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Turkish Airlines B737-800 at Malta Luqa Airport
Turkish Airlines has a wide route network in Europe and also in the whole world. In the photo, we are boarding Boeing 737-800 at Malta Luqa Airport.

Turkish Airlines Review: The Best Airline In Europe

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • July 24, 2018

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Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines was established in 1933 and it has grown consistently to gain its position as a major global carrier. Being the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, its corporate headquarters are at new Istanbul Airport. Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance and it has repeatedly garnered many prestigious awards with the most notable one, Skytrax award for Europe's Best Airline from 2011-2016, thereby holding the title for six years in a row. Just recently, Turkish Airlines ranked the 18th best airline in the world for 2018, according to a ranking by Skytrax. Additionally, Turkish Airlines has been named the most valuable brand in Turkey. The company is taking seriously the importance of feedback from their customers which we highly appreciate as this is not a norm for all airlines.

Route Network

Turkish Airlines flies to 116 countries making it the number one airline in the world in terms of the countries flown. More than 290 destinations are making it the fourth largest network in the whole world. Turkish Airlines serves also more destinations non-stop from a single airport than any other airline in Europe. The airline is expected to further increase its number of passengers flown after the new Istanbul Airport was opened on October 29th, 2018. This new airport, Istanbul's third airport will become the world's largest airport.

Istanbul New Airport - the Home of Turkish Airlines

The New Istanbul Airport was opened in late 2018. The airport is still being expanded but already now, it is fully operational with 4 runways. The airport was built fast but the quality looks still amazing. We have visited the airport twice and we like it as a transfer point.

Istanbul Airport is located Arnavutköy district 35 kilometers from Istanbul city. The lack of capacity at the previous Atatürk Airport was the main motivator to build a new airport. The old airport was also somehow uncomfortable and outdated. The New Istanbul Airport aims to be one of the biggest airports in the world which will make it a great base for the airline of Turkey.

Turkish Airlines has already transferred its traffic from Atatürk to the new airport. During the time this review was written, we still flew via the airport but we have updated this article based on our newer experiences. Istanbul still has another airport, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen International Airport that is the secondary base of Turkish Airlines.

Having a layover in Istanbul New Airport? See our review of Yotelair Terminal Hotel.

Safety of Turkish Airlines

Is Turkish Airlines safe? Turkey's aviation sector's reputation is unfortunately not the best one. Turkish Airlines has also had many incidents in the past but the airline is doing a hard job to improve its safety record. The more any airline flies the more often incidents happen. However, high traffic volume is not an excuse for incidents but the airline must improve safety in every way they can. It seems that the safety of the passengers is now a serious concern of Turkish airlines and their safety record is improving. For example, Airline Ratings website has given Turkish Airline 6 of 7 stars for the safety.

Our Turkish Airlines Review

In summer 2019, we flew twice with Turkish Airlines during our vacation and our Turkish Airlines review is based on these two flights. The first one was our flight from Malta to Istanbul and after spending 3 days in Istanbul we continued to our next destination to Venice. Here’s what it was like.

Booking of the Flights

Our target was to find affordable summer flights but actually, we were not expecting that we would have ended up in Turkish Airlines Economy Class. As early as February, we started searching for two cheap one-way economy fares. Since our planned route was Malta - Istanbul - Venice, we searched for one-way flights from Malta to Istanbul and from the latter airport to Venice Airport. Finally after carefully comparing prices, we found Turkish Airlines offering an inexpensive open-jaw flight from Malta to Istanbul and back to Venice. That fit perfectly to the holiday dates we wished to travel. Currently, Momondo UK is our favourite flight searching tool.

Are you curious what are our favourite booking tools? Check here.

Earlier during the Nordic Travel Fair held in Helsinki, Finland, we had already joined the Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles loyalty program, so we were also able to earn miles.

Check-in Procedures

We were able to check in online for both flights 24 hours in advance and selected our seats free of charge by using the airline's Android app. At Malta's Luqa Airport, there was virtually no one in the line for the baggage drop. Dropping bags went smoothly the same as the passport control which went very efficiently. Because one of us is a non-EU citizen, Ceasar did need a visa for our 3-day stay in Istanbul. He was able to secure the Turkish Visa quickly by applying it online directly from the website of Turkey Immigration Office, but you can also do this at the airport. However, applying online is strongly advisable as it is a lot faster.

On the flight back from Istanbul to Venice, our bag drop procedure failed. We almost missed our flight due to repeated inconsistent advice from the Turkish Airlines staff at Atatürk airport. We had arrived just on time at the airport, early enough to do the bag drop. We headed immediately to the customs office for the stamping of our receipt to get the tax-free refund but we were then advised to proceed with the check-in first. We thought to have a faster process by going to the self bag-drop area, however, the computer didn't work for both of us. The staff supervising the bag drop area was not able to explain why this happened but advised us instead to queue for the check-in at the next lane. We patiently queued there with other many passengers. Finally, it was our turn, and we were getting worried if we will make it on time into the gates as we were running out of time. The staff at the check-in counter advised us once more to go to the next lane where the supervisors were. We informed directly to the supervisor that we are getting late for our flight because of previous useless queues and asked if we could check in our luggage to lessen our hassle at the passport control but we were refused to do so because accordingly, the check-in had already closed. Instead, the supervisor prompted us to carry them with us along and proceed immediately to the passport control. We did as advised run at full speed to the passport control gate 2 (for Non-Turkish citizens) which was unfortunately located further than gate 1 meant for Turkish citizens. With much patience and remaining calm throughout, we passed this step without problems we then proceeded immediately to our gate by running with our heavy luggage.

According to our experiences Istanbul Atatürk Airport is not passenger-friendly. Luckily, the new airport has solved this issue.

After our trip, we sent feedback to Turkish Airlines about repeated wrong advice from the airport crew. Turkish Airlines customer service didn't understand the feedback but replied with a copy-paste reply.

...We also would like to kindly inform you that, despite this, the check-in personnel who served before your TK1869 from Istanbul to Venice journey on the 10th of July 2018, has been warned within their division due to not providing professional service with a smile/not using appropriate body language or words/providing missing or inaccurate information so as not to cause dissatisfaction to another of our passengers....

The problem was not the lack of a smile or bad body language but wrong and misleading information. The answer of Turkish Airlines showed that they respect passengers but they didn't investigate our case carefully.

Fleet of Our Flights

Our first flight was operated by a new Boeing 737-800 plane and the second flight was operated with a new Airbus A321. Both planes seemed to be in great condition and they were comfortable to travel with.

Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 emergency exit seats
Turkish Airlines is using both Boeing and Airbus planes during their short-haul routes. To some short-haul destinations, they are also flying with wide-body jets.

Finnoy Travel Tip: If you wish for a lot of legroom in the Airbus A321 plane, we are advising you to choose the emergency seats.

In-flight Meals

We had been hearing positive feedback that Turkish Airlines is known for serving delicious in-flight meals. Indeed, this claim was true. During these said flights, we were happy to be served full meals, which included salad, warm main food, dessert, hot and cold drinks also including alcoholic beverages.

Meals, like everything else, were included in the ticket price.

The meaö of Turkish Airline flight
Turkish Airlines is offering a full complimentary meal also during short-haul flights. This time we were able to choose between chicken or pasta options. All drinks are included free of charge.

How to Find an Inexpensive Flight?

Follow our simple checklist to find a good deal:

  • Compare flight prices on Skyscanner on different dates.
  • Choose the most suitable schedule and price.
  • Decide whether to book directly from the airline or via an Online Travel Agency (OTA)
  • Let Skyscanner to forward you to the chosen booking site.
  • Go through the booking process and avoid buying unnecessary extras.
  • Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.

Our Rating

We were expecting much when we decided to review Turkish Airlines and we got almost everything that we expected. The Atatürk Airport was the weakest link of this big company but it's history now..

Customer Service and Professional Skills

We appreciate the friendliness of the crew during our flights. A warm welcome awaits every passenger on board. They handled their tasks very professionally. On-board service was rendered efficiently and quickly on both flights. Pilots were able to manage the flights smoothly. However, we wish that those Turkish Airlines staff working at Istanbul Airport must be well equipped with the knowledge of how to ease up customer's flights by providing consistent and correct advice. We do understand technical problems are inevitable at times but in big airports like Atatürk International Airport, they must work every time to ease the movements of passengers in such a busy airport. Feedback to the airline was sent after this incident. We admire Turkish Airlines for being openly ready to accept feedback from their customers even though the reply was not fully satisfying.

The overall customer service of Turkish Airlines is great but to be honest the customer service at Istanbul Atatürk Airport was poor this time. Without the incident, we would have given full 5 stars.

Cabin of the Planes

We were thankful to get adjacent seats which we selected ourselves for free when doing the check-in online. We flew with Turkish Airline Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A321 which had enough leg rooms so it was comfortable. Our flight from Istanbul to Venice was half empty and so the cabin was somehow relaxing. Both planes were equipped with in-flight entertainment systems, whereas every seat has its TV screen. You can select from different entertainment options like listening to various genres of music, watching movies, reading informative info regarding famous city destinations or simply monitoring your flight status on the monitor screen. A new pack of earplugs is provided for each passenger. There was also excellent seat comfort.

Business class seats looked even better but unfortunately we were not able to test them.

The cabin of Turkish Airlines Airbus A321
The cabin of Turkish Airlines Airbus A321 looked fresh and clean. It was spacious enough even in the economy class. All passengers had their entertainment screen.

Ticket Price

Overall, the ticket price was worth the money. Except for the incidents at the Turkish Airlines bag drop and at the check-in area, otherwise, everything went well. With a weight allowance of 30 kgs, it was big ease for us as our luggage slowly piled up because of souvenirs we had from our previous destinations. Because the tickets were full-inclusive there were no extra costs. Turkish Airlines has often good offers so the airline can be competitive against low-cost airlines.

On-board Catering Services

The on-board service was done very efficiently. Delicious meals were served with hospitality executed by the crew. Both flights were smooth. The cabin crew were courteous. The announcements were clear and pilots spoke unhurriedly.

Price to Quality Ratio

Overall, we had pleasant and on-time flights despite a delayed outbound flight (Malta - Istanbul) because of congested airspace in Greece. The inbound flight arrived on time. With a very good service in-flight and satisfying full meals, the quality-to-price level is great.

Overall Rating

Turkish Airlines unquestionably deserves the award as the Best Airline not only in Southern Europe but in entire Europe as it was previously crowned. We are confident that shortly the airline will reclaim this award as long they continue to strive for the best. By actively listening to their customers and providing appropriate actions in areas that need improvements, no doubt they will be able to reacquire this status.

Bottom Line

So far with all the airlines we have flown with, we can say that Turkish Airlines is one of the best airlines. It was a pleasure to write this Turkish Airlines review. Complimentary tasty foods and free beverages and first-class service from the cabin crew regardless of your flight class are good reasons to fly with Turkish Airlines again. The price-to-quality ratio compared to the quality of the overall flight experience with them is just right. Many Turkish Airlines reviews agree with us. Turkish Airlines is the best airline in Turkey and the whole of Europe.

How would you review Turkish Airlines? Comment below!

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Destination: Turkey

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Enjoy Complimentary Services at Lounges

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Get a Private Transfer

Would it be nice to know that a taxi is waiting for you at the destination? Welcome Pickups arranges private transfers according to your wishes. The private transfer service suits especially families and travel groups.

Readers' Comments (17)

  1. 08-18-2021 at 12:28pm UTC by Aleksandra Joy :

    Horrible experience with Turkish airline ground staff. The worse customer service!!! We were Flying from Ljubljana capital of Slovenia via Istanbul to Qatar with layover in Istanbul for 12:05h. When I went to customer service information desk and inquire about my entitlement for the layover time the agent was very rude and she told me that my layover is only 11:45h and I only can get a food vouchers. I try to prove that she is wrong but she refuse to listen to me and she stand up and start argument with me asking me what is my problem. My husband who stood behind start to record her behavior as well the behavior of the supervisor who I ask to speak with. The supervisor refuse to talk to me and she literally send out of the counter two man who came to my husband face and start to threaten to us “if you don’t erase immediately video they will call police and as well we will de-board you from next flight”. They not only push in to my husband face they did the same with me and make our child cry who was terrified watching the scene. One of the man ask me for the flight tickets and when I handed over to him he rip them..... there was a lot going on until we decide to erase video that capture their misbehavior ( They knew that it will went viral if we post on social media). We erase video more because of our son who was seriously terrified!

    My main point is that the Turkish airline customer service sucks and I will not recommend anyone to fly with them!


    1. 08-18-2021 at 2:39pm UTC by Finnoy Travel :

      Thank you for the comment, Alexandra.

      We are sorry to hear about your bad experiences. We recommend placing a formal complaint to the airline. We do not know the layover rules of THY so we can't help much. However, filming staff in this kind of situations is not advised because they are just normal people working and they have the right to privacy. Countries have also different privacy laws so filming and publishing the video may even lead to legal responsibility. We recommend using formal complaints to handle issues with airlines.

  2. 07-01-2021 at 3:16pm UTC by Edwin Jackson :

    I thought Turkish Airlines was one of the best until they lost a bag. After 8 days of daily phone calls, forms, uploads of ticket, baggage check, passport etc., they still could give me no information as to where the bag is. Every time I called they told me that they don't have access to any information and they need to email another department. This went on for 8 days with 0 information ! I used to work on airport baggage bar code scanners and I KNOW - the bag is scanned every time it MOVES ! They know exactly where the bag is at all times. If it were stolen, then then they should compensate me and on my last call they said wait 3 days. I have a feeling that when I call in 3 days I will get the same run-around. HORRIBLE LOST BAGGAGE SYSTEM ! I will never use Turkish Air again !

  3. 07-06-2020 at 4:06pm UTC by Majid Ghorbani-Bavani :

    Please read tripadvisor and trustpilot reviews to see how dishonest Turkish airlines are or have been during covid-19. Selling tickets for flights that does not exist and finally after much deliberation in some cases to be told that they would reimburse your accounts within 12 to 16 weeks, although by law they have to this within 7 days. Avoid them if you can

  4. 06-08-2020 at 11:46pm UTC by Mani :

    Such I bad customer service, I am very frustrated with this airline. I have 2 times bad experience with this airline flights not on time technical issues at the flight delaying.
    They cancel flights for no reasons and in the mean time refund policy is horrible it takes 2 moths to get the refund and it’s not over the phone.
    I would never recommend this airline it’s such a horrible and disorganized customer service they don’t know English they are not professional.

    1. 06-09-2020 at 9:18am UTC by Finnoy Travel :

      Thanks for the comment.

      Sorry to hear that you have had bad experiences. It seems that there is room for improvements in customer service.

  5. 06-08-2020 at 5:36pm UTC by Mahdi Tavakol :

    The worst airline ever. The ticket was cancelled four times due to COVID 19. They offered me an open ticket. I was told that I am not required to pay any fare or tax or fee differences. Now, they have sent me an email telling me that I might have to pay these... What is wrong with these people? The option of refund would not be processed for 60 days for cancelled flights.
    THE WORST AIRLINE EVER..

  6. 03-04-2020 at 9:30pm UTC by Naci :

    Turkish airline customer service on 1800 750 849 departure from Melbourne to Istanbul
    we arrived to airport at 12.30pm until 3pm they could't put in the system (airport check in) girl working at Melbourne airport was waiting until last minute to see passengers name on the computer.
    on 04/03/2020 3.10 pm passengers name was not on the check in system.
    Customer care had very poor English accent.
    I tried Turkish, they told me we don't understand your Turkish,keep saying to me we can't vise our time with you to rudely.
    we missed the plane.
    KEEP AWAY FROM TURKISH AIRLINE

    1. 03-04-2020 at 10:16pm UTC by Finnoy Travel :

      Thanks for the comment.

      Actually, we have a little similar feeling about the service. The customer service on the ground sometimes needs improvements but the service onboard is better.

  7. 02-02-2020 at 10:27am UTC by Susila Hamal :

    @Turkish Airlines its the worst airlines ever. My luggage lock was busted. Their employees literally picked my lock and its not working anymore. One of my luggage wheel is missing. I applied for compensation on October 2019. They aways send bullshit apologetic email but never once tried to help. I will never ever recommend this airlines or travel with this airlines

  8. 01-24-2020 at 12:50pm UTC by Adelina. :

    Actually, a wanted to find out how good is Turkish airline with arriving on time and delivering the luggage on the arrival, but didn’t find the answer on these questions. So, if someone is more knowledgeable about these matters, please advice. Thank you!

  9. 10-24-2019 at 4:37am UTC by Harish Shukla :

    Looking to recent relationships between India-Turky I ask this question
    Is Indian passengers are safe in Turkish Airlines flights!
    Any threat associated with Syria-Turky -India political affairs! .my son is traveling next month .

    1. 10-24-2019 at 1:36pm UTC by Finnoy Travel / Niko :

      Unfortunately, global conflicts may slightly increase the risk level of flying certain airlines. The risk level is still low but everyone needs to evaluate himself/herself if to accept risks of flying.

  10. 10-16-2019 at 5:23pm UTC by Samer Ayoub :

    Worst airline staff and service i have ever encountered. missed our connecting flight in Istanbul because my 10 year old wasn't feeling good. There solution for that was to punishe us and very rudely charge us for 3 new tickets which ended up being more expensive than our initial round trip ticket price. Extremely rude and unhelpful staff. trained to rip u off any way possible. would never recommend this airline to my worst enemy.

    1. 10-16-2019 at 9:46pm UTC by Finnoy Travel / Niko :

      Thanks for the comment.

      Sorry to hear that your child was not feeling well.

      It is often up to the airline how they handle this kind of incidents. The fair solution would have been to give you new tickets free of charge. I am quite surprised Turkish Airlines handled your case so badly.

      Hopefully you had a travel insurance that covered the extra expenses.

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