Photo Tour: Turkish Airlines Star Gold/Business Class Lounge in Istanbul

I'll cut to the chase: the newly-renovated Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is amazing and easily the best business class and best Star Alliance Gold lounge I have ever been in.

The last two months I have connected in Istanbul four times--deliberately. I plan to do it again in a couple weeks and hopefully on a number of occasions in 2012 and beyond. Damian shared a few photos of the lounge last month and now it is my turn. Enjoy the tour:

Passengers beginning their journey in Istanbul can use dedicated check-in kiosks and a self-serve lounge entrance (simply scan your boarding pass and the gate opens) to bypass all interaction with Turkish staff.


Inside, the lounge is divided into several areas including:

  • Movie theatre with recliner seats



  • Food area, catered by Do&Co (featuring fresh food all day, including cook-to-order omelets in the morning and freshly grilled meats in the evening, a coffee-bar with barista, freshly squeezed juices, and a wide assortment of alcohol)













  • Ample seating areas + prayer room (no photo)











  • Library with pool table



  • Computer stations (featuring Apple iMacs)


  • Bathroom


  • Sleeping rooms (reserved for connecting lonhghaul business class and Star Gold passengers)





  • Shower rooms (with rain shower head)





A common complaint when the lounge first opened was slow wireless internet--indeed, I found that to be the case during my first visit to the lounge. But the problem is now solved: the internet is now password-protected and provided by a different company with a noticeable improvement in speed.

The pictures above do not do this lounge justice--Turkish is a rising star in Star Alliance and a trip on Turkish Airlines and stop in Istanbul is well-worth your time, even if you have to go out of the way.


William Irvin December 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Thank you so much for posting. I'm really sorry I missed it when I was there in May.

Darren December 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Gorgeous... definitely on my list to hit in the future.

Carl December 22, 2011 at 01:08 am

I've visited the TK lounge several times in the past two months, and it is absolutely one of the best *G lounges in the system. Shower rooms, sleeping rooms, many food and drink choices, many seating options, entertainment options. It's an all-around awesome lounge.

And TK has got quite a good long-haul business class product too, especially aboard 77W.

FriendlySkies December 23, 2011 at 03:08 am


Was the pasta better than the LH lounges?

@FriendlySkies: The pasta was good, but not better than LH. LH had meat sauce, which TK did not have. But both were excellent and the TK pasta was so good I ordered it on my flight (it looked nearly identical).

Vince December 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks for this Matthew. That is amazing. Definitely looking forward to visiting

RDimperio January 31, 2012 at 03:59 pm

I missed the sleeping room but found the recliners to be pretty comfortable. Would they have let me sleep overnight in the sleeping rooms or ask me to vacate at around midnight? I agree with Matthew, this is a great lounge. I can't think of any better except for the services provided at the FCT in FRA. The Turkish lounge felt like a resort sans the pool. For all I know there's a pool area off the kid's space that was closed due to snow!

For full disclosure, note that I was not offered any compensation by the airline or Star Alliance. In fact, I was concerned that I would not be admitted since my departing flight was at 5:00 am the following day. No issue. Left airport for several hours and again had no issue returning to the secure side of the airport. Asked to leave my backpack near the concierge --- no issue. In comparison at LAX my bag was removed from the Red Carpet Club and sent to baggage claim because I left it unattended for 90 minutes when I stepped out for dinner. They knew it was my bag. Knew I stepped out for a bite. Knew I was on the 11 pm red eye. Knew my cell # and yet no call, just removal of my bag. Fine --- I should not have left it but tell me if my bag were somehow dangerous ere the people in the baggage claim area more dispensable than those in the lounge?

momofsix June 13, 2013 at 03:39 pm

Hi, not sure if my question will be answered since this looks like an old post but thought id just throw it out there lol. I will be traveling with my husband and six kids from Toronto to Beirut, connecting in Istanbul. We booked our tickets through Aeroplan, all business class. Unfortunately we only found business class seats enough for us all from Toronto to Istanbul, but all seats were full from Istanbul to Beirut, thus economy seats were reserved for us on that flight.We have an 11 hour wait in Istanbul and my question is will we be allowed to use the business lounge in Turkey even though we will be connecting economy although we payed business? Thanks. Note that both flights are Turkish Airlines.

Dear momofsix,

If the flight to BEY is the first available TK flight after landing in Istanbul, you will be entitled to a free hotel room for each traveller.

Technically, you do not have lounge access in Istanbul, though I would literally get on my knees and beg for it if I were in your shoes. What a great way to pass the layover. The airport transit hotel is nice, but very pricey.

Keeping checking the IST-BEY flight for openings in business class. Even if one or two seats open, you can divide the record and take whatever is available. Generally, on those narrow-body flights there are never more than 2-4 business class award seats allocated at once.

momofsix June 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

thanks Matthew for the quick reply, i was also wondering since Turkish Airlines are part of Star Alliance would we be given business seats if available upon check in?

@momofsix: Sadly, the answer is a definite no. TK will see the flight booked in economy class and will refuse to modify it. Just keep checking the flight and give Aeroplan a call immediately, even if just one seat opens.

Christine October 20, 2013 at 07:53 pm

Hi Matthew, Thank you for these lovely photos! It sure looks good :-) I'm trying my luck with this question, if you might know more. I've a economy class flight from JFK-IST-KUL in a couple of months' time. I'll have a rather long layover that I plan to use mainly for a city tour. I recently got the MileagePlus Explorer card that comes with two United Club passes. My question is would I be able to gain access to this very nice Turkish Airlines lounge with the United Club pass? I have no gold status in any alliance right now. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

Hi Christine, Sadly, you would not have access to the lounge with your United Club card passes.

The only suggestion I could offer would be to buy a refundable business class ticket, say from Istanbul to Beirut, use the lounge, then refund the ticket. Perhaps that is not worth it, but I cannot think of another way to get into the lounge.

Christine October 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Dear Matthew, Thank you for getting back so promptly. Really appreciate it :-) Aaah, that's a shame but I suppose I can get some rest at the PrimeClass Lounge on a pay-per-use basis. The Istanbul-Beirut plan does sound tempting,though! ;-) Thank you, again. Safe travels.

Bonita Ellada November 10, 2013 at 07:37 pm

I'm flying Business class from Toronto to Cairo on Air Canada. The connection is Istanbul Airport. My ticket says Istanbul - Cairo flight is Air Canada operated by Turkish airlines. I have few hours to kill at the airport. Can I have access the Turkish Airways lounge? Can I have access to a room and shower at the lounge? Thank you for your help

Hi Bonita,

You will have access the lounge.

Regards, Matthew

Bonita Ellada November 10, 2013 at 08:44 pm

Thank you Matthew

Great News

Bonita Ellada November 29, 2013 at 12:44 am

Hi Mathew (AGAIN!)

My husband and I are trying to book a flight Cairo - Dulles Airport Washington around Mid Dec. We can't afford Business Class this time. My husband holds a Gold Star Alliance Card. If we chose to fly Economy class Turkish Airways (with a stop over in Istanbul) can he access the Turkish Airways Lounge? Is a he allowed a guest to the lounge?

we are keen for this airways because it allows 2 pieces of luggage on economy class.

If we can't access the lounge, can you suggest another route that allows 2 pieces of luggage and access to the lounge for econmy class for both of us.

Thank you for your help Bonita

Hi Bonita,

Yes, with a Star Gold card you and your husband will be allowed to enter the Turkish Lounge in Istanbul. Enjoy!

Bonita Ellada December 1, 2013 at 02:35 am

Thank you Mathew for all your help I appreciate it

steve ng December 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

HI Mathew, We are flying LAX-IST-TLV next month with a 9.5 hour stopover all on TKY Airlines. The brochure says 10 hours or longer....are they that sticky with the time? Also will we have lounge access since the flights are always delayed on depart anyways? Is there any site to pay for the upgrade to Gold Status to use the lounge Steve

Hi Steve,

They are very picky and with near 100% certainty they will deny the hotel, though it never hurts to ask. Is your flight to TLV the first one in the schedule or did your deliberately book in a 9.5hr layover?

If you want the lounge, consider buying a fully-refundable business class ticket, using the lounge, then canceling the ticket. There are ethical ramifications, but it is the only viable way--Star Gold is difficult to purchase and thousands of dollars when available through US Airways.

Janet April 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Traveling business class on TK in October. I will have a 17 hour layover each way in Istanbul. While I qualify for a hotel room, I would prefer to stay in the airport. Will I be able to stay in the lounge overnight? Would I be able to use a sleeping room for up to 7 hours? Thanks for your help!

@Janet: You will have lounge access and access to the sleeping room if you are flying in business class. You will only have access to a hotel room if your 17hr layover is necessary, i.e. there is not a TK flight departing any sooner to your final destination.

Janet April 23, 2014 at 03:31 pm

Thanks, Matthew. Yes, traveling business class. And -- sadly -- 17 hour layover is necessary -- no flight sooner. appreciate your help.

vim mahadevan June 26, 2014 at 03:22 am

Hi, how does it work travelling with children at these lounges? My wife and I are passing through Istanbul with Gold status but are flying economy and will have our three children with us. Thanks.

You are entitled to one guest only with gold status, though I bet if the children are young enough they will be allowed entrance. But it would be up to the goodwill of Turkish.

Dan July 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Great post. Thanks. One question: I have a United Club membership. Will I be allowed access? The Star Alliance lounger finder tool states I have access to the Turkish Business Lounge but not sure if the lounge you visited is the same one...(the airport map shows two lounges).

Speaking of the domestic side lounge just as nice?


Manit July 20, 2014 at 06:26 am

Dan - I had United club and was allowed into the lounge with a guest. Was flying Turkish in economy if that helps. Have a good trip.

malcolm August 7, 2014 at 09:04 am

I have miles or more frequent flier----I am flying economy to Mumbai via Istanbul on Turkish......can I get free access to any business lounges at Istanbul?

seville August 25, 2014 at 07:52 am

May I know the hours of the IST Business Class/Star Alliance GOLD Lounge---are these hours daily? So beside myself to experience the lounge, the photos are wonderful, am sure reality is even better!!! Thank you!

@seville: it is a 24hr lounge

Alex August 15, 2015 at 07:55 pm

I have United MileagePlus lounge access coupons from Chase, can I access the IST lounge?


@Alex: No, you will not be able to access the Turkish lounge in IST with the United Club pass from Chase

ilpopp September 20, 2015 at 01:38 pm

I am Star Alliance GOLD member. My flight in October from SCQ arrives in IST at 945PM---I will then fly TurkishAir again the following morning at 0815A. Can I use the lounge until it closes, just hang out at the aiport for several hours, then go to the lounge again until I leave for my flight? I am flying Economy, by the way!

@ILPOPP -- The lounge is open for 24 hours, so I would not even leave the airport. Just head right to the lounge and enjoy yourself. If you're early enough, you might even be able to get a sleeping room for the night. Doesn't matter that you are flying economy class as long as your Star Gold status is valid. Be sure to bring your card along.

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