Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge New Istanbul Airport

On Monday night I spent about eight hours at the new Istanbul Airport, which just officially opened this past Saturday. I’ve already written a detailed review of the new airport, which is both beautiful and poorly designed. In this post I wanted to share an in-depth review of the new flagship Turkish Airlines lounge at the airport.

Turkish Airlines Lounges at the new Istanbul Airport

While Turkish Airlines had a single mega-lounge at Ataturk Airport (which was generally well regarded), the new airport has a few lounges.

Currently two international lounges are open:

  • The Turkish Business Lounge is open to all Turkish Airlines business class and Star Alliance business class passengers; the entrance to the lounge is located near gate E1, and no guests are allowed
  • The Turkish Miles & Smiles Lounge is open to Miles & Smiles Elite and Elite Plus customers, as well as all Star Alliance Gold members; the entrance to the lounge is located near gate C1, and each person is allowed one guest

Then there are a couple more lounges that should open in the future, but we don’t have an exact timeline for that:

  • The Turkish Arrivals Lounge, though we don’t yet know what exactly the entry requirements will be (I assume business class passengers will have access, but I’m not sure if there will be a minimum flight length)
  • The Turkish Exclusive Lounge, which we know that Miles & Smiles Elite Plus members traveling in business class will have access to; it’s likely other people will get access to the lounge as well, though the requirements haven’t yet been published (some of the lounge signage put a Star Alliance Gold logo next to this lounge)

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul access & hours

The Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is open to all Star Alliance business class passengers.

The lounge is open 24/7, given that Turkish Airlines has flights almost all hours of the day (I’d note that with their current schedule they have a gap from about 2:30AM until 5:30AM, so that’s the time you’ll find the lounge the quietest).

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul location

The Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is located near gate E1, which is near the center of the massive terminal of the new Istanbul Airport. Just follow the signage towards the E gates, and as you approach you’ll see the entrance to the lounge.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul signage

The lounge is up a level from the main concourse and you can access it either via an escalator or elevator. There’s someone on the concourse level who will typically check your eligibility to enter the lounge, though when you get up to the lounge level you’ll formally be admitted entry.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul escalator

There’s a reception desk on the lounge level ahead of the entrance, should you need any help with your travels.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul reception

Then there are gates you enter to get into the lounge. You just scan your boarding pass and the gate opens.


Turkish Airlines Lounge New Istanbul Airport entry

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul layout

Once inside the lounge, you’ll be facing a massive TV screen, showing a bunch of scenery of Istanbul, and scenes from Turkish’s recent short film.


Turkish Airlines Lounge New Istanbul Airport entrance

Just inside and to the left are some storage lockers. This means you don’t have to worry about your belongings being stolen while you roam around the lounge.


Turkish Airlines Lounge New Istanbul Airport entrance


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul storage lockers

Also near the entrance to the lounge are wifi kiosks. You have to scan your boarding pass, and then you’ll get a receipt with a username and password to access the wifi.

Unfortunately this lounge has exactly the same issues as the old Turkish Lounge at Ataturk Airport — wifi is so slow that it’s useless. I don’t understand how they’re still getting this wrong, especially since this is true even when the lounge is empty. I ended up just tethering off my phone.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul wifi kiosks

Inside the lounge and to the left is some seating, consisting mostly of white leather chairs. These seats look very similar to what they had in the lounge at the old airport, so I’m not sure if they transported them over, or if they just ordered the same ones.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul seating


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul seating

There’s also a small business center here, consisting of a shared workstation with some computers.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul seating

The main part of the lounge is inside and to the right. I immediately noticed that the lounge is smaller than the old one at Ataturk Airport, which makes sense I guess, since this airport has multiple lounges.

Just inside the entrance and to the right is a self playing piano.


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul seating


Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul piano

Along the walls of both sides of the lounge are dozens of dining tables that seat two people each.


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating

The furniture was fine, though didn’t exactly feel fresh or modern.


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating

I did, however, love the way they set up the center part of the lounge. It had dining tables as well as an open kitchen concept, so they really did a good job adding some flair to the lounge with this.


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport food station


Turkish Business Lounge New Istanbul Airport seating

Deeper into the lounge there’s a TV viewing area over on the left. Unlike in the previous lounge it’s not a separate room, but rather is just off the main part of the lounge.


Turkish Business Lounge TV area Istanbul New Airport

Then deeper into the lounge there’s even more seating. First there are more white leather chairs.


Turkish Business Lounge Istanbul New Airport seating

Then there are also some dining tables.


Turkish Business Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Business Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Business Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport

Surprisingly enough, that’s it for the main part of the lounge. I was just so used to Turkish’s old lounge being massive, so by comparison this was smaller (but still big in absolute terms).

Along the side of the lounge there was some more seating. The lounge overlooks the terminal, and opens up into it, so you do hear a lot of noise from the terminal.


Turkish Business Lounge Istanbul New Airport seating

Also along this side of the lounge are about a dozen daybeds. They’re just separated from one another by curtains, and are pretty basic. While I was in the lounge every single one was taken, so I wasn’t able to get pictures.


Turkish Lounge daybeds Istanbul New Airport

They also had a few private conference rooms, though it seemed like they weren’t quite ready yet.


Turkish Lounge meeting rooms Istanbul New Airport

Then along the other side of the lounge is some seating in a darker room. This is cozy, and a nice change from the rest of the lounge.


Turkish Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge seating Istanbul New Airport

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul amenities

As you’d expect from Turkish, the lounge had some other unique amenities. This included a golf simulator.


Turkish Lounge golf simulator Istanbul New Airport

Then there was an area with video games.


Turkish Lounge video game zone Istanbul New Airport

There was a model set of sorts, showing a combination of the airport and the city, or something.


Turkish Lounge model set Istanbul New Airport

Then there was a really cute play area for kids, including an awesome plane model you could play in.


Turkish Lounge play area for kids Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge play area for kids Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge play area for kids Istanbul New Airport


Turkish Lounge play area for kids Istanbul New Airport

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul food & drinks

Turkish Airlines is known for the spectacular food in their lounges, and this lounge is no exception.

Turkish does a great job spreading out the food selection in the lounge. Usually, people like to sit near the buffet, so by putting food all over the lounge, they avoid that usual crowding problem.

The food selection included a mix of self-serve buffets, live cooking stations where you could custom order, and open kitchens where dishes were being prepared, and you could serve yourself.


Turkish Lounge food area Istanbul

There was a huge variety of salads and spreads.


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food

Then there were grills, where you could have some meat and sides prepared to your liking.


Turkish Business Lounge live cooking station


Turkish Business Lounge soup


Turkish Business Lounge food

Then there were a variety of soups, and all kinds of other hot dishes.


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food


Turkish Business Lounge food

Their dessert selection is also consistently to die for, with a huge variety of cakes and Turkish desserts.


Turkish Lounge buffet Istanbul


Turkish Lounge dessert selection Istanbul


Turkish Lounge dessert selection Istanbul

As far as drinks go, there are a couple of stations with self serve liquor.


Turkish Business Lounge liquor

Then there are huge fridges with a variety of soft drinks, juice, and water.


Turkish Business Lounge drinks


Turkish Business Lounge drinks]

Then there are about half a dozen tea and coffee stations throughout the lounge, and you can even have a custom made espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc.


Turkish Business Lounge coffee station

I had a latte, which was excellent.


Turkish Lounge latte Istanbul

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul bathrooms, showers, and more

This lounge gets very busy, though, despite that, the bathrooms are well maintained.


Turkish Lounge bathrooms Istanbul

One of the problems with the lounge at the old airport was that they had a very limited number of showers, though the new lounge seems to have a lot more, so that’s less of an issue.


Turkish Business Lounge showers

I’m guessing there’s also some sort of ironing service, though I’m not exactly sure…


Turkish Lounge ironing service Istanbul

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul sleeping rooms

Now let’s get to what’s possibly the best part of the lounge — the private suites. When you enter the lounge and go left you’ll see a desk for private suites.

Turkish Business Lounge private suites

Here select eligible passengers can receive a free bedroom for their layover. There are some restrictions to be aware of, though:

  • This is only valid for those traveling in Turkish business class (and not those on Star Alliance partners), though award tickets do qualify
  • This is only available to those who have a connection between four and nine hours
  • At least one of your flights (either arriving or departing) needs to be at least eight hours

If you meet those conditions, you can get a bedroom on a first come, first served basis. Note that this is different than the free stopover hotel program that Turkish offers to business class passengers who have connections of more than nine hours (where you’ll be offered an actual hotel room).

In order to be eligible for the stopover hotel you need to be on an itinerary where the next available connection is over nine hours, so you can’t intentionally choose a long layover to take advantage of that (meanwhile for the sleeping room, you’re still eligible if you book a longer connection, as long as it’s between four and nine hours).

Anyway, I handed the agent my boarding pass, she confirmed my itinerary was eligible, and she immediately brought me to my bedroom. The rooms are past the desk and to the left.


Turkish Business Lounge private suites entrance

There are over a dozen bedrooms, and to my surprise, they were really nice.


Turkish Business Lounge private suites

The room had a desk with a chair, a twin bed, and a wall-mounted TV. While it was only a twin bed, I was impressed by how comfortable the bedding was.


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom

On the desk, there were two bottles of water and some fresh fruit.


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom

It was quite warm in the room, though fortunately, each room has an individual temperature control, which is a nice feature.


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom thermostat

The room faced the interior of the terminal, and had a view of gate E1.


Turkish Business Lounge private bedroom view 

While this is an awesome feature, there are two issues to note. First of all, the sound insulation isn’t good, so you hear just about everything in the hallways, including the cleaning staff. Understandably they also have to vacuum the floors outside the rooms sometimes, so that’s going to disturb people.

What I find most annoying though is that you’re not given a key to your room, and the cleaning staff aren’t allowed to open your room. So whether you want to go into the lounge to grab a snack, or need to go to the bathroom, every single time you need to walk back to the reception desk, and then the one, poor overworked attendant has to run with you to your room and open it. If they’re helping someone else, you might even have to wait several minutes.

You’d think they could create some sort of key cards, or something. There’s also not even a way to leave the room unlocked — when the door closes it automatically locks.

New Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul bottom line

Turkish Airlines’ Business Lounge at the new Istanbul Airport is excellent… mostly.

I appreciate that the airline has created two separate lounges to spread things out a bit. It’s my understanding that they’re almost identical. Then we’ll see even more lounges opened in the future.

As far as business class lounges go, I’d say this one has above average decor and exceptional food options.

The x-factor of this lounge is the private bedrooms that they offer select passengers, though I wish they’d address the issues I had with them.

The biggest disappointment — and this is completely unacceptable — is that the wifi is so slow that it’s unusable. This is so outrageous, as it’s one of the most basic amenities I expect in a business class lounge. They had the same problem in the old lounge, so I’m not sure if they just don’t see the importance of this, or…

Overall, great job Turkish Airlines! I definitely prefer the new lounge to the old one.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Tk Elite members at the old lounge were allowed to guest in their whole family when travelling together. Has this benefit been removed? Big downer if so.

  2. Have a few trips through here in the next 12 months, looks incredibly disappointing and already dated.

  3. I was there in the morning 10 ish in the old lounge. There was no food that you speak of. No desserts to die for. Just bloody olives.

    They like to die later in the day?

  4. I’ve had many, many multi-hour layovers in the Atatürk Turkish Lounge and never once had an issue with the wifi, including for calls and video streaming…maybe you’ve just been unlucky?

  5. Is there a maximum amount of hours you can use the suites? I presume that they don’t have showers in those suites and you have to go to another section to have your shower.

  6. Was your review about both lounges or just the Turkish Business Lounge? The pictures and text did not have consistent nomenclature.
    I maintain TK Élit as my Star Alliance Gold so am more interested in what will allow me access in the back.
    I’m so disappointed that they didn’t do something new. Looks exactly like ataturk which was already showing signs of wear and tear. Totally agree with WiFi issues at ataturk. It never worked and I was there twice a month.

  7. @Lucky they definitely re-used some of the furniture from the old lounge. The pianos are from the old lounge as well. Can’t wait to check it out myself, but from observing the pictures, it almost feels like the old lounge appeared a bit more elegant as far as decor goes?

  8. some bits look really nice but many look just ok.
    I would expect them to put togethr something spectacular, and something with more local identity (with the exception of the lounge, the rest have failed on thagt front). People will poss pictures across blioogs and social media, and you won;t be able to say, ah that must be the new lounge in Istanbul. it looks a bit confused, there’s even a bit of an italian trattoria… kids area looks great though

  9. My one layover in the old lounge was interesting and enjoyable. The only negative for me was that the Chinese food stand had no soy sauce. Maybe they fixed that in the new one.

  10. Hi all anybody knows if other lounges ( such as HSBC….etc) will also open in the new terminal

    Kingal

  11. The old lounge had the iconic stairway in the center plus the library. Looks to be missing in the new lounge.

  12. @Steve
    @Lucky

    No, They didn’t re-use the old furnitures and Piano.They all have been brought to the Istanbul Airport before “Big move”. The old “ones” can be seen in the Farewell videos of the employees at Ataturk, which has been recorded after last TK-flight to Singapore…

  13. > This is so outrageous

    Slow wifi, yes, such an outrage. Oh the humanity.
    What an unjust world we live in, that you must suffer so terribly.

  14. I just don’t see your issue with the wifi… Just saw a speedtest with 60mb/s up and down at the new Airport ‍♂️

  15. “There’s a reception desk on the lounge level ahead of the entrance, should you need any help with your travels.” Where there isn’t a dedicated person taking care of people wanting to bring a guest (you can’t use the automated gate in that case). If there are a couple of people with issues in front of you, then you wait quite some time until you can enter. Other lounges solve this by having the “help desk” inside the lounge.

    “There was a model set of sorts, showing a combination of the airport and the city, or something.” That’s a car model race track, but it seems as if the cars and the controllers are missing. At the old airport they were always there, but maybe at here you have to ask for them.

    The warm food is exactly the same as it has been at the old airport for many years now. It’s OK, but when you are there twice a week you really want something different.

  16. Ben – You might need to clean your wifi, and dump a bunch of the auto saved wifi addresses. I had 100s and 100s of these saved from hotels/airports worldwide. This can slow your speed in certain networks (but not all) so it would seem like IST is a problem for you, and perhaps its just something that happened the first time you logged on to TK IST network, and that bug is still there. Bugs and types of hidden viruses can slow us on some networks, as we pass these around from network to network and upon our return the issue continues.

    Macbook: Click on wifi and then “open other networks” “advanced” and you will see 100s of wifi auto connects that you should delete. Keep the main ones you use repeatedly, and for sure dump TK and ones that are repeatedly slow. Once cleaned out, the next time you log in at IST the issue should be solved.

    An IT person clued me in to this.

  17. food is the same as the one from IST … and the same for the last 10 years. Tired of it. Same for inflight meals… same again and again.

    Looks already dated. Nothing new, spectacular or with any good taste. Looks really the same as the previous one and was expecting changes, but it’s nothing more than the old one.

    Will be dirty, noisy and crowded as the old one, pretty sure about it. Too many people with status in Turkey from the administration, corporate, whole 10 people family, etc, etc.

    Relax rooms… will be the same than IST : impossible to get one (they didn’t learned from the past).

    Showers: same, 2 hours average wait and will be the same regarding poor capacities.

    To be honest this airport is a no go for me now : I used to love to do 2 days stopovers in Istanbul… but regarding how far it is and the traffic, I will not anymore and connecting there sounds like a huge nightmare (IST was already a pain at peak hours and some gates were too far). Here sounds like minimum connection time is 2 hours.

    For me, they failed and it’s not a surprise, used to be a TK loyalist and enthusiast but since 3 or 4 years I really feel that everything is going down and still don’t understand why people go crazy about their C class and their lounges.

    If you compare this with the new MCT airport (and their stunning lounge), the new LX lounges in Zurich, the Singapore lounges or even Emirates… they are far behind and below.

    Sounds that for everything they go on quantity over quality… sad but true.

    PS : there is still the dedicated entrance (security + immigration) for C pax?

  18. Great review Ben. I think you will get a few google hits as I honestly have never seen Turkish Business Lounge repeated so many times lol.

  19. Thanks for the information about the new airport and lounge review. I think you are right about the airport being to big with no trains and not enough moving walk ways. The lounge does look the similar just more updated. I am not concerned about the food being the same as it is good food. I am looking forward to seeing everything in October when I will also hopefully get to check out the new Dreamliner from DC.

  20. I was thinking of taking a trip over to check it out. Thanks for saving me the trouble! So much looks so similar – the furniture, the golf simulator, the lockers, even the simit cart. I loved the old lounge and staircase and separate tv room. It was always a fun stopover even when crowded. This one looks blah and not as fun.

  21. looks beautiful, altho ill miss that iconic staircase with the logo thing in the middle from ataturk.

  22. Is there any lounge I can use upon arrival? I’m not connecting but departing 4 days later on a separate ticket. Business class but no status

  23. Is it just me or is it confusing that you can only access Turkish Airlines Business Lounge when you are traveling in Business class but the signage in this post has Star Alliance Gold logo on it as well? Coz it usually means you can access if you are a Star Gold member regardless of your class of travel.

  24. Hi @Lucky,
    Are these pictures only of the Business Class Lounge? Did you have a chance of checking out the Miles&Smiles lounge? Do you reckon it is better or worse than the Business Class Lounge, or just about the same?
    Thanks

  25. I am a Star Alliance Gold card member and not a Business class flyer and I could use the Business Lounge.

  26. lovetospendit says:
    April 10, 2019 at 5:18 pm
    Above person has only one intention . He/She is only to make propaganda to show this beautiful world best lounge ” a bad review “. I traveled around the world and this is the best.

  27. @Nikhil Pai I think Lucky was just copying what Turkish Airlines official website says about this access rule, but not validating it himself since he’s not a Star Gold, but a One World Emerald.

    I just upgraded myself to Business out of Istanbul because of this. Wish he could have made it clearer.

  28. It looks boring to me. The old one had flair even toward the end when it was worn. This looks tacky and old fashioned and not particularly nice. It will do for a layover of a couple hours but It sure doesn’t have that “ooohhh” feeling you got at the old one when you walked in and saw the billiards tables and library and then the big staircase. I saw you mentioned that both this Star Alliance Gold lounge and the one for just Business class passengers are the exact same, is that right??

    What I wonder is, do they still have the free tours for long layovers even with the new airport further out of town?

  29. I just flew via the new airport and I was very disappointed. Took us 30 min from landing to arriving at the parking bay, then a 20 min dash with poor signage through an airport, that in some parts looks old already (very poor workmanship), to find a lounge that feels exactly like the old one. I never really got why people raved about the old lounge – it was dirty, overcrowded and messy. Just like the planes on TK. Even had a passenger that sat down in vomit on the seat from the previous flight. I try and avoid them. It‘s simply not a very polished airline.

  30. “…including an awesome plane model you could play in”

    Pretty sure it’s meant for the kids, but you do you. Haha.

  31. I had a long layover today – was able to access both the business class lounge and the Miles and Smiles lounge with business class ticket and no status. They were identical as far as I could tell. Can also confirm that the private suites now have access cards given to passengers.

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