Turkish Airlines is so predicable…and that’s such a good thing. I flew Turkish Airlines from Alexandria, Egypt to Istanbul and enjoyed great service, delicious food and drink, and a comfortable business class seat onboard the 737 MAX 8, all on a flight that took only two hours in the air.
Turkish Airlines 737 MAX 8 Business Class Review (HBE-IST)
From Alexandria, I flew to Istanbul, thus starting a very long journey home for me (via Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, London, Bogota, and Houston). The flight gave me an opportunity to try the 737 MAX 8 for the first time with Turkish Airlines. I built the itinerary over the phone using Aeroplan points.
But the 2:40 am departure time was just miserable. Thankfully, the Four Seasons Alexandria graciously allowed us to stay until after midnight then drove us to the airport. We arrived just before 1:00 am.
Check-in took just two minutes. Business class upgrades were being offered for 165USD (we had already booked directly into business class, but this is not a bad price for an overnight flight, just for the seat alone).
Passport control took about 15 minutes, then we spent some time in the Pearl Lounge before boarding began at 2:30 am (the plane was a bit late in arriving from Istanbul).
Alexandria (HBE) – Istanbul (IST)
Thursday, April 7
Depart: 02:40 AM
Arrive: 06:00 AM
Duration: 02hr, 20min
Distance: 716 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737 Max 8
Seat: 2E (Business Class)
As the flight had just arrived, flight attendants were busy in the galley and did not offer a greeting, though it looked like the aircraft had been cleaned on the ground.
The business class cabin includes 16 seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration. These are better than “domestic first class seats” in the USA and more akin to premium economy seats on longhaul flights. In addition to a very generous recline, a footrest could be extended, making this a comfortable seat for lounging.
A small, almost useless, privacy divider could be extended between seats, though since I was traveling with my friend that was not necessary. The seat featured a literature pocket, mesh pocket, and coat hook on the seatback.
Under the armrest there was a fast-charging USB-A port, universal outlet, and a jack to plug in headphones.
Pillows and blankets were offered on demand (both were small and more akin to the type of bedding you would receive in economy class on a longhaul flight).
There are individual air vents above each seat.
This is the same seat Turkish Airlines uses in business class on its A321neo. We pushed back at 2:55 am, about 15 minutes late.
Food + Drink
Prior to takeoff, the purser offered a choice between fresh raspberry juice, fresh mint lemonade, and water. Turkish always offers delicious freshly-squeezed juices.
Menus were offered prior to takeoff with orders taken after takeoff. Even on this short journey in the middle of the night, Turkish provided a huge breakfast onboard.
Breakfast began with a hot towel and an appetizer of sliced turkey, Turkish cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and yogurt, and marinated Turkish olives, served with warm bread from the oven (I had a delicious croissant and pain au chocolat). There was also a side of fresh fruit and “homemade” Turkish mandarin jam from Bodrum and butter from Trabzon.
For my main course, I had a “veggie omelet” with chard, leek, potatoes, and sautéed mushroom.
I find the food on Turkish Airlines to be spectacular on every flight.
IFE + Wi-Fi
Each seat in both business class and economy class has a seatback screen. This is controlled only via touchscreen – I could not find a passenger service unit.
The content included:
- television programing
- ebooks (including a dedicated section of Islamic literature)
Headphones were provided in a sealed bag.
Wi-Fi did not work on this flight.
Service was gracious and well-intentioned, with meals promptly served and glasses kept full. Even after the meal service, flight attendants took turns wandering the cabin (less than half full) ensuring that the passengers were comfortable.
I despise the tiny sink on the 737 MAX 8 that always seems to splash.
Soap and hand lotion from Molton Brown was available.
We landed just as daylight was breaking at Istanbul Airport and unfortunately parked at a remote stand. With the light loads on the flight, all passengers were herded into a single bus and we were soon our way to the terminal.
Turkish is so predictable…and that is exactly the way I love it. You can always count on a good meal onboard a Turkish Airlines flight and I greatly appreciated the chance to recline a bit on my overnight flight to Istanbul.