Istanbul Atatürk Airport

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Istanbul, Turkey
(0212) 463 3000

Istanbul Atatürk Airport Reviews

Chokk Chokk
1727 reviews
Great airport Dec 26, 2013
Istanbul Ataturk Airport is one of mine favorite airports because of the diversity in the people you have there and all the amazing destinations. It is the main international airport serving Istanbul, and the biggest airport in Turkey by total number of passengers. It opened in 1924 and located in Yeşilköy, on the European side of the city some 24 km west of the city center. I always take a taxi in getting there from Istanbul or to Istanbul, but you have to beware what time a day you want to get there or from there because traffic can be crazy, it can take you between 25 minutes and almost 1,5 hour.

In 1980, the airport was renamed Atatürk International Airport in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It served 45 million passengers in 2012, making it the 20th busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and the 14th busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic, ranking just below Munich Airport. It was Europe's 6th busiest airport in 2012, just below Amsterdam and Madrid. The airport is so busy that there are plans on building a new one. In the 2013 Air Transport News awards ceremony, İstanbul Atatürk Airport was named Airport of the Year. Also, the airport has been named Europe's Best Airport in 40-50 million passengers per year category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards.

I haven’t flown from or from the domestic terminal, so my references are only from the International terminal and I have always liked coming there since my first visit. It is a very structured airport, and it is an airport where they are used to handle large crowds. When you arrive you have to pass the passport control which is a huge area divided into 3 areas; transit, from all countries and Turks. The lines seems endless but in general they move very fast and it will not take you more than 10 – 15 minutes to get through. Outside of that area you have the luggage belts and the tax free areas just before you enter the arrival area where the hordes are waiting for friends and family. The luggage belt service is quite fast or so it seems because of the queue in the passport control.

Well outside you have a very organized taxi queue where I never have been cheated, so fare. You can only exit and enter the airport area at a couple of specific places. In getting in you have to stand in line and get a security check, just to enter the check in area. Well inside I am always amazed by the size of the terminal and all the check-in lines. It is always a good idea to get there in good time as there can be some long queues, but I have been lucky to have quite fast service. If you have a Star alliance gold card they even have a fast track for the passport control.

Inside they have tons of tax free shops, and food and cafes, and since is it a quite large airport they ask you to be at the gate area typical 1 hour before departure, but you can arrive last as well and lot of people always arrive in last minute, and I have always liked to listen to the strange names they are addressing in the speakers from the gates as last calls.
Inside the Turkish Airlines CIP Lo…
Inside the Turkish Airlines CIP Lo…
Inside the Turkish Airlines CIP Lo…
Inside the Turkish Airlines CIP Lo…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Chokk says:
haha - not here!

I can give you a couple examples

Christian Oster Gard
Giliam Ostegara
Christian Osterraard
Posted on: Jan 19, 2014
TravChef says:
They invent your name again?
Posted on: Jan 19, 2014
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osgoodst osgoodst
115 reviews
Turkish Airways Lounge - World class luxury Nov 10, 2013
Whenever I need to go to Khartoum or Mogadishu.... or in this case Bahrain I like to fly Turkish Airways so I can enjoy my long wait in their amazing lounge at Istanbul airport. So what does this place have? Lots and lots of space, showers, and food that is actually kind of good; and more beverages than I can shake a stick at. To get into the lounge you'll need airline membership or be star alliance gold or higher, or be first of business class ticket.

The istanbul airport itself is filled with a colorful assortment of overwhelmed tourists, hippy dippy types, people on religious pilgrimages, and my favorite, people from Africa walking with their carry on hoisted on their head!

When you get sick of this relax at the Istanbul lounge where you can eat, and eat, and eat;.... then sleep and sleep and sleep. Or get lucky and be involved in a photoshoot with some models : )
pool table and some reading.
pretty empty view of the lounge - …
now this is the best part, there a…
another view of the lounge
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
TravChef TravChef
29 reviews
Chaotic but Diversity Airport Dec 31, 2013
This year I have been travel through Istanbul Ataturk International Airport for 4 times and each time I stop more than 4 hours so I have time to look around.

Like many countries that name its important place with its hero, Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport was name after President de Gaulle, or many places in former cities of Soviet Union named after Lenin or Stalin, in Turkey as well, everywhere you go you can see the name of this guy, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and the man who declared Turkey as the Republic and where he became the first president. The main International Airport of Turkey is named after him. For more information you can consult Wikipedia at

The airport itself look a bit messy and chaotic, especially where you have a connecting flight, I found that everytime I was passing there, the amount of people try to get in line first is too much for me. The amount of travelers are more than the space provided. If you don't have much time for a connecting flight, I recommended you to go to pass this step quickly because once again will be a security check. Once you pass it through then you can breath a little bit and then you can continue to your gate.

On your arrival to Istanbul, you will also have a big lines for passport & visa check (immigration controls), if you travel on the business class, you will walk further just right with next to the aircrew lane, there will have the business class priority lane that expedite your immigration. You will give them a card that you get when you check-in luggage and boarding pass at the counter will give you. Make sure you have a coin for trolley too because we need to insert coin to release the trolley from the row. The size of coin is around 1 Euro size or 10 Bath coin or 1 TL. If you are European, you will familiar with this system, too bad I don't have any coin with me and I see no sign for coin exchange. On arrival I find it difficult to find the free wifi unless you go to the cafe but I tried Starbucks and I have been told that I have to have the Turk Cellphone number to use wifi, which I find it weird because every Starbucks will have a free wifi services for its customer. Thailand is an exception because in Thailand no free wifi in Starbucks either. :)

If you are departing from Istanbul, once you arrive at the airport, you will need to pass the security check fist before heading to the luggage check at each airline counter, also here we need a coin to get the trolley but we can continue to use our trolley once passing the security check (you put everything via scanner and the airport staff will pass your empty trolley through for you when you walk through the security door to check your body). This procedure will repeat again with your hand carried luggages after immigration control. Double security!
TravChef says:
Oh dear! Me and technology! :) I find that Chinese group as well so unbearable that I have to talk to the tour leader, please keep you group from squeezing in. :)
Posted on: Jan 19, 2014
Chokk says:
I made the Starbucks wifi work - I just had to go through some steps on my phone but it was for free - and the best is that is possible to charge your phones there.

I totally agree on the pushing and people passing you in the queue - I hate that and I never met as rude people as I did amongst the passengers in this airport, I must say that these people where not Turks - the worst I met were palestinians coming from Israel. These people were out of control and the rudest people I ever have met in all my travels. I might give them a separate review when I have calmed down again
Posted on: Jan 19, 2014

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