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Istanbul airport

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Istanbul airport

What a nightmare. Turkish Airways would not put luggage straight through to next flight for anyone unless they had a 'single ticket' which meant that all the passengers on our flight had to queue up for visa and through passport control. It was so crowded that by the time we got through the luggage carousel number was off the screen and the luggage was piled up. Some people missed connecting flight or had to run to get them. We arrived airport at 6.15 pm but did not get to our overnight hotel until 9.15 pm.

Loughborough...
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1. Re: Istanbul airport

So you personally weren't affected directly by the through checking policy, just by the very large number of people who were in front of you in the visa and immigration queues?

Reason I ask is that it is quite common for airlines to refuse to check baggage through where the second flight is with a different airline unless the passenger is on a through ticket or the second airline is a member of the same alliance grouping (Star Alliance for Turkish). If Turkish Airlines have decided to be even more restrictive and block this for other Star Alliance transfers too - or even transfers between its own flights - without a through ticket, that's important news for lots of people, so a little more detail would be helpful.

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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2. Re: Istanbul airport

I am sorry that this happened to you, but a bit unclear about what actually happened. If passengers were merely transferring at Ataturk, why would they not all have single tickets? Turkish Air issues a single ticket for whatever flights you book with them as part of a trip. No airline will transfer luggage to another airline, except occasionally if they are working with a partner airline. Even then, that is tricky.

The visa and immigration lines can be long. Turkey now issues an evisa. If we could just help people learn about this it can dramatically reduce the time spent in the visa line. If you purchase your evisa before you leave home you just pass the visa line and go directly through immigration. It dramatically reduces the amount of time you must stand in line.

Finally, there are just not many luggage carousels at the airport, and it is not unusual to have luggage from one flight removed to make room for the latest flight. I almost never retrieve my luggage from the carousel.

Istanbul has become a very popular destination. Travel + Leisure listed it as the number one travel destination in Europe, and the number two destination in the whole world, second only to Bangkok. In addition, Turkish Air is expanding it's market area dramatically. All of this puts pressure on an older airport.

Turkey is now beginning to construct a third airport in Istanbul, which will be, upon completion, the largest airport in the world. So hopefully in a few years things will get better. In the meantime, taking advantage of things like the evisa help you move more quickly through the airport.

I realize that third party booking agents can put together a package of flights on different airlines that may sell for less money than a ticket all with one airline and associated partners. In the end, however, I always think that the cost is simply not worth the danger.

None of this really applies to you because you had to collect your luggage because your flight was terminating in Istanbul. I am sorry to tell you that I now expect it to take a minimum of two hours from when I land until I reach my hotel. Three hours is not exceptionally rare. I have not been to Istanbul since the evisa program started, but people who have used it report a significant savings in time.

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Istanbul airport

Not sure why you're complaining, as others have said it didn't affect you?

I too haven't been to IST since the e-visa started, but would welcome any saving in time spent queuing up in that place!

Istanbul is a great city but the thought of going back there any time soon is hampered by having to go through that airport, so time consuming.

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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4. Re: Istanbul airport

I am spoiled at this airport. I use wheelchair services because walking any distance is difficult for me. We are always greeted by a man with a rather old wheelchair & more energy than anyone else I have seen in any other airport. He takes our passports & disappears. When he returns in just a few minutes we enter through the diplomatic entrance & go directly to claim our luggage. Then we are zipped out to the curb.

Last year we had two boys who remembered us. They decided to prove how speedy they could be. We were at the curb 30 minutes from leaving the plane and not only did they absolutely refuse a tip, they gave each of us a bottle of water.

I do understand that the lines are often long. When our daughter comes she is never at the hotel until at least 2 hours after her flight lands.

We often arrive just after mid-night and the airport is not very busy so I think that also helps with the lines. Comparing wheelchair services at Ataturk with any other airport always means that the services at Ataturk are far superior. I always read how great the Amsterdam airport is, but wheelchair services there are dreadful when compared to Ataturk.

seattle
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5. Re: Istanbul airport

Visited Istanbul in May and the e-visa worked just fine. Hopefully more people will do their own research and find out about that option. I don't think 2 or 3 hours to a hotel from landing at an airport in a big city is unreasonable or unexpected.

Edited: 12 August 2013, 04:30
znojmo
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6. Re: Istanbul airport

flew into Istanbul Twice this year, 5 minuites in the visa line,(the visa lasts 90 days i think so only needed the one) and maybe 10 minuites for passport control. though we spent over and hour in the taxi as it was late afternoon rush hour.

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Istanbul airport

If it was checked baggage then from your departure airport your bags should had been checked to your final destination. I had no problems at IST for my bags arrival to Berlin and vice versa back to Houston.

8. Re: Istanbul airport

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