Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
While making my way back from the US to India, I had a chance to visit Turkish Airlines’ lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport.
It is often highly regarded in reviews, and I cannot agree more – it was the best business class lounge I visited to date. In fact, more than a lounge, it almost felt like a small amusement park.
But, more on that later.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
The Turkish Airlines lounge can be accessed in two ways.
For passengers originating in Istanbul, there is a direct entrance through a dedicated business class check-in and security area. And, for those that transfer at the airport, or (for some reason) opt not to use the dedicated area, there is the main entrance from airside.
Given that I was transferring from a flight from San Francisco, I entered through the main entrance – by scanning my boarding pass at one of the lounge’s automated gates.
The lounge itself spanned two spacious floors, and it had many interesting features – some of which are rarely, if ever, seen in other airport lounges.
Among other things, the lounge offered a movie theater room, a pool table, video game consoles, a golf putting course.
There was also a well-equipped kids’ room, a slot car race track, and a video gaming area.
All of the above, as well as some seating and dining areas, and a business center with iMacs were on the upper floor. For the musically-talented, there was also a piano.
At the time of my visit, the upper floor was fairly crowded. But, the lower floor was much quieter with plenty of seats open.
While the lower floor had no “fancy” features, there was plenty of seating, as well as dining there to keep one busy.
Finally, the lower floor also offered shower and nap rooms. It took about an hour wait until I got to use one of the shower rooms.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t use one of the nap rooms, as the conditions for access are fairly strict with passengers having to meet all of the following criteria:
- Traveling in business class or being a Miles&Smiles Elite Plus member
- Having a transit time of four to seven hours
- Flying on at least one flight longer than 8 hours
As for the shower room, it was quite extravagant with all marble.
Separately, there was also supposed to be a quick 10-minute shoulder massage service by a therapist coming around the lounge, but I couldn’t see one walking around.
Food & Drinks Selection
Starting with the food there were some lighter items like salads and simit – a Turkish sesame bread.
Then, there were separate staffed counters for a variety of dishes, and all of the ones I tried tasted delicious. Among others, there was a Turkish pizza station, a grilled meat station, and even an Indian food station.
On a side note, the food in the lounge was catered by Do&Co, the same company Turkish Airlines uses for their onboard business class catering.
Finally, there was also plenty of desserts to choose from – including items from Demel, a famous Viennese sweets shop.
Overall, everything on offer in the lounge – from the appetizers all the way to the desserts – looked fresh and delicious. Just as an example, I had some perfectly cooked penne arabiata and Demel cakes, both of which were fantastic.
As for drinks, the usual canned and bottled soft drinks were available in refrigerators dispersed throughout the lounge.
Apart from that, there were stations where one could get Turkish coffee, home-made iced tea with dates syrup, as well as lemonade and tea counters.
Alcoholic beverages were available at self-service counters in a number of places throughout the lounge as well.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Ataturk Summary
Overall, the Turkish Airlines lounge is by far the best business class lounge that I’ve visited to date. And, even though I visited it during one of the airport’s peak times and as such it was a bit crowded, it still provided for a very pleasant stay.
The only two downsides of my visit – my short one hour stay and the inability to try the nap rooms – were not even faults of the lounge itself.