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What Do You Think Of Turkish Airlines?

Travel the world with Turkish Airlines
Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Our economy flight from Manchester to Istanbul starts well with plush leather seats, oversized seatback TVs and reasonable leg space. The service is exceptional and the food more than edible, unfortunately it goes somewhat pear shaped once we board our lengthier connecting flight to Hong Kong. Yes, this was the flight from Hell! It certainly wasn’t a magical gateway to the world for us!

Rubbish layout

My first disappointment occurs on discovering that the plane is a 777 Turkish Airlines with a 3–3–3 configuration. I am a big fan of flights using 2-4-2 as couples travelling together do not need to worry about hopping over strangers. Fortunately, being in the exit aisle, this was not an issue, but having no storage room most definitely was a problem.

I had to dump my stuff on the floor in front of me or store my laptop or IPAD. Not exactly convenient and at one point I ended wearing my bottle of water as I was struggling to manoeuvre over all my bits and pieces.

Accessing my stuff was made doubly difficult by the slope of the overhead bin as the handle was directly above the middle seat. I practically had to lean over the poor chap in the row behind to be able to reach it. Of course, once I managed to open it, I then could not reach anything within without standing on a seat. Not an option with some guy snoring away in the seat! Without the help of the steward my stuff would have been swallowed up by that bin forever!

So, the layout on this flight could be improved although I believe our outbound plane was in desperate need of renovation, particularly when compared to the plush seating of the connecting flight from Manchester and our more comfortable return journey.

I am hopeful that you might get to travel in a newly remodelled cabin if you travel this route as I noticed a marked difference between our outbound and inbound flights.


I was far from comfortable on the outbound leg due to the lack of anywhere to put my gear and the entertainment system getting in my way every time I needed to move. The seats did not feel particularly wide and I was conscious of banging my neighbour.

On the plus side, however for those wanting to splash some cash, although we were advised that the seats in business were not lie flat beds, they looked like it.

On the return leg, we were sat in a non-exit seat with plenty of legroom, reasonable storage space and a footrest. I was much more comfortable on this flight and managed to sleep for a good proportion of our 12.5 hour flight.

Verdict: Good if you avoid the exit seats!

Turkish Airlines 737
Turkish Airlines


The entertainment system is impressive with a great selection of films. It has access to the usual flight map, films, TV and music and wifi was even available on our flight, although I did not put this to the test. The sound was fantastic quality – I could even hear it over the sound of the engines which is a frequent problem on other airlines.

Verdict: The entertainment system gets a huge thumbs up from me.

Food and drink

My biggest disappointment on all our flights was the food, most of which I found inedible. On the Manchester connection, it was great but thereafter I went without. I’m not an especially fussy eater but sour mousses, and sweaty vegetables are not my food of choice.

On the plus side, the white wine was better than many you get on long haul flights.

Verdict: room for improvement


Given some of the negativity in this post, it is only fair that I talk about price. Turkish Airlines are practically giving away some of their flights with us paying just £324 each from Manchester to Manila via Istanbul and Hong Kong.

Although the outbound journey was an horrendous thirty-hour trip, that discomfort might be a price you are willing to pay to get to the Philippines (or indeed any one of the other numerous destinations served by Turkish Airlines).

Verdict: The choice of routes on Turkish Airlines is immense opening up some interesting destinations at very reasonable prices. Even better is that you can connect from your local airport thus avoiding a trip to Heathrow.

Turkish Airlines plane

Overall Verdict

Thankfully our return flights were on more modern planes with mood lighting and more comfortable seats so I have not yet written off Turkish Airlines. The food, drink and planes seem a little inconsistent but because of their excellent pricing, I suspect it is only a matter of time before I am jumping onboard again.

What’s your thoughts?

I’m reminded of a comment from LeAnna on my Facebook page expressing surprise that our experience was poor so what do you think? Have you flown Turkish Airlines and if so, what is your view?

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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  1. Hi there, a review is always a personal opinion. I’ve flown Turkish Airlines a lot and I’ve had some good and some average experiences but never bad ones so far. All in all, I consider TK an airline that regularly has great fares, especially on their intercontinental destinations in comparison to some other carriers. From Maldives to Istanbul last year, I had an exit seat which was great, (especially because we were the last passengers that were accepted on the flight, after our original carrier cancelled our inbound flight) the food was very much okay, cabin crew was amazingly polite and they were very helpful in stowing my cabin baggage. On a number of other occasions, I flew to Hurghada with them, and despite the bad schedule times, the fares are always fabulous and the best part is that they take my diving gear for free, on top of their 30 kgs baggage allowance in economy class, which is fantastic. In other words, no complaints from me for Turkish Airlines, I love flying with them.

  2. I flew with TK some years ago to Antalya. Overall experience was excellent. Outward flight was delayed due to weather problems, but we were easily re-booked from Istanbul on the next Antalya shuttle, which seems to fly about every hour. Food was good too. I don’t remember any storage problems. Maybe you carry too much gear, Anne.

  3. I appreciate so much when travel bloggers are transparent and honest about their experiences- especially the negative ones. Thank you for this straightforward review to keep us all aware.

  4. I’m a believer that you get what you pay for. If they are practically giving flights away then I’m not sure why you thought it would be such a great flight. Their bottom line probably doesn’t include giving you edible food. I’ve never flown Turkish but I have flown Ryanair. I don’t expect much from them except a hopefully safe flight.

  5. Never flown on TK, but price is always my first concern. I think I would overlook some of these issues if I could find a good deal.

  6. Thanks for this interesting review. I have never flown with this airline before but it sounds like a great airline, apart from the food haha. I recently sat in an exit seat for the first time and also hated it! I’m pretty tall with long legs and thought an exit seat would be good for me. But like you not having the space to put my stuff was a nightmare.

    • Yes I hated that and in the past there has usually been a pocket that we could use on the side but not in this instance. I am 5’6 (so not tiny by any stretch) but not being able to reach the bins sucked!

  7. I’ve only travelled with TK once – it was a trip from Siberia to AMS via Istanbul (6h30 and 3h40 flights respectively). My overall experience was positive, the food was decent (by air travel standards), there was enough legroom, and I liked that provided all Economy pax with this so-called welcome kit, which included an eye mask, earplugs, a mini-toothbrush+toothpaste, and other things. Personally, I found it pretty great considering the price. Sorry to hear your experience wasn’t as good.

    • HI Anna, that is a really good point. They are one of the very few airlines who do still offer an amenity kit in economy class! That is some detour going to Amsterdam via Istanbul from Siberia. Hope you had a good time.

  8. I’m flying Turkish Air from DC to Greece with a layover in Turkey. We bought it because it was so cheap. Insight is always helpful.! Hopefully we will be on a newer plane!

  9. This review is poor by any standard. A reviewer who claims to be in the miles game but makes no mention of the miles earning opportunities (which are very attractive on TK). A reviewer who is so unaware of flying that she doesn’t mention the aircraft type on one leg, nor hasn’t researched seating options. Seatguru isn’t perfect but nor is it rocket science. A reviewer who cannot articulate the food options other than she didn’t like it (food often doesn’t seem so attractive after a 2am departure but that wasn’t mentioned either). And so on.

    I’m not a great fan of TK but I’ve flown them on one and a half round trips and found them to be on a par in economy with the other major European airlines and much better value.

    • Thanks for your comments which I’ll certainly take onboard for future posts. Seatguru is undoubtedly a great tool but for those flying economy, I would argue it has little bearing because price is usually the deciding factor. In that respect Turkish Airlines excel

  10. I think it would be wise to avoid transiting in Istanbul

    • i understand your concern but would you also have the same view regarding transferring in Brussels, Paris or any other city which has been impacted by terrorist and unrest? Of course, the events of last night won’t help restore people’s confidence but Turkish Airlines offers fares which are hard to beat and many will take that chance

  11. This is a horribly-articulated review. Most 777’s are in 3-3-3 seating arrangement (or worse at 3-4-3). Curvature of the overhead bin is the result of the manufacturer, not TK.

  12. I recently took a Turkish Airlines business class flight from The Maldives to Istanbul then Istanbul to JFK. I wasn’t impressed. The business class seats were uncomfortably angled. The service was kind of mechanical and cold. One of their claim to fame is that they have an on-board chef. What a crock!! It’s a guy with a chef’s hat who pops food items in a microwave. Food was very average and unimpressive. The only thing good about the whole trip was that they allowed us to stay in a Radisson Blu hotel in Istanbul for free since our layover was more than 6 hrs.

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