The differences begin with your safety instructions. Instead of the usual video featuring animated characters or staff, Turkish Airlines takes advantage of its sponsorship by the Manchester United football club. That's why you now have footballing icons telling you how to fasten you seatbelt. It's these little touches that add stars to the experience.
After Turkish Airlines joined Star Alliance in 2008, the company expanded its fleet and flight routes three-fold. It focused on bringing leisure and business travellers to Istanbul on non-stop flights from across the world. I recently had the chance to fly in the new business class cabin from Delhi. While most travellers prioritise speed for inter-continental flights, Turkish Airlines' refurbished business class injects enough comfort and consideration to make you want to spend a few more hours in the sky.
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Insight on Interiors
With 11 new connections worldwide, this award-winning airline is now a good long-haul option. The interiors have hints of dark-grey, cream, red and coral blue, colours found on the Turkish Airlines' logo. The cabin is laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration. It's not cramped, but when you pay for business class, you would at least expect to avoid the much vilified middle seat. The isle has enough space for two people to stand together without being cramped.
The seat length is 61 inches and goes back 177 degrees-sufficiently reclinable but not fully-flat (which is 180 degrees to the floor.) The seats are a wide 22 inches, and have a massage system for tired travellers, making for a very comfortable five-hour flight. The seats also come with USB connection ports, electric charging docks and personal screens for digital, on-demand entertainment options. The only glitch is that the video screen is placed too far from where one sits, subsequently allowing for distraction from the adjacent video screen.
Just as you make yourself comfortable in your seat, a smiling attendant arrives with a welcome drink. Pick from a choice of fresh fruit juices, champagne or traditional Turkish tea. On a five hour flight you are served one meal. The menu includes seven appetiser options, four entree options, and a variety of desserts. Additionally, there's a chef on-board should you prefer a custom-made salad.
Each seat has a 15-inch screen with sharp images and easy-to-navigate controls. There's a good line-up of movies including new-releases, comedies and drama to choose from, along with a variety of television shows and music. I was impressed by their in-flight video cable which allows passengers to plug in their iPods or iPhones and stream their own music, video or movies on the larger screen.