October 26, 2016

Review: Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class, Panama-Istanbul

Trip To Panama Flying in Turkish Airlines Business Class

Last month, Mike and I traveled to Panama for the first time where we stayed four nights in the beautiful capital, Panama City. We flew with Turkish Airlines in business class although we had to originate from Budapest instead of Stockholm since the fare was much cheaper starting from the Hungarian capital. Between Stockholm and Budapest, we took the direct flight on Norwegian. Since I have Diamond status with Hilton, we stayed at the Hilton Panama and Waldorf Astoria Panama where we got upgraded to a Master Suite during our stay at the Hilton Panama. We also had a chance to stay at the Radisson Decapolis Hotel which was also a nice hotel, although not as nice as the two Hilton properties we stayed at. When in Panama, you should never miss doing the Panama Canal Tour as it was definitely the highlight of our trip. Take note that they don't have tours everyday so make sure you check the availability beforehand. Our trip to Panama was one of the best trips we've had and having flown in Turkish Airlines business class, it couldn't have been better!


Review: Hilton Panama
Review: Radisson Decapolis Hotel, Panama City
Review: Waldorf Astoria Panama
Top Attractions in Panama
Review: Copa Club, Panama Tocumen Airport (PTY)
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Panama to Istanbul
Photoreview: Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Arrival (IST)
Review: Radisson BLU Conference & Airport Hotel, Istanbul
Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul to Budapest

Turkish Airlines business class main course, Panama to Istanbul

Flight: TK 800
Departure time in Panama (PTY): 12:30
Arrival time in Istanbul (IST): 10:25 (+1)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 2A
Duration: 13h 55m
Date of flight: September 25, 2016
*Revenue Ticket, Business Class flight #114

Panama Tocumen Airport

We took a cab from the hotel and arrived at the Panama Tocumen Airport about 3 hours before departure which was good since I wanted to have enough time to review the Copa Club.

Check-in

The check-in desks were located after American Airlines' check-in desks, with two lanes for economy class passengers and one for business class passengers and those with Star Alliance status. I inquired if they had fast track lane but unfortunately, they didn't have it.

We were helped by a friendly agent who did the check-in process efficiently and tagged our hand carried luggages, and within a few minutes, we received our boarding passes as well as a lounge invitation to Copa Club.

Panama Tocumen Airport, duty free shops

Copa Club

After passing the immigration and security controls, we headed directly to the Copa Club which is located close to a chapel.

Aircraft

Airbus A330-200, Konya

Boarding, gate 21A

There was also another security control at the gate which went quickly. Boarding was scheduled at 11:35am but it was delayed for about 45 minutes. As usual, business class passengers and those with status had priority boarding.

Seat

My seat 2A was a window seat. The cabin had the same configuration as our outbound flight which is 2-2-2  with a total of  22 seats. Moments after settling in, I was welcomed by Nergis, one of the flight attendants in the business class cabin and offered some predeparture drinks. I actually recognized her and the rest of the crew as they were the same crew on our flight from Istanbul to Bogota four days ago. I didn't ask why Turkish Airlines has the same crew but I guess it's a lot easier working with each other in this case. A few minutes later, the captain came on the PA to welcome us and to apologize of the delay due to the late arrival of the aircraft. He also informed us of our flight time of 13 hours which is an hour shorter than the scheduled.

Spacious legroom

Turkish Airlines business class blanket

A few moments later, we were served our predeparture drinks, I had the strawberry drink while Mike had the Limonata. We were also offered some newspapers although we declined.

Amenity Kit (Batman VSuperman)

Then came my favorite part: we were offered the business class amenity kit with the Batman VSuperman pouch containing a 30 ml Shea Hydrating Cream and a lip balm from Institut Karite, Signal toothpaste and toothbrush, a pair of socks, comb, shoe horn and ear plugs. One of the reasons why I wanted to fly Turkish Airlines in business class is because they offer this collectible Batman VSuperman pouch on some of their flights, and now I got it! I think the crew from Bogota forgot to distribute the slippers and headphones as there were none on our seats. I asked for a pair of slippers but decided to use my own iPhone earphones instead.

Around 12:50pm, the safety video started to play and a couple of minutes later, we started our pushback from the gate.

Dining

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the male flight attendant asked if we wanted our bed made but we declined. Another flight attendant came afterwards to offer hot towels and distribute the menu card. The inflight chef came later to take our drinks order as well as our choice of main course.

Turkish Airlines Business Class menu card and wine list

The menu read as follows:

Turkish Airlines lunch menu

Turkish Airlines lunch menu

White wines, Prestige Narince 2014, Chablis Premier Cru Les Joyaux 2014

Aperitives and digestives, Cognac Hennessy VSOP, Grahams Late Bottled Vintage 2009 port wine

Champagne was Taittinger Brut Reserve

Beverages

Beverages

Mixed nut and apple juice

Moments later, the inflight chef came to offer us some canapes which were very good.

Then, it was time to set up the table.

Turkish Airlines business class appetizer trolley

Mediterranean Prawns

Creamy Tomato Soup

The bar as usual was open with all the alcoholic drinks on display.

For my main course, I chose the Fillet of Beef which was perfect.

Sliced fruits and Baklava

Mike also had some Baklava together with a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

To finish the meal service, we were offered some coffee and tea. I decided I'd try the Turkish tea this time.

Turkish tea

The meal service went very well and was just as the right pace I would have wanted it to be. The beef was very good and we were continuously offered refill of drinks and bread during the meal service. Lastly, we were offered a bottle of mineral water.

Time to Sleep

Turn down service.

From the movie selection, I ended up watching "Guernica" and "Captain America".

After sleeping for a few hours, I was feeling a bit hungry and went to the self service bar to get some snacks.

Breakfast

Around 8am, we were offered a hot towel and a choice of water or orange juice.

Turkish Airlines business class breakfast (sliced fruits, chicken breast and smoked turkey, hot chocolate, strawberry smoothie)

Mike had the Fried Free Range Eggs in Butter ...

... while I had the Mozzarella and Tomato Omelette which was good.

I was also offered more hot chocolate but I declined.

Lavatory

Turkish Airlines business class lavatory with products (cologne, foam soap, hand and body lotion and wet towels) from Eyup Sabri Tuncer with lemon scent.

Airshow en route to Istanbul Airport

About 45 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA to give us flight arrival info. Again the screen didn't have the moving map so it was hard to tell our current position.

View before landing

Landing at Istanbul Ataturk Airport

We landed at Ataturk Airport at 10am, about half an hour behind schedule.

Surprisingly, they had a separate bus for business class passengers to the terminal as we landed in a remote stand. I guess this service should be offered always including when departing from Istanbul.

As business class passengers, we were able to make use of the fast track lane which was very nice.

CONCLUSION

For a very long flight, it actually turned our very well. The seats were okay and I was able to sleep for a few hours even if the seat doesn't turn into a fully flat bed. The food overall was very good and the service was also very efficient and friendly. The Batman VSuperman amenity kit was a big plus as I consider it a collectible item. The crew forgetting to leave the slippers and headphones on our seats were minor issues and something that could easily be rectified. On the other hand, an upgrade of the IFE system with a moving map is something Turkish Airlines has to prioritize. Lastly, the separate bus upon arrival in Istanbul Airport was very nice and I think they should do it as a standard. Overall, it was a very nice flight and I would gladly fly with Turkish Airlines again in business class. To all the crew on this flight, "Teşekkürler!"


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