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!
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!
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.
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?