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Exclusive: Turkish's luxury B777-300ER now flying LHR-Istanbul

12 Jan 2009 by Mark Caswell

Turkish Airlines is now operating what is perhaps the most luxurious scheduled aircraft within Europe.  

The carrier is leasing three B777-300ERs from India’s Jet Airways. Throughout January this craft is being rostered for a single daily London Heathrow to Istanbul flight for crew training purposes.

It means that premium class passengers booking Turkish Airlines flight TK1979 (which departs Istanbul at 0815) and TK1980 (departing Heathrow at 1140) are in for a treat because they will enjoy long-haul standards of comfort.

Instead of the usual slim seat (found on the B737s and Airbus A321s normally used on this route) business class passengers can stretch out on fully flat beds for the four-hour flight.

Better still, those who fork out the first class price can enjoy the privacy and comfort of their very own first class suite.

Economy class passengers aren’t forgotten. Although their seat will be roughly the same size they will get more legroom and the comfort of a wider cabin.

Although the B777-300ERs have been repainted in Turkish Airlines’ livery, they are currently been flown by Jet Airways’ pilots. Cabin staff are drawn from both Jet Airways and Turkish Airlines. But the planes’ interiors are exactly the same as when they were being used by Jet Airways’ for its long distance routes.

Note that the B777-300ERs will only ply the London Heathrow to Istanbul route for the remainder of this month. These craft will then be transferred to Turkish Airlines’ long distance services between Istanbul and New York JFK, and possibly Hong Kong and Singapore.

Turkish Airways is quoting London-Istanbul return fares for the B777-300ER of around £1,613 for first class and £511 for business class, with economy priced from £157.  

Bear in mind that the carrier’s website is not programmed to book first class for London-Istanbul so these tickets must be booked by telephone.

For more information visit thy.com, and for telephone reservations call +44 (0)844 8006666.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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