A Guide to Istanbul Airport Lounges

Traveling through the recently-built Istanbul Airport is made easier and more enjoyable thanks to these high-end airport lounges.

The interior at Istanbul Airport. Image credit: Istanbul Airport
The interior at Istanbul Airport. Image credit: Istanbul Airport

Istanbul International Airport (IST) is the home base for Turkish Airlines, so it’s no surprise the airline offers a plethora of comfortable and luxurious lounges to choose from. Passengers on other airlines also have the opportunity to relax and refresh before they fly. Take a look at your options while traveling through Istanbul. If you’re after a more comprehensive rundown of the airport itself, check out our guide to Istanbul airport.

The Turkish Airlines lounges in Istanbul

Turkish Airlines offers two lounges on the airside of the Istanbul Airport terminal, and one lounge on the landside. The type of flight you’re on and the class of your seat will determine what lounges are available to you.

Turkish Airlines Business Lounge

Business-class passengers on Turkish Airlines and its Star Alliance partners with same-day boarding passes enjoy access to this lounge, which is located near Gate E1 and is open 24/7. However, qualified passengers are not allowed to bring guests into the lounge.

The lounge is spacious, with plenty of comfortable seating and lockers so you don’t have to worry about hauling your carry-on luggage from spot to spot. Some seating lines the lounge’s terrace, which overlooks the terminal. In addition, the lounge offers about a dozen daybeds with curtains for privacy, and one section of the lounge is darkened to allow for quiet relaxation as well.

This lounge also offers several luxuriously appointed shower suites, and ironing service is available if you need to look your best. Turkish Airlines business-class passengers embarking on long-haul flights also have access to private bedrooms with comfortable bedding, private TVs and desks, and individual thermostats.

A small workstation area accommodates passengers who need to get some work done, with several computers available as well as a printer. Several private conference rooms are available if you need to gather your team together to strategize before you fly. A dedicated TV viewing area offers a dozen screens tuned to different channels.

This lounge offers a few unique experiences, including a separate play area for children and a golf simulator for adults. A dedicated video game area also provides a spot to unwind and relax.

Small dining tables for two surround an impressive open kitchen, with other cooking stations and buffets spread throughout the lounge, so you won’t find yourself crowded if you want to sit near the food. Expect to find spectacular spreads of salads, or head to a cooking station to choose your favorite proteins and sides and have them prepared to order. A wide range of soups and hot dishes is also available, and the dessert tables are tempting enough to lure travelers off their diets. Coffee stations make espressos and cappuccinos to order.

Find a quiet space in Istanbul Airport. Image credit: Istanbul Airport
Find a quiet space in Istanbul Airport. Image credit: Istanbul Airport

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge

This enormous lounge can accommodate more than 750 passengers, which is a good thing since quite a few classes of passengers have access to it. All Turkish Airlines business-class passengers have access to the lounge, as do economy-class passengers flying Turkish Airlines or one of its Star Alliance partners who are members of Miles & Smiles Elite and Elite Plus, Turkish Airlines Corporate Club, or Star Alliance Gold members. Elite members may also bring a guest into the lounge. The Miles & Smiles lounge is located in the international departure area near Gate C1.

This lounge offers plenty of entertainment options to keep passengers occupied while waiting for their flight, including a video gaming area and a cinema that features reclining chairs for visitors’ comfort. A substantial indoor playground is available for children, with a large model airplane they can climb into and a well-supplied library offers reading materials in a variety of languages. A model race car track also offers fun and distraction for young (and adult) visitors.

Travelers who need more than a quick rest can take advantage of a dozen private suites with showers and about 10 daybeds are also available, with curtains to provide privacy. A work area offers several iMac computers and a printer for travelers’ use, and two sets of lockers make it easy to secure your luggage to let you enjoy the lounge’s amenities. Different types of seating throughout the lounge give you the choice of relaxing on a plush sofa or sitting up at a table with your own laptop.

Dining in the Miles & Smiles lounge is similar to that in the Business lounge, with several buffets and cooking stations scattered throughout the large space. Guests can choose between Turkish specialties, Asian noodles cooked to order, and European dishes, with ample salad bars and dessert tables to fill in the gaps.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge

If you’re flying domestically within Turkey on a Turkish Airlines flight in business class, you have automatic access to this lounge. Miles & Smiles Classic Plus, Elite, and Elite Plus passengers can also use the lounge, even when they’re traveling in economy class, and Turkish Airlines Corporate Club members transferring to international flights also enjoy access. Star Alliance members traveling in any class can also use the lounge, which is accessible through a special gate outside the terminal. A dedicated bus will take you directly to your flight from the lounge.

Inside this domestic Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul, you’ll find a smaller version of the food and drink offerings available at Turkish Airlines’ other lounges. A playground is available to let children burn off some excess energy before they fly, and video console games are set up for some extra fun. If you have work to accomplish before you fly, take advantage of one of the many private meeting rooms available.

IGA Lounge

This lounge, which is operated by Istanbul Airport, is open 24/7 and available to passengers flying on Star Alliance airlines and Priority Pass members, both of whom need a same-day boarding pass for admission. Located one level above the main concourse, the IGA Lounge is very easy to find.

This enormous lounge houses a duty-free shop, so if shopping is one way you like to relax, you’re likely to find it very welcoming. You’ll find all types of seating, as well as abundant natural light filtering in through the high floor-to-ceiling windows. The work stations with computers available face these windows (no airplane views, unfortunately), and a pool table are available as well. You’ll also find a dedicated TV area with half a dozen screens turned to international channels.

Those who need a little extra refreshment can take advantage of several daybeds as well as shower suites, though both are popular and not always available at peak travel times. When it’s time to dine, the buffet offers a plethora of sandwiches and salads, plus half a dozen hot dishes. Coffee stations are placed throughout the lounge, with one staffed bar serving alcoholic drinks.

Luxurious Istanbul airport lounges are only one way to make travel in Turkey hassle-free. Book a reliable Blacklane car service to make your airport connections in Istanbul, and begin or end your journey in comfort and style.