I flew over 22 hours in business class with Turkish Airlines. The food and airport lounge were unreal.

  • I flew 22+ hours in Turkish Airlines' business class and stopped at its Istanbul airport lounge.

  • The food on my flights and in the airport lounge really blew me away.

  • I had a great experience and found my seats to be comfortable, too. 

I love flying in business class, but I don't often buy my seats outright because they can cost four figures.

I like upgrading to business class by booking flights using frequent-flyer miles and credit-card points. If that's not your thing, good news: Some data suggests flying business class is slightly cheaper than it was a few years ago (even though economy airfare costs are rising).

Recently, I used points to book a business-class flight with Turkish Airlines from the Maldives to Los Angeles. If I'd booked with cash, the one-layover flight would've cost me more than $4,690.

Here's what it was like spending more than 22 hours traveling in business class with Turkish Airlines.

The check-in process was extra fast because I was flying business class.

People checking in with luggage at an airport.
I didn't have to wait long to enter the airport. Kaila Yu

The hotel I stayed at in the Maldives had a representative at the Velana International Airport who helped me walk through security.

This was a huge bonus, and even better, business-class passengers had their own line for security.

The check-in and customs process went quickly for me, though I passed economy travelers waiting in a long check-in line.

After making it through security, I had access to an airport lounge.

A menu on a screen showing options for an American and continental breakfast; a salad bar; sandwiches and light snacks; cereal; and desserts and nuts.
I wanted to save my appetite for the flight. Kaila Yu

The Turkish Airlines lounge in the Maldives had plenty of items available for breakfast, including pastries and sandwiches.

I didn't eat anything because I knew Turkish Airlines would have delicious food on the flight, and I always overeat when flying business class.

My seat was in the front row of the business-class section.

A row of three seats in business class with aisles on either side of them.
I was in the front of business class for the first leg of my flight. Kaila Yu

This leg of the flight was on an older Boeing 777-300, with seats in a two-three-two configuration.

I was excited to get the business-class amenity kit.

A Ferragano amenities bag with mini products and an eye mask.
The Ferragamo toiletry bag had lots of goodies. Kaila Yu

Turkish Airlines partnered with the luxury fashion house Ferragamo for its business-class toiletry bags filled with products such as recycled-plastic earplugs, an eye mask, Ferragamo toiletries, and a wheat-straw toothbrush.

I also received comfy socks and slippers. During the flight, many passengers, including me, removed their shoes and put on the provided slippers.

After settling into my seat, a flight attendant came by with a selection of juices and lemonade.

My first meal was a solid selection of appetizers.

A plate with tomato, cheese, cucumber, and cooked meat, with side plates of a smoothie bowl, olives, jam and butter, and a fruit salad.
Turkish Airlines definitely kept me fed. Kaila Yu

I enjoyed the set appetizer plate I got that featured local delicacies such as smoked beef, cheeses, olives, a fruit salad, a raspberry smoothie bowl, homemade apricot jam, and butter.

I chose a Turkish specialty for the main course, and it didn't disappoint.

A plate with flaky pastries and roasted vegetables.
After my meal, I immediately went to sleep. Kaila Yu

The main course was the homemade Turkish-style börek, a layered pastry with spinach and potato. It was nicely flaked and savory with creamy potato.

So far, the flight had been eight hours and 15 minutes. I went to sleep right after my meal.

About two hours before landing, the lights came on, and I got another meal.

A selection of meze items on a plate, next to a dish of chicken, bulgar, tomato, and peppers and a tart in a bowl.
Brochettes are bite-size marinated proteins. Kaila Yu

This time, I got a selection of Turkish meze. For my main, I chose the grilled-chicken brochettes with bulgur, tomato, and peppers. The chicken was smoky and tender.

For dessert, I had a mascarpone and passion-fruit tart.

Then, I had a 16-hour layover at Istanbul Airport.

People walking under an international-departures board in an airport.
I stayed in the airport during my layover so I could explore the Turkish Airlines lounge.Kaila Yu

I had the option of leaving the airport and staying at a hotel provided by Turkish Airlines. Instead, I headed to the private Turkish Airlines airport lounge.

I quickly saw why the lounge has a prestigious reputation.

The entrance to a Turkish Airlines business lounge in an airport.
The Turkish Airlines business-class lounge in Istanbul is huge. Kaila Yu

This Turkish Airlines business-class lounge is often listed as one of the world's best airline lounges, and it was easy for me to see why.

It's a sprawling space measuring 60,000 square feet with ample seating, eateries with chefs, resting rooms with beds, and even shower facilities.

The lounge was easy to enter and leave.

Entrance gates at an airport.
I didn't have to wait in line to enter the lounge. Kaila Yu

To get in and out of the lounge, I just scanned my boarding pass.

This eliminated the annoying wait I sometimes encounter at check-in counters when there's a rush of customers at airport lounges.

Even the baggage storage area of the Turkish Airlines lounge looked stunning.

A baggage storage area with translucent yellow lockers.
It seemed easy to find your bag after you checked it in. Kaila Yu

The area for baggage storage was eye-catching, stylish, and smart.

The transparent storage containers seemed to make it even easier to find your bag if you forgot your locker number.

The bathrooms were incredibly spacious, too.

A large bathroom with lots of marble sinks and mirrors.
There were also two well-lit vanity stations in this bathroom. Kaila Yu

The lounge bathrooms were large, with tons of hand-washing stations. They were never crowded, and I rarely saw anyone inside other than an attendant.

Well-lit vanity areas with seating were also nice additions to the bathrooms. They seemed like good places to reapply makeup or fix hair.

During my long layover, I even took a shower.

A bathrobe hanging outside a marble shower stall .
The shower felt rejuvenating after so much travel. Kaila Yu

Showers are available on a first-come, first-served basis in the lounge.

I didn't wait in line when I showered at about 5:30 a.m. It was refreshing to shower in the airport after a long day of traveling.

Above all, the food options in the lounge blew my mind.

A chef preparing food behind a counter.
Dishes were being prepared right in front of my eyes. Kaila Yu

The wildest part of the layover was the food: I'd never seen anything like it at an airport lounge.

I passed at least five live cooking stations in the lounge, many of which featured Turkish specialties. I even saw someone making pastries from scratch.

A coffee station had a barista making drinks to order.

A barista behind a coffee station in an airport.
You should try the Turkish coffee.Kaila Yu

The lounge had various coffee drinks available to order and an impressive selection of Turkish teas. I recommend trying the Turkish coffee, of course.

I ate so much while I waited.

A plate of salad and a plate of kofta with rice.
The food I ate in the lounge impressed me. Kaila Yu

I ate constantly (probably every 30 minutes I was awake) during my layover just because there was an overflowing abundance of food.

The salad bar was well-stocked and I especially enjoyed the stations serving traditional grilled meats. The Turkish beef patty I ate was perfectly cooked, and I got it hot off the grill.

After eating, I found a reclined lounge chair and napped through the night.

Eventually, I headed to the second leg of my flight.

A business-class seat by a window with a side table.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was newer than the other plane I was on before. Kaila Yu

I was excited to board my flight's longer, 13-hour leg on the newer Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

I had my own plush, private window seat, and no one was seated next to me as I headed from Istanbul to Los Angeles.

Breakfast was my favorite meal on this flight.

A plate of yoghurt, berries, and cereal next to side plates of meat and cheese, condiments, and a tomato, olive, and cucumber salad.
I enjoyed most of my breakfast. Kaila Yu

I boarded at 7 a.m., and breakfast service started shortly after takeoff.

I'm not usually a huge fan of yogurt, but it was gorgeously displayed on my plate I ate every bite. For my main entrée, I selected the eggs Benedict, which was OK, but the eggs seemed overcooked.

Before the lights turned down in the cabin, a flight attendant came to make my bed.

A lie-flat chair on an airplane.
This service wasn't offered on the first leg of my trip. Kaila Yu

The best part of business class is undoubtedly the lie-flat seats that can be customized to any incline.

For turn-down service, a flight attendant added a mattress pad and a velvety blanket to my seat.

Again, I enjoyed even more food.

A plate of shrimp pasta in front of a screen playing a movie.
I wasn't ever hungry for long on my Turkish Airlines flight. Kaila Yu

Turkish Airlines really stands out for its food offerings, in my opinion.

I really enjoyed selecting appetizers from a meal cart of options. On this flight, I chose the Caesar salad, shrimp salad, roasted eggplant, and cauliflower soup. I especially enjoyed the savory soup.

For my main entrée, I ordered a pasta dish with shrimp, which was heavily cheesed to my liking.

Overall, Turkish Airlines really impressed me — especially when it came to food.

People boarding a Turkish Airlines flight .
Turkish Airlines had some great food in its Istanbul lounge. Kaila Yu

I loved the flight, especially the last leg with the plush seats. The meals I ate throughout my travel journey were impressive, and I can see why the airline has been nominated for several food awards.

I would fly with Turkish Airlines again and revisit its Istanbul lounge just to eat.

Read the original article on Business Insider