We recently spent a couple of hours in transit at the spanking new Istanbul Airport, on a Turkish Airlines transit between Mumbai and Venice, through Istanbul. Turkish Airlines has five new lounges across the new Istanbul Airport.
Where is it?
After security, I checked out the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, located at the very heart of the luxury retail area of the departure terminal.
Who can access it?
You can access this lounge if you are flying business on a Turkish Airlines or Star Alliance international flight. An escalator takes you up from the main departure concourse to the lounge.
What’s it like?
A quick swipe of my boarding pass and I find myself in the lounge, an expanse of different zones and seating arrangements, spread across a very impressive 5,500 sqm. Though this lounge has a capacity of 765 passengers, it does not seem crowded at all. Turkish Airlines’ frequent flyers will be happy to find the same charm and character of the CIP lounge at the now defunct Atatürk Airport.
This lounge is high on the F&B factor, with multiple live kitchens and food stations dotting the space. A huge emphasis on Turkish cuisine is evident — live counters serving Turkish pizza, a buffet for Turkish mezze and a cheerful barista serving Turkish coffee and tea. There are different seating formats depending on what you want to do, solo pods for working, larger couches for families and even a children’s play area. There is even an area where you can watch entertainment options on a wall of multiple screens. I found myself a quiet spot (lots of charging points are a nice touch) on a large couch, and feasted on some Turkish salad, mezze, washed down by some Turkish coffee. The wifi works at a decent speed and the lounge staff and chefs are always around to assist passengers. For those particularly long transits, the lounge also offers 13 private suites, with showers, accessible to passengers on select transit halts. A special concierge service within the lounge takes bookings for these. There are large self-service beverage displays throughout the lounge for still and sparkling water and soft drinks.
Time does fly when one is in a lounge as well-equipped as this, but I did check out the other amenities like the day beds, the golf simulator and the luggage lockers. If you don’t want to lug your heavy hand luggage around the lounge or duty free.
The new Turkish Airlines Business Lounge is an outstanding space, packed with amenities. It is very well-designed, anticipating literally every a need of a transit passenger. I could well spend a couple of hours here in transit, and not feel the pinch. It does retain elements of the old Atatürk Airport lounge, making it a familiar space for frequent flyers.
Riaan Jacob George