Turkish Airlines is the flag carrier of Turkey and proudly advertises the fact that they fly to more countries on Earth than any other airlines. They’ve also made the news with their flying chefs and excellent food in Business Class. With their hub in Istanbul, they are competing head-on with Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates for connecting long-haul travel. Find out all you need to know about the airline, safety, the experience you can expect and the rewards you can reap!
The Airline: Turkish Airlines (TK) was launched in 1933 and today serves 290 destinations in 119 countries with a fleet of 334 planes at an average age of a young’ish 6.4 years.
SkyTrax rates Turkish Airlines as a 4-star airline, but they stopped participating after loosing the European crown to Lufthansa.
AirlineRatings gives Turkish Airlines a 6/7 safety rating, with one star removed for a fatal crash in 2009.
You can find out more facts & figures here: Turkish Airlines – Facts & Figures
The Experience: Turkish Airlines is a full service airline, offering Economy Class and Business Class cabins on most of their planes. They used to offer a Premium Economy class, but removed it, going against the trend. They don’t offer a First Class.
Their Economy Class is well rated and benefits from friendly service, good food and entertainment, all offered at very competitive prices.
The Turkish Airlines Business Class offers some of the best food in the air, including a flying chef who will assist with your meal choices, prepares and presents a meal – certainly a step above the “chicken or beef” you’ll find on US carriers. They do suffer from outdated seats in a 2-3-2 layout and are planning to remedy that with new planes. Check out my long-haul Business Class review and short-haul Business Class review for more detail.
Your end-to-end experience is further enhanced by one of the best airline lounges in the world, the Turkish Airlines Istanbul Lounge (review)! With very low prices, often comparable to Premium Economy on other 4- or 5-star airlines, Turkish Business Class is offering great value!
The Online Experience is unfortunately not on the same level, making even simple things like managing your flight, online check-in or even setting up an account impossible. Most Low-Cost-Carriers do better, so I sure hope Turkish Airlines will improve their online presence!
The Rewards: Turkish Airlines has its own rewards and loyalty program, Miles & Smiles. It offers low redemption prices, but suffers from the poor web site, high fees and surcharges on award tickets and limited benefits for elite members, making it a poor choice for anybody not living in Turkey or flying very, very often with them – read my detailed review to find out more!