Review: Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul

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Flight no.TK 63
AircraftBoeing 787-9
Seat no.6K
Cost32.9k Turkish miles
+ US$326 taxes/fees
Flight duration10.5 hrs

This flight was part of my Round The World in Business & First Class using miles trip. Click here to read about how I planned the trip.

How to book Turkish Airlines Business Class with Miles

Travellers can book Turkish Airlines Business Class seats using miles from the airline’s own Frequent Flyer Program (FFP), Miles&Smiles, or through partner FFPs like KrisFlyer or Infinity MileageLands.

Miles on these FFPs can be earned through the best travel/rewards credit cards in Singapore.

Related: Cheapest ways to fly between Singapore and Europe using Miles/Points from Singapore cards

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Seat map

The airline only has one type of Boeing 787 aircraft, which is the Boeing 787-9 (a.k.a. B789).

Seats are configured in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration.

Seat map of Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin (Image: Aerolopa)

Pre-flight

Prior to take-off, I was offered a hot towel and a beverage of choice.

Hot towel
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Lemon-mint drink

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat

The airline’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class seats look very modern, with sufficient space and compartments. These Stelia Aerospace Symphony seats are also used in Singapore Airlines medium-haul flights on its Boeing 787-10 aircrafts.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat
Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat
Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat
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Foot well
Shoe bag
Storage area, headphones, universal power port and USB port
Vanity mirror
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Seat, lighting and screen controls
3-point seat belt
Seat light
Literature pocket
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View from the seat

Bed mode

Seats can be transformed into fully-flat beds, with the arm rests pulled down for more shoulder room.

Bed mode
Head and shoulder area

The foot well is pretty small, with hardly any knee room.

Foot well and knee room

Half the cabin has poorly-designed seats

It’s difficult to ignore how lazy the design of this seat is. There are basically 2 seat “shells” that are used in the entire cabin: one with the privacy wall to the left, another with the privacy wall to the right.

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Privacy wall attached to the seat

Obviously, the privacy wall is a huge part of the seat design and unfortunately, as there are only 2 types of shells, it leads to a couple of problems:

  1. Alternate window seats have privacy walls blocking the window (example)
  2. Middle (honeymoon) seats are separated by the privacy walls

This means that half of the cabin is equipped with bad seats!

Unless, if you are a solo traveller who ended up in one of these “honeymoon” seats, you’d probably be quite unhappy with the huge wall separating you and your travelling partner as you’d have to lean forward a fair bit just to have a conversation.

I’ve circled the poorly-positioned privacy walls in the image below:

Poorly-positioned privacy walls circled in red

On top of that, the huge privacy walls would also rub against your arm, when using the arm rest.

Arm rest

Stelia Aerospace is behind some great Business and First Class seat designs that are used by many airlines. However, the Symphony has got to be one of its worst. I honestly wonder how they managed to convince Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines to use them!

The best seats in the cabin are probably the bulkhead seats (1A and 1K).

While these seats are closer to the aisle, the privacy walls are on the “right” side. Plus, it comes with an additional storage area near the window.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Bulkhead Business Class seat

These new seats look a lot better than the airline’s older Business Class seats, that are still flying with its Boeing 777 aircrafts. However, I don’t feel like the new seats are more comfortable, although they offer better privacy.

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Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class seat

Amenity kit

International Turkish Airlines Business Class passengers receive an amenity kit that includes an eye mask, dental kit, ear plugs and Qiriness-branded lip balm, facial mist and body cream.

Amenity kit
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Dining

Long haul Turkish Airlines flights have Flying Chefs onboard, who work alongside the cabin crew in Business Class meal-preparations.

Breakfast

I’ve always found in-flight breakfast served in premium cabins to be boring, as they do not usually come with interesting dishes and plating.

Breakfast served on this morning flight was good, but as expected, not particularly exciting.

Fruit platter, pain au chocolat, grilled chicken breast, yoghurt and cheese
French toast
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Warm mixed nuts
Turkish coffee

Lunch

Lunch was a lot better, with great food quality and presentation, closely-matching what the best airlines offer in Business Class.

Tuna Tataki and cauliflower soup
Salmon fillet
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Traditional Turkish desserts
Cheese plate

Menu

Food menu
Wine menu
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Snack menu

In-Flight WiFi

Turkish Airlines Business Class passengers receive 1 GB of free internet quota. The internet speed was alright for light web surfing.

Miles&Smiles members can receive complimentary internet quota, based on their status and cabin class:

Pass TypeComplimentary Quota
Business Class Passengers
with Miles&Smiles Elite or
Elite Plus Membership
Unlimited Internet
Business Class Passengers1 GB
Miles&Smiles Elite or
Elite Plus Members
400 MB and
Unlimited Messaging
Miles&Smiles Classic
Plus Members
250 MB and
Unlimited Messaging
Miles&Smiles Classic
Members
Unlimited Messaging

Turkish Airlines passengers may also pay for in-flight internet usage:

Pass TypeFee
Unlimited Messaging5 USD
100 MB8 USD
250 MB15 USD
Unlimited Internet
for Short Haul
15 USD
Unlimited Internet
for Long Haul
35 USD

Airport lounges

Flying in Turkish Airlines Business Class from Kuala Lumpur gets you access to Plaza Premium First Lounge in Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1.

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Plaza Premium First Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport (read my review)

As I was transiting in Istanbul, I also had access to Turkish Airlines Business Class lounge in Istanbul Airport (review coming soon).

Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge Istanbul Airport

Istanbul to Abu Dhabi in Airbus A321

As mentioned earlier, this booking included a shorter, 4-hour flight from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi. This flight was serviced by the airline’s narrow-body Airbus A321 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 Business Class Seat 2F

This flight had one meal service, served about an hour after take-off.

Prawn salad
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Beluga Lentil Ragout
Amenity kit

My ratings

This is how I am rating my Business Class experience (vs other airlines):

Seat7/10Storage8/10
Bed8/10Service8/10
Dining9/10Cleanliness9/10
Privacy8/10

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines’ newer Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat are good enough for a 10-hour flight; half of them at least.

While I am disappointed by the poor design decisions, it is not a dealbreaker for me, and I would still redeem 45k miles + ~US$300 to fly in Business Class between Asia and Europe any day, if there is award availability.

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