Istanbul International Airport (IST) is a fantastic modern and airy airport. The main terminal was recently completed, and three more terminals will be added over time. Istanbul International Airport is the largest airport terminal building under a single roof in the world. We review which lounge is best when flying in First or Business Class or have a Priority Pass or relevant credit card.
Istanbul International Airport (IST) is the main hub for Turkish Airlines. If you are stopping in the city, we have also reviewed the best executive club lounges in Istanbul.
Wherever you are flying, book your flight and hotel via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can access airport lounges for free if you have an unlimited Priority Pass or an Amex Platinum card. To get extra bonus referral points and advice on the Platinum American Express and other free lounge access credit cards, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. Turkish Airlines International Business Lounge
The Turkish Airlines International Business Lounge is accessible to all Business Class passengers on Turkish Airlines and other Star Alliance carriers. Star Alliance Gold status holders flying in Economy can also access this lounge.
The lounge is huge and is situated on an open-air balcony above the main terminal so that you can look down at the shops and people meandering about. There are lots of white leather sofa seats, which are situated by the edge of the balcony. These probably offer the best spot to watch passenger comings and goings. Further inside the lounge is plenty of cafe seating around tables and other seating options.
The main lounge has a hugely high ceiling (the ceiling of the terminal building), but there are some more secluded areas within the lounge with lower ceilings. There are also sleep areas and a cinema area as well as iMac business stations, plus there is a large room of storage lockers.
The kid’s area is fairly special, with a slide that looks like a plane, a popcorn machine, and a slot-car racetrack set in a world of trees, bridges, and landmarks.
The food in this lounge is incredible, with loads of buffet areas with bowls of cheese, olives, salads (so many salads!), spreads, soups, fruit, pre-prepared sandwiches on silver plates, hot dishes, and desserts. There’s also an open kitchen, where chefs prepare meals and grill meats to order.
Drinks-wise, there are coffee machines for espressos and cappuccinos as well as enormous fridges of soft drinks, homemade lemonade, iced tea, and flavored waters, and alcohol is available all day in liquor cabinets distributed around the lounge.
2. Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge
The Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge is almost identical to the Turkish Airlines International Business Lounge. It has more or less identical entry requirements too. Again, there are private suites with showers, a children’s playground, a cinema, and a dedicated gaming console area.
The same excellent food and drinks are on offer with grilling chefs stations, a huge hot and cold buffet, and delicious desserts.
3. Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge
The Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge is open to passengers traveling within Turkey on Turkish Airlines in Business Class. You can also access this lounge if you are a Miles & Smiles frequent flyer member, a Turkish Airlines Corporate Club member, or a Star Alliance Gold member.
This is a great airport lounge (although it is not as good as the international lounge), with an extensive hot and cold buffet and a self-serve bar. There’s a console gaming area and an indoor playground as well as meeting rooms.
When you need to board your flight, you do so via a gate that allows you to board directly from the lounge.
4. IGA Lounge
The IGA Lounge is for passengers who aren’t flying with Turkish Airlines or a Star Alliance partner airline. Business Class passengers on Oneworld airlines have access to this lounge. This is a Priority Pass lounge, or you can buy a day pass.
This lounge is huge, at about 48,000 square feet, and it has seating for nearly 600 passengers. Inside the lounge, there are lockers for you to stow your luggage, much like those in the Turkish Airlines lounges.
The lounge feels classy and spacious with wooden walls and partitions and varied, classy seating, along with lots of plant foliage. In fact, the bar’s color scheme seems to reflect the greens in the foliage, making the setting very relaxing.
There isn’t much of a view from most of the lounge as plants are placed in front of the exterior windows, but you can get a good view of the planes and the terminal from the staffed bar area, which is also where you want to go for your alcoholic drinks. In addition to alcohol, there are fridges of canned soft drinks and tea and coffee stations in the lounge.
The food and drink buffet is excellent, perhaps not as good as the Turkish Airlines lounges, but there are almost endless salads, hot dishes, and desserts.
While not as good as the Turkish Airlines lounges, this has to be one of the best Priority Pass lounges in the world…
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.