Spoiler alert: the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge in Istanbul is one of the best business class lounges in the world. While you’ve got to visit this lounge to truly appreciate its size and scope, I hope you’ll get a good sense of it in the comprehensive review below.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Access + Hours
The lounge, technically called Turkish Airlines Lounge Business, is open 24/7 and available to Turkish Airlines and Star Alliance business class passengers. This is not a Star Alliance Gold lounge. It is over 60,000 square feet (5,600 square meters) and can accommodate 765 passengers. You’ll find it near Gate E1.
As you enter, your credentials will be checked at the base of the escalator by an attendant. At the actual entrance to the lounge, you’ll need to scan your boarding pass.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Map
Here’s a floorpan of the lounge, which might help you better visualize the space:
Use your boarding pass to enter the lounge, which uses automatic gates.
As you enter the lounge, you’ll be greeted by fresh-cut flowers and a large screen showcasing Turkish Airlines and some of the worldwide destinations it serves.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Seating
If you remember the old lounge in Istanbul Ataturk, you’ll see that Turkish kept the same furniture in its new lounge: you’ll see white sectional couches and Parisian cafe style tables and chairs spread throughout the lounge. Even during peak periods, the lounge never became so busy that it felt packed, just full…
In addition to the old seating, there are also blue velvet couches that run the length of the lounge and offer comfortable seating to work or eat at.
There’s also an area of the lounge called the Tea Garden with backlit photographs of Turkey that offers a more tranquil environment to sit in.
There’s also a “library” area:
Scattered throughout the lounge are additional nooks and crannies with chairs and tables.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Food + Drink
I appreciated both the quality and variety of food in this lounge. In the morning, omelets and breakfast sandwiches are made-to-order along with an extensive buffet of cereals, yogurts, and Turkish mezze. Croissants are fresh-basked and there is fresh-squeezed orange juice available. Baristas are available around-the-clock to make delicious coffee. There’s also speciality Turkish dishes like Kumru (sausage and cheese sandwich) and Gözleme (flat-bread pastry).
Around 10:30AM, the transition to lunch/dinner is made, which includes a salad bar, Asian wok station, pasta station, panini station, grill station with grilled vegetables, beef, and chicken, and a pide station, which is delicious Turkish flatbread topped in various meat, cheese, and vegetable toppings.
You’ll find self-serve drink stations, alcohol, nuts, and desserts around the lounge.
Don’t forget the tea in the Tea Garden:
Each month there are also specials. During my visits (February and March), the pasta special was Manti, a Turkish ravioli.
During the current health scare, the buffet has been scaled back, with all options served in individuals containers.
With a large variety, I think this lounge sets the tone in terms of cuisine among its business class peers.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Private Suites
Eligible passengers can take advantage of a private hotel-like room inside the lounge, although you must satisfy all three conditions below:
- Traveling in Turkish business class (not on a Star Alliance partner)
- Award tickets qualify
- A connection between four and nine hours
- At least one of your flights (either arriving or departing) needs to be at least eight hours
I recently qualified while traveling from Cotonou (COO) to London (LHR) via Istanbul, because COO-IST is blocked at 9hrs, 15min. But when I traveled from Frankfurt (FRA) to Atlanta (ATL) via Istanbul I did not qualify because my layover was longer than nine hours.
The room contains a twin bed, alarm clock, and luggage rack, but does not have a private bathroom. Do note that an attendant lets you into the room and once you enter, you cannot leave…even if going to bathroom down the hall…without having to return to the attendant so that she can open it again. Turkish needs key cards like Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa Lounge.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Daybeds
If you are not edible for the Private Suite, try to snag a daybed. There are about ten of them in the lounge and they are, understandably, quite popular. You’ll find them on the north side of the lounge, with each one separated by a thick curtain. Blankets and pillows are available on request. Expect plenty of foot traffic in this area since these daybeds are so popular.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Showers
Showers are available. Head to the Private Suite desk and you can register for a shower (expect waits of up to one hour during peak periods). The shower suites include toilets and water pressure is strong. Additional amenities are available upon request.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Conference Rooms
A trio of conference rooms are available, which can be reserved at reception or even using the screen on the door of each lounge.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Locker Storage
Lockers are available if you don’t want to worry about your bag while in the lounge. Turn left as you enter the lounge and you’ll find the lockers.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Wi-Fi Internet
I heard that internet was horrible in this lounge, but when I spent more than a half day in this lounge in February, the internet worked just fine. However when I returned last week, the internet was so bad it did not function…it drove me insane, to the point that I left the lounge early because I could not stand the inability to connect.
As you enter the lounge, there are two stations which dispense internet vouchers with a unique username and password. Simply scan your boarding pass and a voucher will print.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Service
Staff are courteous in the lounge. Some of the baristas are on the shy side, but all know how to make great coffee. The chefs smile, but the nicest people are the guys stationed in the restrooms to ensure it is always clean. If you need help with a flight, there is always staff available just outside the upper level entrance to the lounge.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Restrooms
Two large restrooms are available in the lounge and these were never crowded. As I mentioned above, staff are positioned in the restroom to keep it clean and smelling fresh…there is even fresh cut flowers there too.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Golf + Video Games
Fancy a game of golf? Near the panini station is a golf simulator that was so popular I did not get a chance to try it. Nearby there were several video game stations and a miniature model of Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Kids’s Area
Around the corner in the main seating area is a children’s area that can keep your little one occupied for hours.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Theatre
While there is no formal theatre like in the old lounge, there is a TV area with 12 screens. You can borrow noise cancelling headphones and a device that allows you to tune into the screen of your choice.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Ironing Service
Ironing service is available each day, which came in quite handy when I pulled out a clean shirt from my bag only to discover that it was quite wrinkled. Usually my trick is to use the steam from the shower to straighten it out, but this was much more expeditious.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Roaming Massages
Look for the ladies in white roaming the lounge in the late morning and early afternoon hours. If you flag one down, you’ll be treated to a 5-10 minute neck and shoulder massage, which hit the spot after a long flight.
Turkish Airlines Business Lounge Istanbul Art Gallery
Located within the lounge is modern art gallery, showcasing a variety of Turkish art. You can visit this 24/7.
I found this lounge to be charming and exceeded my expectations…with the exception of the internet. The non-functioning wi-fi during my recent visit was simply unacceptable. I don’t understand how Turkey can build a beautiful new airport and provision internet so poorly in it…this goes beyond the Turkish lounge and is a problem throughout the airport.
What was your experience like in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge?