An oasis for the travel-weary AvGeek – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
If you track the lists of the world’s best airport lounges, you’re probably aware of Turkish Airlines’ flagship lounge at its Istanbul hub. It’s pretty legendary among AvGeeks and the frequent flyer elite. So when we planned an around-the-world tour of Star Alliance carriers, we had to travel through Istanbul to see if the lounge could match the hype.
So what makes this place so great? Sure, we found all the essentials that a lounge should have, like snacks, drinks, and comfy seats. There were plenty of bonus features beyond the basics, like showers, luggage lockers, and freshly-made hot meals. And then there were some features that were just downright zany, and left us wondering “who came up with the idea to have this in a lounge?!”
Read on as we take you on a whirlwind photo tour of everything going on in Turkish Airlines’ CIP Lounge.
Yup, you can race slot cars here – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
We get it. You love your electronics. You can probably go longer without water than without your laptop or iPad. So it was a nasty surprise when the U.S. sprang an electronics ban on all inbound flights from seven Muslim-majority countries. Any device larger than a smartphone (excluding medical devices) can’t be carried into the cabin, and needs to be checked instead.
Sadly, we at AirlineReporter aren’t invited to top-secret government intelligence briefings, so we can only hope there’s an excellent reason for the ban. The downside is a little more evident. Beyond the inconvenience, devices and their flammable lithium batteries are now all stuck in the cargo hold, where they are harder to monitor and contain.
Even so, the ban isn’t the end of the world. There’s more to flying than watching downloaded movies or checking your email on overpriced inflight wifi. Take our word for it. We caught a flight on Turkish Airlines, one of the carriers affected by the ban. We were flying out of the U.S. so we technically weren’t subject to the ban, but we decided to leave our laptops off anyways. And guess what? We still had a blast. Read on for the — count ’em — TEN great ways we still had plenty of fun in the skies without our electronics.
First security checkpoint at the entrance to Istanbul-Ataturk’s International Terminal, taken in April 2015.
This post was updated June 30, 2016 at 8:39am PT
On June 28, explosions and gunfire were reported outside the terminal building at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST). We have ended our live updates, but will continue to add new relevant information as it comes through. Our thoughts are with all those affected, as well as their families and loved ones.
Turkish Airlines economy cabin in a 777-300ER
Just recently I wrote about my business class experience from Chicago to Istanbul. After just two full days on the ground in beautiful and historic Istanbul, it was time to head home. I was still beaming from the “wow factor” I had on the nine-hour flight in, and had high hopes that I might secure a battlefield upgrade for a second time. Sadly, fate was not in my favor and I would be taking the eleven-hour transatlantic trek in the second-to-last row of an almost full 777-300ER. Bad news for me, good news for our editors, and you, our loyal readers. You want more economy class reviews? You got it!