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Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Customer Reviews

3 star Skytrax Rating
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 303 reviews
4/10
3 star Skytrax Rating
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2/10

"staff were very uncooperative"

(United States)

Airport staff at Istanbul Ataturk were very uncooperative, we were wheelchair bound but getting a wheelchair was not easy. Wheelchair operators kept demanding money from us and we had to walk to find an operator. The staff were very disrespectful, and could not communicate in English.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitFebruary 2016
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"it is completely disorganized"

(Lebanon)

This was the worst experience I've had in an airport. It is completely disorganized. You see people running from place to place. Not enough seating, dirty, no internet services, very poor-to-no English, and people sleeping and sitting all over the floors. But the worst part of all: they have so many flights with a limited number of gates so they do not know until about 30 min before departure time which gate they will assign your flight. Because some fit at the gate directly and others you have to walk out of the gate to take a bus. With all this myself along with many other travelers missed our flights because they do not assign and publish the gate numbers on time on their screens. Nor is there anyone that helps you or knows what gate would it be. A terrible experience.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
3/10

"one of the worst large airports"

(United Kingdom)

I am a frequent flyer (Elite Plus Turkish Airlines) and I pass through Ataturk airport between 6 to 10 times a year. It is over-crowded and currently one of the worst large airports in the world. But Turkey and the kind hospitality of Turkish people should not be judged by the poor management and unwelcoming behaviour of a minority group of its customs / security officers.
Experience At AirportArrival Only
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
3/10

"try my best to avoid"

(Canada)

If you are looking for an airport that has barely any seats in the main terminal, Istanbul Ataturk Airport for you. This is the first airport I have been to that has minimal seating in the main terminal where all the duty free, clothing shops, cafe, and fast food is located. If you are waiting for your gate number and don't know where to go you will not find any where to sit aside from the boarding gates. I have never ever seen so many people laying on the floor. People were sleeping on the floor, feeding their kids on the floor, absolutly ridiculous. People were laying down right in the middle of the terminal area, in front of shops, under escalators. Me and my wife had a 4 hour layover that turned into an 8 hour layover and we walked for several hours waiting to grab a seat or a table at a cafe, which we did find and sat at for the next 3 hours since if we moved we would not get a seat again. This airport is also known for delay after delay, I have never seen soo many delays and cancellations. We were flying to Pakistan and our flight was delayed but the flight to Islamabad flew on time, how does that work when two flights departing at about the same time to the same country has one that is delayed and one that does not and they state that the current weather outside is the reason - not sure how that works. Turkish airlines offered us a food voucher to Burger King, and when I went there to redeem it they informed me that the free burgers are finished and have no more to offer. Also there is limited free wifi depending on what you can find there. Also be prepare to be rude, since the majority of the people working there will walk right over you or completely ignore you. I saw one gentleman ask three different people for help, the first lady just walked by him, the second guy just said something in Turkish and continued to walk away, and the third person could barely speak english and gave him wrong instruction. This brings me to another problem, English is a major issue here, as most employees of the airline, airport staff and store employees have very minimal to no english skill set, making it very hard to have questions answered. Also be ready to push and shove and stare people down if you have to, as there is very little concept of lines, at the information desk it was just like being in a herding pen and you will have to fight your way to the front, people will try to get infront of you and interupt you, so be ready to stand up for yourself. I had one very nice Turkish lady who was coming from the UK that helped translate for me, even tell me that I have to be rude to get stuff done. In the end I don't recommend this place and going forward I will try my best to avoid having to transit here.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
2/10

"staff were overwhelmed"

(Kuwait)

If your purpose of travel is to shop, eat and sleep at airports for 18 hours then go back home then this is your airport. To get around the world, look elsewhere. Our plan was to travel to Toronto from Kuwait. We arrived from Kuwait an hour late because our Turkish Airlines flight was late, then we had to stay onboard the airplane for 3 hours because there wasn't a bus available to take us to the arrival gate. Once we were in the airport, realizing we had missed our connecting flight to Toronto there was no one to ask for directions or help. The airport was small, poorly ventilated and overcrowded. Imagine the situation now with a 4 and a 6 year old with you. Eventually found the Turkish Airlines desk and qued for 3 hours only to be told by the front desk that I was in the wrong queue. Another two hours later and we were booked on a flight to Montreal. We booked a hotel from our own expenses because by that time we needed to rest. The airport has vast spaces reserved for high end retailers and only corridors for passengers not mentioning safety and comfort issues. The staff were overwhelmed by confused passangers and they were themselves confused not knowing where to direct strangled poor passengers.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitDecember 2015
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
3/10

"there was little space to be"

(Venezuela)

We had one of our worst, if not the worst airport experiences on January 1, in Ataturk Airport where we spent 14 hours. The airport seemed like a refugee camp with thosands of people wandering around as more than 200 flights had been cancelled. You had to jump over people sleeping or simply sitting on the floor as there was little space to be. The worst thing was that there was nobody to talk to, no information provided and we had to make our way asking other passengers what to do. Amazing that there were no authorised personnel to deliver information. Also terrible that there is no WIFI. The few persons we encountered were mostly security guards that had little or no idea about the flights and spoke almost no english. I found it incredible that a country that is the gate between Europe and Asia, and one of the most touristic in the world has such a deficient airport service regarding comunications and attention. We were lucky to find a turkish girl, a passenger, who saw us and offered to help by calling Turkish Airlines with her cellphone and was able to find us place for the next flight to Madrid that same night. It is was not for her, we would be still queuing to be assigned on another flight.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"people sleeping everywhere"

(United Kingdom)

When we landed in Istanbul it was manic. People running around like headless chickens looking for a member of staff - none to be found. When I eventually found someone and asked him to direct me, he itched his head and drove off on his Segway. No clear signs of where to go. Every member of staff I met at the airport was rude and didn't seem bothered at all. I was queuing for more than 2 hours, and there was only 2 people at the desk to help us. The officer at the passport control was horrendous, she shouted at me and walked away when I asked why I needed a visa if the flight was cancelled and I just had to go to the hotel desk. While getting my visa one of the staff decided to have a break, drink his tea and watch TV while there was an hour long queue to get the visa. Then I went back with my visa and a male staff was just looking at me and then said "no visa?" I had just got my visa and had the receipt in my hands. Gave it back to me when I opened the page and showed him, he repeated my name and gave me wink. The airport looked like a refugee camp, people sleeping everywhere, rubbish all over the floor, toilets were closed and refused to open them even though the cleaners had just finished.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"airport is consistently poor"

(Singapore)

Having travelled a few times through IST airport I can confirm that the airport is consistently poor. In normal operation a chaos. Ground staff are extremely rude (if you can even find available staff). The ladies at the information desk just look down to you and prefer playing on their smartphones, chewing gum or at least giving the feeling that you are a waste of their time. No better for the security staff, absolutely terrible, rude, unfriendly and dirty. Surely I understand that it must be difficult for staff to work in these conditions. The airport is clearly too small and not able to handle the capacity of passengers. There are no places to sit, people sleeping on the floors, lack of good signage, lack of overhead screens with flight information. The number of airbridges is limited so out of 10 transits I have not had the chance to use an airbridge one singe time. Bus transport is the standard. Delayed departure is a standard and chaotic boarding is also a standard. Alone I am fine but when traveling with my familly I do not see why I should face this mess. The airport is small, ok but please train staff to be friendly, available and improve as much as possible within the existing limitations. Even when the new airport is ready staff needs to be trained to increase the level of customer satisfaction.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
7/10

"modern, bright and spacious"

(Canada)

Modern, bright and spacious airport with a good selection of food outlets and shops. The additional security check to access the terminal was a bit annoying but also reassuring. The only disappointments were the lack of a free wi-go and more that could be done to show design/decoration features of Turkey which has a rich cultural history. At present you could almost feel like in an a average airport somewhere else in the world. As Turkish airlines flagship airport and major international transit hub I would have expected more.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitDecember 2015
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
1/10

"airport itself is cramped"

(Singapore)

The worst airport I have seen and this is my opinion based on multiple visits to IST airport. Ground staff are simply rude. Boarding for flights is always chaos, unlike other airports where clear lines are made and passengers are comfortably boarded. As for the security, staff just yell in unfriendly tones at passengers to take your shoes off, on a dirty floor with no clean foot covers to use. The airport itself is cramped, there are no places to sit and people are sleeping on floors. Staff at the information counters are unfriendly and prefer playing on their smartphone instead of rendering friendly service to travelers. Even the tax free shops are unfriendly and unreliable. This airport and its ground staff are a nightmare to avoid.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitJanuary 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no