t clean and when you compare to other airlines this is certainly the case.

  • David says:

    Something to be aware of for connections to the middle east and internally is that there is no alcohol served. Tends to diminish the business class experience somewhat. Once again though +1 on far better than BA on LHR-IST.

  • Mohac says:

    Hi Rob, Did you review the Istanbul lounge? curious for your comments.

    • Rob says:

      Tomorrow. Hated it!

      Greetings from Hamad International, by the way!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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