Uğur Cebeci’s First Class Memory: “I Flew In A Splendid Residence!”

I recently flew First Class to Singapore on a new Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER. It was like a private residence expressly for me. Ten hours later I disembarked from the plane refreshed and alert as if I’d just emerged from my own home.

I flew from Istanbul to Singapore in the world’s priciest residence at 11,000 meters above the earth. Suite Class on the new Boeing 777-300ER recently added to Turkish Airlines’ fleet costs a total $1,701,000 when you divide the cost of the plane by the surface area of the cabin. Following ten hours’ sleep in a Suite Class bed totaling 2.4 square meters, I emerged at Singapore’s Changi Airport fresh and well-rested, as if from my own home. Passengers on a flight of this class, which Turkish Airlines calls ‘First’ and I call ‘Suite’, in fact, ‘Bosphorus Suite’, are picked up from their home in a Mercedes limousine. At the entrance to the airport I was met by TAV’s Prime Class personnel. After a brief wait I proceeded to the plane in a specially painted black golf cart. TAV and Turkish Airlines personnel saw me and all the other Suite Class passengers off one by one. You might say they had us ‘flying’ while we were still on the ground. I boarded the B777 ‘Karadeniz’ and went directly to my ‘residence’, an area of 2.4 square meters reserved for a single passenger in a total 380 square-meter cabin. I was in one of those standard $270 million special eight-seat sections. My residence had a 58 cm LCD screen.

And then the refreshment service began, provided by Turkish Airlines’ catering partner Do&Co and its boss, Attila Doğudan. In a word, they worked miracles. There was nothing that was not available on the individualized menu.

- It will soon be possible to send SMS and email from your laptop in the suites. There will be outlets for charging your laptop, and you will be able to follow the flight via a camera mounted in the front of the plane.
- Passengers not requesting limousine service will enjoy free valet service at Ataturk Airport and up to seven days’ free parking in the parking lot.
- The stamp tax for exiting the country will be obtained by Turkish Airlines at no cost to the passenger.
- Passengers may board up to 30 minutes prior to flight time from Gate E.
- Suitcases will be wrapped in plastic free of charge upon request.
- Passengers will have the right to 60 kg excess baggage. 

“Quoted from the writer’s column in the daily Hürriyet for 8 February 2009.”