Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300, one of 33 in the airline's fleet
Singapore to Istanbul
Economy, window seat 31K
Miles & Smiles, part of the Star Alliance network. It's free to join and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with special offers. See 30yearsofsmiles.com
10 hours, 55 minutes
Daily, departing Singapore at 11.35pm
The seats are a calming blue tweed with blue or maroon adjustable headrests in a 3-3-3 configuration. Each seat has a large mesh pocket, USB port and footrest (or shin-bumper, depending on the length of your legs) and is a pretty standard 45 centimetres wide (18 inches) with a 78-81 centimetre pitch (31-32 inches) and 79 centimetres of legroom.
Up to 30 kilograms with up to eight kilograms of hand luggage, plus one accessory such as a camera.
I've opted for a window seat in an attempt to get some shut-eye on this overnight flight; I also activate the handy "Do not disturb" function on my inflight entertainment system so flight attendants won't wake me for meals. Amenities kits are issued after takeoff. These are wrapped in individual plastic bags, which seems contrary to the message in the inflight ad about the airline participating in Turkey's Zero Waste Blue program. Inside the cute Turkish-tile-inspired kits are the usual eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and tiny toothpaste – and vegan lip balm, socks with grippy soles and slippers for those mid-flight trips to the toilet. On the return flight, the kits are stylish blue Mandarina Duck pouches with yellow zippers.
Turkish Airlines claims to have one of the newest fleets in Europe, but this aircraft isn't new. Its touchscreen is living proof: you have to jab it a few times before it responds; thankfully there's also a remote. But the movie selection is great and there are no ads before each movie, which is refreshing. There are also interesting short docos about Turkey and Turkish culture, BBC audio books including titles by Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, and a "Fly Good Feel Good" wellbeing channel.
Attendants sport new uniforms launched in August and designed by Italian couturier Ettore Bilotta in "flag-red and anthracite grey". The attendants are friendly, efficient and always ready with a smile.
My pre-ordered vegetarian meal, served with metal cutlery, is as delicious as it is nutritious: there's fruit, sushi, a carrot and capsicum salad, and the hot dish comprises steamed broccoli, carrots, potatoes and zucchini topped with a tomato puree. The vegetarian breakfast before landing is good too: a vegetable pattie with steamed sticks of carrot and zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, plus fresh fruit and a salad. The menu for other passengers looks just as appetising: dinner options are "chicken fricassee with olives and lemon sauce, Tuscany-style vegetables and potato puree" and penne with pesto and sautéed mushrooms, served with salads and red velvet cake for dessert; breakfast is Belgian waffles with vanilla sauce and berry compote, fresh fruit, bread and assorted cheeses. Drinks include real Turkish home-made lemonade with fresh mint, a nice touch.
ONE MORE THING
Turkish Airlines, which flies to more destinations than any other, is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, as well as the opening of Istanbul's massive new airport in April. To mark the occasion, it commissioned Ridley Scott to direct a short film showcasing the wonders of Istanbul, which you can watch here: turkishairlines.com/en-int/thejourney/
Turkish Airlines ticks all the boxes for a great overnight flight: mood lighting, a tasty dinner, movies to keep the non-sleepers occupied, thoughtful amenities kits and warm, capable service. It shows that it is possible to get a reasonable night's sleep in Economy.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Reviewed by Louise Southerden who flew courtesy of Intrepid Travel.