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Atatürk Airport | © Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons
Atatürk Airport | © Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons
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Your Essential Guide To Getting Around Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 24 January 2017
As Turkey’s largest and Istanbul’s main international airport, Atatürk is always crowded with people from all over the world coming and going or waiting for their next flight to take off. As the 10th busiest airport in the world in terms of international passengers, we look at what makes Atatürk distinctive.

How To Get There

From the European side, the cheapest route to the airport is via the M1A metro line that goes directly to the airport and costs around 4-8TL (with relevant transfers along the way). You can also choose to take the Havabüs airport bus that leaves from the side street by Point Hotel in Taksim for 17TL. If you have a lot of bags and would rather take a cab, make sure to get into one that has a logo on its car doors, to be safe, and be prepared to pay around 50-80TL.

Passenger Information Kiosks

Atatürk has 14 interactive Passenger Information Kiosks meant to provide information and guide passengers via touchscreen. The kiosks also allow passengers to scan their tickets, enter their flight number, or to view a map that shows them the way around. Services like shopping, currency exchange, or restrooms can also be searched for and viewed on a map as well as information regarding the weather, exchange rates, public transportation schedules, and traffic.

Ataturk Airport
Ataturk Airport | © Citrat/Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish Airlines Departures Lounge

Ranked as one of the world’s top ten private passenger lounges, the Turkish Airlines Istanbul Departure Lounge is a 6000 square metre paradise that will make you forget you’re at the airport. Turkish and world cuisine dishes, a realistic racetrack, video game consoles, golf simulator, private resting and showering areas, media wall, cinema, children’s play area, library, pool room, and massage services are just some examples of why this lounge is such a big deal. Of course like most things in life, there’s a catch…you can only access the lounge if you’re flying Business or have a Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Card at the Classic Plus, Elite, or Elite Plus levels.

Turkish Airlines Lounge
Turkish Airlines Lounge | © Jun Seita/Flickr

Food

Atatürk has all the standard fast food joints like Burger King, Popeyes or the popular Turkish chain Simit Sarayı as well as Starbucks and Caffe Nero. However, if you’re looking for a relaxing sit-down meal, seek out Sky Restaurant that’s almost hidden away between the airport’s business lounges. An international a la carte menu, spacious seating, a great wine list, and palm trees are all very un-airport-like and therefore quite unique. For something sweet, visit the famous authentic Turkish ice cream guy who serves up the creamy concoction the classic way – from a cart and a long-handled paddle.

Atatürk Airport
Atatürk Airport | © Tanweer Morshed/Wikimedia Commons

Shopping

Apart from a pretty large Duty Free shop, the airport’s other popular shopping area is the Old Bazaar, inspired by the Grand Bazaar, where you can buy all those last minute souvenirs. Here you’ll find Turkish delight, silverware, authentic jewellery, souvenirs, glassware, leather, confectionery, spices, traditional food and olive oil in a setting that is classically Turkish in every way.

Wifi

The airport has wifi access all over. However because the access code can only be sent to a Turkish mobile phone number, international travellers will need to go to a venue like Starbucks or buy a card on the mezzanine floor to use the wifi.

For more detailed information about the Atatürk airport, check out the TAV Airports website.