Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How I spent one night at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

In one of my business trips to Sevastopol, Ukraine I had to fly through Istanbul Ataturk Аirport -  to Simferopol - Ukraine. 
I landed at Istanbul airport shortly before midnight. Just at that time there were the demonstrations against Government at Taksim Square and my initial plans for a midnight stroll through Istanbul failed. My flight to Simferopol was after less than 7 hours and I decided to spend the night walking through the airport instead of sleeping in TAV airport hotel, although there are many hotels around the airport , also. Ataturk Аirport is not as big transfers airport, but as it is at the crossroad between Europe and Asia, I found it is an interesting idea to look around and watch the hurrying people who obviously were from all over the world, from all races and religions. Dressed in traditional clothing typical for its own culture, people bustled among the numerous free shops, gates and information desks. 
Istanbul Ataturk airport
Istanbul Ataturk airport


After passing the security check, waiting in a long queue, I found myself on the so-called - InternationalDeparture Floor.

Shopping

If you are hungry, you can find many restaurants and fast food which offered in addition to all typical for airports food also local Turkish cuisine. There is a terrace for smokers (L3 on layout of the Departure Floor), to which it is very difficult to get at, because it is crowded. In this part of the airport I managed to kill about 1.5 hours. I continue to the shopping area . Quite a large area filled with all kinds of goods that you can find at any airport. Starting from Turkish souvenirs, Turkish delight and baklava to luxury cellphones made ​​of precious metals and decorated with precious stones. It is worth to stop at the store for typical Turkish souvenirs and food. Here you can taste all kinds of delight and so choose the most appropriate for you (somewhere between shops 3-13 on layout of the Departure Floor).

Ataturk airport duty free
Ataturk airport duty free

Luxury cellphones at Ataturk airport duty free
Luxury cellphones at Ataturk airport duty free

Food & Beverage

After another hour and a half walking around the duty free area, I began to feel tired. I decided, despite the late hour to freshen up with a Turkish coffee. Choice of bars is great, and since I was looking for something more secluded I stopped at Starbucks (I think number 19 from food & beverage on layout of the Departure Floor). Besides the traditional for Starbucks coffees, here you can find traditional Turkish coffee for about 2 EUR also. I sat comfortably and began to search for WI-FI. It turned out that to use free internet, you must either have a Turkish phone number or facebook account. After about 15 minutes of struggle - I managed to connect to Internet :).

Relax

After an hour, I felt that I started to get sleepy, but there were more than 3 hours to boarding. I decided to continue my walk to get to the other end of the airport. In many places there are located vending and coffee drinks machines, but unfortunately only accept Turkish lira. It was a pleasant surprise, I found open gates areas with no people inside (somewhere between 220 and 223 on layout of the Departure Floor) and unlike the shopping area, there was calm. I decided to lie down on the empty seats, watching the planes taxied through the glass walls. I fell asleep and at five in the morning, I was awakened by an employee who politely asked me to leave the gate as there were already passengers for one of the early morning flights (I think it was Lufthansa ones). While waking up and move towards the other end of the airport (as my gate number was already announced and it was at the other end - somewhere around gate 111) it was time for Boarding.

Istanbul Ataturk airport by night
Istanbul Ataturk airport by night

What I like and don't like

So imperceptibly I spent a little more than 6 hours at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.
As an advantage I like to mention the numerous shops and restaurants that run almost all night. It is also positive that there are calm and quiet places where you can relax for a nap.
As a minus are slightly higher prices compared to other European airports.

Istanbul Ataturk airport
Istanbul Ataturk airport

 Turkish Airlines

I understood why and +Turkish Airlines  are number 1 company in Europe. Services aboard are at much higher level than other companies flying short distances. 

Istanbul Ataturk airport
Istanbul Ataturk airport

  

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thanks. A lot of interesting information. Thanks to people like you we always can be sure that over weekend we can rest usefully. I want to add one things, if you are looking for the best online taxi you should use next one: http://kiwitaxi.com/Turkey/Istanbul+Ataturk+Airport.

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  3. Very useful as I spent times at that airport. I will stay next week about 18 hours transit there in my way back to Cairo from newyork

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