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Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class: Bottom Line Review

Turkish Airlines’ 787 is a business class product that I’ve heard great things about over the last few years, but have never been able to check out personally. A springtime trip to the Middle East gave my wife and I the opportunity to fly Qatar QSuites on the way out and then Turkish 787 business on the way back to Seattle. Each airline was excellent but, perhaps surprisingly, we both preferred our experience on Turkish to our time in QSuites…especially for the price.

Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Bottom Line Review

Simply put, Turkish Airlines’ 787-9 business class is top notch. Catering is superb, both on the plane and in the lovely Istanbul lounge. The seat is spacious and comfortable, even for a 6’3″ giant like me. Service was on point, with a chef stopping by each seat to discuss the menu and trolley service for both mezze and desserts. Outside of the mediocre in-seat storage, it’s tough to find downsides here. This is a great way to fly. Thumbs Up.

  • How we found it: We were able to find the availability by searching Turkish’s website for the dates/times that we needed.
  • How we booked it: We booked by transferring Capital One Miles to Turkish during a terrific Turkish Award sale to/from the US. We got two tickets from Amman to Istanbul,  had a four-day stopover in Turkey, and then continued on to Seattle (all in business). The total cost was 32,900 miles + $360 per ticket.
  • Cash Price: ~$4,200pp, roundtrip
  • Route: Istanbul (IST) – Seattle (SEA)
  • Ground Service:
    • Check-in: There were several dedicated business class check-in counters at IST, as well as a designated security lane. The line moved quickly and efficiently, staff was very warm.
    • Departure Lounges: In Istanbul (IST), Turkish has both domestic and international business class lounges. We went to the massive international lounge and it was fantastic. The lounge includes showers, sleeping suites, a children’s playground, a cinema and an on-duty masseur. The food selection is over the top, with multiple made-to-order stations that change throughout the day, an olive buffet, Turkish bagel station, pita station, grill buffet, Turkish desserts and cakes, as well as bars that serve coffee, teas, juices and alcoholic beverages. Some of the better catering that I’ve had in a business lounge.
  • Business Class Seat:
    • Comfort: The Turkish 787-9 has 30 business class seats that are arranged 1-2-1 over one cabin. Each seat has ~20-21″ of width and is 76″ long when in lie-flat mode. Because I’m 6’3″, the footwells in many 1-2-1 business products can feel pretty cramped. Instead of a straight reverse herringbone configuration, Turkish slightly staggers both the window and middle seats, which provides for additional footwell width and bed length. It was great. My legs didn’t feel scrunched in lie-flat mode at all. The padding of the seat is excellent and I was able to sleep comfortably for several hours. It’s worth noting that, because of the layout, even-numbered window seats are closer to the window with a table between the seat and the aisle. Odd-numbered seats are the opposite, so are closer to the aisle (and probably feel less private). The middle seats are the reverse: odd numbered rows are closer to the seat next to them , even numbered rows are closer to the aisle.
    • Storage Space: This is the main shortcoming of the seat. Under the footrest, there’s a enough space to put shoes (and they provide a shoe bag). There’s one additional cubby next to the power sources above the IFE controls. That’s pretty much it. On the one hand, the permanent table between the seat and the aisle is nicely-sized and gives some additional space to set things on. One the other, backpacks either have to be on the floor next to the seat or in the overhead compartment.
    • In-flight Entertainment (IFE): The 787-9 has a terrific 18″ In-Flight Entertainment screen with excellent resolution. Noise-cancelling Denon headphones are provided, and seemed more or less equivalent to the Bose headphones on many carriers. The selection of movies and shows is broad, with both new releases and a significant back catalog.
  • Food and Beverage: Excellent, easily upstaging its European competition and on-par with some Middle-Eastern carriers. There is an on-board chef that provides some access to dine-on-demand and that will come by each seat beforehand to take orders and discuss the menu. For me, the highlight was the delightful mezze offering. Both the mezze and dessert services are from linen-topped trolleys that are wheeled down the aisles, allowing passenger to look at the various items and choose whatever (and how much) they’d like. While the entrée choices may not include the ubiquitous “filet mignon” steak option, what they did have was delicious and well-prepared.
  • Service: I’ve heard some reports of Turkish’s onboard service leaving something to be desired, but that wasn’t our experience at all. Drinks were kept topped-up proactively and meal service flowed smoothly with little delay despite the multiple trolley services. To a person, everyone was warm and friendly, while remaining efficient and unintrusive.
  • Cabin Ambiance/Temperature Control: My wife and I both thought it was great. Although the seat “pods” don’t have doors, their orientation combined with the various privacy shields make them feel quite secluded…you’re never really looking into someone else’s space. The cabin was kept a touch on the warm side for my taste, but nowhere close to the sauna that some Asian carriers seem to favor.
  • Internet: Excellent for an international flight. I was able to browse, work and download whenever I needed to.
  • Amenity Kit: Includes a Hackett of London amenity kit with slippers and a variety of Qiriness toiletries, facemask and earplugs.
  • Would I choose to fly it again?  Absolutely…and I’ll seek it out. Both the hard and soft product are great, availability from the West Coast is some of the best around and “saver” pricing is terrific.

Pros and Cons


  • Great value points option from the US
  • Usually has very good availability, especially for those of us on the West Coast
  • Spacious seat that’s 76″ long in lie-flat mode
  • Terrific catering
  • Excellent WiFi for an international flight
  • Seat is very comfortable for sleeping in lie-flat mode
  • Service is efficient and warm
  • Well-managed cabin temperature


  • Mediocre in-seat storage
  • Surcharges are on the high side of moderate (but still less than many European carriers)

Image Gallery

Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Window Seat and Cabin

View from back of the business class cabin.
Full seat pod. This is the seat in the even rows that has a table area between the seat and the aisle. The odd-numbered window seats have the table/cubby in between the seat and the window.
Footrest with included shoe bag.
Storage underneath the footrest isn’t great, it more or less works for shoes and that’s it.
The seat is designed to feel quite private from the other seats around it.
This cubby includes the power sources and is really the only in-seat storage…the only real flaw of the seat, in my opinion.
The cubby does have a pad lock for valuables if you feel so inclined.
Seat and IFE controls.
There was an additional light source on the window side of the seat as well. It provides a softer (and more adjustable) alternative to the main overhead.
Pop-out mirror.
The fold-out table is huge, which comes in handy with all of the mezze choices.

The IFE screen slightly tilts down for when you’re in lie-flat.

Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Catering

Trolley service.
The main course of Turkish “ravioli” was delicious.
Dessert, cheese and fruit trolley.

Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Amenities

Turkish Airlines 787-9 Business Class Food and Beverage Menu

Video Tour of Turkish Istanbul Business Class Lounge

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My wife Erin and my first big journey together went around the world in 100 days for
our honeymoon, a trip in which I had one car accident and got one speeding ticket in every country that we visited (I think that I may still have an arrest warrant in New Zealand for an unpaid ticket, but we’ll keep that between us). We currently
live in one of the few corners of Washington State where you can still MS Staples Gift Cards at Safeway; we own a winery, ski after work and hike as much as our elderly knees will let us.


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