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The Turkish Lounge, Istanbul, Turkey

Guest Writer, Michelle Tchea

Turkish Airlines’ main international hub of Istanbul is home to what’s regarded as one of the world’s best airline lounges. Simply called The Turkish Lounge, I checked in recently before a flight back to Australia to see if it lived up to the hype.

  • The Airline: Turkish Airlines.
  • The Lounge: The Turkish Lounge, Ataturk Airport, Istanbul.
  • Location: Departures level, near gate 220.
  • Other Airlines: The lounge is also accessible by first/business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members traveling on any Star Alliance partner flight, Miles and Smiles Elite members and those with United Club or Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership departing on a Star Alliance partner flight.


Taking into account the primary purpose of the space – which is to transmit the “Contemporary Turkey Experience” to Turkish Airlines passengers – the design concept of this lounge is based on the idea of a second shell within the existing shell of the airport hall. There really is no other lounge out there at the moment with such a generous and grand space; the architecture is modern yet youthful with all the amenities like a cinema, racecourse and pool table to boot. The overall lighting is a little dark, however, but perhaps adds to the atmosphere. With this in mind, the lounge can be exceptionally busy and horrendous to navigate if you hit peak periods like I did at 5am. Ranked as one of the world’s top ten private passenger lounges, it can seat up to 1100 people and is spread across two levels. My advice is to go in, find a table on either level and enjoy a little Turkish cultural immersion in an airport lounge. 

Food & Drink

I arrived for breakfast, and enjoyed exploring the food options which offered a bit of Turkish culture in the comfort of an airport lounge – who would have thought? Expect typical Turkish breads like Simit with plain yogurt, tomatoes and an array of olives. Hot foods were also on offer with basic fried eggs and ready-to-order omelettes and also hot pressed Panini sandwiches. But for something truly authentic, line up at the Gozleme station before drinking authentic Turkish coffee, tea or yogurt. There is, of course, plenty of fresh whole fruit and a great spread of Turkish cakes, although no Baklava at 5am. The food options are the same on level 1 as on level 2. 


More than just an airline lounge, Turkish Airlines has succeeded in making its space a state-of-the-art experience for guests. Almost like a giant gaming room, complete with food options spotted around the 6000 square metre space, travellers can really stretch their legs. Fancy playing some video games? How about taking a swing on a cutting-edge golf simulator? Or what about indulging in a media wall, a pool table and a library to kill time? If you’re a Turkish Airlines business class passenger, or an Elite Plus Member travelling on a long haul flight of more than eight hours, and have connecting flights between two international destinations with a connection time of more than four hours, you can enjoy a rest private and shower in one of the lounge hotel-like suite rooms. Loves 

  • The restaurant-like dining options.
  • The Feng Shui design.
  • Access to a mini-bar – free of charge, although there are no interesting snacks.

Insider Tips

  • Avoid the un-smiling customer service desk, and scan your boarding pass for direct entry into the lounge. 
  • If you are carrying a hefty carry-on, be sure to lock it into one of the complimentary luggage cases so you are not burdened with baggage as you move your way from one food station to another.


About Our Guest Writer

Michelle Tchea is the bestselling author of four books on travel, food and culture, and her work has been published in over 100 international magazines. She is also the owner of the Organics Company, Healthy Spoon, in Australia and a consulting firm in Europe, PopIntel Group, a luxury strategy firm in F&B. Michelle was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and has a steady stream of followers on social media reaching millions. Michelle's new book, Chefs Collective, is out now. 


A Destination On Its Own - Lounge Istanbul - Turkish Airlines 01:16

Lounge Istanbul is the way you want to travel! The amazing complex simply has everything you could possibly imagine. From award winning tastes to personal resting rooms, get ready for a journey through the amazing complex and witness the spectacular services it has to offer. #loungeistanbul #turkishairlines #widenyourworld About Turkish Airlines: Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is the airline that flies to more countries and international destinations than any other airline in the world. Turkish Airlines has a fleet of over 300 (passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to over 300 destinations worldwide. Since April 2019, Turkey’s national flag carrier is operating from its new hub, Istanbul Airport, which is set to be the world’s largest with an annual passenger capacity of 200 million once all phases are complete. Recognized for its excellent products and services around the globe, Turkish Airlines bridges cultures and continents from its hub in Istanbul, with Turkish hospitality at its heart. More information about Turkish Airlines can be found on its official website or its social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Türk Hava Yolları Hakkında: 1933 yılında 5 uçaktan oluşan mütevazı bir filo ile kurulan Star Alliance üyesi Türk Hava Yolları, bugün 300’den fazla (yolcu ve kargo) uçak yer alan filosu ile dünyada 300’den fazla noktaya uçan havayolu şirketidir. Türkiye’nin bayrak taşıyıcı havayolu Nisan 2019’dan bu yana, tüm aşamaları tamamlandıktan sonra yıllık 200 milyon yolcu kapasitesiyle dünyanın en büyük havalimanı olacak İstanbul Havalimanı’nda faaliyet gösteriyor. Dünya genelindeki mükemmel ürün ve hizmetleri ile tanınan Türk Hava Yolları, Türk misafirperverliği ile İstanbul'daki merkezinde kültürleri ve kıtaları birbirine bağlıyor. Türk Hava Yolları ile ilgili daha geniş bilgiye web adresinden veya Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn ve Instagram hesapları üzerinden ulaşılabilir.

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