TRIP REPORT: Turkish Airlines, Belgrade - Istanbul


Just flew recently with Turkish Airlines from Belgrade to Istanbul. I took the evening flight, which was the last of five Istanbul bound flights that day from Belgrade.

The airport was quiet when I arrived. Since it was the day without Air Serbia’s midnight run of departures there weren’t too many flights left to take off that evening.

Check-in was a breeze, as was passport control and security. I appreciate the fact that Belgrade has the new scanning technology meaning you don’t have to take out laptops or liquids.

As usual, there was construction work going on around the airport - the new duty free/central plaza is under construction. I found it interesting that they opened one of the doors which is within the façade of the terminal near gate A2 to bring in some equipment. Even more interesting was that all of the construction workers were from South America! They were chatting in Spanish and telling each other where they were from while waiting for the equipment to come.

I proceeded to the Air Serbia lounge which is used by Turkish. Finally, Air Serbia has extended its lounge work hours so it was possible to use their Premium Lounge. It wasn’t too busy as it was still early for passengers on the Flydubai flight and Air Serbia’s Russia bound flights to be there. Staff was really nice at the lounge and the buffet was well stocked too.

An A321 was operating today’s flights. The business class cabin had four rows in 2-2 configuration with black leather recliner seats very similar to the ones Jat Airways used to have back in the day. The cabin was full except for one seat, and I was lucky enough to have that one next to me.

Boarding started a bit late due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Turkish crew are a bit of a hit or miss but these ones were very nice. Both of the crew members in business were male (is it just me or does Turkish seem to have a very large ratio of male cabin crew compared to other major airlines?)

The passengers on this flight were mostly Serbs and Far East Asians (I would guess Chinese).

This plane seemed to have been leased from another airline as the seats weren’t the typical looking TK seats and I think there was greater pitch. Also, the personal tv screens had Hindi stickers on it so I guess the plane came from an Indian operator.

Upon boarding the crew came out with welcome drinks, which consisted of different kind of juices. The sour cherry, which I chose, was delicious. They then gave out headphones, a bag of nuts and the dinner menus. There is no meal selection as there is only one meal on offer.

We pushed back and took off a bit behind schedule. As soon as we departed, the crew started working, coming around with hot towels and taking the drink orders. Some five minutes later they served dinner, which was pretty good, and the portion was very large for such a short flight. The crew also came out with a bread basket.

After dinner the trays were cleared, and the crew offered coffee and tea and soon after we began our descent into a rainy Istanbul. As noted, each seat had a personal TV screen, but I didn’t check out the entertainment offering. I did take out the screen though and it seemed ancient.

We managed to land in Istanbul on time, but it took 28 minutes, yes 28 minutes from the runway to the gate (and we weren’t holding for traffic at any point!). Istanbul Airport is quite notorious for its long taxi times, and I would not recommend for people use the minimum connecting time of one hour at Istanbul Airport. When we finally reached the gate, we had to wait for another 10-15 minutes as no one seemed to be connecting the jet bridge to the plane. The crew didn’t seem happy about it either.

Overall, Turkish in business class is a great experience on short haul and really incomparable to most other airlines in Europe. Long haul is a bit of a different story in my opinion but that’s for another report.

Hope you enjoyed this quick review.

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  1. Anonymous09:52

    How was the load on your flight?

    1. TRer11:14

      Hi, it was full. It turned out it was overbooked in economy. They upgraded one passenger to business who seemed to have status with them. I was a bit surprised that there were not a many Russians on this flight, but it could be that they catch one of the other two if connections are better.

  2. Anonymous12:15

    SKP airport is also getting installed that scanning equipment for not taking out laptops or liquids ... Btw one more time showing that TK has the best service for the short haul flights , and no comment for the long , we all know :)) Great trip!

    1. Anonymous18:24

      Really? I will check it out on tuesday.

  3. Anonymous14:20

    Nice report. Did you get fast track at the IST with business class?

    1. TRer20:38

      Yes. It's printed on the boarding pass that you have fast track :)

  4. Anonymous14:44

    Great report. Interesting, yet concise. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous18:41

    Workers were from South America?
    Whats going on-no locals to do the jobs?

    1. Anonymous20:36

      I was thinking the same. Surely there are plenty of people locally who would be grateful for work.

    2. Anonymous20:38

      You thought wrong. There is a serious shortage of construction workers in Serbia. Most have moved to Germany.

  6. Anonymous12:19

    Did you buy a BC ticket outright or upgrade? If an upgrade - how did you upgrade, how much was it? Just curious as I'm flying TK soon & want to try their BC. I did get offers to upgrade for EUR90 before from BEG to IST but never took it, wonder if it's still similar.

    1. TRer13:27

      I bought it outright primarily because of my long onward flight. But you can buy an upgrade (I believe the price is now 110 euros). You can do it at the airport, just ask the check-in agent or call their call center beforehand. Just take note that their A320s, in many cases, have a eurobusiness layout, 3-3 with blocked middle seat.

    2. Anonymous20:32

      Never had an eurobusiness layout with them, even on A320 it was always a recliner. Weird to hear, but I think those A320s now went to AnadoluJet so that's why it's no longer the case.


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