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Turkish Airlines A330-200 business class
Published: 01/07/2012 RSS
BACKGROUND The first surprise, ahead of my trip, was to hear that Turkish doesn’t provide complimentary chauffeur drives to Dubai International – I thought that would be a matter of course for any major carrier, particularly one in the Star Alliance. It wasn’t an issue for me as I live close by, but business travellers living in ‘New Dubai’ or further afield should take note. On this occasion, I’m going to review the return sector as it was more eventful.
CHECK-IN I was caught in one of Istanbul’s notorious early evening traffic jams to the airport but, as I’d anticipated it, managed to arrive two hours ahead of my 8pm departure. Desk after desk advertised economy class but it wasn’t immediately clear where business class passengers checked in, so I asked a member of staff and was directed to ‘E’ section – where the queue wasn’t that much less than the ones in economy, with only four staff on the counters. There had been a unions-organised march when we arrived so I’m not sure of that had anything to do with it – or simply because it was Sunday evening – but the service wasn’t really befitting of a major international hub. After a 15-minute wait, the formalities were processed immediately and I turned left to passport control, and through without a problem.
THE LOUNGE After the less-than-perfect check-in, I wasn’t setting my lounge hopes high – so the Turkish Airlines/Star Alliance Gold lounge, a short walk to the left, came as a pleasant surprise. It’s very spacious with distinctly separate areas for dining, work, rest and entertainment – there’s even a movie theatre next to the entrance. In fact, it was so good that I thought it warranted its own review (click here).
BOARDING It was a wrench to leave the lounge, but I left in good time as my gate (306) was quite a walk away – the signage was fine, and at the end, there’s a small escalator down to where we caught the transfer bus to the aircraft.
THE SEAT The A330-200 business class had a 2-2-2 configuration with 28 seats. I was sat in 4K by the window and could spread out as the seat next to me was empty. The seat went all the way down and was comfortable.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There’s not that much to choose between them, although I wouldn’t select either of the middle seats on the first row as they face a slightly awkward-looking fixture.
THE FLIGHT There was a considerable amount of traffic leaving the airport at this time, so we didn’t pull back until 8.30pm, which was followed by more congestion and delays on the taxiways. We finally took to the air at 8.50pm. Within 10 minutes, I had the eye mask on and the flatbed down and was all set to sleep, but then the lights were still on, and a fair amount of clinking going on in the cabin for dinner, so I popped the seat back up.
I wasn’t especially hungry as I’d eaten well in the lounge but I was curious to see if the onboard fare would a) match the lounge or b) be better than the outbound journey, when I experienced the business class no-no of being ‘served’ the scrambled egg directly off the foil in front of me. It was marginally better; the salad was ok with prawns and stuffed zucchini – but overall, it was poor; my request, grilled swordfish, had run out and I was left with a lump of chicken medallion and fillet mignon – the latter was red raw – on white rice. The attractive pink menu stated mustard and curry sauce would come with it, but it didn’t. Overall, the IFE isn’t bad , with good-sized screens, wide choice of films and music on Planet Entertainment, and I enjoyed reading the news section (the whole story, as opposed to headlines). Internet is due to be introduced soon.
ARRIVAL Despite the late departure, the captain made up for lost time and the three-hour 45 minute flight arrived on time at 0135. We were assigned the last airbridge on Sheikh Rashid Terminal (1), which meant I had a good leg-stretch before picking up my bags and heading home.
VERDICT It was disappointing that that was such a disconnect between the ground and onboard food. The seat was comfortable enough for what is a fairly short flight.
PRICE Online restricted business class return fares range between €1,532-1,889 for travel in mid-July, rising to €2,843 for flexible fares.