Review: Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul

Location
IST, Domestic
Date
May 2022
Rating

Prior to hopping on a domestic flight with Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Bodrum, where I’d be staying at The Bodrum EDITION and the Susona Bodrum, I popped into the Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge.

In This Post

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Access

Upon arriving at Istanbul Airport on an international flight, I was surprised to be directed to a different area than I’d previously expected. I didn’t realize that Turkish Airlines has an entirely separate domestic departures area, which is distinct from the international departures area.

I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t indulge in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, but fortunately, I could at least pass some time in the Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge before my flight.

The Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge is situated airside on the domestic departures floor in the main concourse. For those transiting from the international section, you can access the lounge by taking a set of elevators across from Gates G6 and G7 down one level.

Istanbul Airport – Domestic terminal
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Elevator access

Entry is then granted via an automatic gate, where you simply scan your barcode to get in.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Entry gate
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Entry gate

For those checking in from Istanbul, there is direct access to the domestic lounge through a dedicated security checkpoint, which is a welcome premium service for passengers flying domestically.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Access from security checkpoint

Even though I was flying in economy class on my flight to Bodrum, I gained access to the lounge on account of my Star Alliance Gold status.

You can access the lounge prior either on account of Star Alliance Gold status or as a business class passenger. Star Alliance Gold members can also bring one guest to accompany them in the lounge.

Otherwise, if you happen to have a Priority Pass membership, simply head next door to the IGA Lounge (although it’s perhaps a step below in quality).

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating

The Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge is essentially one big room with a few different spaces. The visual appearance of the lounge isn’t anything too memorable, but the atmosphere is pleasant and comfortable.

As you first enter the lounge, you’ll find that the space primarily consists of two-person dining tables. You’ll also find these seats scattered throughout the lounge in various clusters and along the walls.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating

It was late evening at the time of my visit, and there appeared to be much more seating than occupants, although I imagine the lounge could get quite full at busier times throughout the day.

Some of the seating faces a set of eight televisions mounted on the wall. Each screen broadcasts different programs, with everything from from sports to children’s entertainment.

Furthermore, monitors are placed throughout the lounge with updated flight information.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating near televisions
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating

Moving deeper into the lounge, you’ll find a central seating area with white couches, which looked quite familiar to me at first glance.

Indeed, the white furniture here at the domestic lounge appears to be repurposed from the old Turkish Airlines Business Lounge at the now-defunct Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Seating

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Dining

For dining at this lounge, everything is self-serve from a limited selection, and no hot meals are offered. Instead, you can find a few different types of cold items and some snacks.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Self-serve buffet

In one section, you’ll find simit (Turkish bagels), along with countryside butter from Trabzon in northeast Türkiye. You’ll also find lentil soup, various pastries, and cheese buns.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Simit and Trabzon butter
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Lentil soup
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Pastries & cheese buns

In a separate section, the lounge has a mishmash of Turkish meze, bagel sandwiches, and some fresh fruit.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Turkish mezze, bagel sandwiches, & fresh fruit

Although the selection is limited, there’s enough to keep you satisfied. And if you cobble enough of these items together, you’ve got yourself a makeshift meal.

In terms of beverages, Turkish coffee and tea are offered on a self-serve basis, which is always a nice re-introduction to the country upon arrival here in Türkiye. There are also a few types of fresh fruit juices available.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Turkish coffee & tea
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Coffee machine
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Juices

Lastly, large coolers in the lounge contain still and sparkling water. Like the white couches, these coolers also appear to have been lifted directly out of the old flagship lounge at the old Atatürk Airport and moved over here.

Alcohol was not served during my visit to this lounge.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Still and sparkling water cooler

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Other Facilities

Wi-Fi is accessible through a ticket dispensing machine, located near the central seating area of the lounge.

To access the internet, you must first scan your boarding pass, and then the machine will dispense a ticket with a Wi-Fi code.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Wi-Fi console

This system is the same as the Turkish Airlines flagship international lounge upstairs, and it’s a bit of an inconvenient extra step in my opinion.

Other facilities in the lounge include a small kids’ playroom with a play table, a playhouse, a television, and some seating. Directly outside the playroom, you’ll find some gaming consoles, which didn’t appear to be in use at the time.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Kids’ area
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Gaming consoles

The lounge’s restrooms sits at the back of the lounge, where prayer rooms can also be found. Unfortunately, there are no showers available at this lounge.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Restrooms

Finally, the most notable and valuable feature of this lounge is that you can board your flight straight from the lounge.

Rather than heading out into the terminal, you’ll simply head through a door, which then leads directly to the boarding gate.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Boarding gate access

Any time a domestic flight is boarding, one of the lounge agents will scan your boarding pass and then load you onto a bus, which will take you out to the plane on the tarmac.

Indeed, when departure for Bodrum was called, I conveniently boarded my flight directly from these gates.

Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge Istanbul – Boarding gate

Conclusion

The Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge likely won’t make your list of aspirational lounges, but it’s an enjoyable enough space for relaxing before a domestic Turkish Airlines flight.

The space offers plenty of seating and a modest food selection to satisfy your hunger. Furthermore, if you’re checking in from Istanbul, accessing the lounge directly after security is a most welcome convenience.

Boarding the plane straight from the lounge is a unique feature that makes for a seamless travel experience, and it’s a luxury that sets this lounge apart from most domestic lounges around the world.

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