TRIP REPORT: Turkish Airlines, Belgrade - Istanbul


I’m generally a great fan of Turkish Airlines but must admit that over the years, ours has been a rather love-love-less (not hate) relationship. I still greatly applaud and admire TK for their onboard service generosity - versus pretty much everyone else in Europe and even further afield, yet their flights overall can be a starkly contrasting experience in many other areas (especially in service consistency and attention to detail that I will elaborate about a bit later), often carelessly spoiling an otherwise excellent onboard product offering.

On this particular journey, I flew from Belgrade to Istanbul on TK 1084 in Business Class, connecting on to an Asian destination that I was too tired to cover in this trip report.

Turkish Airlines’ 4-year-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 - TC-LCN

An uneventful and very quick check-in at Terminal 1 in Belgrade with no queue in the Business Class lane was followed by a visit to a beehive that was the Air Serbia Lounge at this time of the day - almost all seats were fully occupied with friendly staff in attendance. Fashionably late in arrival, my rather packed Boeing 737 MAX8 provided a delayed departure as well but still a welcoming atmosphere with a clean cabin and warm entrance greetings offered by a young cabin crew team. TK’s Business Class is no flydubai but offers decent recline and a large IFE screens. While more than acceptable for short to medium haul flights, with their MAX’s operating sectors of up to 7 hours, I guess that this particular J Class seat could end up being a bit uncomfortable and disappointing on such long narrowbody journeys.

Multiple IFE screens on Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8

What struck me was TK’s absolute love for TV screens onboard, they literally litter the cabin and were all over the place – felt like a NASA control room especially once the lights were dimmed for take-off. A nice choice of fresh, non-alcoholic fruit drinks was offered pre-departure, together with a mind-blowing menu for this 1:30h flight (tastily made by Do&Co… probably the best airline catering company in the world).

Turkish Airlines narrowbody Business Class seat

Our rather bumpy, spring and pre-snowstorm departure from Belgrade resulted in the crew remaining (understandably) seated for much longer than usual. Once their “all-clear” was given from the cockpit, they sprung into action, delivering pre-set trays and previously noted drinks across the Business Class cabin. The tray served, as mentioned earlier, was overwhelming and the quantity of food was simply enormous. Quality was top notch!

The menu

I must say that I’m no fan of lamb, but I did give it a try before abandoning it altogether… the rest of the tray food contents was truly fresh and absolutely delicious.

TK Business Class meal

Regarding the attention to detail remark I made earlier, I noticed that this is one of TK’s weaknesses and witnessed in different forms on numerous prior occasions. For example, the IFE on my flight showed that I was flying on a Boeing 737-800, the map clearly displaying an image of an Airbus A321neo while I was seated on a Boeing 737 MAX 8. On my onward journey from Istanbul, Turkish Airlines “informed me” that Belgrade has been renamed to Marseille; Athens was now Nouakchott while Antalya swapped places with Ho Chi Ming City. Chicago, Riga and Kabul also managed to migrate to new and rather peculiar locations. These kinds of omissions and mistakes, while not tragic, are still noticeable and caused quite a few giggles all around.

Turkish Airlines “chaotic” Flying Maps

The rest of the flight was really nothing worth commenting further; comfortable and enjoyable in a mood-lit cabin. After circling Istanbul for a good 15 minutes, we were finally cleared for final approach and landing into windy and rather cold Istanbul International. Taxiing took almost 20 minutes before we were finally parked at the gate.

Descent and landing into Istanbul

During our taxi-in, could not help myself but to capture this very exotic and unique passenger (one of the last remaining and active) Airbus A310-300 of Iran Airtour – definitely worth including and sharing!

A unique gem

Hope you guys enjoyed this quick trip report…

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  1. Anonymous09:14

    LOL, that map makes my day. Genova on Black see bank...

    1. Anonymous11:56

      I also didn't knew that Chicago was in Israël😂

    2. Anonymous12:29

      Also Osaka is the new capital of Turkey, Daka of Azerbaijan and Dusanbe is now a sunny beach resort.

    3. Anonymous12:45

      And Riga 🫣 Never sunnier and warmer.

      Air Serbia can also send A319 to Chicago. 😂

    4. Anonymous12:57

      Even the ATR would work I think😅

    5. Anonymous15:03

      Marseille new capital of Kosovo*!

    6. Anonymous15:18

      That's not even in Kosovo

  2. The in-flight service on TK puts all other European carriers to shame.

    1. Anonymous12:07

      Absolutely, that looks delicious

    2. Anonymous13:26

      Remember it's business.

      In their economy you'll become rather hungry on narrow-body flights.

    3. Strongly disagree. Flew TK in economy recently, ZAG-IST, and it was full hot meal, with salad, desert, bread full drink selection. Not like in business, of course, but they don't starve you, like all others. I am not big fan of IST, old and new, I think TK grew too fast and have some issues related to it, but if there is one thing in TK not to complain about, it's their catering, especially compared to others today

  3. Anonymous13:31

    What was the Asian destination?


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