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Some things to know and reviews for your economy and business class flights 👂Find out what you need to know before booking your Turkish Airlines flight

An Introduction to Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines, also known as TK or THY, is the national airline of Turkey. Headquartered in Istanbul, it flies to over 300 destinations in 126 countries, making it one of the largest carriers in the world. As a member of the Star Alliance, Turkish Airlines has codeshare agreements with many other major airlines. The airline is known for competitive fares, extensive flight routes, and excellent onboard service. But is flying Turkish Airlines worth it? Here’s an in-depth review of the pros and cons.

The Pros of Flying with Turkish Airlines

Impressive Network of Destinations

With flights to over 300 airports worldwide, Turkish Airlines provides an exceptionally wide network of destinations, especially to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. This makes it convenient for travelers looking to visit multiple cities in these regions on one airline. Even on long-haul intercontinental flights, Turkish offers one-stop service to many cities other airlines don’t fly to nonstop.

Good Value for Money

Compared to many other full-service airlines, Turkish Airlines offers very competitive economy class fares, especially on routes to Europe. While amenities in economy won’t dazzle, the prices are budget-friendly. Their business class fares are attractive too – often thousands less than other carriers for similar products on the same routes. Overall, Turkish provides good value.

High-Quality Catering and Onboard Service

Turkish Airlines is renowned for its catering, even in economy class. Expect fresh, flavorful meals with Turkish and Mediterranean influences. The airline also provides amenity kits, even on short-haul flights. The onboard service is usually excellent – flight attendants are gracious, polished, and hospitable. For a superior experience, business class features chef-curated menus and award-winning Turkish wines.

Good Transit Options through Istanbul

As a major connecting hub, Istanbul offers quick transit times and a wide array of destinations. Passengers with long layovers can take advantage of free tours of Istanbul offered by Turkish Airlines. The airline also provides free accommodation at the airport hotel for lengthy layovers of 10+ hours.

Solid In-Flight Entertainment

Turkish Airlines offers seatback screens with on-demand entertainment across its long-haul fleet. There are hundreds of movie, TV show, and music options appealing to diverse tastes. You can also stay connected with Wi-Fi available on most aircraft.

Lounge Access and Airport Services

Business class passengers can access Turkish Airlines’ luxurious business class lounge in Istanbul, which provides complimentary meals, drinks, showers, and more. Even economy passengers get access to a more basic lounge. At its home-base airports, Turkish offers amenities like free 20-minute massages, Starbucks vouchers, and activities for kids.

The Cons of Flying with Turkish Airlines

Outdated Business Class on Some Aircraft

While Turkish has been upgrading its long-haul business class seats to fully-flat beds, some planes still have outdated recliner-style seats. If you’re booking business, check your aircraft type to avoid disappointment. Their latest A350 and 787 business class products are excellent.

Subpar Ground Services at Istanbul Airport

Istanbul’s new mega-airport has been plagued with problems. Expect long walks, insufficient signage, confusion, and more. Baggage delivery and staffing also remain inconsistent. Give yourself ample connection time at Istanbul.

Unpredictable Flight Delays

Unfortunately, delays and cancellations occur more often than ideal on Turkish Airlines. Build buffer time into your itinerary and have backup plans ready. Be prepared for sporadic long ground delays with minimal information too. However, their safety record is solid.

Rigid Carry-On Restrictions

Turkish Airlines enforces strict carry-on baggage size and weight allowances, including for laptop bags and purses. Overages incur fees. Check your bags or pack super light.

Customer Service Inconsistencies

While onboard service shines, customer service on the ground is hit-or-miss. Agents vary between helpful and apathetic. Refunds and compensations can be very difficult to obtain too. Persistence and patience are required.

Flying Turkish Airlines in 2023: What to Expect

Solid Inflight Safety Protocols

Throughout 2022 and into 2023, Turkish Airlines has maintained excellent COVID-19 safety protocols, including hospital-grade HEPA air filters, mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning. As of February 2023, proof of vaccination or testing is no longer mandated.

Steady Return of Flights and Destinations

After cutting many unprofitable routes during the pandemic, Turkish Airlines continues to rebuild its network. They aim to reach pre-COVID capacity by mid-2023. New aircraft deliveries support this expansion.

Ongoing Ground Operations Challenges

From staff shortages to airspace congestion, Turkish Airlines faces continued ground operation struggles leading to delays and frustrations. Hope for improvement by 2024.

Enhanced Cabins and Products

Turkish Airlines is committed to upgrading its long-haul fleet, introducing outstanding new business class suites and premium economy. By 2025, it aims for just Boeing 787s and A350s.

The Verdict: Is Turkish Airlines Worth Flying?

For budget-conscious travelers who value wide networks, flexible routing options, and appealing fares over lavish frills, Turkish Airlines represents a solid choice. Their unmatched reach, high-caliber catering, and renowned inflight service excel. However, be ready for the downsides too – from potential delays to rigid baggage policies. Savvy travelers who prepare accordingly, pack lightly, and set expectations can absolutely enjoy positive experiences with Turkish Airlines. But it requires effort and flexibility. For those seeking ultra-premium amenities or flawless ground services, you may wish to look at other options. Yet overall, Turkish Airlines still outshines many competitors for value, hospitality, and global connectivity.

Turkish Airlines Review: The Good, The Bad, and Expert Tips

Turkish Airlines at a Glance

Before delving into pros and cons, let’s quickly recap Turkish Airlines’ key facts:

  • National airline of Turkey, based in Istanbul
  • Founded in 1933
  • Member of Star Alliance
  • 340+ aircraft in fleet
  • Flies to over 300 destinations in 126 countries
  • Major hub in Istanbul (IST)
  • Second hub in Ankara (ESB)
  • Has codeshare agreements with over 40 airlines
  • Named “Best Airline in Europe” 7 consecutive years until 2020

The Good: Why Passengers Love Turkish Airlines

From affordable fares to delicious cuisine, Turkish Airlines earns praise in several areas:

Affordable Prices

For budget-minded travelers, Turkish Airlines offers very competitive economy and business class fares, especially to Europe and the Middle East. Deals abound.

High-Quality Inflight Dining

Turkish Airlines’ catering consistently impresses. Their onboard chefs expertly fuse Turkish and international flavors. Even in economy, expect fresh meals with care.

Extensive Network

By linking East and West, Turkish provides one-stop access to over 300 destinations – more than almost any airline. This opens valuable routing options.

Good Inflight Entertainment

Hundreds of movies, TV shows, music albums, games – Turkish Airlines’ inflight entertainment libraries keep you entertained for hours.

Lounge Access

Business class flyers can unwind before flights at Turkish Airlines’ lavish business class lounges in Istanbul and other cities.

The Bad: Where Turkish Airlines Falls Short

Despite its positives, Turkish Airlines also invites criticism in key areas:

Outdated Business Class Seats

Some aircraft still have old-fashioned recliner seats in business, lacking the privacy and comfort of flat beds. Verify your aircraft type when booking.

Airport Chaos in Istanbul

Between endless walking, poor signage, and short staffing, expect a challenging airport experience at the airline’s mega-hub in Istanbul.

Subpar Ground Services

While inflight service shines, customer service on the ground is inconsistent at best. Don’t expect expedient assistance during delays or disruptions.

Frequent Flight Delays

Unfortunately, delays and cancellations occur more often than ideal on Turkish Airlines. Build ample buffer time into your itinerary.

Strict Carry-On Limits

Overhead space comes at a premium. Turkish Airlines strictly enforces carry-on size and weight limits – even for personal items. Fees add up fast.

Expert Tips for Flying Turkish Airlines

How can savvy travelers maximize the positives and minimize the negatives of flying Turkish Airlines? Here are a few key tips:

  • Aim for newer aircraft – Try to book the Boeing 787 or Airbus A350 for the best cabins.
  • Pack light – Abide by baggage limits to avoid fees. Shipping items can make sense.
  • Book early – Snag the lowest fares by booking early. Premium cabins sell out fast.
  • Build in connections – Allow 3+ hours for connections through Istanbul to be safe.
  • Have backup plans – Be ready to quickly make alternate arrangements during
  • Be flexible – Accept that delays and aircraft swaps happen. Go with the flow.
  • Fly westbound – Opt for westbound routings where possible (USA to Europe) to minimize jet lag.
  • Use pillows/blankets – Request extra pillows and blankets in economy for comfort on long flights.
  • Utilize lounges – Take advantage of available business class lounge access before and between flights.
  • Book refundable fares – When possible, book refundable fares in case plans change.
  • Pre-order meals – Those with dietary needs/allergies can pre-order special meals.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water onboard to counter dry cabin air.
  • Walk and stretch – Take occasional walks, stretch, and move around on long flights.
  • Bring entertainment – Download movies, books, podcasts etc. on your devices as a backup.
  • Get trip insurance – Consider trip cancellation/interruption insurance in case of major mishaps.

By being an informed passenger, rolling with the punches, and smartly maximizing Turkish Airlines’ strengths while minimizing weaknesses, you can absolutely have an enjoyable trip. With the right mindset, preparation, and expectations, the airline offers outstanding value.

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