Review: IGA Lounge at Istanbul Airport

In 2018, a new airport was opened in Istanbul and gradually, all of the passenger airline flights were transferred there from the older Ataturk airport. To provide comfort for eligible passengers, a couple of lounges including Turkish Airlines lounges were built at the airport.

However, it wasn’t until late-2019 that one of the lounges at the airport, the IGA Lounge, started participating in the Priority Pass program. Luckily, that happened before my transfer at Istanbul airport back in December, allowing me to bring you this review.

Review: IGA Lounge at Istanbul Airport
Entrance.

Location, Opening Hours & Access

The new Istanbul airport has five concourses (four international and one domestic) all extending out of the central part of the building (the main terminal). Rather than being in one of the concourses, the IGA Lounge can be found airside in the international part of the main terminal.

It’s well sign-posted and within a ten minute walk of the majority of gates. It’s one level above the main departures level.

IGA Lounge Istanbul
It was easy to see the lounge from the main departures level.

The lounge is open 24 hours a day and can be used by a number of different passenger groups.

First of all, with the only other lounges in the terminal being the Turkish Airlines and SkyTeam ones, most oneworld and non-alliance airlines send their business and first class passengers as well as elite status holders to this lounge.

Besides that, members of selected lounge access programs like Priority Pass are welcome in the lounge.

Finally, any passenger not eligible for free access can buy access into the lounge at its reception for 59 EUR (about 65 USD). The lounge visit is rarely worth that much, though.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Reception
Reception.

Lounge Tour

The IGA Lounge is by far the largest Priority Pass lounge I visited to date. As such, it was no surprise that there was a detailed map of the lounge right in front of its entrance.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Map
Map.

Inside, just past the reception, there was a room with lockers where one could store luggage easily. There were also some shelves with newspapers and magazines, a shoe cleaning machine, and some artwork along the sides of the hallway leading into the main areas of the lounge.

The lounge even had its own duty free store where one could buy cigarettes, alcohol, fragrances, and so on.

IGA Lounge Istanbul
Hallway leading to the main section of the lounge
IGA Lounge Istanbul Shoe Cleaning
Shoe cleaning machine.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Duty Free
Duty free store.

At the end of the hallway, one entered the very spacey and airy main part of the lounge. The first seating area consisted of a bench going along the lounge’s curved wall, a horseshoe-shaped communal table, and some sofa chairs arranged in pairs around coffee tables.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Seating
Seating area nearest to the entrance.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Seating
Horseshoe-shaped communal table.
Sofa Chairs
Sofa chairs.

Going further down, there were more sofa chairs along the windows. Some of those were arranged in groups of four, others in groups of two, and some came with ottomans – ready for individual travelers that wanted to relax.

With some wooden partitions and plenty of space between each group of chairs, the seating area provided enough privacy.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Seating
The seats were nicely spaced out.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Seating
Wooden partitions provided some extra privacy.

Past the seating area above, there were some metal objects (not sure what they were) on display. Right behind them, there were a pool table, a staffed bar, and a snack counter. There was some more seating as well.

While I really wanted to play pool, with people around me still trying to catch up on sleep, it felt inappropriate. In fact, I am wondering when it is appropriate to make noise playing pool in an airport lounge. Still, I thought it was a nice feature…

Decoration
Metal decoration.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Bar
Bar area.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Pool Table
Pool table.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Bar
Bar.

Finally, at the very end of this side of the lounge, there was some more seating including sofa chairs and benches, and a business center. That consisted of an office table for four, a counter with four computers and a printer, and some conference rooms.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Seating
Seating behind the bar.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Business Center
Seating around the business center.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Business Center
Business center.

Besides regular conference rooms for larger groups of four or five people, there were also smaller booths for one-on-one meetings. I used one of those to have a quiet place to work.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Meeting Room
Meeting room.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Meeting Room
Mini meeting rooms.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Meeting Room
Inside a mini meeting room.

Going back towards the pool table, there was the entrance to an outdoor terrace.

While, unfortunately, it didn’t offer much in terms of airport views, I am sure the smoker’s in the lounge appreciated it.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Terrace
Entrance to the terrace.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Terrace
Terrace.

All of the features described above were (when looking from the entrance)  placed along the left side of the lounge.

The central part of the lounge was where the dining area could be found. Besides an extensive buffet that I will talk more about in the next section of this review, there were two or three dozen tables for two, three, and four.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Buffet
Buffet.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Dining
Dining area.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Dining Area
More seating in the dining area.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Dining Area
There were a lot of tables for three.

There was also a counter with coffee.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Coffee
Coffee counter.

The central part of IGA Lounge was also where its restrooms and shower rooms could be found.

Having just arrived on a long-haul flight, I was glad to be able to take a shower. However, the shower rooms were not properly cleaned and were poorly stocked with amenities (i.e. I had to use a small bottle of shampoo and shower gel that the person taking a shower before me left in the shower).

I was provided with an extremely thin single-use towel which did the job. That said, it was far from the nicest lounge shower experiences I had – even when looking at just Priority Pass lounges.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Shower
Sink in the shower room.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Shower
Shower.

Lastly, along the right side of the lounge, there was some more seating, as well as a pair of counters with snacks – a small one and a full-sized one. There were some other features worth noting as well.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Snacks
Snacks counter and more seating.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Snacks
Small snacks counter.

There was a TV area with about a dozen lounging chairs with ottomans facing six large screens, each set to a different channel. With no sound, I am not sure how much of a TV watching experience it made for, but at least the chairs looked fairly comfortable.

IGA Lounge Istanbul TV Area
TV area.
IGA Lounge Istanbul TV Area
Six screens, zero sound.

There were also six or seven “sleeping pods” – i.e. areas with a daybed and a coffee table partitioned off from the rest of the lounge for maximum possible privacy.

Those were quite popular and all of the spots were occupied most of the time.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Rest Area
One of the private pods.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Sleeping Area
For a quick nap, this was the best area.

Finally, there was a fairly large kids’ room.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Kids' Room
Kids’ room.

One last thing I should mention here is that it seems like free neck and shoulder massages are offered in the lounge starting at 9AM. Unfortunately, considering that I had to leave before that, I can’t report back on more details about the service.

Food and Drinks

Alcoholic drinks could be had at the lounge’s staffed bar. Soft drinks were available at a number of snacks stations as well as in the main buffet area.

The drinks available in the buffet area included a selection of canned Cappy juices, bottled soda and water, and bottled Efes beer. Coffee machines (as well as ready-made coffee) and a selection of teas were available in multiple parts of the lounge as well.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Soft Drinks
Juices, soda, water, and beer.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea.

All of the food – other than some snacks that could be found at the snack stations and at the bar – could be found spread across a number of counters in the dining area.

Having visited the lounge early in the morning, there were some cereals, salads, and yogurts.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Breakfast
Cereals.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Salads
Salads.

Packaged sandwiches and bread as well as a selection of jams and other condinements were available too.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Sandwiches
Sandwiches.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Breakfast
Condinements and bread.

Other lighter, cold items included some cold cuts, olives, and apples.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Breakfast
Apples, yogurts, etc.
IGA Lounge Istanbul Olives and Cold Cuts
Olives, tomatoes, cold cuts.

Warm food included a wide selection of pastries, boiled eggs, and sausages.

Pastries
A variety of warm pastries.
Roll Pastries
Roll pastries.
Pastries
Cheese pastries.
Eggs
Eggs.
Sausages
Sausages.

There were two kinds of soup – lentil and yogurt – as well.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Soup
Lentil soup with rice.
Yogurt Soup
Yogurt soup.

Finally, there was a fairly wide selection sweets. Unfortunately, they were mostly different types of cookies – i.e. there were no “proper” cakes.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Dessert
Cupcakes and other sweets.
Cookies
Cookies.
Cookies
More cookies.

IGA Lounge Istanbul Summary

Overall, I was quite impressed by the lounge. That’s looking at it as a Priority Pass lounge. If visiting it as a business class passenger, I would be less impressed, but I’d say it’s still above average for even regular business class lounges.

There was plenty of seating (although it seems like during busier times of the day the lounge can get quite crowded), the seating was well-spaced and the lounge felt – with no ceiling – very airy. The food and drinks selection was quite nice and the quality was decent as well.

Two negatives worth mentioning about the IGA Lounge were its shower rooms which were small and very basic, and the lack of variety when it came to seating.

All that said, it’s certainly a lounge worth visiting before a flight if you have free access. If you have to pay – whether that’s through Priority Pass or directly – you are better off skipping the lounge in most cases.

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