Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul

I finally had my chance to experience the business class lounge in Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines. You can access the Istanbul lounge as a Star Gold which makes connecting very comfortable. And I know we've had several posts on this subject, but the lounge is so nice it deserves one more.

After arriving on Turkish Airlines from Cairo I made my way towards the signs for connecting flights, but I was turned back to the security station for all flights to the USA. The security line is before passport control and a little confusing as they have an "express" sign for business class passengers, but no clear indication of where to stand. It was all very chaotic so I just waited in the queue with everyone else. Luckily the line moved quickly and I was at the front of the line within 10 minutes. After a good stare down and some standard questions from the security agent, I had to wait in another slow line to get a sticker on the back of my passport. Once completed I made my way up the escalator in search of the lounge.


If you take nothing else from this post know this: the lounge is at the far end of the terminal and is simply named the Turkish Airlines Lounge. There are several other signs leading to more exotically named lounges, which may confuse some (me!) into thinking they were the intended destination. If you're by the food court, you're at the wrong end. Follow the signs for the THY CIP Lounge instead.


Once I made the lengthy trek to the other end of the terminal I scanned my boarding card and went into the lounge. The lounge is divided into several sections through giant archways. The first room is the library with pool table:


Walking a little further you pass the movie theater on the right:


Then the main dining area. There are several self serve buffets along with chef stations where they cook made to order dishes throughout the day. The dining area is bright and airy and although the lounge was very busy - it never felt crowded.




Towards the back of the Turkish business class lounge is a smaller piano bar area:


There are eight workstations, four running Mac OS and four running Windows. There is an application in the Windows tray that will switch the keyboard between languages.


Self service soft drinks


And more importantly, for my 7am visit, self service alcohol: ;)


Later in the day, I returned from the free tour and took advantage of the sleeping suites that can be used for up to six hours. Longer than this duration they offer a free hotel room outside the airport.



Wide view of the lounge sleeping suite where you can see the mirrored ceiling which makes the room feel much more spacious.


After a kip I walked across the hall to one of the available showers to freshen up before my flight to JFK. 



The lounge is well designed, comfortable and beautiful. Although I was very full from my tour I did sample a few dishes and the food was tasty and varied, something for everyone. Overall it was a great experience and I understand why Matthew doesn't mind forgoing the hotel room to stay in the Turkish Lounge instead.


Great post and superb pictures! It really makes me "homesick."

Beautiful. I'd kill to have a lounge like that in the US! ;)

Wow, what an amazing lounge.

Great photos, thanks for sharing!

wow! great post. I'm super excited to experience this myself in November. Very nice meeting you @ the Freddies!

Mike May 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

@Angelina The lounge is great - do you have a long layover to enjoy all of it? Great meeting you too.

Mark September 30, 2012 at 05:11 am

Thanks so much for the cool update and detailed pics. I do have question. I will be having an 8 or 9 hour layover between a flight from FRA - SIN both on TK arriving around 3.00 or 4.00pm into IST. Until what time of the day do TK offer the free city tour and which hotel do they offer the free room at? Would appreciate your reply. Thanks.

Mike September 30, 2012 at 08:41 am

@Mark, The tour is only available at 9am. They return to the airport at either 3pm or 6pm for the evening flights. I'm not sure which hotel they use as I didn't take advantage of it and their website only specifies it will be one of their "corporate hotels".

Also, if traveling in economy your layover needs to be at least 10 hours for a hotel room, seven for Business. From their site: "Passengers have right to have free hotel accomodation [sic] only when there is more than 10 hours (7 or more hours for business class passengers) between two international connecting flights due to Turkish Airlines"

Hope that helps!

Suleyman Yesilyurt December 30, 2012 at 03:47 pm

Wow! Thanks for the write-up! Great pictures! I have not seen this lounge! But I hardly ever have connected flight out of Istanbul as it is almost always my final destination for annual vacation :)

John April 7, 2013 at 07:28 am

Have to say that this write up on the Turkish Airlines Lounge is spot on, having just travelled through Istanbul last week. Only downside? Its the first business lounge my girlfriend has ever been in and now she expects every business lounge to look like this one!

If she only knew... ;-)

Mike July 21, 2013 at 03:27 am

Can someone tell me if the Business lounge is 24 by 7 ? my flight will arrive at 10pm can i sleep there as my next flight is 10 am next day? can someone help? Thanks

Mike July 21, 2013 at 09:26 am

@Mike yes, the lounge is open 24 hours. They don't advertise it as being open as they technically close some of the food stations. But many people stay overnight.

Are you arriving and departing on a Turkish Airlines flight? If so a better option is taking advantage of the free hotel room at the Turkish Airlines hotel counter for extended transit passengers.

brad August 17, 2013 at 03:18 am

Can you enter the Turkish Airlines lounge in IST if that is your final destination? I will be flying business class next month and since my ticket is an open jaw, I will not be departing from IST on business class, only arriving. I would love to see the lounger if possible. Thanks!

Mike August 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Can you enter the Turkish Airlines lounge in IST if that is your final destination?

@Brad Unfortunately no. You arrive on the lower level and cannot even go up to the departures level (where the lounge is) without a departing boarding pass.

Bonita Ellada November 10, 2013 at 07:20 pm

I will be arriving from Toronto to Istanbul Airport on Air Canada and I have a connecting flight to Cairo on Air Canada operated by Turkish Airlines. I'm flying Business class. I have almost 5 hours at the airport. Can I access this lounge?

John January 30, 2014 at 04:18 am

How do you arrange for a sleeping suite?

Mike January 30, 2014 at 08:20 am

@John you simply walk over to the sleeping room area and the attendant at the desk will arrange the room for you. They will check your boarding pass and see what time your flight is and arrange the sleeping room and the shower room, if required, as well.

Roberto March 26, 2014 at 03:01 pm

Do you know if I can buy a pass to enter? I don't have gold status etc... Have a 6 hr stopover

I M April 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm

great post! I was also there last month after the lounge were redesigned last year. Here are my shots, http://imontrip.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/turkey-part-3-turkish-airlines-lounge/

Karim May 26, 2014 at 06:16 am

can we pay to enter the lounge?

Mike May 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

@Karim unfortunately, not for this lounge. There are other lounges at the other end of the terminal (on the second floor) that will sell day passes.

Richard August 6, 2014 at 04:10 pm


I will be transiting IST from SFO to ATH on Turkish in business and I am a Star Gold. My brother is transiting but starting in IAH and is in coach. My question,can I bring him into the lounge as a guest via Star Gold?


Mike August 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm

@Richard, Star Gold members are allowed one guest. So it should be fine as long as you bring him in and show your Star Gold card or boarding pass to the desk agent.

Meyer Wahnich October 12, 2014 at 10:56 am

Who ever can assist me, Can you please let me know : -do I need any special card or membership to enjoy this facility? -with a business ticket and with few hours for connection,can I use the same advantages ?? Thank you Kind regards Meyer

Mike October 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

@Meyer you need to be flying First or Business class on a departing Turkish Airline flight or have Start Alliance Gold status.

Josephine Saunders February 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

We are flying with Turkish Airlines from Valencia(Spain) to JFK airport(New York) with a layover of over 12 hours in Istanbul airport (Ataturk) I know we are entitled to free hotel accommodation, but I would like to know if we stay at the airport what kind of lounge can we use and the price. We are British citizens, hold british passport and we are flying economy class. Kind regards, Josephine

Laura September 4, 2016 at 06:43 pm

Hi Mike, Next month we are flying from LAX to Istanbul on TURKISH Airlines Business class. We have a 6 hr layover and then depart on Turkish Business to Johannesburg then S Africa Air to Capetown. Do we clear customs in Istanbul and if so how long does it usually take? How far is the lounge from there? Just want to make the most of our time in the lounge. Also do we clear immigration again in Johannesburg before we hop on S Africa Air to Capetown? I realize you may not know all of the answers but wanted to ask. Thanks

Mike September 5, 2016 at 05:33 am

Hi Laura, it's been a little while since i last visited so things may have changed, but when I was transiting Istanbul there was only a security and passport check to get a passport sticker to continue into the main terminal to head to the lounge. From there it was a bit of a walk to the other end of the terminal where the lounge was. Later in the day I did leave the airport and go through immigration to go on the day tour of Istanbul, but if I hadn't left I never would have gone through immigration.

I'm not sure on the South Africa question, my guess is you will clear immigration in Johannesburg before boarding the domestic flight to Capetown. But I'm not certain.

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