Airport Guide: Istanbul Atatürk Airport

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is one of the biggest airports in the world. With more than 60 million passengers departing or arriving in Istanbul each year, the airport plays a crucial role in Europe.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the bigger of the two airports in Istanbul. Yet, the airport is already too small to handle the growth of the home carrier Turkish Airlines, which operates flights at both airports.

Turkish Airlines A321

Turkish Airlines is the biggest carrier at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

In just a few years, a new “mega” airport is supposed to open in Istanbul. Istanbul Atatürk Airport comes with two terminals. The smaller one is just for regional flights, while the larger one is for international flights and thus way more extensive.

Most important airlines at Istanbul Atatürk Airport:
  • Turkish Airlines (dozens of destinations in Turkey and all over the world)
  • Atlas Global (regional destinations in Turkey, Europe and Asia)
  • OnurAir (regional destinations in Turkey and Europe)

Dining and shopping at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

If you are flying through Istanbul Atatürk, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of different shopping and dining options. While Terminal 1 comes with a rather limited number of shops and restaurants, Terminal 2 is a real heaven for everyone, who loves shopping or enjoying good restaurants.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport

You can find a rich selection of shops at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

The terminal does not only come with the usual mix of fast food chains and cafes, but also offers some real restaurants, where you can enjoy a proper meal. Moreover, there is a wide selection of shops including international luxury brands in Terminal 2 of Istanbul Atatürk Airport!

Sleeping at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

If you have an overnight stay at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which might happen as there are quite a lot of flights at night, there are several options available. However, you should be aware that you can’t really get shut-eye when sleeping at the airport itself. There are rarely any good spots to sleep in the terminal according to

Hotel Gorrion Istanbul Comfort Room

Hotel Gorrion is one of many hotels near Istanbul Atatürk Airport

However, there are quite a lot of airport hotels at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Two of these are even located inside the terminal. The TAV Istanbul International Airport even offers accomodation airside in the International Terminal, but the rates are quite steep. Other options include several hotels around the terminal, of which we already reviewed Hotel Gorrion Istanbul!

Lounges at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

At Istanbul Atatürk Airport, there are eight lounges in total. The biggest lounge is the Turkish Airlines Lounge at the International Airport. The name of the lounge was changed to “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”. Passengers of all Star Alliance airlines holding a Business or First Class ticket or a Star Alliance Gold Card may access the lounge.

Seating Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

The Turkish Airlines Lounge is known to be one of the best lounges in the world

Moreover, Turkish Airlines also offers passengers a domestic lounge in Terminal 1. Other options at Istanbul Atatürk Airport include the SkyTeam Lounge, which is exklusive for SkyTeam passengers, the Emirates Lounge and a total of four independent lounges. Three of these lounges are located in Terminal 3 and can either be accessed for cash or by holding a Priority Pass membership. The same is true for the only independent lounge at Terminal 1.

Lounges at Istanbul Atatürk Airport:
  • Comfort Lounge T2: PP, $
  • Emirates Lounge T2: EK FC, EK BC, EK G
  • HSBC Premium Lounge T2: PP, $
  • Primeclass Lounge T1: PP, $
  • Primeclass Lounge T2: PP, $
  • SkyTeam Lounge: ST FC, ST BC, ST EP
  • Turkish Airlines Lounge T1: *A FC, *A BC, *A G
  • Turkish Airlines Lounge T2: *A FC, *A BC, *A G

Transportation at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

There are several different options to get from Istanbul Atatürk Airport to the city center. The most cost-efficient and quick way is taking the metro. Line M1A connects the airport with the city and also offers connections to trains of metro line M2. Moreover, there are frequent public bus services to several parts of the city. This option is a little cheaper, yet takes way longer and is less comfortable.

Istanbul Taxi

Taxis might not be the fastest way to get to the city center

The airport operator Havaş also offers a bus service to the city center, which is slightly more expensive than the public transportation. Other options, as usual, include taxis and Uber. Both are not really expensive compared to Western European standards, yet cost way more than the public transportation.


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