What to Know Before Booking a Turkish Airlines Flight, Per Customer Reviews

Travelers weigh in on Turkish Airlines' food, business class, baggage allowance, and more.

Turkish Airlines plane landing
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

The first thing you’ll hear from past Turkish Airlines passengers is about the food. We’ve never seen so many rave reviews about airline food — apparently, the best-spiced food in the skies is on board Turkish Airlines. So while you're standing famished in the Turkish Airlines check-in line, take comfort in the fact that your in-flight meal may be significantly better than you were expecting. 

Though it may not be as well known as Emirates, the airline reaches more international destinations (250, to be exact) than any other airline in the world. And the food isn't the only exceptional amenity that comes with booking a ticket with Turkish.

But are the reasonable prices too good to be true? From business class reviews to the baggage allowance, we've gathered everything you need to know before booking that Turkish Airlines flight.

Turkish Airlines at Istanbul Airport

Turkish Airlines’ home base is Istanbul Airport where the airline has an impressive lounge for business class travelers. According to Jon Nickel-D'Andrea at NerdWallet, you can “enjoy free Wi-Fi, a massive children’s play area, free food including Turkish cuisine, and private suites to relax. You can freshen up in one of the shower suites or explore the 1,400-square-foot museum, created in collaboration with Istanbul Modern, right inside the lounge.” 

Ben Schlappig at One Mile at a Time took advantage of the Turkish Airlines Lounge’s showers on his layover, though he lamented he didn’t get the full experience. “Unfortunately our stopover didn’t qualify for a nap room — those are available when you have a layover of between four and nine hours, and one flight is at least eight hours long.”

Similar to Icelandair's stopover in Reykjavik, Turkish Airlines offers a stopover in Istanbul. And with their stopover program, your hotel room is free. Here's how it works: If you have a business class ticket, you can qualify for two nights free at a five-star hotel. And if you have an economy class Turkish Airlines ticket, you can get one night at a four-star hotel. You just have to email the corresponding address on this chart at least 72 hours before your flight.

Turkish Airlines Business Class Reviews

The layout of your plane will depend on if you’re doing a short or long-haul flight and what type of aircraft you get. For instance, Schlappig at One Mile At a Time took a short flight in a 737 MAX’s business class which had 16 seats in a 2-2 configuration. However, if you’re flying on a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777, the business class cabin is laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration. 

If you’re on a Transatlantic flight, you will get a lie-flat seat, no matter the layout. At NerdWallet, Nickel-D'Andrea said, “No matter which plane you’re on, you’ll have a lie-flat experience in the airliner's business class. There are individual power ports to charge devices, noise-canceling headphones, and even massages are available on certain aircraft. Some of Turkish Airlines’ newer planes, like the 787 Dreamliner, offer aisle access from every seat.” 

Even on shorter flights, business-class travelers benefit from a large entertainment selection and 1GB of free Wi-Fi data. You’ll also get to experience the airline’s famous in-flight dining. Schlappig was served pre-departure drinks and a meal consisting of a salad with grilled chicken, hummus, cheese, baked rice pudding, bread, and sea bass en papillote with julienne vegetables. Schlappig also mentioned, “At the conclusion of the meal I ordered a coffee, which the flight attendant refilled a couple of times.”

But, nothing beats a Turkish Airlines long-haul dining experience, which is defined by the on-flight chef. Yes, that’s right, your flight will have a personal chef. Nickel-D'Andrea said on NerdWallet, “On transatlantic flights, you’ll be greeted with a welcome drink, which is soon followed by an expansive selection of hors d’oeuvres and soups. Your meal is served on porcelain tableware and prepared according to your specifications. It’s all finished with Turkish coffee and Turkish delight.”  

Turkish Airlines Economy Class Reviews

Chris Loh at Simple Flying described the seats in Turkish Airlines’ economy class on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 as having plenty of legroom, a generous recline, highly-adjustable headrests, and a small coat hanger on the side of the forward seat. 

Even on a short flight, the food service Loh experienced in economy consisted of two entree options (a pasta dish or a beef patty on rice with a bean stew), alongside a selection of sides offered with all meals including an eggplant dish with sour cream, a mango mousse topped with chocolate shavings, a warm bread roll, and a choice of beverage. 

According to Nickel-D’Andrea in a review of service in economy for NerdWallet, “If you’re flying on a long-haul overnight flight, economy class even gets you an amenity kit with ear plugs, a sleep mask, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, and lip balm.”  

Booking a Turkish Airlines Flight

One of the easiest ways to get the most out of your Turkish Airlines ticket is to use the airline’s own points, known as Miles&Smiles. However, even if you’re not a Turkish Airlines habitué, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points or Capital One miles to your Miles&Smiles account at a ratio as good as 1:1 . You also have the option of using United Airlines miles, as both airlines are members of the Star Alliance, if you book a flight on Turkish Airlines through United’s website. 

You’ll also notice the economy fare level includes three different booking classes: promotion, semi-flexible, and flexible. According to NerdWallet, “The promotion class tickets come with the most restrictions. For example, if you want to select your seat at time of booking a promotion class ticket, you’ll pay anywhere from $39 for a regular seat up to $119 for an exit row. You can avoid this charge by waiting until check-in for the airline to assign a seat for you.”

Turkish Airlines Baggage Allowances

Compared to some airlines, Turkish Airlines is generous when it comes to baggage, though you’ll have a different experience depending on which service class you book. 

“Turkish Airlines business class passengers can check two pieces of luggage weighing up to about 70 pounds each for free, plus bring two pieces of cabin baggage,” said Nickel-D'Andrea. While in economy, you’re allowed to “check two bags weighing up to 50 pounds each, plus the ability to bring a carry-on bag, like a purse or tote, and an accessory item, like headphones or a camera.”

Should You Fly Turkish Airlines?

From the food to the airport lounges, reviewers generally rave about their experience flying Turkish Airlines. The fact that economy benefits from business class services (hot meals, amenity kits, good legroom) on several Turkish Airlines flights, while business class gets unique amenities like free Wi-Fi, puts this airline above and beyond.  

The “proper business class seats, free Wi-Fi, friendly service, and a great food and beverage selection” are some of the pros One Mile at a Time cited. Nickel-D'Andrea at NerdWallet loved the lie-flat business class seats on all transatlantic flights, the airline’s airport lounge experience, and the personal chef on the flight. 

Loh at Simple Flying maybe said it best with, “All in all, the experience of flying a short international flight in a Turkish Airlines narrow-body aircraft was fantastic — even in economy class. Indeed, this experience puts other airlines to shame.”

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