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
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!
Our Air France A319, parked at Gate L21 at CDG
We had purchased a Premium Economy fare to fly from San Francisco to Istanbul (IST) via Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) with a 60-minute layover. While I was looking forward to checking out Air France’s medium-haul Premium Economy service from CDG-IST, the carrier quietly eliminated the class on everything but long-haul flights and placed passengers into regular Economy. Not nice.
Fast-forward to our landing at CDG — our inbound flight on the A380 was delayed taking off from SFO and spent its time circling the airport grounds, finally docking 45 minutes before our next flight. Would we make it in time, or would we have to spend four hours waiting for the next flight and losing an entire evening in Istanbul?
My Comfort Class seat on my Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER out of LAX
When I first saw I was booked in Comfort Class on Turkish Airlines, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was a premium economy product, but that could mean anything from a few inches of extra leg room to having an almost-business-class experience.
Being able to check out the product during my recent flights to and from Los Angeles to Istanbul, I was impressed overall by my whole experience. I enjoyed the comfortable seat, my amenities, the delicious food, and the access to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. However, I felt let down by the service that I received during certain points of my trip, which left me wanting a bit more.
Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER sitting at Istanbul
It was nothing that horrible, but just added up enough to make me disappointed overall about the experience. I think some of the things could easily be avoided or changed to make the passenger experience a bit better, and make people who feel like they shelled out some additional money for a premium product feel a bit more special.
One of the main reasons that I was flown to Istanbul was to work with Turkish to help them look into the future of their business – and part of that was related to customer service. I am grateful to work with an airline wanting to learn, and I hope that they are listening.