Facts at a glance
Frequent Flyer Star Alliance
Fleet 178 (37 long haul)
Seat Pitch Economy 32" Premium: 46" Business: 76"
Food Full service
Drink Full service
Lounges Istanbul
Turkish Airlines First Class
rating 8 out of 10         4 Star Rating: Pretty good
Turkish Airlines Business Class
rating 7 out of 10         3.5 Star Rating: Really rather good
Turkish Airlines Comfort Class
rating 9 out of 10         4.5 Star Rating: One of the best in class
Turkish Airlines Economy
rating 5 out of 10 5 out of 10
39 reviews
Latest News:
Airline reviews Turkish Airlines Overview
Turkish Airlines Fleet, Seats, Lounges, Food

Turkish Airlines Review Overview

NEWS: Turkish Airlines has ordered a fleet of fifty-five Boeing 787s, with which it will replace much of it's large 767 fleet.

Things have radically changed at Turkish Airlines over the past few years. Now a large, full service airline, operating to most of the globe based at of Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. It was once this state monolith offering an inflight product that was badly dated, and which really should have been axed many years ago, surviving on flying those in the north of Europe down south for cheap bucket and spade holidays, using ancient planes and offering worse food.

Türk Hava Yollari Anonim Ortakligi, to give it its full name, is often shortened to THY, and has invested heavily in new equipment in the air and on the ground. The planes are often straight out of the factory, and offer a distinctly new generation service in all four cabins, with Turkish Airlines Premium Economy reviews particularly favourable. ... read more about Turkish Airlines's seats and fleet.

Business gets flat beds, while the in flight catering has just been contracted to Do&Co of Vienna, and is now seriously good, offering a kind of fusion between Europe and the East (or if not that, at least some good lamb options). Even on the ground the new Ataturk airport is bright and clean, and the business class lounge there has just had a radical revamp, tripling in size and it has definitely moved into the world class.

So, with so much new, quality, hard product, why is a Turkish Airlines review so negative? The biggest problem for Turkish Airlines is often said to be the staff who work for them. Turkish Airlines should properly be known by its initials, THY. Many residents of Istanbul joke that these stand for "They Hate You." And this is oh so true. I've found it's hard to find a more miserable bunch of workers either on a plane or on the ground than at Turkish Airlines. They will never offer help, advice, or anything really, and will try hard to find reasons to not give you something they advertise – such as a hotel for a long layover, or access to the lounge as a Star Alliance Gold. Woe betide you if miss a flight, and getting Turkish Airlines to respond to complaints is a joke. Even in the air you get the impression that passengers get in the way of them, well, not doing much. Opinions show simple requests for drinks on long haul flights tend to be ignored. This attitude to passengers leaves many people to comment “they're a funny bunch aren't they?” Having said that, you may get lucky and not have a problem if you just want to get from A to B and not interacts with the THY crowd. While it is always a good idea to work out what you're going to get before you set foot on a plane, on Turkish Airlines it's vital to not only know your rights, but print them out, and show them to the staff who love to say ‘no'. Turkish Airlines inflight experience.

And that's a shame because Turkish Airlines do offer a genuinely good products some of the time, and the route map offers a good stepping stone between Asia, Europe and the US. Now that the airline is part of the Star Alliance, it's become even more of a bridge around the globe. There are even free stopover hotels offered if you route via Istanbul. Fares are generally a bit cheaper than you'd expect, and there are good reasons for trying Turkish Airlines – and equally good reasons for avoiding them like the plague.

One thing is for sure; if you've never been on Turkish Airlines before, one flight will leave you with a memorable trip, but any Turkish Airlines review must mention a trip has a habit of leaving memories that some passengers would rather avoid, and with opinions that are unprintable.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 in the early morning sunshine at Hong Kong June 2011
Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 in the early morning sunshine at Hong Kong

Note that all reviews and opinions on Turkish Airlines (TK) food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Miles & Smiles Frequent Flyer scheme is soley at my judgement. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice.