Turkish Air/Changing Planes in Istanbul


Does anyone have any experience with the Istanbul airport? I’m flying on Turkish Air, and I need to change planes there. Is this relatively easy to do? If it matters, I won’t be checking any luggage; I’ll only have carry on bags.

Thanks for any help you can give.


I’ve been through Istanbul a couple of times, but as a terminus and not a stopover. I never had any problems with it; it seems well-laid out and fairly efficient as airports go. I don’t think you should have much of a problem at all, but YEMV as you’ll probably be in a different area than I was.

I just got back from a trip to Turkey and while I didn’t change flights in the Istanbul airport, like Olentzero said, it was fairly well laid-out. Signs are in English and Turkish so you shouldn’t have any difficulty navigating the airport and, while large, it’s not prohibitively huge. A lot of international travel seems to happen through the airport, and many of the staff spoke English, so you should find it easy to get directions if anything should go awry.

I have just travelled through Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

Its not really one of my favourites as I find it expensive and a bit underserviced.

Its hit or miss whether after landing you dock at a gate or taxi for 15 minutes to an area where they then bus you back to the arrivals wing.

Its not a huge airport and transfers are fairly quick. If you are not spending any time in the city (about 30 minutes by taxi) then you remain on the secure side and you just go upstairs next to immigration to get you into the main departure concourse. If you smoke then over the last month or so they now have a smoking area so turn left after you come up to the departure concourse. ( where you can stand in a smokers cage which is open to the elements.) If you dont smoke then turn right ( the facilities and franchises on the left are pretty crap)

Along this route are the main duty free shops and bars and business lounges. The hotel is right down the end of this route and down an elevator. The rooms are small and tend to smell of smoke. So if you want a shower you have to put up with that.

Even though you are secure side there is still another security check and xray machine. The three machines serve quite a few gates so leave yourself a bit of time to pass through them.

If you look at the departure screens you will notice a nice little refinement with Ataturk Airport. The timespan the screens say “now boarding” to “final call” is about 3 to five minutes! I don’t know why they do this you really need to be through the final security check in plenty of time. (After that there are a few refreshment places and another duty free outlet so unless you are in the business lounges I would pass the final security check early and wait near the gate.

Maybe am just unlucky but all my departure flights seem to involve a final bus ride to some out of the way holding area.

But really its nothing scary. Good luck

Thanks to everyone. I have 2 hours between planes on the way over to the US, and three hours on the way back. I don’t plan on doing any shopping, and I’ll do the the duty free shopping before I leave Israel. So, I plan to go straight to the gate when I get there. It sounds pretty easy, and hopefully it will be.

There is an airport map and guide available from here