Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul new airport

Tested April 2019

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul

In October 2018 the new Istanbul airport opened and a couple of months later, during the weekend 6-7 April, the new airport took over as the main airport of Istanbul and the new hub of Turkish Airlines, replacing the old and all too small Atatürk airport.

This is a review of a flight in Turkish Airlines Business Class from Copenhagen to the new airport of Istanbul during that weekend. In fact this was the first ever commercial flight from Scandinavia to the new airport.

Departure experience

I stayed overnight in downtown Copenhagen and took a taxi in the early morning to the airport, which is quite close to the city centre. Although there are both trains and a convenient underground service to the airport I decided to take a taxi to maximise the sleep.

I arrived at Copenhagen Kastrup airport at 6 am with around 50 minutes until the flight departure. I had already checked in online and had my boarding passes printed and on top of that only hand luggage, so I decided to arrive as late as possible.

Turkish Airlines business class passengers have access to the fast track channel through security (the main one operated by the airport authorities, not the SAS fast track) where there was no one in line. Passport control was also a breeze.

Turkish Airlines use the Primeclass Lounge in the non-Schengen area in concourse C, but of course you can also visit the SAS Lounge per Star Alliance rules, but then you need to allow time for passport control afterwards. Since both security and passport control were quick I wondered whether there would be time to pop inside the lounge for a quick cup of coffee, but all monitors already showed ‘Go to gate’ for the flight, so I decided to skip the lounge. There would be a breakfast service onboard the flight anyway.

Read a full review of the lounge here!

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 at the gate in Copenhagen

There were no special celebration at the gate but the Turkish Airlines gate agent mentioned during the boarding announcement this was the very first flight from Copenhagen to the new Istanbul airport, and he seemed pretty excited about it.

Proper priority boarding was offered for business class passengers and gold card holders.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Priority boarding

The flight

Copenhagen-Istanbul new airport
Turkish Airlines flight TK 1788
Departure: 06.50
Arrival: 11.05
Business Class
Boeing 737-800
Seat 02F

First impression

A Boeing 737-800 was used for the flight to Istanbul with proper business class seats onboard. I had seat 02F on the second row. We were only six passengers in total in business class so there was plenty of space.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The business class cabin on the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800

After I had taken my seat I was offered a welcome drink with several different juices, nicely decorated with a cocktail pin. All were non-alcoholic though so no champagne, but I had a fairly nice raspberry juice. Turkish and international newspapers were also offered.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Pre-departure raspberry juice

Pushback five minutes ahead of timetable at 6.45 am with a flight time of around three hours to Istanbul. A safety video was shown on the screens featuring the latest Lego movie. Quite nicely done and definitely something different.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The Lego safety demonstration video

The initial climb provided a fantastic view of the sunrise over the Öresund strait between Denmark and Sweden with the striking Öresund bridge.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Beautiful morning view of the strait of Öresund

Seat and cabin

Turkish Airlines is one of the few airlines in Europe providing proper business class seats also on shorthaul intra-European flights, the problem is that there is a wide variety of aircrafts and configurations and last-minute aircraft changes are not unheard of, so the main problem is that you never really know what you will get if you travel on a narrowbody aircraft.

On narrowbody aircrafts without proper business class seats the configuration is 3-3 with standard economy class seats also in business class but with the middle seats blocked, meaning a 2-2 configuration.

Fortunately today’s Boeing 737-800 was one of the aircrafts with a proper business class cabin. Four rows in a 2-2 configuration with 16 seats in total. And with only six passengers there was no lack of space.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The business class seat

The black leather seats were very comfortable but unlike the longhaul seats the shorthaul business class seats are pneumatic rather than electric and hence not as advanced.

The seat pitch was 43 inches, which is definitely not too bad for a shorthaul flight. There was nothing to complain about regarding the comfort.

Food and drinks

Straight after takeoff the menu was handed out together with the drink list. Always nice to get a proper printed menu. With departure at 6.50 am there was obviously a breakfast service planned to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The menu
Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The breakfast menu and the drink list

Shortly afterwards the flight attendant passed each seat to take a first drink order which he noted on a piece of paper. I ordered a glass of orange juice.

The meals on Turkish Airlines are provided by Do&Co and are definitely a highlight of the experience.

After a few minutes a table cloth was laid on my table and the meal tray was handed out with different Turkish cheese, vegetables, olives and honey. There was also a bowl with fresh fruits. Bread rolls and pastries were offered from a basket.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The breakfast tray

Next the two flight attendants passed through the cabin with the main courses on a table. There were two choices, either ‘Gözleme’, grilled flat pastry with cheese, or Potpourri of ‘Börek’ with Turkish style cheese and spinach pastries. I had the first option, the ‘Gözleme’ which was tasty but rather filling.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The main course, Gözleme

Finally coffee and tea were offered with refills, and to finish off, liqueurs on a table, for breakfast. Not sure if anyone ordered anything at 7.45 am, I highly doubt it and I did not. But a nice touch nevertheless.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Liqueurs being prepared in the galley

The breakfast was tasty but again very heavy. I certainly did not regret skipping breakfast in the lounge at the airport.

There was no more drink round during the flight but it was easy to stop the flight attendants when they passed or press the call button. Later during the flight I asked for a glass of champagne to drink.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The next-generation cabin

Inflight entertainment

A full Audio Video On-Demand system was available onboard, which was certainly not bad for a three-hour shorthaul flight. Noise-cancelling headphones were provided by the crew in business class. The screens were stored under the armrest between the seats.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The inflight entertainment system

The selection included movies, TV-series, documentaries, audio books, music albums, a section for kids and some information about the flight, including a moving map.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Selection of movies

The service

The service was friendly and attentive and all the flight attendants spoke reasonable English, but the service was a bit low-key. There were few initiatives, no small talk and no recognition of me as a gold card holder with Star Alliance. However whenever I asked for something it was promptly taken care of.

Arrival experience

Already after departure a map was handed out for the new airport explaining the layout of the airport and the facilities available, including all the lounges.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Map of the new Istanbul airport

During our descent there was more information on the screens about the new airport, for example explaining that passengers with a connection shorter than 75 minutes could use the Short Connection lanes at the airport.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Information about short connections at Istanbul new airport

Other than the main transfer security control in the central part of the building there is a Short Connection transfer control in each concourse, six in total.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The location of short connection transfer points at Istanbul new airport

We approach Istanbul from the north-east and got a nice view of downtown Istanbul during the approach.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Beautiful approach into istanbul

The final approach to the new Istanbul was made from the south, passing just south of a nearly deserted Atatürk airport at a low altitude, the airport which was had just been replaced as the main airport of Istanbul. Over 300 aircrafts had been moved from this airport to the new airport during the past 24 hours and the airport had probably not been this empty for several decades. It was all rather surreal.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Istanbul Atatürk airport the day after the great move

The new airport is located in the north-western part of Greater Istanbul and we landed from the south. I got a good view of the massive international terminal as we touched down as well as a good view of the huge number of aircrafts parked around the airport. The number of departures and arrivals was kept to a minimum during this weekend to avoid any problems during the move, which explained all the aircrafts parked at various remote stands.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
A first view of the massive terminal at Istanbul new airport

It was a huge disappointment however that we were directed to a remote stand. I thought the whole idea with the new airport was to reduce the number of flights having to park at a remote stand, but most likely this was due to logistical reasons during this very special weekend.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
Remote stand for us

But from a positive point of view parking at a remote stand meant that I got a good sightseeing tour of the airport, both from the aircraft window during taxiing and later from the bus. The area is really massive with two-lane roads connecting the different areas and we actually passed through no less than three different tunnels just to get from the apron stand to the terminal building.

But it was at the same time a bit disappointing to see that Turkish Airlines, aiming to make their hub a world-class airport, did not provide a dedicated bus for business class passengers. We were all squeezed inside the regular bus.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Copenhagen-Istanbul
The Boeing 737 after disembarkation

Final impression

Proper business class seats, pre-departure beverage, printed menu, a decent breakfast with two choices of main course from Do&Co and an extensive drink list. Not much to complain about regarding the inflight experience. But the service was a bit low-key and I did miss some real enthusiasm from the cabin crew.

About MorePremium.com 1018 Articles
My interest in premium travels and frequent travels started in the 90’s, so to date I have over 20 years of premium travel experience. MorePremium.com will mostly be about my own experiences, based on my own knowledge and my travel history, but you will also find news items, analyses, tips and tricks and reports from events.

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