At the Airport
Turkish Airlines check-in counters at Catania Airport are located together in a single file on the right of the terminal building. These counters occupy the last four counters of the row in counters 42 to 45, at the furthest right of the row of check-in counters at Catania Airport. Three counters are dedicated to Economy Class passengers, while only one services Business Class Passengers. There was no queue for both Economy or Business Class at the time we were at the airport. The ground staff came across as being impatient and demanding initially. Check-in was a tad slow as the ground staff processed our check-in one by one. After getting ready the record requirements, such as vaccine records and Singapore arrival registrations, one by one before she asked for them, the ground staff suddenly became very friendly. She diligently checked all our documents tag all our luggage, including our carry-on bags. After processing our check-in, the ground staff provided us with information on the time and gate of our flight. She even reminded us to use the fast track lane for Business Class passengers and gave us directions on where the lounge is located.
Bellini VIP Lounge
As Business Class passengers, we were entitled to lounge access. The Bellini VIP Lounge is the only lounge at Catania Airport. The lounge is on the far left, one floor above the boarding gate level, of the airport terminal, after passing through security checks. Bellini VIP Lounge is a very small lounge that can only admit 35 passengers. The catering in the lounge is limited to pre-packaged pastries and some drinks. We did not stay at the lounge for too long due to its size and limited food available.
Turkish Airlines operates B737-900ER between Catania and Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines B737-900ER has 151 seats in two cabins, with 16 seats in Business Class and 135 in Economy Class. The Business Class cabin on Turkish Airlines B737-900ER mainly uses white on its bulkheads to contrast the black-coloured seats, giving the cabin a refined and airy look. The choice of white colour also makes the narrow-body aircraft appear larger. Matched with the use of sky blue mood lighting during boarding and yellow colour during flight, the Business Class cabin feels very refreshing. Furthermore, a distinctive red Turkish Airlines logo mounted on the bulkhead separating Business and Economy Class not only reinforces the brand identity of the aircraft but also exudes a premium feel in the Business Class cabin. Seats in the Business Class are arranged in a 2-2 configuration.
The only lavatory serving the 16 passengers in Business Class is in front of Turkish Airlines B737-900ER, behind the doors to the cockpit. Due to the aircraft’s size, there is little room in the Business Class lavatory on Turkish Airlines B737-900ER. In addition, the use of bright white lights and mirrors made the lavatory appears larger. Besides the Molton Brown hand soap and lotion, the lavatory did not appear to be different from that in the Economy Class cabin. Unlike some other airlines, which would display flowers or use cloth napkins. Additional amenities such as toothbrushes or paper cups are also not in the lavatory. Despite its simple and non-premium feel, the lavatory was kept clean and functional.
The Turkish Airlines B737-900ER Business Class seats have a generous pitch of 43″ and measure 20″ wide. These Business Class seats are padded with thick cushioning, making sitting on them very comfortable. In addition, the use of leather, plus the individual air nozzles overhead, makes the seat feels cooler. The Turkish Airlines B737-900ER serves short to medium-haul routes; despite only being capable of reclining a further 5″, these Business Class seats still provide its passengers great comfort. The calf and footrest feature, both parts of the Business Class seats, is a mixed bag. While I find the calf rest provides greater comfort, the footrest is more of a hindrance than providing comfort. as such, I did not use the footrest.
Buttons to control the seat recline and deploy calfrest are found on the seat’s armrest, like any other seats on other airlines. These buttons are still very responsive to use without the need to use Hulk strength despite the age of the aircraft. The table is stowed inside the outer armrests of each seat. The sturdy table is large enough to cover the entire 20″ width of the seat, providing ample space for dining and work. I like the installation of a small cocktail table between the seats that can be put away when not in use, providing Business Class passengers additional space to place their drinks without deploying the table or balancing on the armrests and hoping it will not slide. Storage is a tad limited on this Business Class configuration. The only form of storage we had were the overhead lockers and the seat pocket in front of us. Turkish Airlines B737-900ER Business Class seats only have one overhead reading light fitted on the ceiling above the seats.
Turkish Airlines has an extensive IFE option for their passengers. There are tons of options for entertainment on their IFE, ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbuster to selected TV serials, games and music channels. The IFE hardware, however, feels a little dated. The 10.6″ IFE screen on Turkish Airlines B737-900ER Business Class cabin is fitted in the centre armrests. The design of the IFE arm provides more of a hindrance during mealtime as it will inevitably get in the way of the meal tray. The IFE controller on the Turkish Airlines B737-900ER Business Class product is also rather old school. Unlike its B777 and A321 counterparts, the IFE controller is mechanical and does not have the initiative touchscreen menu. Turkish Airlines provides its Business Class passengers with comfortable noise-cancelling headphones.
There is only one meal service on this 3hr flight from CTA to IST. As this is a morning flight, the meal served onboard this CTA-IST leg consists of breakfast options. As soon as the seat belt signs were turned off, the cabin crew sprung into action and served us the fruit salad starter with an assortment of sides to complement our breakfast. The fruits are fresh and sweet, and the butter is tasty. I did not eat the rest of the sides that came together with the tray of food. After finishing our starter, the cabin crew followed up with our mains, from which we could choose from Cheese Bagel or Veggie Omelette. The Cheese bagel was tasty and not too hard. The savoury bagel complemented the sweets from the fruit starter. The cabin crews continually topped up our drinks from the limited drink menu throughout the flight.
Service was excellent in the Business Class on this Turkish Airlines CTA-IST flight. The superb service began when we were warmly greeted by the two cabin crews working on the Business Class cabin. The two cabin crews were very friendly and took great care of us during the flight. After the passengers were settled in, the two cabin crew went around like clockwork, one serving us pre-departure drinks and the other taking orders for breakfast. They constantly checked with us to see if we required our drinks to be topped up or additional bread during meal time. They ran the Business Class service like clockwork with a tacit understanding of what the other attendant will be doing and not get into each other’s way. The flight attendants were seen wearing a smile tirelessly throughout the flight.
The flight attendants were also seen helping us and the Economy Class passengers near our seats to find storage space with our carry-ons. My friend requested a drink, but it was delivered wrongly to me (I drank the beverage). The flight attendant realised his mistake and followed up immediately with my friend with a glass of drink and apologised. The same flight attendant was also seen heading into the Economy Class cabin to help his colleague after our meal service. Such action shows how much the flight attendant took pride in his job and his service level.
Despite the age of the Business Class product on Turkish Airlines B737-900ER, the seats on this flight from CTA to IST were very comfortable. Our time passed thanks to the plentiful entertainment options on the IFE quickly. What made this flight enjoyable was the impeccable service by the flight attendants. We enjoyed the service and the care they rendered on this flight. This was the most enjoyable flight we had with Turkish Airlines.