The Delight Of Turkish Airlines

I’ve just returned from CPT Airport where myself and Travelstarters Kirsty (Travelbar) and Tim (development) were invited by Turkish Airlines to inspect their A330-300 aircraft. This was my first time on a seller’s aircraft inspection so I turned to Google to help me prepare for the unknown. Unfortunately most of the Google searches around aircraft inspections involve things like ‘aircraft inspections checklist’ and ‘aircraft inspections for engineers’ (should this worry us?) so it wasn’t too helpful.

After arriving at Cape Town Airport with passable prep in hand, I felt it would be better to just ‘wing it’ rather than go through a list of boring, search engine generated questions.

Turkish Airlines A330-300

Turkish Airlines A330-300 at CPT Airport

Aircraft Inspection: Turkish Airlines

We met at Turkish Airlines’ Cape Town office at the airport, collected our security permits and were taken through to the CIP Lounge* at Cape Town International. A short walk across the apron and we were ready to board the spectacular A330-300 (there are 7 A330-300s in the Turkish Airlines fleet).

*The CIP Lounge at Cape Town International is a secret world known only to the rich & famous and security personnel that work there. It’s used to process VIP’s and dignitaries when they enter/exit South Africa so they don’t have to rub shoulders with the rest of us. I snapped a shot for you guys below.

CIP Lounge CPT Airport

A rare photo of the CIP Lounge at Cape Town Airport

Upon entering the plane the first thing that struck me was the space. Granted we were the only people on the airliner but the whole cabin seemed very spacious. A Turkish Airlines representative told me the planes capacity was 289 – that’s 261 Economy Class Seats and 28 Business Class seats. There are 8 toilets on board of which 2 are reserved for Business Class passengers and there are specially adapted facilities for disabled passengers.

Economy Class

Business Class

Business Class Seat

They see me flyin’, They hatin’

Having never experienced business class I was really excited to see what Turkish Airlines had to offer in this category. Below a breakdown of some of the features that stood out for me:

  • Flying Chef’s’ are available on Turkish Airlines long haul flights. While meals are cooked off site, they provide a value added food service that includes bringing you your choices one-by-one so you’re not sitting with a full tray.
  • Everything is very close to you for ease of use.
  • Mechanical reclining seat allows for different seat pitch settings as well as being able to lie flat for a proper sleep.
  • Business class seats memorise your seat pitch settings so you’re not fumbling with your control trying to find the perfect position.
  • Turkish Airlines cabin crew is always on hand to explain the mechanical functions of the Business Class seat.

In Flight Entertainment

Turkish Airlines’ in-flight entertainment is called the Planet Digital System and comprises 200+ movies including classics, new releases and animation for the kids. In addition to the movies on offer you can also enjoy popular TV series, documentaries, music and games for adults and children. All of this is accessible from the seat console and is available across all classes.

Turkish Airlines Cockpit

They even let us in the cockpit! Please Note: This is not the in-flight entertainment system

What impressed me most is that each seat comes with its own USB port. This means you can bring your own movies and music etc. and enjoy it through the Turkish Airlines IFE setup. Cabin crew can supply specialised plugs for iPad and iPhone users on request. They’re currently working on inflight Internet and hope to have it up and running by the end of 2011.

Each seat has its own phone attached to the console that allows you to make calls to anywhere in the world from 30 000+ feet. It works on a credit card swipe basis and at US$10 per minute it’s not cheap but is at your disposal should there be an emergency on the ground. You can use the same device to chat to passengers in other seats on your flight free of charge.

For those of you that prefer some light reading then pick up a copy of SkylifeTurkish Airlines’ in-flight magazine. You’ll find your free copy in the seat pocket in front of you or if you prefer travelling light then download it for your iPad from the App Store.

Business vs. Economy

No matter what airline you choose, Economy Class is always going to be easier on the pocket. When it comes to Turkish Airlines it boils down to a question of space since you get the same in-flight entertainment/communication features in Economy Class as you do in Business Class.

In the image below Kirsty demonstrates the space differences between Turkish Airlines Economy Class and Business Class.

Turkish Airlines Seat Space

Business Class Seat Space vs. Economy Class Seat Space

Hot Tip: Upon checking in for your Economy Class Turkish Airlines A330-300 flight try reserve the aisle-side middle seats in Row 37. They offer more legroom and are a great alternative if you miss out on the emergency exit seats.

Row 37 A330-300

Row 37-FE – Turkish Airlines Economy Class Seat – One worth remembering

There’s also a Comfort Class (not available on the plane we inspected) that blends the convenience of Business Class with the reasonable rates of Economy Class.

With a world class international airliner and friendly staff, it’s no wonder Turkish Airlines was recently named the winner of the categories, “Best Premium Economy Seats” and “Best Airline Southern Europe” by Skytrax in 2011. After the inspection we returned to the CID Lounge where we were greeted by some light snacks and beverages. If the scrumptious canapés are any indication of what’s in store for you when you fly Turkish Airlines then you’re in for a taste treat.

Turkish Airlines Baggage Allowance

Here’s a short guide to Turkish Airlines Baggage Allowances.

First Class – 60kg

Business Class – 30kg

Comfort Class – 20kg

Economy Class – 20kg

Your luggage cannot exceed the maximum dimensions of 158cm (that’s length + width + depth). More on Turkish Airlines baggage.

Turkish Airlines South Africa

Turkish Airlines flies direct from Cape Town (with a short stopover in Johannesburg) to their hub city of Istanbul with connections to other international destinations. Flights depart daily from Cape Town and Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) except Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Thanks again to Ebru Karasakiz, Mechaela Adams, and Zafer Bolukbasi and their team from Turkish Airlines South Africa for showing the plane and to Adiel and Jolene from Travelstart for organising everything. You can call Turkish Airlines’ Cape Town office on 021 936 3442.

Book Turkish Airlines flights with Travelstart.

Our Readers Comments

  1. this is very useful site

  2. I flew Turkish Airlines before and I had a great experience – excellent food, decent leg-room and entertainment too. They’ve got a good route network in Europe and are part of Star Alliance meaning if you’re a voyager card holder you should be able to earn miles on their flights. For some candid feedback, check out this post on Facebook:

    • I looked on the Turkish Airway website to check what the baggage allowance is and I am really confused. PLEASE can you tell me how many cases I am allowed and what the weight allowance is. I know I can take 1 cabin bag of 8kgs and a handbag.
      Do they allow a 2nd case and if so what weight and the charge. I’m going from London to Johannesburg for Christmas and have Grandchildrens presents. Look forward to your earliest reply. Many thanks, Rosslynne

    • Hi Rosslynee,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      Please can you let us know what your Travelstart booking reference number is.

      This way we will be able to locate your booking and see what your checked baggage allowance is.

      If the booking was not made with Travelstart unfortunately we do not have access to it for security purposes and you will need to contact the airline direct and they will be able to advise accordingly.

  3. I flew this August to JNBCPT. First of all cabin crews are very smoothy. After they served delicious food and beverages, we all often asked for any other requests. We are able to watch movies and play games. Time passes quickly for me and I don’t remember anything except Turkish Airlines 🙂

  4. This post is extremely well done and helpful. I had heard that Turkish had really tried to improve themselves and become a “mini Emirates.” I still don’t quite understand what Kobe Bryant has to do with Turkish Airlines (if you have caught one of their commercials then you know what I am talking about)

    But with these enhancements the business class pricing also seems to have been “enhanced” . I have been searching for deals between Chicago and Istanbul and can’t find discount tickets anywhere. The planes don’t seem to be full but they hav changed their pricing strategy. I even tried and cheapair who I used in the past but they didn’t have any deals with them.

    Anyone have any suggestions here?

  5. I flew with Turkish airline from Istanbul to Munich last month. Its flight ticket was really expensive and in terms of its price it was awful and I can strongly doubt about their reputations. Flight had four hours delay and nothing were served during that time. Hence, I noticed that Turkish airlines crew are rarely able to speak English. I never and ever recommend Turkish airlines.

  6. Turkish Airlines is by far the most pleasant and well price airline I have ever flown on. The ecconomy seating is the best of any airline. Can’t think of any other airline whose meals I look forward to. Their food is not the normal mundane type usually associated with airlines. Beverages are “generously” poured and topped up whenever the need arises. The entertainment is absolutely outstanding. Above all there is one thing that sets Turkish Airlines apart from all the others. Their cabin attendants are absolute gems who make one feel like one has ones own personal attendant even in ecconomy class. As a result I only ever reccomend Turkish Airlines. Keep up the great work.

  7. cant we get premium class seats from South Africa to istanbul please.

    • That would be amazing! Turkish airlines do offer it, just not on the South Africa flights… yet!

  8. I fly Turkish by choice and agree with everything you say, however I found that a ticket to the USA (Seattle in this case) can be exorbitantly expensive.
    In most cases the prices are very good, the service excellent and the planes, space and entertainment just as good.
    The lounge in Istanbul puts the rest of the world to shame.

  9. Morning, please can you tell me what the over weight charges on baggage is. I’m flighing jhb turkey Israel, if I have more then 20kgs I’ll have to pay, but how much extra? Thanks.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you will need to contact the airline direct as they are charging for the excess and the money needs to be paid directly to them.

      They will be able to advise what they charge for excess baggage.

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