After arriving from Frankfurt aboard the A321neo, I had an extended layover in Istanbul before my connection to Atlanta. I decided to spend the night in the lounge instead of leaving the airport, a decision I did not regret.
A Beautiful Pair Of Turkish Airlines Lounges In Istanbul
Turkish Airlines has two large lounges in Istanbul (IST), a Miles & Smiles Lounge and a Business Class Lounge. The lounges are essentially mirror images of each other with the same amenities, including several live food stations and an extended buffet, an excellent selection of drinks, and plenty of seats to relax in.
They are also quite stylish.
My extra-long layover did not qualify for a free “Private Suite” within the lounge:
You need a layover between 4-9 hours and to be connecting to/from a longhaul Turkish flight in business class (of at least eight hours)…my layover was ironically too long.
Nevertheless, I made use of one the of the daybeds and was quite comfortable:
(with cappuccinos on demand just a few paces away)
And I still had access to the shower suites:
Stay tuned for a full review of both lounges, though again they were identical as far as I could see.
I could have left the lounge and stayed at the Yotel or even in one of the IGA Sleep Pods, but I was so comfortable in the lounge I decided not to move.
Here’s the bottom line: Turkish Airlines offer a phenomenal lounge product in Istanbul that never ceases to remind me how valuable having Star Alliance Gold status is. Furthermore, this lounge is so much better, in terms of food and drink, than the nearby IGA Lounge, a lounge use by non-Star Alliance airlines and Priority Pass.
If you’re traveling through Istanbul and have access, make some time to visit this lounge, because in many ways it serves as an archetype of what other business class lounges should look like.
Have you visited the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul?
I am used to casual travelers loving the TK lounges (all the food and the bling), but it’s surprising to see an experienced blogger joining them))
In my opinion, the TK lounges are a prime example of a poor business lounge. How come a huge BUSINESS lounge (named so because transfer passengers need to do some kind of work between flights) doesn’t have proper work desks, communal tables, or at least dining tables that would be suitable for working? There are three “offices” with very good tables and office chairs, but they need to be pre-booked; it’s hit or miss whether you’ll get the chance to use them.
To me, that has no explanation nor excuses. They truly think that an art gallery(!) is more important in the business lounge than a place to work. C’mon!
What about electrical outlets? Only in the floor! The wifi is hardly usable.
The food is alright, but mostly unhealthy.
Among big lounges in airlines’ hubs, i rate the TK lounges as one of the worst out there. Sure, they might impress a casual traveler (i imagine you don’t fly often with TK), though.
I was most fearful of the wi-fi issue since I had so much work to do, but it actually worked fine for me. The lounge should have more plugs and also USB + USB-C. More desks would be nice. But overall, I loved this lounge…almost as much as the old one.
Regular TK flyer here. For my usual 2-3 hr transits the lounge is perfect, food is great.
No complaints about wifi either except dor the ridiculously long log in codes.
I will agree with you cariverga.
The new TK business lounge is nothing more than an oversized lounge that has limited work space, wasted empty space, little natural light, and unhealthy mediocre food.
The lounge is limited in terms of options I think. The play room is great and cute, but besides that it offers nothing more than other hub business class lounges at other airports.
I guess the only things it has going for it is the private suites, but those are limited and need to qualify for them.
The lounge is basically open enough where a screaming or loud talking person could be heard in the next “room”.
I wouldn’t arrive early at IST to experience the lounge, let alone limit my layover at IST if I ever have one.
So I get the lack of natural light, but unhealthy/mediocre food? There’s a huge salad bar, freshly-made pasta and eggs, a grill with spiced meats and vegetables, tremendous barista-made coffee, a selection of 20+ types of tea, great desserts, even a wide selection of nuts. The food in this lounge, at least in my opinion, is one of its strongest points.
I entered fearing the internet would drive me crazy, but it actually worked just fine — fast enough to upload pictures quickly to the blog and run Outlook in Parallels on my Mac, which is very internet-dependent.
Oh my God. I think TK refused to upgrade you. I travel a lot, I mean, a lot. I fly business 90 percent of the time, and I hold a Priority Pass also, just in case. I have literally NOT seen a better lounge anywhere else. Have you seen the Lufthansa, Alitalia and Air France lounges in Terminal 1 in JFK? They have stale food and once I witnessed plastic forks and knives ( years ago though). I am not saying this because I am Turkish but anyone in their right mind would really appreciate such a great lounge.
I think the difference in perception may be due to the fact that you see it as a one-off experience, while I have been a very frequent TK flyer for about 10 years. Different criteria come into play.
Suffice to say i hate long layovers in IST, while i absolutely love them in FRA or MUC (LH lounges are sooooo much better than TK ones, in my opinion, in terms of food, too). And i am saying it as someone who in general loves Turkish food. But yes, it’s mostly unhealthy (apart from salads and mezze), and boring. Even the desserts that everyone seems to like so much are unbearably sweet and have been the same for ages. No changes to the food offering, at all. For a frequent flyer, this is a boring and non-functional lounge. For a one-off visitor, probably not.
Not fair to compare outstation lounges to the homebase lounge…
Excuse me. But you are really biased. I was there, able to work , to relax to eat very healthy food and the wifi was outstanding in term of speed.
I used this lounge several times and am amazed. As well as many fellow travelers who used it before. Everyone was pleased with every detail in the lounge. And the suites are a big plus when you have a long layover….
YOU MUST BE BLIND OR FROM ARMENIA TO WRITE SOMETHING THAT STUPID ABOUT THY LOUNGE AT ISTANBUL AIRPORT.
THY BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGES ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD.
I love the Turkish Lounge in Istanbul. There is no other lounge that embodies it’s location like it does. It’s like a mini Turkish vacation, without leaving the airport.
You actually spent the night in the TK lounge on one of their daybeds?
Yes I did! Though I was up for most of it working and on conference calls…I wasn’t exactly trying to sleep for eight hours.
What exactly is the qualification for the Private Suite?
I regularly fly them from Istanbul to San Francisco and vice versa… And then usually have a connection to a European city. I thought about the Yotel. Can someone explain the qualifications and reserving process?
You must be flying in business class, connecting on a flight longer than 8 hours, and have a connection between 4-9 hours. The agent cannot actually override it. The suites were empty during my visit but when she scanned my boarding pass the system denied her. She tried her best!
I’m late to the game here, but having just experienced this, I found it the most obnoxious thing about Turkish. Turkish offers a great benefit to travels with a layover of more than 20 hours: a hotel room. Under 9 hours? A suite! Between 9 and 20? Go die in a fire! It’s ridiculous.
It is a strange policy – I would agree.
It is total garbage and very overpriced.I pass through it half a dozen times a year at minimum.Turkish people are incompetent,inhospitable and uneducated.
Your loss. This year, maybe pass through it ZERO times then. One less whiner.
U Sound like a racist to me, sorry but true and thus your opinion is worth [redacted by admin]
I agree with you Matthew – I think it’s one of the best lounges in the world. Similar to any first class lounge where they’re preparing the food in front of you. I usually take an extra few hours when connecting just to enjoy the lounge to the max. The ones who write the food is not healthy, have not seen the 20plus types of salads and cheeses? What kind of food is healthier in the Lufthansa lounge (which is not bad either, but way behind Turkish)? I can’t stand this negativity. This lounge deserves credits! And it makes Star Alliance gold very desirable and worth it!
I did my first transit through IST last month and spent some hours in the lounge.
The sleeping rooms (“suites”) are silent, dark and comfortable, although a bit warm. Bathrooms are down the hall, so do your business before laying down. I got the room even though my connection was a hair over 9 hours, although the young lady at the desk had to call to get an override. I love that the shower suites are right across the hall from the sleeping rooms.
The food selection was decent but both the person traveling with me and I found the food to be very bland, which is not a characteristic that comes to mind when you think of Turkish food. Also, the dessert selection was a bit on the small side for such a huge lounge. The self-serve drink stations are a superb idea and they’re all over the place.
Basically, great shower, good sleeping quarters, numerous solid if uninspired food options, lots of space, and a very nice design. I’d give it a B to a B+.
Interesting datapoint. So I apparently should have pushed harder for the Private Suite…
I never pushed. I was the picture of pleasantness, if you can believe it. I do think that the fact that my flight was only around five minutes over the technical limit helped, and I suspect they had a light load when the flight from ATL got in.
Everybody has the right to criticize, intelligent person sees the critics as an opportunity for improvement. The Fool gives stupid, meaningless and inappropriate reaction.
Best food, energetic staff, secure, relaxing. What else we need. Enjoy new & fresh lounging.
I had 20 hrs layover and my first-leg ticket is Business Class and so I had entry to TK Lounge.
Food is limited selection. You get pasta, noodles, rice, eggplant, chicken and beef for main course. Emirates BC Lounge is tops in food, In my opinion.
Salad selection is fantastic and serving size is just about right.
Drink all-you-can is also fantastic. I’m not alcoholic, so I have my fill with the the juices.
They have free baggage deposit safe where you can leave your carry-ons and if you have bought from DF already
My next flight is 6hr 50 mins and I was told by a grumpy concierge I do not qualify for the suite just because my original flight was delayed to plus 5 hours. Yes, that is 25 hours layover, spent in TK Lounge.
But it is better than being mere Economy fare sitting in cramped benches and chairs on the ground or trying to get sleep at Burger Jack.
TK Lounge is way better than Etihad.
It would have been a miserable 25 hours layover but TK Lounge made my stay in Istambul airport tolerably pleasant.
Do you recall how many “Daybeds” there are in IST biz class lounge??? I’m connecting through IST with my four young children, and due to the long layover we will not qualify for the private suites, so I’m assuming the next best option for my children to catch some shut eye would be the daybeds (correct me if I’m off base). Do you recall how many there are? Or if there are better options for them?
There are 10-12.
Thanks Matthew 🙂
Hi Mathew, we are traveling Business Class on Turkish Airlines are taking a few days stopover in Turkey on our return. Would you know how many hours max we will be able to use the lounge and if we would qualify for the private suites ? We are returning early am from capadoccia and our flight out to the US is in the evening the same day. So we may be spending over 12 hours at the airport.
You can stay as long as you’d like in the lounge, but will not be eligible for the private suites (since your connection is deliberately longer than it needs to be).
I will be flying TK biz class from Europe to Asia with 20 hours layover time. I plan to nap for a few hours in the daybed, take a shower and then leave the airport for a day tour. How long can I sleep at the daybed?
My next flight to Asia is 10hrs but I’m not sure if I’m qualified for the suite.
Daybeds are first-come-first-served. You can stay as long as you want.
Thanks for the insights. Next week we fly ORD – IST and after them canceling our connection flight to HRG we are stuck in IST for 29 hours (!!!!!) We are in Business Class…….
We do not want to leave the airport and have a YOTEL Airside reservation for one night. We’ll still have anywhere from 8-10 hours after checking out and am wondering if we can get a Suite until we depart 9:10 the next evening IST to HRG.
Based on your previous comments about time out hours it doesn’t look like it, ugh……
I’ve sent a Feedback message to Turkish Airlines but they’ve been pretty inflexible so far. Kind of disappointing……
Any insights appreciated!