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Unusual sight on new flight to Australia


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It’s not often I get to fly in the ‘not economy’ section of a plane, let alone business class, and here I am with a business class ticket on board the TK168 – Turkish Airlines’ inaugural flight from Istanbul, Türkiye to Melbourne, which landed in Australia on Saturday.

Business class lounge

First up was to check out what was on offer at the business class lounge at Istanbul airport.

The idea of visiting a lounge to sit separately to everyone else ordinarily seems completely useless to me – what lingers behind those boarding pass ticketed gates? How much free food do you really need to eat anyway?

I’m usually more than happy to spend my pre flight time over a wine at an airport bar, but it was a treat to be wined and dined at the expansive lounge before the flight.

It featured a salad bar that would put Sizzler to shame – containing all the usual fresh salads along with grilled veggies, dips and olives.

Loading up my plate, I thought maybe this might be overdoing it before being fed on the plane but it was still a few hours until they’d serve dinner on the flight, right?

While it was probably a smart meal to have before boarding a long haul flight, I decide I can do better than just salad.

There were chefs handmaking potato and cheese gozleme right in front of me so my arm was twisted, and washed it down with a glass or two of prosecco from the handy serve-yourself bar cart.
Also on offer were a variety of grilled meats, kebabs and freshly made pides.

After having spent a week in Istanbul chowing down on all the classic Turkish delicacies, of which baklava ended nearly every meal, I decided to savour a few more bites of the flaky and syrupy dessert before I left Türkiye.

Flight experience

As I show the air hosts my boarding pass I half expect them to tell me there’s a mistake, can it be true?

But yes, they’ve let me on board and show me to my seat-slash-entertainment area-slash-dining table-slash bed for the next 20 or so hours.

Upon boarding the plane we were greeted by an unusual member of the cabin crew – an on-board ‘flying chef’.

As we took our seats the chefs (there were multiple, but Aydin was looking after us on our flight) handed us our menus.

During the flight they prepared each dish in the small kitchen galley and presented passengers with their dishes, ensuring each dish is up to restaurant standard.

First up we were served dinner by our in flight chefs and cabin crew, with a selection of appetisers available – you could have as little or as many of the appetisers as you wanted.

The selection available included Turkish pastrami and cheese pastry, smoked salmon with horseradish and octopus and prawn salad with zucchini, olive oil and lemon.

Main meals were a choice of a local mixed kebab plate, teriyaki salmon or homemade tagliolini pasta with burrata, and were accompanied by an extra cute candle for a ‘candlelit dinner high above the clouds’- battery powered, of course.

Being one of the meals to end my time in Türkiye, I decided to stick with the local cuisine – the almighty mixed kebab – and wasn’t disappointed – the meat was tender, flavourful and was complimented perfectly with the beğendi (slow roasted eggplant) and tomato bulgur pilaf.

The plane we flew on was a Boeing 777-300ER that offered minimal privacy in the seating arrangements.

It had a 2-3-2 seat layout in business class, which meant any window and middle seated passengers had to climb over their aisle neighbours to get up from their seats.

I really couldn’t complain though – having a lie flat seat during a flight is an absolute game changer.

While I spent most of the flight either eating or sleeping in a flat position – I’m under no illusions that I’ll be back in economy before you know it.

To freshen up throughout the flight, we were offered Ferragamo amenities kits containing all the essentials – toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, ear plugs, socks and an eyemask.

Flight time

The first leg of the flight – Istanbul to Singapore – sits at 10 hours and 25 minutes.

Upon arrival in Singapore we need to exit the plane for around 1.5 hours as the plane refuels, but it’s not a bad chance to stretch your legs.

The Singapore to Melbourne journey is slightly shorter at 7 hours and 25 minutes.


Turkish Airlines have launched a new Melbourne-Istanbul flight route, with economy fares starting at $1499 return and business class fares starting at $7599 return. Turkish Airlines plan to extend the service to Sydney later in 2024.

This writer travelled to Türkiye as a guest of Turkish Airlines

Read related topics:Melbourne

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