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Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport

Customer Reviews

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Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 31 reviews
4/10
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3/10

"slightly chaotic, allow plenty of time"

(Turkey)

Verified Review | The airport layout at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen is quite compact with only 1 terminal which should mean short walks to the check-in desks and the gates normally. However, expansion in the number of flights means it is slightly chaotic, so allow plenty of time. I travelled through SAW 3 times on international flights in the last month (August). Outbound experience The airport ground staff are inefficient, but if travelling in Business Class you can use the priority entry (first security check) and TK CIP passport and security control. TK/TGS staff allow you to use the priority CIP lines but the service only starts at 0700 an the security staff are sometimes 10 to 15 minutes late. There is no communication between the different services. Majority of security and TK/TGS staff don't speak English, they use hand gestures to communicate with non-Turkish speakers. At TK business class check-in counters the ground staff don’t speak with you during the whole check-in process - all is done without exchanging a single word. Inbound experience Business Class passenger can use the priority line for Turkish immigration, which goes fast, but then you have to wait around 45 minutes to get your “priority” labelled luggage delivered. IST Ataturk which has more flights to handle is sometimes faster the SAW. Duty Free staff is inattentive and cannot speak English.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitAugust 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
2/10

"the malaise is disappointing"

(Malaysia)

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen is a clean airport. Ground staff is inefficient. Duty Free staff is inattentive and cannot speak English. Turkish Immigration is always rude and they aren't any different here. No free WiFi is a big no-no. This airport has so much to offer yet the malaise is disappointing.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJune 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 very unhelpful"

(Lebanon)

The airport barely has any staff that speak English. The gate was only announced an hour before the flight and then it was changed again. I had a 3.5 hour transit at this airport and there was nothing I could do. The airport had no wifi. The staff were very unhelpful.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitMarch 2016
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
9/10

"not too big or busy"

(United Kingdom)

Sizewise it's not too big or busy - it is easy to access the food court and shopping etc. Toilets are very clean and tidy. Most flights depart on time as I see. Overall its good and recommended for flights to Turkey but connection options are better from Ataturk airport.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitOctober 2015
Type Of TravellerSolo 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
yes
6/10

"ground service is pretty slow"

(Germany)

Sabiha Gökçen is the smaller of the two airports in Istanbul, still handling more than 25 Mio passengers per year. If you do like the B737-800, SAW is the place to be. Sometimes you spot a lonely A320 or Embraer on the apron, but nearly all aircraft movements at SAW are 737-800s. The airport layout is quite compact with only one terminal resulting in short ways to the check-in desks and the gates. Even if the aircraft is parked on an outside position, the bus transfer to the terminal doesn't take long - if there are stairs and busses avaliable. Things at SAW seem a bit more organised and less stressful than at Atatürk airport, but when more international flights arrive at the same time, queues at the immigration can be quite long. Also, ground service is pretty slow and sometimes you have to wait for your luggage for more than half an hour. With that in mind, allow youself some extra time if you need to change planes at SAW. Airport staff is not that helpful so you better know yourself where to go and what to do. As at Atatürk Airport, free WiFi doesn't exist. There's no train connection but several bus lines call at the airport with the frequent and resonable priced Havataş-busses being the most comfortable connection to Kadıköy or Taksim. Although SAW is not amongst my favourite airports, I still prefer it over Atatürk Airport when travelling to and from Istanbul.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitJanuary 2016
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
6/10

"displeased with this airport"

(United States)

There were nice basic amenities at this airport like the typical Starbucks and fast food and such but other than that it was not a go to spot. There was wifi there but you had to pay for it. I feel this should be a necessity in an airport. There was only one person working at the passport control for non-Turkish citizens. The common excuse was that they were understaffed but here is my argument. If you are an airline sending so many international flights, it is your responsibility and obligation to be able to fulfill the needs of the services you provide. Had these occurrences not happened to me I might not have realized how unhelpful the staff was, both airline and general airport staff. Only one out of every six staff members did I witness actually give advice to people and keep in mind I ended up being at this airport for about 12 hours. Not a good time. If everything was down to under staffing, even that is not a good enough excuse. Overall I was very displeased with this airport although most of that distaste may come from the anger I have with the airline I took. Objectively, I am sure their are worst airports but this one definitely has room for improvement.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitDecember 2015
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
3/10

"only two of those officers were working"

(Poland)

I arrived at Sabiha on a cheap flight from Budapest. Almost at the same time with our landing, two other planes landed. Naturally it got crowded, given that rather small airport. Everybody stood in the line for the passport control. There were 8 stands inside each an officer was sitting. To our astonishment, only two of those officers were working and the rest were just looking at travelers! So it took us about an hour and a half to pass the immigration. To travel to the city, you need to take a bus which takes you between 1 and 2 hours to the city center. Like Istanbul's main airport, staff at Sabiha are also not friendly or smiling at all. The last strange point was that when we were exiting the airport (exactly before the last exit door) we were asked to put our luggage through a scanner. I got surprised! I asked the security guy "why? We're leaving the airport!" "Customs" he replied.
Experience At AirportArrival Only
Date VisitSeptember 2015
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
7/10

"less waiting time to take-off"

(Greece)

Much quieter than IST Atatürk but closing in fast. Food options about the same, with expensive prices for local standards but decent selection. Less waiting time to take-off, which is one of the main reasons, along with it being less busy, that I prefer flying to this airport than Ataturk. Transport options decent, but the traffic to/from the airport can be horrendous as is the case with Istanbul Ataturk. This is an Istanbul-wide problem.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitAugust 2015
Type Of TravellerSolo 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
yes
5/10

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport customer review

(United Kingdom)

Overcrowded. Had to wait 1hours and 40 minutes before the flight + 15 minutes before landing because of the air traffic. This airport has only 1 landing field and it is currently under maintenance (during summer). Majority of the staff do not speak English. Long passport queues, only 5 of the available 10 counters were opened. No subway connection to the airport, you must either take the bus or use your own car. Carpark is expensive (approx. 5 euros/hour). My luggage was in the luggage band when I passed through the passport control, so I didn't have to wait.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitAugust 2015
Type Of TravellerSolo 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
yes
5/10

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport customer review

(United Kingdom)

Expansion in numbers of flights not yet matched by expansion of passenger processing facilities. Slightly chaotic, not always clearly signed internally, allow plenty of time. We travelled through SAW 3 times in the last week. First departure was via the domestic terminal - actually the same as the international one - into the domestic departure entrance and then walked to the opposite end of the terminal for our domestic bag drop. Shorter/no queues in domestic security. This was an easy process, not much airside but you can get a drink and the gate waiting area is clean and comfortable. Our later domestic arrival was also straightforward. Prior to our second departure we stayed at the Airport Hotel for an early flight, got to the airport 2 hours early having seen the international side of things in action previously and it took 1.25hrs to bag drop (well organised by Pegasus), clear passport control and security - pretty standard as the organisation leaves a lot to be desired. Queueing snake is now in place - in the past it was a free for all - but leads to delay. 2 sets of passport control booths 1 for Turkish citizens and 1 for all others. 2 queues for these but not clearly signed. Result is lots of wrong people in wrong queues. SAW will sell you a fast track route though - nice earner. Once airside decent shopping opportunities if you want them and food/drink available at the usual premium prices. Gate areas large and comfortable. Allow plenty of time and go with the flow to avoid stress, and remember it can take up to 2 hours to get to the airport from Istanbul - our 3 trips were 45 minutes, 1 hour and 1 hour 45 minutes.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitAugust 2015
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
yes
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