A Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 fresh off the assembly line in Everett, Washington, made its maiden flight from Istanbul, Turkey, to Hong Kong yesterday (6 July 2011), arriving at Chek Lap Kok International Airport at 3.15 pm.
While passengers were disembarking, a group of journalists and travel writers were being briefed on Turkish Airlines rapid expansion, global marketing strategies, and the introduction of its innovative new Comfort Class – an attractive new option between Economy Class and Business Class.
Manchester United Safety Video
A highlight of the presentation was the safety video that is played at the beginning of Turkish Airlines flights.
Rather than one of those staid presentations of flight attendants going through their paces, this one starred footballers from Britain's wildly popular Manchester United football club. And rather than showing you what you were supposed to do, they were hamming it up, doing everything wrong, and then being awarded penalties for their “fouls”.
This is one video that I think passengers will actually watch! I found it quite entertaining.
Then we were packed off through customs, down the concourse, and unto the fresh off the assembly line Boeing 777.
Comfort Class is being phased in as Turkish Airlines acquires new craft. It is currently available three times a week on the Hong Kong – Istanbul route. It will be offered on all flights on that route from 13 September 2011. It is also offered on some of the flights linking Istanbul with Beijing, Guangzhou, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Toronto. New York – somewhat inexplicably – is next in line.
Comfort Class costs roughly one third more than Economy Class, and here is what you get: seats that are at least as big as Business Class seats on most other airlines with the exception of those the recline into flat beds. They feature a 116 cm pitch and are 49 cms wide.
And believe me, that was plenty comfy, even for a six footer like me!
According to the press release, they are “the most spacious seats in the industry”.
Other amenities: 10.6 inch in arm touch screens that offer a wide variety of entertainment options and “total digital connectivity to USB and iPod devices”.
The food is also supposed to be a cut above that served in Economy Class.
Multiply your Comfort Class fare by two and one half times, and you can fly Business Class. Here you get seats that recline into fully flat beds – and far more legroom. You also get food that is better yet, including Turkish Airlines signature Sky Chef service.
First Class is not offered on the route linking Hong Kong with Istanbul, so I assume that business tycoons and rich tai tais in the former British Crown Colony will have to take their business elsewhere.
In Flight Dining
While on board we were served a typical Comfort Class meal. The servings were generous and tasty. I especially liked the shrimp starter and the very yummy garden salad. The dessert platter – which included fresh fruit, cheese, and a decadent piece of dark chocolate – was a delight. The main course was nothing to write home about. The Turkish wines were excellent.
I detest flying Cattle Class. Unless it is a very short flight, I will avoid being stuffed into the Economy Class cabin at all costs. Given the choice between paying about HK$7,500 to fly to Europe on Economy and HK$10,000 on Comfort Class, I wouldn't have to waste a second thinking about it.
I would pop the extra HK$2,500 and fly Comfort Class without question.
Comfort Class seems closer to Economy Class in price, but closer to Business Class in comfort. For my money, this is excellent value!
According to Salih Keçe, General Manager, Turkish Airlines Hong Kong, Philippines, and Taiwan, you might be able to get a ticket on Comfort Class at a lower price than Economy Class if you play your cards right.
Watch for Special Offers and Special Promotions in the weeks and months ahead!
Copyright: Michael Taylor (left) and Vicky Williams (right) relax in the Comfort Class cabin of a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777. Photo Credit: Salih Keçe, General Manager, Turkish Airlines Hong Kong, Philippines and Taiwan.