✅ Trip Verified
| Cape Town to London via Istanbul. It’s a shame that Turkish Airlines use the Bidvest lounge at CPT because it’s one of those pay-to-enter places that’s stuffed with passengers gorging themselves with food. Boarding for the CPT – IST flight started an hour before take-off, which seemed excessive. The business class cabin has a utilitarian décor of shades of grey – no middle-eastern bling or graduated, coloured lighting here. The staggered 2:2:2 seating pattern affords reasonable privacy, although passengers in window seats still have to climb over their neighbour’s legs. Cabin crew use a counter at the front of the cabin to prepare the food and drink service; it’s probably best for that to be done behind the scenes. It was good to have WiFi, even if it was rather slow. The Bentley night bag, Denon noise-cancelling headphones and large-screen IFE with a touch-screen remote were impressive. So, too, was the separate menu card for ordering breakfast in advance. The food service got off to a flying start with LED candles, laying out one’s tray and then the starter options where wheeled past. In principle, one could have as much as one wanted. The meze and mushroom soup were delicious. Less good were the main courses, which were, curiously, both overcooked and barely warm. A trolley of desserts and a cheese plate restored one’s faith in the presence of the on-board chef. Wines were largely Turkish, but the cabin crew seemed clueless about them. The cabin crew in general were efficient but somewhat robotic. Announcements from the cockpit lacked the friendliness of British Airways pilots. Sleep was hindered by the over-hot cabin temperature and being woken three hours before landing for the breakfast service – at 3 a.m. But at least breakfast was a cut above the usual and a feta omelette was actually pleasant. Landing was on time and we were bussed separately to the terminal. The double-level Turkish Airlines CIP lounge is vast, offering 24/7 service, unbelievable square meterage and questionable activities to pass the time. I suspect that if anyone started playing the piano on the dais they’d be asked to desist in case it put the indoor golfers off their stroke. Frankly, it was all too much. For the second leg of IST – LHR, we were on a 777-300 with a 2:3:2 configuration in business class. Thankfully the cabin was less than a third full, so we opted out of a second breakfast and caught up with some sleep. Again, the luxury of a flat bed on a short-haul flight takes some beating. Overall, two good flights with an above average business class product but let down by the necessity of transit at IST at inconvenient times of the day.