Tried & Tested

Is­tan­bul Atatürk Air­port

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines A380 Pre­mium Econ­omy Hong Kong–Sin­ga­pore Turk­ish Air­lines Flag­ship CIP Lounge, Is­tan­bul Atatürk Air­port

BACK­GROUND When Turk­ish Air­lines opened its sec­ond floor ad­di­tion to the Busi­ness Class lounge at Atatürk Air­port in Is­tan­bul last year, it ef­fec­tively in­creased the space by 70 per­cent. The space that had been some­what dark and crowded be­fore was now open and light and, frankly, full of won­der.

GET­TING THERE Atatürk Air­port can be a chal­lenge. The im­mi­gra­tion line is slow and the Pre­mium Pas­sen­ger line seems even slower, since it only has one kiosk ver­sus five for the other line.

The lounge is ac­ces­si­ble from two places: from the main ter­mi­nal, and from the far-left side of the check-in area of the air­port – an area with its own pass­port con­trol. Take note: The lounge is at one end of the air­port and your de­par­ture gate could very well be near the other end – a good 15-minute walk away.

To ac­cess the lounge, sim­ply scan the QR code on your Busi­ness Class ticket at the elec­tronic turn­stile – no need to wait in an­other line, un­less you are us­ing points or spe­cial card mem­ber­ships.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Once in­side, de­posit your lug­gage in one of the self-lock­ing stor­age cubes. Then, con­sider what is im­me­di­ately in front of you: plat­ters full of strudels and tortes. And if the torte kiosk is next to the lug­gage room, what treats may lie ahead?

In fact, as you move to the cen­ter, the new 33,000-square­foot space opens up on an im­pres­sive spi­ral stair­case lead­ing down to a bright, gar­den-like court with pleas­ant trees, a grand pi­ano to en­ter­tain and food wag­ons to tickle the taste buds.

The lounge can eas­ily ac­com­mo­date 2000 cus­tomers at a time so it’s hard to say you’d ever feel crowded. And there’s food aplenty on both floors. Early ar­rivals will like the break­fast bar; late­com­ers can start off with a cock­tail, per­haps Efes Pilsen for some Turk­ish brew or an in­ter­na­tional brand spirit, then head for the hot food counter for pide (a pizza-like Turk­ish flat bread), go­zleme, hand­made Turk­ish tortellini, Chi­nese veg­eta­bles with noo­dles, and kofte (tra­di­tional minced beef). Fruit wag­ons over­flow with ap­ples, pears and cit­rus, and for sugar ad­dicts the Turk­ish pas­try cart is very pop­u­lar. Tea drinkers will love the ice tea po­tions. And, of course, Turk­ish cof­fee can be or­dered up any time.

If rest is what you crave, there are four pri­vate oases on each floor with a sin­gle bed, desk and tele­vi­sion. Th­ese are only for guests with lay­overs longer than four hours who are con­nect­ing on­ward on a Turk­ish Air­lines flight. Or you can try one of the two mas­sage beds or bet­ter yet, one of the two masseuses. There are six shower suites and plenty of quiet cor­ners with cush­iony fur­ni­ture for doz­ing.

Plenty of dis­trac­tions are on hand to keep you awake, though; catch a movie in the cin­ema room (pop­corn pro­vided), play pool in the bil­liards room or chal­lenge a part­ner to a Grand Prix race on a fan­tasy table­top race­track. And for fam­i­lies with kids in tow, there’s a chil­dren’s zone.

Pas­sen­gers will love the speedy Wifi, and they can also re­serve meet­ing rooms and a tele­con­fer­ence room. Ac­cess to the flag­ship CIP lounge is cur­rently avail­able to Turk­ish’s Miles & Smiles fre­quent flyer pro­gram, and Star Al­liance Gold mem­bers who are de­part­ing on a Star Al­liance flight.

VER­DICT It should come as no sur­prise to any­one that the flag­ship lounge of one of the world’s top-rated air­lines noted for its food and com­fort, lo­cated at the ninth busiest air­port on the planet should cer­tainly im­press. Busi­ness Trav­eler found the new ad­di­tion to be more than ready for its close-up.

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