I wasn’t planning to fly on business class
As you read in the title above, this business class flight was unplanned. How did it happen? As I mentioned in the previous blog, I had a plan to visit Kuwait to see my family and I decided to make a stop in Germany on my way to Kuwait. I spent 5 days in Stuttgart and Berlin and then the time has come to board a flight with Turkish Airlines from Berlin to Kuwait via Istanbul. I arrived at the new Brandenburg Airport in Berlin about 3 hours before my flight (I always arrive in airports early). There’s a huge amount of controversy surrounding this airport but I guess we aren’t going to talk about it here in this blog but to summarize it, this airport was originally planned to open in 2011 but that didn’t happen as the project encountered a series of successive delays due to various reasons but it finally opened 9 years later, in 2020. Click here if you’re interested in learning about the shameful story of Brandenburg Airport.
Back to the main story of this blog, I was standing in the economy check-in counter, waiting for my turn to check-in and then I noticed something on the screen right above the check-in counter; they were offering an upgrade to business class from Berlin to Istanbul which is a 2.5 hours flight for 190 Euros ($217 USD). I was not planning to fly on business but I gave it a quick thought and did some calculations in my head and realized that it’s a golden opportunity to hit multiple birds with one stone; 1. it’s a very good price for a business class seat 2. I will be amongst the first people to exit the plane in Istanbul and that will give me a good chance to catch my connecting flight as I had only 1 hour layover 3. It’s an opportunity to minimize the contact with other passengers 4. It’s a good content for my blog. All these reasons encouraged me to go ahead and upgrade and I am so glad I did so. I received my boarding card and a lounge access to Lounge Tempelhof, which is the only lounge in this new airport.
I made my way to Tempelhof lounge after passing security control. The lounge is named after the famous old Berlin airport which was closed in 2008 after being operational for more than 80 years. The lounge is massive with multiple seating areas. The view of the airport tarmac from the lounge is magnificent. However, I found the food and drinks options very limited; I had a small dish of rice and chicken and a German pretzel but unfortunately, the taste was mediocre at best. The lounge has showers while washrooms are clean and modern. In summary, it was a nice lounge to relax for an hour or so but not a great lounge to taste any great food.
I still enjoyed the time I spent there but I was looking forward for the biggest highlight of this trip, which is the business class flight itself. The exit of the lounge leads to a private passport control window for lounge visitors so I must admit that it felt a bit exclusive for a moment. After that, I made my way to the gate while looking around this interesting airport as it was my time there. I arrived at my gate and shortly after, the boarding started with passengers with children followed by business class passengers so I made my way to the plane while being full of excitement.
The magical moment which I was looking for has arrived; here I am right in front of my seat for the next 2.5 hours. The business class cabin on this Turkish Airlines A320neo consists of 20 recliner-style business class seats with 2-2 configuration. My seat number was 5F which is a window seat and I had the entire 5th row which is also the last row in this business class cabin for myself. The seat was wide, modern, and very comfortable. It is a recliner seat with an extended leg-support but not a flat-bed seat. However, this is a 2.5 hours European flight so I don’t think that a flat-bed seat would add a great value for such a relatively short flight.
The seat comes equipped with a universal power outlet and multiple USB ports. High-speed Wifi was available for the entire flight without additional cost for business class passengers, which was another amazing thing about this flight. The in-flight entertainment is rich with content; movies, TV shows, flight path map, and even a live TV. The screen is large and beautiful. I had 2 windows next to me to enjoy the views outside the plane. The legroom was massive. Overall, the first impression about this seat was very positive.
A few moments after I sat down in my seat, the cabin crew welcomed me by offering a welcome drink from a great selection of Turkish Airlines signature fresh drinks; while choosing a drink from the tray, I showed a bit of hesitation and confusion so the flight attendant offered me 2 drinks to try and said “Why don’t you try them both?”. The drinks were lemon mint and strawberry juice and they both had a heavenly taste.
While sipping my delicious drinks, one after another, cabin crew brought me the menu for the flight. I thought to order beef cutlet for main course but unfortunately, it was already unavailable when it was my turn to place my order. Instead, I ordered grilled sea bass and that turned out to be a wonderful choice.
Shortly after take off, cabin crew handed me a hot towel; applying it on my face and head brought to me a great feeling of refreshing and even relaxation. A moment later, the flight attendant distributed high quality noise cancelling headphones. I wanted to try the headphones so I started to watch “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” but I didn’t finish it as I started to lose the interest about 30 minutes into the movie.
A few minutes later, it was time to serve the first course of dinner; the presentation was spectacular especially with the tiny Turkish Airlines salt and pepper mills. The main appetizer dish in the tray had 4 tasty appetizers; grape leaf, hummus, eggplant, and Haydari (Turkish yogurt dip). The tray also had a small dish of cheese selection, a salad, a freshly baked bread, and a truly delicious mango panna cotta. Everything tasted exactly like how it should taste in a fancy restaurant and everything looked fresh and tasted fresh. I made sure to finish the appetizer dish first and then a moment later, the main dish arrived to occupy the place of the appetizer on the tray.
As I mentioned above, I was hoping to get beef steak but I got grilled sea bass instead and once again, it tasted so good. I’m convinced that Turks really know how to cook good sea bass and this dish didn’t change my belief. I was generally impressed with the quality of the food and drinks. Don’t forget that all this remarkable service is being provided in a short-haul flight and I found that truly impressive.
After all the delicious food I had, I was lucky to enjoy a beautiful sunset view but I thought that I would enjoy it more with a cup of coffee. I asked the flight attendant for a cup of Turkish coffee but sadly, they didn’t have Turkish coffee cups on this flight so instead, I just asked ordered normal coffee, it was served a few minutes later and it tasted great. Everything tasted amazing in this flight with no exception; welcome drinks, appetizers, main course, dessert, and the coffee.
I enjoyed sipping my coffee and thinking of how great the level of service on this flight is and I even compared it with the disappointing business class flight which I had with Turkish Airlines in October 2020 when I flew from Istanbul to Kyiv (click here to view my blog about that flight).
Before we started to descend, I wanted to visit the washroom for 2 reasons; 1. To use it, obviously and 2. To do the loo review. The A320neo is a narrow body plane so as a result, the washroom in the business class cabin on this plane is quite small. It was still clean and some high-end hand soap and cream were provided so there’s a touch of luxury there.
Shortly after, the plane started to descend, seat-belt sign was on, seat had to go to up-right position and the count down of this short yet memorable flight started. I wish this flight was longer as I truly enjoyed every minute of it.
The connecting flight on an A330 economy to Kuwait
I had a short layover in Istanbul airport; it was so short that I managed to take only 1 photo of the airport terminal. It was the final call when I arrived at gate to board my flight to Kuwait. I had an ordinary economy seat but even though it’s economy, there’s a live TV on the in-flight entertainment screen where they were showing a LIVE game in the English Premier League between Liverpool vs Tottenham. It was 2:1 for Liverpool when I started watching but shortly after, Tottenham equalized and one Liverpool player got a red card. I guess the guy sitting next to me noticed how irritated I felt when Tottenham scored their goal. It wasn’t a great result for me but it was so impressive to watch a live football game in an economy seat. Seriously bravo Turkish Airlines!
I’m so glad I made the spontaneous decision to upgrade to business in this flight. It was an incredible flying experience from entering the lounge until exiting the aircraft. Everything about the flight was spectacular and it exceeded my expectations. Once again, this is a short-haul flight and other European competitors of Turkish Airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air France normally provide a mediocre service in their short-haul flights; which is an economy seat with a blocked seat in the middle.
There are only 2 small things which I wish they were there in this flight; I was hoping to get an amenity kit as a souvenir but I understand that it’s a short flight so Turkish Airlines doesn’t necessarily distribute amenity kits in their short-haul flights. Another minor issue in this flight was, although the service was attentive and professional but the communication was a little bit dry. I’m not trying to be too critical here but I wish if cabin crew were a tiny bit warmer in their communication. I guess this is a common issue with Turkish Airlines as I wasn’t encountering this for the first time. It was still a magnificent experience and I truly wish to repeat it again soon.
This blog was unplanned as the business class flight was unplanned but once again, it turned out to be a great decision and I’m happy that it gave me the opportunity to share my wonderful experience with my readers here.