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Istanbul Ataturk Airport
3 Star Rating: Fair
144 reviews

 



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ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  20 April 2014 by Mary Watson    (USA)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

We just spent almost 2 hours going through passport control at IST today. That's 2 hours! The line was horrendous, and airport personnel did nothing to ease the situation for hundreds of people. More and more flights kept arriving, and the line was barely moving. They seriously need more agents checking passports and visas. Only half the booths had agents. Certainly they know how many flights are arriving. Turkish Airlines runs a great operation in the air, however the Istanbul Airport creates the worst airport experience ever.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  1 April 2014 by Hester Bridges    (UK)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

As a seasoned traveller, this was the first time I have travelled via Istanbul and will probably be the last. Chaos is the only way I can describe the International transfers. After standing in a queue for nearly 40 minutes I was then told I had to join a different queue as I was travelling on a British Passport and had to go through two security checks. Despite the fact that flights were being called and final boarding was being called there was no system in place to get people through quickly to make connecting flights. I had a 2½ hour stay over in Istanbul and after clearing security on an International Transfer my flight was being called. The ground staff were unhelpful.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  13 March 2014 by N Barns    (UK)

Rating : 6/10

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Recommended

On the way into the country the queues were massive. On the way out everything was fast - the immigration queue took 3 mins and security check 2 mins. Some people complained about joining the wrong queue. Well, the desks are clearly sign-posted in English - Turkish Nationals and Other Nationalities. You just have to read. In regards to overpriced food. Well, sandwiches start at 10TL (about £3) and coffee starts at 5TL (about £1.50). It's normal price for an airport. Some people on here also complained about limited seating availability. Again I experienced plenty of free seats. Overall my experience was ok but looking at other reviews it could've been just a good day - Tuesday early afternoon.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  4 March 2014 by P Guillermo    (USA)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

Why in the world is there a security checkpoint for transfer passengers on the "sterile passenger" side. It is seriously inefficient and serves no logical purpose. I almost missed my connection back to KIAH from LLBG via LTBA. Other airports in the region like Doha and Dubai do not do this! Turkish Airlines need to have agents to at least meet transfer passengers and guide them through fast, especially for those passenger who have mere minutes to transfer. Turkish Airlines is a wonderful airline, but has a terrible airport to call home. If you can, use Dubai as your transfer.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  10 February 2014 by P Butterworth    (UK)

Rating : 10/10

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Recommended

Being a seasoned business traveler through Istanbul airport, yes it is a very busy central hub so be warned, get there in plenty of time and check in on the internet. I travel from London and use it mainly for the excellent connections to CIS regions plus the airport offers good flexibility on flights to these countries. However, in order to get around the hassle and stress of queues, I invested in the TAV Passport card which offers many benefits with priority security and passport control which beats all the lines of people plus you get good discounts at the restaurants and duty free; also you get access to their airport lounge! All in all excellent service. Hence my review is based on a business user, using a TAV passport card!



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  4 February 2014 by Shihab Ahmed    (Bangladesh)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

This was my first time in IST. My wife and I had 3 hours transit time in IST. We found many difficulties finding the smoking lounge because there were no signs. The airport is very small to fit all the passengers coming from so many different destinations. The toilets were not clean at all. In an airport like IST it has no wifi connection for passengers which disappointed me a lot. Staff hardly spoke English and the food shop were too expensive. We had to pay 5$ for a 500ml bottle of water. Lastly, you should consider yourself lucky if you find a seat.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  15 January 2014 by Graeme Baxter    (Zambia)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

After reading all the negative comments I opted to pay for the Prime-class service. Although ridiculously expensive the service was fantastic. On arrival we were met at the plane with a buggy, escorted quickly and efficiently through passport control, luggage collection and customs. When departing Prime-class have their own security entrance to the airport where they meet you and once again escort you quickly and efficiently through check-in, security, passport control (all with their own counters) to the lounge. When time to board they take you to the gate in a buggy. Use the service if you want to avoid the long queues and headaches.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  14 January 2014 by Kay Mohammed    (UK)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

I am not talking here about shops or restaurants in the airport, but rather about the staff on the ground. The majority of staff - except for a few - are rude, indifferent, and disorganized. I was shocked to find that out of the ten people I had to communicate with 5 were rude, 3 indifferent, and 2 were nice. I have passed through Istanbul airport twice - the second time saying I will give it a chance - and have vowed never again to take Turkish airlines. It is such a shame since thousands of people pass the airport and the manners reflects bad on the rest of the country.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  8 January 2014 by Hakan Görmekcil    (Germany)

Rating : 8/10

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Recommended

It is possible to find at an airport has to be everything in Istanbul. Staff friendly, Campos, and reliability are confirmed as important considerations for passengers travel. Duty free is cheaper. Full of fresh and delicious dishes in restaurants.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  6 January 2014 by K Grif    (USA)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

Inefficient. Clogged with people. If you are traveling from Istanbul to a location in the US, UK, or Canada, you have to go to a special passport control line, but none of the signs tell you that. So we went to one line, only to be told to go to another, then to another, then to a fourth until we were finally in the right line. Then we had to go back to the second line. Long lines, many people cutting in line, inefficient staff, very few places to sit, very crowded, few restaurants, and airport staff are not friendly. Bathrooms are few and far between. In general, the airport is simply not equipped to handle the volume of passengers going through it.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  16 December 2013 by Sherif Taimour    (Egypt)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

The most unprofessional and impolite ground staff. Was on a business trip and my family was accompanying me from Cairo to Sofia with a stop over in Istanbul. Our flight from Cairo departed an hour late with no apparent reason even though all passengers were onboard. We missed our connection to Sofia that day. When we arrived at Istanbul there was no one to speak to. We finally figured out that we had to go to the Transfer Desk to get New boarding passes and get our hotel vouchers. It took 4 hours from the time we landed until we reached our hotel room. On our way back from Sofia, our plane was delayed for an hour and 20 minutes, again for no apparent reason. We arrived at the airport 20 minutes before the departure of our connecting flight to Cairo. We rushed through security check and we arrived at the gate only to be told that the gate had closed. To our dismay we had to go back to Transfer Desk and get new boarding passes to take the flight back to Cairo in 7 hours. The person at the desk was kind enough to offer us access to the millennium lounge. We had to wait for 2 hours to get our boarding pass stamped. I thought that I was done finally, to my surprise when I got to the millennium lounge the lady would not let us in since we did not have any vouchers. I gave up! Now my kids and wife are sleeping on the chairs. Really frustrated by the way we were treated and by the unfortunate events we had to encounter during our two day trip. As advice to any passenger thinking of taking Turkish Airlines and transiting in Istanbul, never think about it. It's a messy airport with totally unprofessional and rude staff. Avoid by all means.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  2 December 2013 by M Kuykendall    (USA)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

Not a pleasant experience. Flew from IAH-IST and back. Going through immigration when arriving was no problem, most likely due to the fact that our flight arrived at a later time. But departing from Istanbul's airport is quite the hassle. Security checkpoint number one is right as you enter the airport. There were long lines for all stops. Everything is true about the crowded airport. If you're a nervous flyer like me, you'll get no comfort here. Bathrooms are small and often dirty. Passageways are totally packed. Gates have limited seating which is taken early (or by people at nearby gates). Food courts are a total mess, there was limited seating and it was very cramped. It's a great city. Hope they get that 3rd airport worked out quickly.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  2 December 2013 by J Heslop    (UK)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

This has to be the worst airport I have come across. It is absolutely chaotic. The signage and staff are utterly useless. The queues are astonishing and when you get to the front you are turned away to get a further check (for UK & US travelers anyway) only to have to rejoin the end of the queue. I would not travel with Turkish Airlines again because of this airport - if you have anything less than a three hour stopover you are likely to miss your connecting flight. The airport duty free and shops are the most expensive I have ever come across.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  19 November 2013 by Rob Bloom    (Switzerland)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

Quite chaotic, long lines, staff could be more helpful, very loud and un-organized. But as a hub, Istanbul is just a perfect place. So if you only spend 2 or 3 hours at the airport waiting for your next flight, it is OK. But for a longer period, I would not recommend it.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  7 November 2013 by Sam Richards    (UK)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

I travel frequently to different countries. This airport is not one of the best one I have been to but it is definitely not the worst. It used to be a better airport as in being efficient. The reason is the number of passengers going through is increasing and the airport is not able handle 45 million passengers a year, even though they expanded passport control desks and duty free section. There is one main problem. Queues! Everywhere you go. Security, Check-in desk, passport control then security again. The staff never smile. Duty free, shops and restaurants are ok. I have used the new business class lounge that couple of airline companies jointly use. It is quite nice. I think the airport is clean.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  5 November 2013 by D Dimos    (Greece)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

Visited the airport twice as transit passenger to Antalya. Not very helpful staff, rather rude, bad English, limited seating and resting space. Generally not recommended.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  24 October 2013 by Anthony Llewellyn-Evans    (Australia)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

I approached Istanbul airport with some trepidation after reading all the reviews, maybe with such low expectations it turned out to be better than I anticipated. Certainly the security is tight with security before you even enter the airport and while the lines were longish they moved quite quickly and the staff seemed polite. The airport is certainly crowded but after a week in Istanbul you realise that is the norm for this city, we travelled on public transport at various times and never scored a seat, so maybe we were not surprised. The toilets seemed clean, the shops varied (the ones selling Turkish delight certainly offer enough samples to make a meal!) and the other amenities seemed adequate. All in all the experience was fine - it is a busy airport and I can imagine when it is operating at capacity things could get quite hectic. One last point public transport is pain to the airport because of the crowds, take a taxi but negotiate your fair before you set out.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  23 October 2013 by Barry Byrne    (Ireland)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

Airport badly in need of seating. Almost no seats before check in opens, so if you see one grab it and don't move. Plenty of space here for seats, so their absence is odd. Airside seats are also very few and some gates near the entries are colonised by passengers awaiting their gate number to be confirmed. Periodically staff clear out the occupiers so passengers actually using that gate can wait. Still too few seats, one gate had exactly four seats, leaving all the other passengers for a 737-800 standing. Too few screens showing all gate information and gate changes seem to be frequent. PA is very difficult to hear due to noise and rapid fire delivery. Food facilities limited. Coming in, immigration is very slow, up to an hours wait in the off peak was experienced. Not helped by passengers without Turkish visas missing the small signs directing them to the visa pay office, then joining the immigration line and eventually being sent back to have to queue again. Relatively easy problems to fix but many are of very long standing.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  16 October 2013 by Lars Eriksson    (Sweden)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

The morning (and also the whole day) of 2013/10/11, I had my worst airport experience at Ataturk airport. Our departure was 08.15. Arrived at the airport at 06.15. Online check-in was done evening before. First problem was to get into the building for first security screening. When that was done I looked for the baggage drop. Building was full and queues everywhere. Very difficult to find a queue for only the baggage drop. I made it at 06.45 and was looking for my gate. When I found the passport-control with it's queue-area I understood that we were in trouble. Queue continued out in the building and the end could not be seen. Amazed by the length all the way to check-in counters A. My wife was standing in the queue and I tried to get help. Approx 08.15 we were facing the fenced queue-area, the passport-control was not fully staffed. With thousands of people queuing desperately they had not opened all counters. Missed our flights, after being redirected 4 times to different counters we were told that we could buy new tickets if we wanted. In a rude way I was told it was my problem. After some discussion I got the choice to get a flight at 21.00 if I paid a penalty fee of 100 EUR. Spent 14 hours at the airport due to the fact that they do not have capability to do the passport-control in a reasonable time.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  2 October 2013 by Henrik Kerr    (UK)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

I have been to airports all over the world, this is the easily the worst. Most staff are rude from check in to catering staff. The signage is confusing, toilets repulsive and very few seats are all important issues that need to be addressed. Getting in via arrivals is farcical and bedlam, the crowds of people trying to get into the checkpoint lines is like nothing I have seen. Strangely their visa office doesn't accept Turkish Lira. Sterling, Euros and USD only. The food court is difficult to get a seat, people stand around watching and waiting for others to leave, this is probably the best way to get a seat other than being in the right place at right time. Refreshments are expensive, even more so in the bars which are situated next to each other and are same price, same owners, same food etc. Turkish Airlines have recently been bringing in more and more passengers however this has not been complemented by expansion but with price increases.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  1 October 2013 by Derek Salter    (South Africa)

Rating : 8/10

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Recommended

I have used numerous times for transfer. Recently I had a stop over in Istanbul so I had to leave the airport. Clearing immigration does take time but the lines moved quickly and the new e-visa system for many passengers is helping. Trying to find the person with your name sticker when leaving customs isn't easy as the area is so busy and there are signs everywhere. Outside is equally chaotic with buses, shuttles and taxis. Pre-arrange your transport if you are a first-time user. But it does give you a taster for Istanbul itself which is busy and hectic. Check-in on return was quick and smooth but you do have to scan all your luggage immediately entering the airport so be prepared for that. Post customs and immigration there is a limited range of shops and facilities and the airport is almost always busy. The waiting area for flights at the gates is generally spacious and comfortable but none that I have used have had toilet facilities.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  28 August 2013 by Azlan Hashim    (Malaysia)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

On my transit to Zagreb at this airport, I landed with more or less 3 hours to spare. They were long queues everywhere (check-ins, security check points, immigration counters, toilets, duty free outlets). It took me nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes from getting my boarding pass until I arrived at the departure gate. For ease of mind, have at least 4 hours while in transit at IST. In general the staff that I have encountered were fine but not overly friendly.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  28 August 2013 by Robert Marshall    (UK)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

This is now a very busy hub airport for Turkish Airlines. A fair wait for aircraft to reach available airbridge or remote stand after touchdown. We used both the international and domestic terminals. Airbridges available for inbound flight from London and onward domestic flight to Bodrum. Remote stand and bus transfer to domestic terminal coming back. Airbridge available for flight back to London. Layover in either terminal was no longer than 1.5 hours. Fairly lengthy queues for non-Turkish passport holders at immigration. Certainly nothing of the order that non-EU passport holders would face on arrival in the UK. Immigration officers were efficient and good humoured. We had pre-purchased Turkish e-VISAs via the Turkish Government's web site and would definitely recommend that, especially if arriving at particularly busy times or face an additional queue of 20+ minutes to obtain your Turkish visa then queue up for immigration control. As others have stated, signage in the terminals in English is not good and could definitely be improved upon. Security screening staff were fine. Did not find them any better or worse than those at UK airports. Again, as others have said, plenty of places to eat and drink as long as you are prepared to pay the prices for food and drink (post security screening) which were as we anticipated, expensive, but comparable to other airports we've used. Toilets, both gents and ladies, were clean. There was plenty of seating available in both terminals at the times we used them. Overall, a fair to good experience at an airport clearly nearing the limits of it's capacity.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  22 August 2013 by A Mamujee    (UK)

Rating : 1/10

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Recommended

Extremely rude staff, very abrupt and most of them did not speak English, will try and avoid travelling through this airport next time, had to spend 7 hours at the airport due to flight delay with nowhere to sit. Transit queues very long, food choice is ok but very expensive. Toilets cleanliness was fair, considering the number of people passing through.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  25 July 2013 by Ron Ny    (Gerrmany)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

Waiting time at immigration and passport control is horrible. I am travelling 2-3 times per month and almost every time I had to wait more than 45 mins. Airport signage (Information screens check-in and baggage) is difficult and less helpful. My flight number is very often not visible, it shows randomly all codeshare flight numbers and this makes everything difficult. Restrooms smell, restaurants are very expensive. Language Skills of Airport staff are very bad.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  21 July 2013 by B Thompson    (Canada)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

Far too many flights and people jammed into the International terminal. Flight departed for Tel Aviv at 9.30pm. Departed gate on time but ended up 15th in line for take-off, leading to a 30 minute delay. I arrived earlier in the day at approximately 1pm from Toronto. Passport control and visa services were fast and courteous. Duty Free prices were expensive. Food court overcrowded, with uncomfortable seating (plastic, flimsy chairs).



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  15 July 2013 by L Salvatore    (Switzerland)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

It claims to be a hub. It could be if would work in a proper manner. Passport control very slow, seating availability very poor. Custom office for getting the stamp for VAT claim back is situated in an awful corner. Quick growth in terms of passengers number has not been followed by an adequate customer service implementation. Turkish style!



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  10 July 2013 by Levent Yobas    (Hong Kong)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

Annoyingly loud hasty announcements. Rude staff at security checkpoints who could utter a few words in broken English. Security screening when entering the terminal building as well as having to go through it again at the gates. Obscenely high prices for a cup of tea or a burger. Lack or absence of signs and directions to guide passengers. Inadequate air conditioning. Luggage trolleys chained together and borrowing one requires a coin which you know you won't get back practically because you cannot ask your taxi driver to hold on. Extremely long passport lines for foreigners.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  14 June 2013 by A Todorov    (USA)

Rating : 1/10

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Recommended

Dirty. Uncomfortable. Dreadful. Unfortunately had to stay there for several hours while waiting for flight. Consistently rude and disagreeable airport employees, from screeners onward.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  3 June 2013 by Nik Kodogianidis    (USA)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

Airport was an intermediate stop. Overwhelmed, disorganized not able to handle the large influx of passengers. Misleading signs, inadequate signs. Long lines and very disorganized without knowledgeable personnel. People seemed incompetent to provide advice and directions. Did not speak English enough. Different people would provide different responses. Something was always missing to be provided by the next airport agent asked. Not particularly caring about the situation of the passengers being lost, stranded, having their flight delayed etc. Hopefully I will never pass through such an airport again.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  23 April 2013 by E Ebcioglu    (USA)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

We recently traveled from Istanbul to New York. Spent 4 hours at Istanbul Ataturk Airport before we boarded the plane. This is a relatively small airport compared to other international airports around the world, not much too see or do but meets the basic needs with several restaurants and cafes. There is a food court at one end with fast food stands, very unattractive seating and lighting. When we came to our gate we wanted to use the bathrooms. The ladies restroom smelled of dense cigarette smoke. The stalls were dirty. There was no soap in the soap dispensers and no paper towel to use. It's obvious that the airport management does not care about the cleanliness of the bathrooms, otherwise they would have installed smoke alarms in the bathrooms and employed more people to keep the bathrooms clean.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  22 April 2013 by D Naert    (Belgium)

Rating : 1/10

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Recommended

Dreadful experience. This airport is far too small to handle all the flights arriving and departing there. Early morning arrival from Sochi, not all airbridges in use, but still a remote stand and bus transfer to the terminal. Poor signage, long queues and surly staff. Very long queues at security screening (waiting time 40 mins), and this airport is promoting itself as the ideal transfer airport? The whole airport is very overcrowded. Connecting flight to Brussels also from a remote stand. Not a single boarding call was made. The airport just cannot cope with the expansion of Turkish Airlines. Avoid.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  15 April 2013 by Mark Simons    (UK)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

Awful experience. Firstly no air bridge and needed bus transfer. Not enough buses meant 40 passengers left standing on Tarmac for 10 minutes. Into terminal to join horrendous queue for visa, extremely hot, one employee and over an hour, then have to join another queue for passport control, another half hour. By the time we got to baggage carousel it had stopped with cases left standing. All in all nearly two hours.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  15 April 2013 by David Gartside    (UK)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

Used 3 times recently: International arrival, Domestic departure, Domestic - International transfer. The experience was far better than previous reviews led me to expect. The international arrival was calm and orderly - it was mid-evening so perhaps a quiet time. The domestic departure - early afternoon - ditto. The need to undergo two security checks - one for the building, one for airside is a bit tedious but worked OK. The domestic - international transfer was more pressured - you get taken landside after domestic arrival (why?) and then mixed in with local departing international passengers, but passport / security etc worked smoothly enough with structured queues etc. Facilities airside immediately downstream of security were crowded, but once you made your way to gate all fairly spacious and calm.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  30 March 2013 by El Barato    (Luxembourg)

Rating : 0/10

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Recommended

Atatürk is positioned as a hub for Turkish - an airline that claims to be Europe's best. However, lots of transfer passengers are required to pass through security screening only a few meters after stepping off their original plane, which leads to huge bottlenecks and completely unacceptable waiting times. Queues are not only long but also completely disorganized. The staff are rude and unhelpful while being unable to utter more than a couple of English phrases. You will wait in vain for basic courtesies. Did I mention that the few toilets you might find after long strolls throughout the terminal are usually overcrowded and extremely smelly. Avoid.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  27 March 2013 by A Milossavlyevich    (Turkey)

Rating : 4/10

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Recommended

At first impression the airport may seem nice and cosy but that lasts for only few seconds. The airport is pretty small and incredibly overcrowded, long queues and bottlenecks in every area are the norm. On departure: lengthy security checks, the agent at check-in didn't know a word of English - a superior had to step-in. Seating is scarce around the terminal. The food court area is like a bazaar, hard to make your way through. The smoking terrace - overcrowded as well, is a nice addition and well taken care of so I would put that as a plus. Walking times to gates very long, gates number changing at last minute. As the previous commentator objected, you must have a Turkish SIM card in order to access the wireless internet - in an airport that tries to position itself as a global transit hub - mind boggling to say the least. All in all, a disorganised, saturated and poorly staffed airport. My advice - avoid transiting here if you can.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  21 March 2013 by J Stevens    (USA)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

Inadequate seating in the concourse. Incredibly long walks to the farthest gates. Free internet requires SMS confirmation, and no options for people without Turkish compatible phones - this in an international terminal. Queuing times are okay. Shopping is nothing special. Food is poor, and the food court is cramped. The terminal aesthetics are airport generic.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  19 March 2013 by D Hananel    (USA)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

This used to be an excellent airport. Well laid out, modern, good shops and restaurants and easy access to gates. With the rapid growth of Turkish airlines, however, these days it handles more passengers than was envisaged when being built. As a Turkish national, the immigration lines are never too bad, though judging by what I see, the lines for foreigners and for visas can be quite long. This is one of the best airports to arrive or depart flying business class. On arrival, you use dedicated immigration lines. On departure, in addition to the dedicated airport entrance and the check-in counters, you also have the option of going through passport control directly into the lounge, which is one of the best lounges ever. So, an average experience if you're flying economy, and a great one if flying business.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  21 February 2013 by Jesperi Lauhio    (Finland)

Rating : 6/10

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Recommended

The problem of this airport is the rapid growth and success of Turkish Airlines. There are too many people in too tight a space. In general pretty good working airport, but it lacks proper organization. For example there are no queues, just lots of people in a horde trying to get to the same place. Staff didn't speak great English, but understandable. Had 2 hours of transfer time in Istanbul, and that really was enough for me. They need more space there.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  13 February 2013 by Z Shah    (USA)

Rating : 9/10

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Recommended

This was my third time flying through IST, but my first time in 5 years and what a change! The airport is literally bursting at the seams as IST has become a major transit hub as THY literally flies everywhere now. But the airport is still clean, efficient, and with excellent shopping and eating options. The security staff were extremely friendly and the security and transit lines were quick and efficient. My only major complaint was the lack of free Wi Fi in IST. But two changes to take note of which have occurred over the past 5 years. First a security check has been added after you leave the transfer desk if you are taking a transit flight. Second a number of foreign nationals can now purchase a visitor visa upon arrival at IST if they have a US, UK, Canadian, or Schengen visa or a permanent residence card of those countries. The catch is that if you happen to arrive on flight from the US you can not purchase a visa from the booth closest to your flight. You have to go to the other end of the airport to the other visa booth to purchase a visa. My guess is that were most of the non EU and North American flights arrive at, as you have to get a stamped paper from the Immigration booth before you can purchase the visa.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  8 January 2013 by J Im    (South Korea)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is quite a small airport for the number of flights and passengers it accommodates. On arrival, the security line was relatively long, but many officers were on duty. The arrival was very welcoming. However, the arrival level of the airport is outdated. The departure was also a pleasant experience. The immigration and security checkpoints were all opened, and once on the airside, there were many shops and restaurants which were all relatively expensive, though cheaper than most other European airports. Overall, it's a very good, organised and clean airport.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  2 January 2013 by N Collins    (Bahrain)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

Food and drink prices are outrageously expensive. Inadequate seating areas when the airport is busy. Airport staff are generally aloof, unfriendly and in some cases rude.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  17 December 2012 by Peter Paul Ng    (USA)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

IST Nov 2012 in low season. Used twice JFK-IST-ATH v.v. confusing to transit had to ask airport crew for transit location. Airport had warm spots poorly ventilated particularly after security. I am all for security checks but IST had one too many. Counted four security checks at airport entrance, passport control, gate, and lastly passenger seat area. Arrivals divided between EU and non EU. Visa window no lines in Nov. I would imagine a big mess in high season. They need to improve since IST seems popular for transit. I liked ATH airport simpler layout than IST.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  25 September 2012 by Ross Clark    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

IST arrived 15 Sep, departed 24 Sep. Agree completely with John Moore's comments below. Departure arrangements are better though - but the terminal is simply too small for the volumes of traffic it is handling. Thought I'd struggle to come across a large terminal which made DXB look good, but I have now.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  7 September 2012 by John Moore    (UK)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

Exceptionally poor way to arrive in such an otherwise friendly country. The queue for visas was long and like being herded into a cattle truck. The official was surly and insisted on taking a 90 day visa when a cheaper 30 day visa was advertised on the sign in front of him. Next, to passport control which was even worse - queue huge and we moved slowly for an hour. No announcements, explanation, no staff to ask; meanwhile the queue for locals was always short. Probably the worst airport arrival experience I have had in over 50 years of air travel. Authorities: please sort this out.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  4 September 2012 by A Jones    (Canada)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

When departing, the British Airways/HAVAS staff refused to sit my family of 5 together. We were travelling in Business Class. On boarding, there were many vacant seats and I negotiated a change of seats with other passengers so that my family could seat together. Getting your VAT refund at the airport is a nightmare. You have to stand in a long line-up for Customs. After passing security, the VAT refund kiosk is poorly marked. Out of 3 windows, only one was open and the line-up was very long. As soon as I got my refund, I noticed our flight was boarding and we had to race to the other end of the airport to catch it. When we first arrived in Istanbul, we had arranged for transfers to our hotel. But the driver was nowhere to be found. After inquiring with other drivers, one of them called our driver on his cell phone to come pick us up. Clearly, I would avoid Istanbul Airport if you can.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  31 August 2012 by P Berkers    (Belgium)

Rating : 8/10

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Recommended

I have used this airport twice in August, 2 times I was in transit. First time 4th of August from Brussels to Bangkok with transit in Istanbul. 25th August for return flight to Brussels. Both times the security lines moved quickly because all security lanes were in operation. 4th of August it was around 22.40 and there were lots of transfer passengers but on the return on 25th August around 16.30 it was much quieter. Both times the terminal and toilets were clean. Prices at the bar were very expensive. Lots of shopping opportunities with reasonable prices for Duty Free. Boarding for Ho Chi Minh via Bangkok at 00.40 was well organised in boarding zones. The 19.10 return to Brussels, the gate agents did not announce that the flight was boarding. You could only see it when the waiting line began to move. One female gate agent was not friendly The planes for the return flights from Bangkok and to Brussels were parked at a remote stand. There were enough buses for the transportation from the plane to the terminal and from the terminal to the plane.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  25 August 2012 by Machko Nakauri    (Japan)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

I use Atatürk Airport a couple of times every month (both domestic and international terminal). Security staff are usually rude, exceptions are few. There are long queues (usually crowds) in both security checks (one before entering the airport, one before entering the gate) and in the Check-In counter. There is a good bus connection every 30 minutes from two central points of Istanbul. Metro/tramway connection only with transfer and walking possible. Cleanliness of certain areas (eg toilets) unacceptable, but generally ok.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  1 June 2012 by Nigel Stacey    (UK)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

I arrived at Istanbul Ataturk on the 13th May having read about all the delays getting through but I found it on par with most other airports having taken longer to get through British airports coming home at times. The visa stamp was obtained pretty quickly then through passport control to get my bag on the way into the country. Coming home the airport was pretty efficient to going through security and passport control the only slow bit was the Austrian airlines check-in desks opening less than 2 hours before the flight. The only thing that let down the experience is the price of food and drink at the airport it is really expensive so you people have been warned I worked out the two pieces of cake and two cold drinks would have cost about £18 in English currency, no thanks it's free on my flight.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  8 May 2012 by A Savin    (Denmark)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

Huge passport queues on landing, waiting times up to 1 hour for overseas visitors. Overpriced food, duty free and almost everything else. Otherwise, a modern and clean looking airport.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  25 April 2012 by Martha Myers    (Jordan)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

Airport is overcrowded, not very clean, noisy, and the staff at 'help' and 'information' desks surly and unpleasant. In the many hours I had to sit waiting for my late flight I saw ground staff repeatedly yelling at passengers. Very few choices in terms of food and the food court was dirty. Airport is poorly ventilated. As someone who has travelled extensively in the developing world, I have never had such a negative experience. When one considers that Turkish Airlines is very unreliable and that one may therefore be spending a lot of time at the airport and dealing with ground staff - it matters.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  17 April 2012 by Chantal Ghosn    (USA)

Rating : 1/10

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Recommended

We were stuck in a layover at Ataturk for 6-7 hours on arrival and return. Couldn't believe how rude people were. Make sure you bring snacks if you manage to get stuck in this place, because the food prices are outrageous!



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  14 April 2012 by A Milossavlyevich    (Serbia)

Rating : 3/10

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Recommended

An unimpressive airport. No Wi-Fi working. Over-priced shops and hygiene leaving a lot to be desired. Boarding passes made of extremely cheap paper, I've never seen something like that before. Can't omit to mention the lack of English language skills of many members of staff at the airport which is simply appalling for what should be a major world airport. If you're just transiting from Europe or elsewhere to Asia I would advise you avoid Turkish airports at any cost. Waiting lounges were the only decent place at the airport.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  11 April 2012 by D Visser    (Netherlands)

Rating : 7/10

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Recommended

Transited through IST Atatürk in March and had mixed feelings. Whilst it is a large and roomy airport, it still seemed cramped. Staff were at times rather surly and the lack of English language skills a bit shocking. Immigration can take a while, with the visa process not well laid out. It's a bit frustrating that there are so many security checks: to enter the terminal from outside, prior to passport control, at times prior to nearing the gates and most strange: when transiting from one international flight to another. You need quite a bit of time between flights, even when your trip commences in IST. Facilities are nice; plenty on offer and prices are comparable to other airports. Good catering at food courts. Non-airline lounges are very nice, especially the CP Premier lounge.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  9 April 2012 by Jon Marshall    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

Organised chaos thanks to placement of visa desk which was on the far side of long immigration lines. Not helped by the fact that many EU and US pax failed to read the signs saying they needed a visa and just lined up at immigration anyway! Immigration itself is painfully slow and of BKK standards. On the outward journey be prepared for three security checks - outside the terminal, post immigration and finally prior to arriving at the departure gate. Easy public transport system into the centre of town, even with 18kgs suitcase. Avoid changing money at airport on arrival as better rates offered in town.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  9 April 2012 by Jack Owen    (USA)

Rating : 2/10

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Recommended

I have been through many times. The passport/visa control is so bad that it brings my rating down from an 8 to a 0. That area is poorly manned, confusing, extremely slow, with bored, rude, uncaring personnel: a poor introduction to Turkey for first time visitors. Obviously the airport authority doesn't read these ratings or, more likely, doesn't care. Another problem is knowing which baggage claim to go to after both domestic and international flights, and there is a large number of belts to search for your flight.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  27 February 2012 by James Halley    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

Organised chaos thanks to placement of visa desk which was on the far side of long immigration lines. Not helped by the fact that many EU and US pax failed to read the signs saying they needed a visa and just lined up at immigration anyway! Immigration itself is painfully slow and of BKK standards. On the outward journey be prepared for three security checks - outside the terminal, post immigration and finally prior to arriving at the departure gate. Easy public transport system into the centre of town, even with 18kgs suitcase. Avoid changing money at airport on arrival as better rates offered in town.



ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT customer review :  22 November 2011 by Peter Cullen    (UK)

Rating : 5/10

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Recommended

The buildings are fine with plentiful seating, an airy aspect and a fair range of shops, cafes, etc (though expensive by Turkish standards). The main problem is queuing, on arrival one queues for visa (if necessary) and then to have it checked for immigration (an hour in my case). On departure you queue for security before you enter the building (a few minutes), for check-in (about 15 mins in my case, but by the time I got to the desk the queue was about 4-5 times longer than when I joined it) and then for emigration and a second security check. Fortunately a friend had advised me to arrive at least 2 hours before departure, I endorse that. I recommend the metro and tram to get to the city centre, the price is a tenth or less of a taxi or the shuttle bus, and the time is about the same given Istanbul's traffic. Be aware it does require a change if you have a lot of luggage and also there is not a metro/tram stop near all hotels, but if there is one it is a reliable and cheap alternative.



Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  25 September 2011 by David Walsh   (Ireland)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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I flew to Istanbul on business in Sept 2011. Flight over from Ireland was good and Turkish Airlines were good. Returned to the airport on a Saturday morning at 6.05 for a 7.45 departure and then the nightmare began. I lined up along with hundreds of others in a common queue to check-in until I was eventually called out of the queue with the rest of my flight because time was getting short. I have never seen such chaos at a check-in desk. Staff did not seem to care and there was no sense of urgency. Next step was to go to the passport control line and this was another disaster with really long queues. I have never in all my time flying witnessed airport police so obviously arguing with ground staff in front of passengers in an airport, but saw this happen twice in this airport. I then made my way directly to the departure gate only to be faced with another series of horrendous queues to get through the x-ray machines, it was organised chaos. I heard my name being called with other passengers for our flight. I pleaded with an official to let me through to get to the plane but he refused point blank saying that I had time. I missed the flight and had to go back out into departures and fight my case with Turkish Airlines. Eventually they flew me to London and I had to buy a ticket myself to get back to Dublin.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  14 September 2011 by A Hashim   (Malaysia)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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My transit at Istanbul for connection flight to Copenhagen was extremely painful. I was in the line for clearing immigration more or less 1 hr and 45 mins. Pity to those families travelling with babies. The airport authority should have provide a special counter/lane for families the same as most other airports do. However, the immigration and check-in counter staff were good and able to smile or responded nicely although having such a busy and long morning.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  11 September 2011 by S Haq   (UK)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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Airport is well designed but queues can be long both at immigration and security. Departure is established with a number of shops and restaurants. I used the Star Alliance CIPS Lounge in the international terminal while flying Swiss and must say that this is one of the best business lounges I have been to. I am a frequent flyer and generally do around 100,000 miles a year.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  8 September 2011 by Azlan Hashim   (Malaysia)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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Landed from Kuala Lumpur early morning, the immigration area was extremely busy. However, almost all counters were manned. The luggage handling was efficient. Upon check-in for my next flight on the same morning, I was surprised with the huge crowd of people at both island A and B. I was in the line for more than an hour. After clearing immigration and security check point, I was bussed to the aircraft. It was at gate 308. Overall, I was pleased with those airport's staff I have encountered. They were friendly and helpful.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  2 August 2011 by A Cardona   (Malta)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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On arrival we were faced with a huge queue for passport control. Our passports were taken away without any explanation, and when asked they were very rude. They were returned some 25mins later without a word and a visa stamped in it. Departure was even worse. Horrendous queues for passport control meant a 45 min wait, with only 4 booths manned and the rest empty, and when we asked one of the so-called 'staff' if we could pass through the check first since our flight was about to leave, he simply shrugged and said 'I don't care'. Flight left 20 mins late because we and others were caught in that line. Very poor image of the country. Horrible, expensive airport with surly staff.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  2 August 2011 by M Abrar   (UK)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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The airport itself seems fine - clean if not very well air conditioned. On arrival, a very slow queue to get visas. I could not understand why it takes so long to take money and put a stamp in your passport. Then the even longer and slower queue at passport control. One reason they are slow at this point is that the available cubicles are never fully manned. Onto luggage claim - at the opposite end of the airport to the aircraft. You need a 1 Lira coin for a trolley. If you do not know this or do not have one, you are stuck. I learnt the hard way during a previous trip. On exit, you have to get all your bags scanned before check-in. Check in and join the ridiculously slow passport control queues. The food prices are extortionate - £14 for two burgers meals. If they could reduce the delays, this would be a very nice airport.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  6 July 2011 by Onur Oguzhan   (Kenya)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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I like Istanbul Airport a lot but I have never understood why they needed 5 staff behind one desk, i.e. the Transit desk downstairs or the desk in front of Business lounge. There seems to be a constant chaos. Another thing is drinking and dining is horribly expensive. The airport, due to increased traffic on the last few years, and seems to be exhausted. It is always very crowded.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  30 June 2011 by D Oluja   (Australia)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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I was in transit at Istanbul airport (from Europe going to Abu Dhabi and onto Melbourne). The airport itself is modern and clean, and the transfer counter was clearly marked. After lining up to obtain my boarding passes, my passport and baggage ticket was photocopied and I was told to take a seat and wait approximately 10 mins for my boarding pass which I thought was odd. After 30 mins of waiting I lined up again to ask where my pass was and I was rudely told to sit back down and that my pass was at the gate and that they would arrive shortly. A number of passengers were taking the same journey and we were all quite nervous about boarding our connecting flight on time. A further 30 mins later someone came out of the gates with our boarding passes and handed them out. How on earth is this normal practice in an international airport? What made the poor organisation worse was the temper of the people behind the counter and the three females sitting behind him, literally filing their nails while 50 people were waiting for passes. Avoid transferring at this airport at all costs if you need to get boarding passes here!


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  24 June 2011 by B Marc   (USA)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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Istanbul Ataruk Airport is beautiful but one of the most disorganized airports I have ever been. Luckily, I arrived with Turkish Airlines from Tel Aviv on Business Class so I got to use the Immigration Fast Track line. However, getting a trolley for my bags was very tough and waited over 1hr for my bags. I departed on Lufthansa Business Class and I am Star Gold. It is very odd that Turkish Airlines (a star alliance member) and a few other airlines have Fast Track privileges. Lines were long and the security staff refused to even accept my Star Alliance Gold Card. Most airports it is Fast Track for First/Business and Elite members. Throughout the airport most of the staff were very rude.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  7 June 2011 by T Nayfeh   (USA)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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We travelled business class through the airport. The worst part was that the A/C was none existent. We spend most of our 4 hours there trying to find a cool spot. The Turkish Airlines business class lounge was a joke and a health concern. The food (including cheese and dairy items) was not refrigerated, the water and juice were warm. I am hoping to avoid using this airport in the future. The only good parts were they staff were really nice to our 1 year-old girl and one of the guys selling Turkish ice cream was awesome.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  5 June 2011 by O Sabet   (Egypt)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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The terminal building itself is modern, clean and well maintained. However the terminal is very crowded at times though immigration and check in are quite quick. I really like this airport because its close to downtown (20 minutes by bus with no traffic, 45 minutes with heavy traffic).


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  25 April 2011 by S Abdulaziz   (Saudi Arabia)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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Very long lines at the immigration at arrival and at departure - three booths were open while hundreds of passengers wait. This is very strange. This is from a country that spends so much money promoting itself to be a tourist destination.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  18 April 2011 by K Tan   (Hong Kong)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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The hardware of the airport is modern and sleek. Unfortunately the services level is just appalling. I could not find a trolley. Even I found a trolley, I didn't have the 1Tl to take out the cart. After immigration, there was no small trolley. When I tried to ask around, no one could offer help or speak in English. The Turkish lounge was liked a run-down cafe.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  21 March 2011 by Stephen Taynton   (Kazakhstan)

Customer Rating :  5/5

5 Star Rating   

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Very easy through immigration - friendly guy on duty which was a good invitation to Budapest. The terminal itself is clean and so few people which was nice. Same shops as most other airports around the world. Had lunch at Greenpoint restaurant - a bit pricey but good food, nice cold Efes beer and wifi - a good place to waste a few hours. Overall a good airport and easy to get around.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  21 January 2011 by G Smith   (Australia)

Customer Rating :  2/5

2 Star Rating   

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Arrival was fine, however having to pay for a visa in US dollars, British pounds or Euro and not the local currency makes you wonder where the money ends up. Leaving was another story. We were flying to Tel Aviv and the recent tension between Turkey and Israel was obvious. There were checks and counter checks. Passport control was tediously long with officials on a go slow. They checked every page of our passports with no consideration for passengers boarding times. When we arrived at the gate with about 5 minutes to spare we were confronted by a sign saying that the gate number had been changed, to the other end of the terminal. With travelators out of action the walk was extremely stressful. Rounding the corner to the gate we were confronted by another long line to pass through another x ray security check. Thankfully a man let us take his place at the head of the queue. In a lather of sweat we made it to the bus to take us to the plane, it remained stationary for about another 10 minutes with no air conditioning before leaving the terminal. I just wonder if we would have experienced the same frustration if we were flying to another destination.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  5 January 2011 by Peter Boone   (Netherlands)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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Arrival process remarkably smooth on Jan 1 trip, with no lines at immigration. Selling visas to passengers is just a plain scam in my eyes though. Departure 2 days later a whole other story. Security at the entrance extremely slow and tedious with rude staff. Another 30 minutes to pass immigration. You really have to factor these time consuming hurdles in or you may actually miss your flight. What boggles the mind, is why this immigration has to take so long, despite the fact that everyone seems to get in (or out) anyway and why it is necessary to have the process done by such rude staff. The Turkish are not the most cheerful people in this world and the airport staff is solely responsible for ruining your travel experience through IST, which is otherwise a fine terminal. This also happens to be one of the most expensive airports in the world for shopping and f&b, and what is up with the pricing in Euro's for certain articles, another misleading scam, I assume.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  1 November 2010 by Keith Rogers   (Canada)

Customer Rating :  1/5

1 Star Rating   

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Had strange set of experiences at the airport on my way to Chicago. Check in at front door had the staff person wanting a long conversation with me on what I did and saw in Istanbul, while line behind me kept getting longer. Was asked repeatedly if I packed bags myself - thought answering once would be enough. Got asked again by security staff at airline counter - weird. Once we got to gate area the usual second scanning went fine but then more security staff processing very slowly. Stamped my wife's boarding pass but not mine and I did not notice. Then right at jet door was told to wait with no explanation, then the staff with stamp shows up some minutes later but took his sweet time processing. Overall a very disruptive process. Inside of airport, shops, restaurants etc nice though. Security is out of control at this airport which is too bad as the rest of the airport is nice.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  11 October 2010 by Colin Denson   (UK)

Customer Rating :  4/5

4 Star Rating   

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Big clean modern airport. But it could be better. As many reviewers have said the cafes and bars are expensive - even by international standards and by Turkish standards are crazy: 17.5 TL for a coffee and a small sandwich. At busy periods the queues on arrival and departure can be lengthy and its not always clear if you're in the right queue - for example many people join the passport control queue without realising that they need to queue for an buy a visa first - better signage would help. The increased traffic also seems to be generating delays with too many planes scheduled to depart at the same time and the runway just can't cope. Recently sat on the apron for 45 minutes having pushed back from the terminal because of the volume of planes waiting to take-off before we even got into the queue at the end of the runway.


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  29 September 2010 by Owen Evans   (UK)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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A nice airport to look at but be warned, very, very expensive! Wanted nearly 34YTL for a glass of Turkish wine! Check in areas and arrival area's very nice and clean as where the washroom facility's just don't expect to leave with any money if you go in the Duty Free shops or restaurants!


Istanbul Ataturk Airport customer review :  11 August 2010 by Ron Kuhlmann   (USA)

Customer Rating :  3/5

3 Star Rating   

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I have never stood in so many lines on departure. The airport is modern and open but clearly stressed by its recent traffic growth. And just when you think you are home free, there is yet another line. I was headed for the US and some of the procedures were doubtless due to the