Turkish Airlines 787 Business Class Detroit to Istanbul: Mini Review

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For a full review of Turkish Airlines 787 business class, see Tim’s review here. In this mini-review, I compare my experience to Tim’s. Short result: Tim had a better flight.

Despite my complaints, I still had a nice flight and would happily fly this route again.

I finally had a chance to fly Turkish’s new route from Detroit to Istanbul in business class (see this post for details about how I booked it). Overall, I was disappointed. I expected better. On a previous Turkish flight I had been blown away by the food that was offered on the one hour flight from Sofia to Istanbul (see this post for details). And Tim had recently raved about his long-haul Turkish flight (Istanbul to Seattle). His food and service experience was excellent. Tim wrote that “the highlight was the delightful mezze offering. Both the mezze and dessert services are from linen-topped trolleys that are wheeled down the aisles, allowing passenger to look at the various items and choose whatever (and how much) they’d like.” On my Detroit to Istanbul flight, however, not only was there no mezze option on the menu, but no one pushed a single trolley. And while service on my wife’s aisle was very good, it was awful on my side. They should think about putting the better flight attendants on the blogger side of the plane ;).

Despite my complaints, the overall experience was actually good. The food was decent (but not as good as I had expected). The seats were comfortable and flight attendants proactively set up extra padding on each seat for sleeping. And we loved the Ferragamo amenity kits.

The food experience is probably much better on the daytime flight from Istanbul to Detroit than the night-time flight from Detroit to Istanbul, but I haven’t had a chance to try that direction yet.

Overall, I would still happily fly this route again, especially now that my expectations are in check. For me, this is probably the single most convenient flight from Detroit to Europe. It leaves around 8pm and flies for about 10 hours. This combination is great because you have enough time to have a meal before settling in for sleep and then you have plenty of time to sleep before arriving in Istanbul.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comfortable seats with deep footwells
  • Padded bedding
  • Free wifi in business class
  • Good in-flight entertainment options
  • Excellent Ferragamo amenity kits

Cons

  • Service on my side of the aisle was terrible:
    • The flight attendant forgot to take my drink order
    • He later forgot to offer me bread with my meal
    • No one ever, ever removed trash unless I put it on the dishes to be removed
  • No mezze course was offered
  • We were only proactively given one small bottle of water for the entire flight (but extra bottles were available in the front of the plane)
  • Very little near-seat storage

Photos

The on-board chef walked around to take dinner orders. He also served bread on the right side of the plane. On the left side that task was left to a forgetful flight attendant.

The salmon starter was very nice. The bowl (top-left) sat waiting a very long time for bread. I had to flag down the flight attendant for a roll.
My main course was decent but not memorable
Dessert was yummy
Breakfast starter. I didn’t get a photo of the breakfast omelet which was reasonably good. 
Trash pick-up never happened unless I forced it. We landed in Istanbul with this trash still sitting on my side table. 
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Mary

My husband and I are currently on a trip on Turkish in PAID Business Class, SEA-IST-BUD/PRG-IST-SEA, and we have experienced a very frustrating mess with them changing our seat assignments. So far our seating has been changed at the last minute on 3 out of 4 legs.

For the SEA-IST leg, the change was inconsequential, just confusing because we each received 4 or 5 change notices by both text and email.

For the IST-BUD leg, we were moved from seats together, to seats across the aisle from each other. Not a huge deal for a 2-hour flight, but why did they split up a couple on the same PNR? They could just as easily have switched one of the businessmen we ended up sitting next to.

And now, for our 11.5-hour flight from IST-SEA, I have been moved from seat 7F, next to my husband in 7E, to seat 1E! I tried to change it online and the system wouldn’t even display the seating chart. Called Turkish, and phone rep couldn’t access it either. He escalated the call, same result. So it’s looking like we’ll be sitting next to total strangers who are presumably traveling alone and could have been moved without splitting us up. Completely ridiculous.

The food on our flights hasn’t even been that good, either. I really don’t get all the love for Turkish. I will never fly Turkish again.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mary
Sam G

That’s a very accurate review based on my experience with Turkish after 4 flights in Business class. They never pickup trash unless you put it on the plates.

Just pray that your flight doesn’t get canceled or changed. They won’t rebook your award-class ticket and will say that class is not available anymore. They will just refund the miles and force you to buy another ticket!

Jan W

I recently flew several Turkish biz flights and found them to be ok, but not stellar. Had a similar slow-to-show attendant on one of my flights–had to track her down for water refill and bread and no trash was ever picked up. Plus, I had fallen, broken my shoulder and had major surgery in Amman, Jordan. My arm was still in a sling (one and a half weeks post insertion of plate and screws) and there was no offer of assistance or even acknowledgement that I might need a bit of extra help at certain points. Couldn’t believe the lack of service, especially for biz class. The good news: titanium doesn’t trigger beeps in airport security!

Chopsticks

My mind is boggled that Turkish has launched a Detroit to Istanbul flight. That said, there are now about 400,000 Muslims in the Detroit area, so I guess this is what they’re thinking. Should be an easy flight for finding biz class award seats: without any US domestic feed, I don’t see how they could fill it with paying customers.
I’ve always found Turkish’s “chef on board” thing to be ridiculous. Especially the hat. But if there’s a guy on board whose job it is to care more about the food, that can’t be a bad thing for the biz class passengers. That said, I’ve never actually found the preparation or presentation to be better than on a chef-less flight.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chopsticks
Alex

We just flew this DTW-IST flight last week, and the service was great. We were in the two middle seats in row 1, and my wife’s IFE was not working. But she was able to move to the window seat across from me, and all was good. I did find the movie selection to be poor, but the bed was comfortable with room for my size 14 feet. Best sleep I’ve had on a plane in a long time. Flying the return next week. Hopefully will be even better, but hard to complain about at 45k point lie flat trip.

Manny

TK has gone downhill post pandemic. Pre- pandemic their catering was always amazing. Now its very mid and in some instances they serve food that they served in economy class in the pre-pandemic days.

ECR12

I’ve flown longhaul Turkish business 4-5 times and always had great experience like Tim’s. Surprised to hear your story.

Kim

Where did you go from instanbul? Trying to get to Greek islands but I can’t find direct. They put you through Athens and I want to fly direct. Can you post your itineraries thank you

actualmichael

Direct from where? Which Island? Also, why is going through Athens so bad? It’s only a ~1 hour flight from Athens to the islands. I think you might have unrealistic expectations about flying direct to the Greek islands if you’re coming from the US. Greece (and especially its islands) is waaaaaay father east from the US than the vast majority of what most Americans think of as Europe. You’re almost in the Middle East. There aren’t many direct routes to get to Athens from the US, let alone smaller airports in Greece. As far as I know, there are literally no direct routes to any of the Greek islands from the US. You must transfer through Athens or some other major European city.

If this were me coming from the US, I would just aim for flying to Athens or Istanbul (which is a ~3 hour flight from the Greek islands) as those are probably going to be the nicest, longest continuous flights that will allow you the most time to sleep on the plane as you travel from the US. If you break up your trip by stopping in Western Europe, you’re either going to have to take an extra day to sleep before you move on to Greece, or you are going to be awake for an extremely long time before you arrive in Greece.

NK3

The OP comment is confusing, but I think they are saying that Turkish is not sending them direct from IST to the Greek Isles. Looking it up, Turkish does not fly to Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, etc. From the US, there are many other carriers where you could get to the Greek Isles with one stop in Europe. If you fly British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France, you get fly direct from their European hub to Santorini, for example. Turkish would make you fly from the US to IST to Athens to Santorini.

Kim

Sorry for the confusion. Yes you were correct. Trying to find direct from Detroit to IST and then from IST to islands rather than stopping in Athens. Don’t want to add another stop.
I’m not able to find any flights with any airline from IST to any Greek isles ? Any suggestions? Thanks

patrick

Do you mean non-stop? That and direct are not the same.

Skybuck

Q: Which side is “the blogger side of the plane”?

A: The inside

Susan

I had a similar lack of trash pickup on my TK flight NBO-IST. Not once during the entire flight did they stop to pick up the trash. I chalked it up to an exceptionally lazy crew.

SamBam

Our experience SEA-IST was like Tim’s. And then the return…starting in the TK lounge in IST. SUBLIME