My first taste of Turkey at 30,000 feet

On a recent trip to Turkey, which would be my first time visiting the country, I flew from London (LHR) to Istanbul (IST) with Turkish Airlines aboard an A321 NEO in business class. I had no idea what to expect and was happily greeted with a new business class cabin.

The seats had a ton of leg room, more than most North American carriers. Even if the person in front completely reclined, there was enough room to comfortably cross my legs.

Another great thing about the seats was they had foot rests that were actually useful. I used them the entire flight.

You can see the foot rest actually supports your legs.

In flight entertainment was good with a wide selection of English movies and TV shows.

The service started before we pushed back from the gates with a welcome beverage. I choose the fresh orange juice. I normally don’t drink juice because I am unsure if it is freshly squeezed but I had to try this as my research indicated that Turkey was known for its fresh juices.

Here is a look at the menu for the flight.

Even though it was an airline meal, I was excited to see a couple of things on the menu:

  • meze
  • grilled Turkish meatballs
  • Turkish coffee and tea

Before getting back to the food, I wanted to go back to the seat to show how it looks fully reclined and with the foot rests fully extended. It was probably the best non lay flat airline seat I have ever experienced. You can comfortably sleep, and although its not flat, its very generous in the recline.

Back to the meal which started with the meze.

…and then the main course was served on carts where you could select your meal (note that although the person in this photo is wearing one, masks are not needed on Turkish airlines).

I had the Turkish meatballs which were actually pretty good.

I finished off the meal with Turkish tea and something which really excited me to try – Turkish delights or lokum as they are called in the country. It was my first of many Turkish teas to be had in the weeks to come, and now, I enjoy black tea a lot (previously, I stuck to green or mint). It was also my first taste of lokum, and the flight attendant gladly brought us more when requested. Now I see what the fuss is all about. They are an excellent pairing with tea.

After about 4 hours, we made our descent into Istanbul at night.

Overall, I was extremely happy with the both the hard and soft product. Service was excellent and I would later find that a hot meal is always served on Turkish Airlines, even when the flight is less than 1 hour! The only thing I did not like about this airline, is the boarding process. We never boarded on time and sometimes, it was disorganized and not done by zone. However, miraculously, the pilots always seemed to make up time in the air. This flight in particular, was a great start to the trip to Turkey!

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