Flying with Turkish Airlines has opened our eyes to a different style of travel.
Lemonade, mint soda, or fruit punch? Step inside the most colorful, coziest, loveliest way we've ever gone from point A to point B! Traveling from Montreal to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines business class was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful lesson in travel elegance. We will never look at travel the same way again!
This trip marked the one and only time we've ever flown in business class (well, okay, there was that time Ryan managed to weasel his way to first class while on route to Las Vegas but that's a sore point). And, just like you'd imagine, it was absolutely divine! But it comes as no surprise that flying in business class is "nice." We wanted to bring you behind the scenes to see just what our experience was like so you can decide for yourself if the upgrade from economy to business is a smart move for you.
We go way back with Turkish Airlines...
As Star Alliance members, we first had the opportunity to fly with Turkish Airlines during our epic 2013 round-the-world trip that we carried out entirely on airline points. We flew Turkish from Brussels to Istanbul and then again from Istanbul to Bangkok.
Both times we traveled in economy class and, while we enjoyed our experience, the truth is that we were asleep for most of it. Travel miracle! But when we boarded through business class this time, we were wide awake and determined not to miss a thing!
So many sweet treats.
I was as giddy as a kid at the fairground from take off to touch down. Little details instantly captured my imagination. I was completely smitten by the extensive menu and the attentive service was just lovely. From the refreshing tray of gourmet lemonades when we were welcomed on board to chatting with the staff about our favourite restaurants in Montreal, this was as charming a travel experience as ever I've had.
It was amazing to me how much of a difference a little extra space made (okay, it was a lot of extra space!) The overall environment was so much more calm and relaxing than what we're used to in economy long haul flights. We had such a great time sifting through the toiletry kit (I was thrilled to see Crabtree and Evelyn products on the way to Istanbul, less so for the Jaguar products on the way home) and were psyched to see real headphones, not just earbuds, for enjoying the entertainment system in comfort.
Little details make the meal.
Snacks of nuts and assorted appetizers were offered first, along with a lengthy selection of wine. Beautiful tea lights in lantern-style papers were placed in front of us, along with a tray with a teensy bottle of olive oil, complete with a little saucer of dried herbs to make my own bread dipping oil. Swoon! I shamelessly asked for extra bread so I could mop up all the tasty oil - but I did try to otherwise restrain myself of my behavior lived up to the elegant environment.
My favourite dish of all was the simplest - a hearty bowl of homemade tomato soup with seasoned croutons. Sometimes it doesn't take much to make your stomach content!The rest of the food was similarly wonderful. We had a choice of several hot entrees and the dessert tray was just heaving under the weight of all the delicious options (I had two selections- no comment for how many Ryan chose!)
After several hours of feasting, I was snuggling down on a flat bed which was helpfully made up by the staff. Cuddling with a real duvet, I felt like a princess. Surely it doesn't get any better than this?
Stretching but not much slumber.
I wish I could say that I slept soundly but, alas, I was awake for most of the night. While I was thrilled to have plenty of space to stretch out and relax, I always find it challenging to sleep on a plane in any circumstances. (Sleeping on my overnight flight to Bangkok in 2013 was the exception to the rule!) I think it's important for anyone choosing business class to understand that a flat bed doesn't mean guarantee a sound sleep - you're still on an airplane, which means plenty of small sounds and movements, plus lots of excitement and adrenaline. Ryan didn't share my restlessness and, of course, was snoring away.
Breakfast was similarly delicious as dinner and I was very appreciative that I could have both hot chocolate and a smoothie. It was so nice to have some choices! The hot breakfast entree wasn't so much to our taste but the fresh, flavorful fruit plates were terrific.
Our favourite thing of all...
And all of this was in business class. Not first class. Not executive class. There's no pod or suites and there's no $10,000 bill. The welcome lemonades, the endless wine list, the sparkling tea lights, the homemade breakfast smoothies, and a choice of half a dozen desserts - it's all business class. But the best is yet to come!
Our favourite thing about flying business class wasn't the wonderfully calm environment, nor the gourmet meals, the wine, the bespoke herbal tea blends, or the lovely toiletries. It was being able to embrace a real city-to-city experience.
The no-stress, no-lines experience was a dream come true. We sailed through security in Montreal, clearing the short business class line in mere minutes before relaxing in the lounge. We didn't have to spend a minute waiting in line to board the plane. And when we landed in Istanbul, we were the first people off the plane. Hurrah!
Incredibly, only 12 minutes passed from when we touched down in Istanbul to when we purchased our metro tickets to the city center. 12 MINUTES! Yep, that includes clearing customs - in a special line just for business class passengers.
So should you fly business class? If you can afford it: YES! We couldn't get over how much more relaxed we were - and how much more efficient our travel experience was. And the comfy bed, gourmet food, and great service were just icing on the cake. I'd highly recommend searching fares early to find a bargain.
But if you can't afford to upgrade to business class -or you can but you'd rather have more money on hand for your destination - we can still enthusiastically recommend Turkish Airlines. Their economy service treated us well in the past and I have no doubt we'll be enjoying it again in the future.
Heading to Turkey? These articles will help!
The Ancient Art of Ebru Painting in Istanbul
A View From The "Top" Hotel in Istanbul
Istanbul In An Instant: Day 7 Of Our Round The World Trip
Our trip was part of a press trip organized by Turkish Airlines. All research, writing, and opinions are our own.