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Istanbul Ataturk Airport Passenger Reviews and Istanbul Airport Traveller Reports


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ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 23 June 2009 by I Williamson

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Flying from the middle East to Istanbul airport is always annoying as through-tickets are never issued. This means the usual long queue booking the seat for the next segment of the journey. Free newspapers in the main hall are a nice touch though, and it is nice to be in one of the airports of the region (bordering on the Middle East) where no-one smokes.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 23 April 2009 : by Nick Paul

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Late evening arrival for transfer to internal flight to ADB. Very short queue for entry visa (note only English notes accepted, no Scottish or Irish sterling). Passport control very prompt. Long walk to domestic terminal, some travelators, otherwise follow signs for route. Banks for currency exchange all open, plenty of taxis for pax if required, booked either in the airport or from right outside the doors and car hire and tourist services all operating in evening. Good range of eating options but prices are high. Small number of shops at domestic terminal. Main information board provides depture info. plus small screens at gates. Security quick - new rules for 100ml of liquid containers now in place. Plenty of seating at gates, and toilets and waiting areas all nice and clean. An efficient and good service.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 23 April 2009 : by Brian Lee

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I am a Singaporean and took Turkish Airlines from Singapore to London with an overnight stay in Istanbul. Ataturk airport is quite clean and organized, signs are placed nicely. It is strange police with guns are assigned for immigration purposes both in and out of country. They do not speak english and do not welcome at all. Airport facilities are nice Turkish Airlines has a perfect lounge for Business class passengers and it is one of the best in Europe. Duty free prices are very acceptable when compare to europe though my favorite is always Dubai.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 8 April 2009 : by Tony Phillipson

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I use IST about fifty times a year (I live in Istanbul but am not a Turkish citizen) and find it generally good. Nine times out of ten I have a minimal wait at passport control and my bags are often on the belt when I get to it. I agree that on departure it is much better to go through passport control opposite check-in zones G-H rather than at the other location near A- B. Also agree that better to eat elsewhere if possible: food is expensive and ordinary, and you can do so much better in Istanbul. The departure info screens can be misleading for a first-timer: 'wait in lounge' actually means 'go to gate' - the next thing to come up will be 'boarding'!. Beware gates 301+ - the secondary X-ray there can be a zoo when all the Central Asia flights leave at around the same time (late evening). Get there early.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 7 April 2009 : by Jacek Roubal

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Use Istanbul for connections and meetings in Turkey quite often. The passport control lines coming in could be a disaster sometimes. Flying out the airport now offers a business/cip entrance to the airport with its own security and again a private passport control counter after check-in. Lounge options are numerous with lot's of good food/refreshments. I find the duty free prices to be really good compared to EU airports. The whole airport is smoke-free; absolutely amazed considering you can smoke virtually everywhere in Turkey. Apart from the second security check at the gates I would say this is one of the finest airports I've been to.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 26 March 2009 : by Mohammad Zia Ebrahimi

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Very clean. when 3-4 flights arrive at the same time you have to wait at least 20 minutes in immigration queue. Entering the departure hall sometimes takes 15 minutes in security queue. Immigration officers in departure area most impolite.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 26 January 2009 : by Martyn Back

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

The prices at this airport are extortionate. They charged 3 euros for a newspaper which had "Turkey: 2.20 euros" clearly printed on it, a beer costs 8 euros (!) in the bars and even Burger King costs a small fortune. I will avoid using this airport for transit again - airports are always expensive but Istanbul Ataturk goes too far, I hate being ripped off like this.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 8 January 2009 : by M Miller

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I was pleasantly surprised when I landed at Ataturk. The visa line was fast and then right over to passport control, also very quick. Baggage took awhile to arrive, and trying to get a cart is a bit of a trial. The ride into Istanbul is about thirty minutes, and plenty of cabs and vans to take. The airport is clean and easy to maneuver..

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 6 January 2009 : by E van Coomben

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Only used it for International Transfer between Europe and East Asia. Everything is ok, CIP Lounge offers a great variety of foods and beverages, much better than in any Lounge visited before. The airport terminal is clean and fancy. These are the goods. Now the bad. The Security check before boarding, especially going from IST to Europe is a disaster, very slow, seldom impolite attitude of security personnel, no special lines for Business Class/First Class. The prices all over the place are unbelievable, even compared with EU airports. There is not a single place for smoking. Nothing against banning smoking from public areas, but some smoking rooms should exist.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 30 November 2008 : by A Hetier

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

A mitigated impression. On arrival, there was a long queue at passport control with many flights arriving. On departure, the queue at X-ray et the entrance was too long, very disorganised and unacceptable. But check-in was efficient and there was not too much queue at passport control. Prices at duty free shops and cafés are unacceptable (figures are the same as outside the airport but they charge in euro instead of Turkish lira!!). Cold drinks are not cold: why do fridges not work? But information on changed gates is always correct, the airport is clean, and flights are on time.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 2 September 2008 : by Mohammad Zia Ebrahimi

Customer Rating : n/a

4 Star Rating

It is clean, immigration much better and quicker than before. In my last arrival from landing to leaving airport to city by bus took only 30 minutes.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 21 August 2008 : by Tony Maddern

Customer Rating : n/a

3 Star Rating

Firstly - make sure that you have spent all of your Turkish Lira and had something to eat and drink before you come to this airport - prices are a rip-off. Apart from that, the airport is nice and clean. Make sure that you allow about 40 minutes to get from the front door to your check in desk because they X-ray your bags and you have to walk through a metal detector as soon as you get in the front door. The queue was long when we went through and the security people were pretty particular also. The lines for passport control were not that long, but the people in the passport desks were pretty slow (All they needed to do really was put their blue stamp on the passports.) Once through all of that, avoid the "duty free" and find a nice place to sit and look out. This airport is cool once you get past passport control and there are loads of spaces to sit. As you go to the gate you have another X-Ray queue to stand in, but not as bad as the first. Once you are through this, you can sit in the gate / lounge and wait for your aircraft to board, or in our situation, head straight onto the aircraft. There were no departure delays - actually our aircraft (BA) pushed back 5 mins early so they must be doing something right at this airport. I gave this airport a 3 star because of the extortionate prices they allow shops to charge.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 11 August 2008 : by Stephen Garrett

Customer Rating : n/a

3 Star Rating

Flew into Istanbul on a very busy Friday afternoon (01 August) and it was total chaos trying to get through immigration. No problems with the visa payments but it took nearly 45 minutes to get through passport control. I had to really search all of the luggage carrousels for my baggage as there appeared to be no signs anywhere? Quite a long walk through the airport to the Metro but what a joy to have to only pay 2.80 New Turkish Lira in total to get from the airport to the tourist part of the city. Coming back- Very slow moving lines at the Turkish Airlines check in desks and even slower ones going through the final security checks at the gates. I believe some people were close to missing their flights because of this. Agree with other comments about the prices of food and drinks in the airport - extortionate!

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 22 July 2008 : by Michael Asher

Customer Rating : n/a

No Star Rating

Arrived on an international flight at Istanbul Ataturk Airport around 1215pm today. Queues for Passport Control so long they went out into the passageway beyond the zig-zag lines of railings. 45 minutes later arrived in front of an Immigration officer and was processed promptly and courteously. The queue seems to be divided into three chunks; one for Turkish nationals and two for others. My section fed eight inspection desks. Only two were manned, although the section for Turks had many more officers and small queues. I have found this to be a frequent experience and not a pleasant one. Avoid Istanbul Ataturk airport unless you are prepared for long waits in an area which can be hot; has low ceilings and no evidence of air-conditioning operating. It is a shame.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 13 June 2008 : by Nick Paul

Customer Rating : n/a

No Star Rating

Tip for passport control - if you go to gate H, the passport desks there are less used than those closer to the gates A, etc. so if you are in a hurry, walk a further 100m on and you should be through passport control very quickly. As security control is at the gates, not straight after passport control, do not leave shopping until the last minute or you will get caught up in a queue for boarding which might cause some delays.

ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT review : 10 June 2008 : by Alasdair Brooks

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

I was pleasantly surprised by Ataturk airport. It was well organised, with quick immigration processing by friendly immigration officers in an adequately staffed immigration area (American airports could learn a thing or two here from the Turks). The separate visa queue also went quickly and efficiently (though travellers from the UK should remember that they only take USD or Euros). I dashed off to use the (clean and modern) toilet facilities at baggage retrieval, and my wife already had our suitcase by the time I made it back. Leaving was equally simple, with the slight quirk that security is before check-in, so you go straight from check-in to passport control without having to go through security again (though there is a second security area once you reach your specific gate). Airside is neatly and sensibly laid out, with plenty of shopping without the sense of being in a busy glorified shopping mall you get from most UK airports - though as noted in several other comments, food and drink are pricey. There was some slight chaos at boarding, but this seems to have been the airline's fault rather than a flaw with the airport


Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Paul Whiteley

5 April 2008 2008   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

International terminal. Large queues to purchase tourist visa on arrival but processed quickly. Likewise passport control. Bag waiting on carousel once through. Taxi ranks outside well controlled. Upon departure quick clearance through first security point; BA check-in very quick. Agree with cost of goods airside though English language books in the main bookstore very reasonably priced. I liked the café bars at various departure gates. Good experience all round.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by R Sharpe

27 March 2008 2008   Customer Rating : 3 Star Rating

I agree about the cost of foods in Istanbul Airport! Even the worst food Burger King combo meal worked out to be around $12US. It is a nice clean airport and lots of shops and places to hang out in - as long as you aren't hungry!!

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by H Smythe

26 March 2008 2008   Customer Rating : 3 Star Rating

Flew into and out of Istanbul over Easter. Was no trouble at all - very large and spacious. Turkish Airlines check-in was appalling and had an extremely slow queue but the rest of the airport was good with a fair choise of shops. The only gripe is that the drinks and food were horrifically expensive - considerably more than at British airports.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Antony Davies

12 February 2008   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

Inbound to IST very quick to purchase visa, clear immigration, customs and exit airport. Using the Hafif Metro to Zeytaburnum, then the tram to the city's Sultanahmet district took less than one hour and cost just 2.6 YTL (£1.30). Departing the airport is very spacious in most areas, quick and polite check in staff for Swiss, again security and passport control very quick and all efficiently organised. A large range of shops, but food outlets are very expensive!! (two soft drinks and a toasted sandwich YTL 23 - (around £11 GBP)

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Guy Senior

1 November 2007   Customer Rating : 5 Star Rating

Flew into this airport in mid October. No more than 5 minute wait at (separate) visa and immigration queues and only a short wait for bags. I was on the train within 30 minutes of getting off the plane. Airport looked clean and spacious.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Nick Paul

29 October 2007   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

Late evening arrival from STN. Visa queue 10 mins. Passport control quick though and no other delays, but long walk to domestic terminal if you are connecting inside Turkey - some moving walkways but otherwise up ramps and round quite a maze of passages to get to gates. All signed and not difficult though. Return journey, passport control quite efficient and no untoward delays. Shopping choice good but duty free prices are high. Couldn't notice any extremes of smoking though around the terminal or at gates so as a non-smoker quite happy with that, and new facilities being added to improve shopping. Used CIP lounge as short time to wait for connections - good service, nice choice of refreshments and varied seating areas including some very plush rooms and good business desks too but intrusive noise from adjoining areas plus 4 tvs on different channels were competing as well. Security not an issue - prompt, no extra delays or problems. Whole airport appeared nice and clean and was a good experience.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Brett Watson

11 September 2007   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

Queue for visa a little slow on inbound, but moved at a reasonable pace considering a lot of flights arrived at the same time. Bags arrived quickly. Domestic terminal very busy in morning peak, but lines moved at a good pace and wait times were not to long. Receiving bags off domestic flight was very quick so off the plane to outside the domestic terminal. Outbound international terminal: check in was quick, passport control was a little slow, Good selection of shoping and restaurants and generally easy to move around. Overall an easy to use and efficient airport.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Greg Szczotka

25 August 2007   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

Ataturk is a modern, friendly and well organised airport, came from london on 18th August, immigration was bit slow, but if not travelling within EU, you have to be a bit more patient, baggage arrived quickly, departure 4 days later: painless, no queues at check-ins even though it was 1h before departure, good duty-free shops, some queues to security but not as bad as in london, very nice and easy to use airport: the only disadvantage is that smoking is permitted in many areas, but in turkey for some reason you can smoke absolutely everywhere - hope that will change when they are eventually allowed into the EC.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Mohammad Zia Ebrahimi

3 July 2007   Customer Rating : 3 Star Rating

Have been using IST for many times and this time arriving from Rome FCO. terminal was clean, Immigration was not so fast and depending on arrival time it could take 1 hour or less. Luggage was ready after immigration finished. Havas shuttle buses to city are very good while taxi fee to city is sometimes USD 35-40. on outbond trip: Security at entrance was so fast surprisingly, Check in was not so bad and depends on airline but no arrangement from airport staff to manage the passenger queues. Immigration was fast and security at gate was efficient.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Sally Hardman

19 January 2007   Customer Rating : n/a

Check in here is awful, not organised particularly well, not enough desks open when we last travelled which had a knock on effect on then getting through security. We were surprised that everyone managed to make their flights as it took so long . And then there is the palaver at the gate itself - more security and little organisation. Have to say, though, that the Airport Hotel was marvellous, great rooms, superb staff and lovely breakfast looking out over the apron. We are used to many different airports and to be honest they all have their faults - at least at Ataturk Airport you can pass the time by people watching.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Matthew Parkinson

25 November 2006

Nice and clean and easy to use. Check in with THY was slow but nothing to get really worked up about. However, there was a late (5 min pre boarding) change of gate which wasn't announced ... and of course the new gate was at the other end. Needless to say, takeoff was late and if you are flying to Heathrow that is a disaster - we flew around London for half an hour before being able to land.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Robert Clark

13 May 2006

Good looking international section, very poor domestic half. DEPARTURES: In the mornings when conecting from domestic to international terminals the 1st security checkpoint is downright a third world situation. It is organized chaos. Basically, whoever squeezes and pushes their way the best will be able to make their flight. Hard to pass people in this situation when they are using trash bags as their carry-on. Hang on tight to the person you are travelling with, otherswise you could lose them in the wave of people cramming their way in. Istanbul Security was doing nothing to alleviate the situation. After that, it is a very long line through customs to depart the country. I only made it through since some very nice Norwegians allowed my wife and I to cut so we could make our flight into Vienna. It seemed like another 2 or 3 security checkpoints before you finally get to your gate. But you're not done. You will still be crammed on a bus to be taken to your aircraft. Its creepy in here, as many Turkish people don't understand that staring at somebody is impolite. In the US it is not tolerated, but in Turkey there is nothing you can do. DEPARTING TO ISRAEL OR USA: Extra security on Turkish Airlines. You bags that you have already checked in may be checked back out, and you will have to go through each of them with Turkish security before they will place a G.A.S. sticker on your passport. Without that sticker on the back of your passport, you won't be leaving. INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL: The terminal all in all is not that bad, if you get the chance to actually enjoy it. Some really good Duty Free stores, and cafes, although the prices for even Efes are very overpriced. ARRIVAL: Very simplistic, plenty of customs kiosks set up. Visas are available for purchase at the airport right next to the customs. DOMESTIC TERMINAL: Very poor in comparison. Bad lighting, not very clean, and little to do. Nice bar in the middle, but very expensive...but a good place to kill time as the atmosphere in here is better than the rest of the terminal. The Information desk had no information. Flights that were taking off after mine had a gate scheduled, but mine did not. The lady who worked there spoke little english, and said "You come back in more time." Don't expect much in domestic. Overall, Istanbul isn't a bad airport, it just has a few hiccups here and there. It needs to improve on security and the domestic side needs a revamp.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport review by Takaya Ikezawa

29 May 2005

I have used this Ataturk Airport more than a dozen of times in the past and feel OK in general, as for its international terminal facilities. However, the security check might be too strict. You have to walk through a metal detection gateway while having all of your belongings through X-ray screener to enter the terminal. One day, when I proceeded to the security check at the entrance, I precautionary took out/off all of metal materials, cell phone, wallet, coins, belt, rings, watch etc., and walked through the gateway but it alarmed. The personnel demanded me to take off my shoes and I tried again; however it alarmed again although only things I put on were a woolen jacket, a cotton shirt, cotton pants, cotton socks and cotton underwear! There are long queues at pasport control on departure most of the time but this can move fast but you will see a long queue once again for metal detection gateway, X-ray screening for your cabin baggage, and checking your pasport and boarding pass at boarding gates, even if you left the airline lounge after sipping a few cups of coffee after you heard the boarding announcement in the lounge. The pasport control on arrival, especially at midnight, could be a truely nightmare. As you can see in the previous comments, passport control personnel are quite slow, even though they don't ask you questions such as purpose and duration of your visit. In addition to that, when I took a flight from FRA arriving at 2 am, I saw a few counters open and arrived passengers filled in front. I could hardly say they were in lines. Most of the people in lines seemed from Russia or eastern Europe. I happened to realize then that Russian women are awfully clueless and mannerless. Once my line moved a bit faster than other lines, then some of the women in the line called all of their friends in other lines to come and the line in front of me suddenly got longer than ever since I stood at the end of the queue! And also another woman suddenly muscled her way into the line. I complained but she insisted that she had been there in line! There was no personnel to control those mannerless people. I could go out the terminal almost 2 hours after landed, even though I had trouble neither with my luggage nor at custom. Since then I have been trying to avoid arriving at midnight. Domestic terminal is quite poor and seedy. Terribly long queue for entering terminal, check-in, and security check once again before boarding gates in the peak periods. Many Turkish people jump the line. Nothing fun to kill time both before and after the security check. Especilally the self- service cafe after the security check charges 4 USD for a can of coke. All in all, they could manage to catch up world-class standard for facilities (only international terminal though), but their operation is still need improvements.



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