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Has anyone flown nonstop Turkish Air from Seattle to Istanbul? Economy or Business/First class? Any other suggestions? Thank you!

Posted by
7014 posts

I haven't flown from Seattle, but I have flown from Dulles (IAD) in Virginia several times. Always non-stop red-eye flights; all have been good experiences and the food was great. I'm totally fine in Economy.

Posted by
6223 posts

Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Turkish Airlines and I'll go out of my way to fly on them any time. I was over-the-moon delighted when I found out they would begin nonstop service between Istanbul and Seattle. (This route just started in September 2022).

I have not flown on this SEA-IST route yet, but I have that flight booked in September and am very much looking forward to it. Is there anything in particular you are looking to know about it? I can't imagine a better way to get from Seattle to Istanbul - perfect for trips to Turkey and beyond.

I have flown in TK business between Istanbul and San Francisco in 2020. It was one of the nicest flights I've ever had. Super comfortable, amazing food (two chefs aboard the flight), excellent service. Everything just about perfect. I've also flown on TK several times domestically within Turkey (in coach) and while it was nothing luxurious or memorable, those domestic flights were comfortable, convenient, easy -- and unbelievably cheap (tickets were like $25-$30). I'll jump at any chance to fly to Istanbul in TK business class, and will fly domestically in coach without any hesitation.

The primary difference between that flight I was on to SFO and the one now serving Seattle is the aircraft type. On the IST-SFO flights, they were (and I believe still are) using older aircraft (a 777) which features their "old" business class cabin - that has 7 seats across in 2-3-2 seating, which is a mixed bag. That cabin has a "middle seat" in the center section, without direct aisle access. It would be great for a couple traveling with a child, but for most adults not a super-appealing seat compared to what's now expected as the current standard (most airlines have direct-aisle access for all international business class seats these days). But the old TK business class seats are absolutely HUGE, spacious, comfortable, perfect for getting good sleep, and have so much "leg room" you can actually stand up and pace back-and-forth (forward and back) in the space in front of your seat.

The newer aircraft they use on the Seattle flights are 787s, and they have a different cabin layout up front. Four seats across in a "herringbone" 1-2-1 layout, so every seat has direct aisle access. The seats are more modern, in "pods" as you see in many modern business class cabins. I hear they are very nice, though not as wide as the old business class seats on the 777 (and without the crazy legroom in front of your seat that allows you to walk around in it on your way to the aisle).

Both the new and old business class cabins feature fully flat beds optimized for getting good sleep on long flights, the over-the top food, and nice little touches (on our flight, the meals were served in a darkened cabin, with little flickering electronic candles on every dinner setting, it was quite charming).

I have not flown TK in long-haul international coach, but I've heard the seats are decent and the service/food is surprisingly good.

I'm very much looking forward to my upcoming flight to Istanbul, and looking forward to trying out the new business class seats. I'm also super-excited to fly this route on TK in the coming years - it's a great way to get to anywhere in eastern Europe, much of Africa and the Middle East, Central Asia, and beyond. TK is by many measure the world's largest airline - they fly almost everywhere so going via IST opens up a lot of destinations.

Posted by
474 posts

I've flown nonstop from SFO (2015) and ATL (2020) on Turkish Airlines.

The seats are comfortable and the service was good (economy class).

Posted by
8 posts

David, thank you for the ringing endorsement! We're also looking at September - may I ask what you paid for your business class seat for your upcoming trip?

Posted by
6223 posts

@hhcassidy - We paid for our Fall 2023 flights to/from IST with Frequent Flyer miles, so I can't give any meaningful guidance on a cash price. What we paid (the cost in miles plus the small fees) was an incredible bargain (that's an understatement). We scored an amazing deal, I still can't believe it.

We booked roughly 10-11 months in advance (we had first booked out tickets in late October at a higher price, then a few weeks later when I saw prices had dropped significantly, I cancelled the original flights and rebooked at less than half what I was willing to pay for the original flights. At that point flights were plentiful and surprisingly (actually, shockingly) "cheap". I suspect prices have gone up since then. I tend to be pretty obsessive in booking flights very far in advance, stalking prices at 11 months out and jumping when I see something that works.

Our trip is actually mostly to Malta, with some time added in Istanbul at the end. We were in Istanbul wrapping up a 2 week Turkey trip in 2020 when the pandemic blew up, flights were being canceled and borders were closing, so we had to cut short our time in Istanbul and head home; this visit will give us a chance to wrap up some "unfinished business" in Istanbul and serve as (I hope) "pandemic closure."

Turkey is awesome, you will love it. We hope to make the flight between Seattle and Istanbul a regular "milk run" if we can.

Posted by
6223 posts

BTW, if you do spring for the TK business class tickets, be sure to budget some time for the fabulous TK business class lounge in IST before your flight home. More than just a decent place to kill a little time before boarding your flight, that lounge is stunning. I asked my wife how much time I should plan in the lounge for our return departure day, and her response was "I need at least 2 hours in the lounge, um, OK make that 3 hours, I want a nice long massage..."

BTW, Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any airline in the world (over 120 so far). They have been expanding, and continue to expand at a dizzying pace all around the world. Their destinations in North America (all too/from Istanbul) currently include: New York (both JFK and Newark), Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC (IAD), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, Mexico City, and Cancun.

They also plan to add flights to Denver, Detroit and Orlando this year. I would expect several more North America destinations to be added in 2024. They are on a tare, all over the world (including some very obscure places). Fly nonstop to Istanbul, then you're just one TK flight away from almost anyplace in the's pretty amazing.

Posted by
36 posts

I don't know if this is at all convenient for you, but Turkish Airlines also flies non stop to Istanbul from Vancouver International Airport in Canada. My son flew this route nonstop and he had a very positive experience. He flew economy.

Posted by
15149 posts

LIKE David, I'm a big fan of Turkish Airlines and I'll go out of my way to fly on them any time. Love them. I think I've been on 20 or more Turkish Air flight legs in the last 10 years. Buy always out of Houston.

Posted by
23 posts

Hi -
Not SEA-IST, but I just took SFO-IST on Feb 14th, last week, in Economy.
It was good, I was allotted Window seat and it was just enough for my 5'9" frame - anything taller, it would
have been hell on a 13 hour flight. Flight was packed, and my middle seat neighbor was visibly struggling all through the flight. In short, leg room in Economy is not good.

Food was fine - it was adequate. These days, expecting too much from the airline is not right - how much are you going to eat anyway ? Entertainment was OK - selection was limited, but I got my two movies which kept me occupied between short sleep stints - so it was fine for me. Service ? It was fine - no complaints at all.

If I compare this to Emirates which I have flown recently - then Emirates would rate Excellent on the same scale, which had newer planes, better leg room, more entertainment selection (90% of it I did not use !)

My next flight was IST-BOM - where the plane was half empty - I just moved to an empty row and was able to nicely stretch out.

Overall - Turkish Airlines is fine, meets my needs - I don't need much more.

I will be flying BOM-IST and taking a 2.5 day vacation in Istanbul next week - and then take the return
IST-SFO flight. Will post my experience on my return flight.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all, for your responses. We’ve booked 1st class SEA - IST for late September. I will report back. I’ve recently had back surgery and as we are not young (72), have decided to make the 12 hour flight as comfortable as possible- a splurge but I think a good plan.