Yes, Turkish Airlines is more than good! When you compare its comfort level, inflight entertainment, food and drinks, amenities, flight service, and safety record to other airlines, Turkish Airlines is overall far better. Over more than 20 years, I’ve flown many times with all of the major U.S. airlines, Air Canada, and several European airlines – Turkish Airlines has repeatedly delivered the best experiences.
Why Turkish Airlines is Good
Turkish Airlines is good because they continually prioritize the customer’s experience. It’s obvious they know how valuable it is to deliver a top-notch experience, so their customers will spread the word and come back for more flights.
The airline has received notable awards and recognition over the past 12 years, including Skytrax World Airline Awards’ ‘Best Airline in Europe’ for 5 straight years. In terms of safety, Turkish Airlines has flown multi-millions (if not billions) of flights and has only had a total of 19 incidents and accidents since its founding in 1933. That’s a super negligible incident and accident rate – it’s literally almost 0%.
On long, international flights, the airline goes above and beyond to help make customers feel comfortable, well-fed, and entertained. Over 20+ years of flying with Turkish Airlines (taking at least one flight per year), I’ve never had a truly negative experience and I think that speaks volumes.
What You Get on an International Flight
All Turkish Airlines passengers get access to clean bathrooms, drinks and a snack or meal, functional and safe seats, a tray table, and charging ports if your phone ends up dying and you need to emergency charge.
I haven’t ever flown Business Class on Turkish Airlines, so I was surprised to learn that the airline gives a lot of business class perks. Perks like access to the Business Lounge, preferential check-in, extra baggage, and food served on porcelain tableware.
In case you’re thinking of upgrading to Business Class, passengers on transoceanic flights receive Denon headphones with noise-canceling features. You can also collect your bags quicker after your flight because of Business Class priority bag labels.
And Business Class gets to choose a comfort kit bag. The feminine amenities kit is by Coccinelle, a fashion brand with romantic and feminine bag collections. The male amenities kit is by Hackett, a modern and masculine sporty brand.
The Economy Class bathrooms on flights between the U.S. and Turkey are always clean, modern, fully stocked, and on the spacious side for plane bathrooms. I don’t know about you, but I always hate a tiny plane bathroom and when flight attendants don’t keep toilet paper stocked, so TK bathrooms have been great in my experience.
On long-haul flights, bathrooms are also stocked with luxurious hand soap, hand lotion, and perfume/cologne. I’ve honestly never been on better smelling flights.
Food & Drinks
Food and drinks on Turkish Airlines are always much better than what I’ve gotten on other airlines (European and North American airlines included). Everything’s usually fresh, tasty, and for Economy Class dinners you’ll get a main dish, a salad, a side dish (like hummus), a bread roll, and a dessert. One thing to note: because the flight gets its food from wherever the plane is taking off from, I’ve noticed food prepared in Turkey is always much tastier than food prepared in the U.S.
Economy Class’s Food & Drinks
On long, overnight flights, Turkish Airlines serves two meals (a dinner/lunch and a breakfast) with drinks. On shorter flights, they’ll definitely serve drinks – probably with a sandwich or snack.
Soon after take off on flights serving dinner, flight attendants will go down the aisles distributing fancy little menus with the meal options. There’s always a pasta and meat option. The pasta option usually has some vegetables in it, but sometimes it’s just a fettuccine. The meat option could be chicken, lamb, or beef, usually served with vegetables and rice. I’ve never seen a seafood option and, for religious reasons, they never serve pork. To top off the meal, they give you a warm bread roll with butter and drink.
You’ll find a lot of options for drinks, as in way more than what domestic U.S. flights offer. Drinks like tomato juice, sour cherry juice, orange juice, mixed fruit juice, and mineral water.
Breakfast items are usually sandwiches – I’ve gotten a lot of different kinds of sandwiches over the years. From what I can remember, they’re simple and have cheese (like feta), tomatoes, and lettuce.
Then they give the perfect amount of time for you to eat before going around and starting to collect everyone’s trash and tray. It’s long enough to eat but not too long that you get annoyed at the open tray table for taking up so much space.
Business Class’s Food & Drinks
Business Class gets special perks when it comes to meals on Turkish Airlines. On night-time international flights from and to Istanbul, Business Class can ask for their meals at any time*. But if you’re thinking about food before that, you can find photos of all of the dishes on your upcoming Business Class TK flight and choose the meals you’ll want to eat. You just have to do this at least 48 hours before the flight. There are red meat options, chicken options, seafood options, pastas, and traditional Turkish dishes.
*The flight attendants need at least 30 minutes to prepare and heat any meals, so only cold drinks can be served during the 2 hours before landing.
Also, the in-advance meal selection option is currently (as of November 2022) only available on flights from Istanbul to Atlanta, Bangkok, Beijing, Bogotá, Boston, Capetown, Caracas, Chicago, Dallas, Denpasar, Durban, Guangzhou, Haneda, Hanoi, Havana, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Madagascar, Manila, Maputo, Mauritius, Mexico City, Miami, Montreal, New York, Newark, Osaka, Phuket, San Francisco, Shanghai, São Paolo, Saigon, Seattle, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, and Xi’An.
Red meat options currently include:
- Beef teriyaki
- Grilled lamb chops
- Traditional islim kebab
- Steak & salad
- Grilled Turkish style meatball & vegetable casserole
Seafood & white meat options currently include:
- Grilled filet of salmon
- Grilled chicken breast & asparagus
- Sea bass en papillote
- Grilled wild sea bass
- Prawn with tomato sauce
Pasta & other options include:
- Prawn pappardelle
- Mushroom panzerotti
- Jumbo prawn tagliatelle
- Manti, homemade Turkish ravioli
- Artichoke ravioli
- Traditional style baked cheese pastry
- Gözleme, grilled flat pastry stuffed with cheese
Flight Attendant Service
In my 20+ years of experience flying with Turkish Airlines, I can’t remember a single trip when a flight attendant was rude, insensitive, aggressive, or unhelpful. They’re actually always smiling, friendly, helpful, and attentive.
On my roundtrip Turkish Airlines flights in August/September 2022, the flight attendants did a great job. They greet you with smiles at the plane entrance and then, if it’s a big enough plane with two aisles, they’ll direct you to your seat. Even during the meal services, they were very helpful (and efficient so everyone got their hot meals hot).
Before COVID-19, they would automatically give every seat a blanket, earphones, and a white low back pillow. On my recent flights, they didn’t give those – so the airline might’ve stopped offering those things after the pandemic started.
Catching some Z’s on long flights is always helpful, right? Why land exhausted when you could land refreshed? I totally get it. But when a plane’s seat is uncomfortable, it’s genuinely impossible to sleep (as I’m sure you know if you’ve flown before).
Thankfully, the seats on international flights are extremely comfortable. In Economy Class, there’s enough leg space if you’re under 6’3” and there’s usually an adjustable headrest, too. If sleeping in Economy Class is comfortable, imagine what it’s like sleeping in Business Class. Their seats basically recline into a bed.
Economy Class’s Seats
Legroom in Economy Class is about 2 and a half feet (79 cm) on international flights. And Economy Class seats can recline up to 6 inches (15 cm). Depending on the model of the plane, all seats have electricity sockets you can charge your phone, tablet, or laptop through.
All Economy Class passengers on long flights get an amenity kit that includes a toothbrush, a travel-size toothpaste, ear plugs, lip balm, socks, and an eye mask. But these kits aren’t offered on all long flights and their contents depend on the duration and time of your flight. I’ve always received one on U.S. to Turkey or Turkey to U.S. flights.
These are all of the amenities that come with an Economy Class ticket on Turkish Airlines:
(a quick note – these may change depending on the model of the plane)
- Seats with 79 cm of legroom that can recline up to 15 cm for comfortable travel
- 46-cm seat width for a more comfortable journey on long-haul flights
- Movable armrests enable middle seats to transform into a bed
- 4-way adjustable seat headrest
- 11.3-inch multimedia display
- Conveniently located power unit and USB charging ports under the seats.
- USB port behind the seat
Business Class’s Seats
Business Class legroom varies from 6 feet and 5 inches (1.95 m) to 2 feet and 8 inches (81 cm), depending on the model of the plane. Also depending on the plane’s model, Business Class seats on long flights can be reclined until flat, turning into a 6 foot and 4 inch (193 cm) bed. You also get pillows and blankets to help you sleep comfortably.
These are all of the amenities that come with a Business Class ticket on Turkish Airlines:
(a quick note – these may change depending on the model of the plane)
- Lie-flat seats that open into a 6 foot and 4 inch (193 cm) bed
- Bed width reaching up to just over 2 feet (66 cm) with fully adjustable armrests
- Touchpad seat control panel
- Adjustable and rotating 1 foot and 8 inches (51 cm) tray table
- Cocktail table
- 18 inch IFE screen with adjustable angle
- Touchpad IFE remote control with 4 inch screen
- Universal power outlet and USB charging units
- Adjustable privacy screens
- Exclusive mirror
- Closed and locked storage
- Personal reading lamp
- Massage feature on B777-300ER and A330-300 plane models
- Adjustable head support
- Suit hanger
- Comfort cushion on the seat back
The inflight entertainment is 10/10. Honestly, there’s always a lot of good movies (both the latest blockbusters and quite a few classics) to choose from. And there’s even good TV shows like Friends and New Girl. My favorite is the music section because I like to listen to slow piano songs or nature sounds that help drown out the plane’s engine so I can fall asleep. And good news for parents and caregivers! If you’re traveling with your kids, there’s a whole entire section on the inflight entertainment system dedicated to entertaining them.
Just as an example, for October 2022, the blockbusters were Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, The Batman, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Business Class has an attractive perk – the screen is about 7 inches (18 cm) bigger than the screen in Economy Class.
On international flights, TK usually uses the plane model Boeing 777-300ER. For shorter flights, the airline flies a mix of Boeing and Airbus planes, ranging in age and size. You can see all of the plane models the airline uses in the Turkish Airlines fleet.
In its long history (over 89 years), Turkish Airlines has experienced a total of 19 incidents and accidents, of which 15 were fatal. Since 1933, TK has flown millions (if not billions) of flights, so their incident and accident rate is extremely low.
To help put things into perspective, you’re more likely to die from food poisoning, ladders, fireworks, or lightning than you are from plane crashes.
Turkish Airlines is actually now rated as a 7-star airline for safety by the global rating agency AirlineRatings.com.
After analyzing Turkish Airlines’ incident record between 2017 – 2022, AirlineRatings.com lifted the airline’s safety rating from 5-stars to the highest 7-stars.
Protective Health Measures
On all planes, Turkish Airlines has installed hospital-standard HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that can remove 99.97% of all particles with a diameter up to 0.3 microns. These filters help keep the air flow clean and moving, completely renewing the air about every 3 minutes.
TK planes release clean air from the top of the cabin and sucks in used air from feet-level. This way, the cabin’s air doesn’t travel horizontally between the seats.
After each flight, special cleaning teams go into the plane and disinfect tray tables, armrests, belts, screens, controllers, overhead bins, air vents, reading lamps, side panels, windows, lavatories, partitions, magazine racks, decorative panels, and cabinets. Then the plane is disinfected a second time by a special disinfection procedure called fogging.
Is Economy Class good on Turkish Airlines?
Yes, Economy class is definitely good on Turkish Airlines. Seats have higher than average legroom, are clean and modern, and the inflight entertainment is top-notch. Also, flight attendants are nice, the food is much better than just edible, and the bathrooms aren’t too bad either.
Even on smaller international or domestic flights, Economy Class hasn’t been that bad. They do tend to use smaller and older planes for shorter flights, so your legroom, inflight entertainment, and comfort aren’t as great.
Is Business Class good on Turkish Airlines?
Yes, Business Class is beyond great on Turkish Airlines. There are so many perks. Depending on the plane model, Business Class seats have a massage feature, a reading lamp, a rotating table, an electric source, and a privacy screen. A huge benefit of being in Business Class on international flights is when you open your seat horizontally and it reaches just over 6 feet (188 cm). That feature lets you get a good night’s sleep.
I’ve personally never flown Business Class on Turkish Airlines, but from what I’ve seen over 20+ years of flying with them, Business Class always sleeps like babies and eats like kings and queens on long, international flights. On shorter flights, Business Class still gets extremely comfortable seats and top treatment by flight attendants but obviously it’s not as great as it is on international flights.
Is Turkish Airlines one of the best airlines?
Absolutely. Skytrax, a UK-based airline and airport review and ranking site, gathered over 14 million customer surveys in more than 100 countries between September 2021 to August 2022 to find out the world’s current favorite airlines.
Turkish Airlines came out #7! The top 10 are, in order:
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- ANA (All Nippon Airways)
- Qantas Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Air France
- Korean Air
- Swiss International Air Lines
Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, no U.S. airline made it into the Top 20, although Delta Air Lines earned the top ranking for North American brands.
Awards & Recognition
For 5 years straight (2010 – 2015), the Skytrax World Airline Awards (based on multi-millions of international customer survey results) recognized Turkish Airlines as the ‘Best Airline in Europe’. In 2015, Turkish Airlines also received ‘Best Airline in Southern Europe’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, and ‘World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining’.
More recently, Turkish Airlines was awarded the 2022 APEX World Class Award based on independent audits of health and safety, service quality, and sustainability. APEX (which stands for Airline Passenger Experience Association) also recognized Turkish Airlines as a 5-Star Global Airline in 2020, 2021, and 2022, which is awarded based on passenger feedback.
For more on Turkish Airlines’ awards, you can visit the Awards page on their website.
Reviews of Turkish Airlines from Reddit
You might be happy to learn that the general consensus on Reddit about Turkish Airlines is positive. Here are some reviews from 2022 I’ve pulled for you (some positive, some negative so that you can get a more balanced perspective):
Redditor A: “I flew with Turkish from NYC to Athens via Istanbul. Onboard experience was great even though I was in economy. I remember the food being exceptionally good – they even served everyone a sandwich on the short 90 minute hop between IST and ATH! We did miss our connecting flight to Athens due to a takeoff delay in NYC, but that wasn’t the airline’s fault per se and they did a great job of rebooking us to a later in the day flight.”
Redditor B: “Service is great on board. Mileage credit on other star alliance programs can be low. Today a friend had a very unpleasant experience with them. He missed his connecting flight due to a delay. Turkish staff at IST was unable to assist due to a language barrier on their side (the staff members didn’t speak English well and had to use Google Translate). He ended up having to fly to another city and having to spend 10 hrs in the transit area than being rebooked to the fastest alternative connection. Also the hotline could not help.”
Redditor C: “It has been several years since I have flown Turkish Airlines, but they were a great option when I did! They gave us amenity kits (even in economy) which include slippers, eyemasks, earplugs, socks, etc. The food was great and everyone got a piece of Turkish delight. And the actual plane, staff, etc. were nice–nothing special but nothing bad.”
Redditor D: “Mostly positive experience using Turkish. Be warned that they often do not have kiosks for boarding passes in many airports and ever single passenger has to go through the checked bag line even if you don’t have a checked bag.”
Redditor E: “Turkish may be my favorite European airline. Great lounges, great food on the plane, decent service. My main gripe is the no alcohol in IST lounges but eh… Also, their entertainment selection is pretty meager. I may choose Air France over them except Turkish is part of a more superior Star Alliance. All of this is my opinion but their food on board was terrific last time. Like, I wouldn’t have minded if I got it at a restaurant.”
Redditor F: “It’s one of the best coach hands down, the food and service are top notch, I have flown them for 3 flights from IST to USA and all stellar experiences.”