Tried & Tested
Istanbul Atatürk Airport
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.