Matthewonlive and let's fly

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.

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Inside, the lounge is divided into several areas including:

  • Movie theatre with recliner seats

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  • 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)

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  • Ample seating areas + prayer room (no photo)

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  • Library with pool table

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  • Computer stations (featuring Apple iMacs)

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  • Bathroom

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

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  • Shower rooms (with rain shower head)

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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.

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Comments

#1
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.

#2
Darren December 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm

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

#3
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.

#4
FriendlySkies December 23, 2011 at 03:08 am

Amazing.

Was the pasta better than the LH lounges?

#5
Matthew December 23, 2011 at 04:14 am

@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).

#6
Vince December 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

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

#7
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?

#8
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.

#9
Matthew June 14, 2013 at 02:35 am

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.

#10
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?

#11
Matthew June 15, 2013 at 12:24 am

@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.

#12
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!

#13
Matthew October 21, 2013 at 04:42 pm

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.

#14
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.

#15
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

#16
Matthew November 10, 2013 at 07:42 pm

Hi Bonita,

You will have access the lounge.

Regards, Matthew

#17
Bonita Ellada November 10, 2013 at 08:44 pm

Thank you Matthew

Great News

#18
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

#19
Matthew November 29, 2013 at 05:31 pm

Hi Bonita,

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

#20
Bonita Ellada December 1, 2013 at 02:35 am

Thank you Mathew for all your help I appreciate it

#21
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

#22
Matthew December 8, 2013 at 02:24 pm

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.

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