When its operation lifted off in 1933, Turkish Airlines had just five aircraft and served the domestic market. In the years since, it has soared to its position as a world leader in aviation. It offers first-class hospitality to all passengers and not just those in first class. We’ve put together some key facts about Turkish Airlines – ready for lift-off! It’s huge Turkish Airlines is flying to 261 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas as of February 2015. That makes it the fourth-largest carrier in the world based on the number of destinations. This is quite a feat when you consider that it only became international in 1982 when it increased its aircraft number to 27, with 735 personnel. These days, Turkish Airlines employs 19,341 people.

Lounging in comfort

Where to start? Let’s put it this way, you could happily spend your entire vacation in the lounge and not get bored. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. If you’ve had the pleasure of skilfully manoeuvring your case into a bathroom stall, then you’ll relish the opportunity of storing your luggage in a self-locking storage cube at Istanbul Airport.

It’s the little things…

Without your awkward cases, you’re then free to enjoy a game of golf at the Turkish Airlines Open or perhaps test your pool skills in the billiards section. If you have little ones, just let them loose in the play area so that they’ll exhaust themselves and (hopefully) sleep on the flight. Older kids can race slot cars and compete with each other, while the more laid-back older kids among us avail of a traditional Turkish massage and followed by a shower.

Fine dining

If you ever decide to leave the lounge and actually board your plane, you can access a real restaurant service and snack on a selection of hors d’oeuvres courtesy of the airlines chef. That’s right, they have chefs on board long-haul flights (complete with tall, white chef hats). No doubt that 1980s’ classic Love lifts us up where we belong, was written about Turkish Airlines (maybe not…) but you can certainly bring your romance to a new height and enjoy a candle-lit dinner high above the clouds.

Awards

Having experienced the joys of the airport lounge (I can’t stop thinking about it) I feel like bestowing some kind of award on Turkish Airlines myself but it looks like I’ll have to wait in line. The airline has enjoyed a string of accolades throughout the years. Early in 2015, was awarded Skytrax World Airline Awards for Best Airline in Europe, Best Airline in Southern Europe as well the World’s Best BusinessClass Airline Lounge, and World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining.

False alarm

In November 2014, a Turkish Airlines’ pilot accidently triggered a highjack alert and unwittingly created mayhem in the air. In fact, all he was trying to do was request a landing but hit the alarm by accident. Unfortunately for the pilot, this coincided with a depressurization warning and a prolonged radio silence in the cockpit. In response, Austria’s military deployed two fighter jets which escorted the flight to Vienna International Airport. Only 40 minutes after the plane landed did airport authorities abandon emergency procedures and realised it was a false alarm.

Facts and Figures

Turkish Airlines has been a Star Alliance member since: April 2008
Frequent Flyer Programme Miles & Smiles
Annual passengers 46.16 million people +
Departures Daily 1,168
Number of Countries served 108
Number of Airports served 264
Hub airport(s) Istanbul, Ankara
Revenue Passenger Km 89.96 billion
Sales Revenue (in US$) 9.56 BUSD
Number of employees 19,658
Number of aircraft 260
Aircraft types A340-300, A330, A321, A320, A319, A330-200F, B737-400, B-737-700, B737-800, B777-300ER, B737-900, A310-300F
Updated as of August 2015

Have you flown with Turkish Airlines? What did you think? How did they compare to the likes of Emirate Airlines, British Airways or Virgin Airlines? Discuss in the comments box below.