Tokyo for the New Year: Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (IST)

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Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
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The Istanbul airport feels like one of the most crowded airports I’ve been to in recent years because Turkish Airlines seems to be growing like crazy, and I’m not sure that the airport has the capacity to serve all of its current needs. I feel like trying to walk quickly through the terminal is a lost cause because there are so many people milling about, and you see people just sitting or even lying down on the sides of the hallways trying to get some sleep.

But Turkish Airlines has a great lounge at this airport. I’d say it’s probably the nicest business class lounge that I’ve been to, which means that it’s accessible to people with Star Alliance gold status (this also means that it’s quite crowded given that so many people have access).

Turkish Airlines lounge entrance

Turkish Airlines lounge entrance

This lounge is quite large with numerous seating areas, multiple food and drink stations, and amenities like a movie theater, children’s playroom, self-playing piano, and luggage lockers. I’ve never had a problem leaving my luggage unattended in most lounges (in spite of the announcements that leaving your bags unattended is a security risk), but it’s nice to have a place to store your belongings if you have a lengthy layover and want to leave your bags in the lounge and explore the airport.

Pool table and library

Pool table

Airy open sapces

Airy open sapces

Luggage storage

Luggage storage

The food and drink options were extensive, and there were many Turkish foods on offer. For drinks, they had Ayran, a salty yogurt beverage, and for food, they had things like pide (Turkish pizza), grilled meats, a selection of cold mezze, and baklava for dessert. While none of the food was gourmet, I’m hard-pressed to think of a business class lounge with more extensive food offerings, and I would’ve happily eaten more had I not been eating constantly already during my flights.

Non-alcoholic drinks

Non-alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks

Dessert buffet

Dessert buffet

Food buffet

Food buffet

Salad buffet

Salad buffet

Pide station

Pide station

Nuts buffet

Nuts buffet

While I was there, the least crowded part of the lounge was the atrium, which had large windows and a self-playing piano, but there was also very loud construction going on. I saw that there was some construction work going on near the shower suites and day rooms for passengers with long layovers, but I hope the construction is to expand the lounge itself.

Atrium

Atrium

Self-playing piano

Self-playing piano

Children's playroom

Children’s playroom

I also took a shower during my time at this lounge, and I had to wait about 45 minutes for a shower to open up. I’m not sure if this is normal, or if this was due to the fact that some of the showers were out of commission because of the construction.

Two things that I felt were a little strange about this lounge: 1) the acoustics of the rooms made it so that I could sometimes hear the conversations of people seated far away from me; and 2) there were lots of staff in this lounge, but it felt very much like a college mixer for the staff as most seemed more interested in chatting away with each other than actually providing service to passengers. But overall, this is a great lounge with incredible offerings for business class and Star Alliance Gold passengers.

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