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How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

Houston, Texas
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How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

On our upcoming trip in January we depart at the end of our vacation on a Lufthansa jet that takes of at 5 AM! We are staying the night before departure near the airport at the Renaissance Polat hotel which has a shuttle service to the airport but I have heard many reports of long queues and delays just getting checked in, through security and immigration control and to your gate. We are flying in Economy but are Star Alliance Gold level travelers, not sure if they have an express line for that, some airports do.

When should we get to the airport?

Istanbul
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1. Re: How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

Chris, you should leave your hotel at 2.15 AM and be at the airport at 2.30 AM. It is a good idea to be at the airport 2.5 hours before departure. I am surprised you are not taking the Turkish Airlines direct flight back to Houston.

enigma...

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

Thanks Enigma, looks like we will catch up on sleep on the way home!

Yes, the direct flight on TA was an option but we have a lot of status with United as Houston is a major hub and we had upgrade certificates that were expiring in February so we are in United's Business class from Houston to Munich and then in Economy for a code share flight to IST and the same on the way back. At least we will have those lie flat seats for the trans-Atlantic part of the trip to get some sleep!

Huntington, New York
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3. Re: How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

we just did an early flight 2 weeks ago. we got to the airport 2 hours before ( I think the flight was 5:50am on a monday ) and we were thru security extremely quickly. From our hotel it was a 30 minute ride no traffic because the flight was so early. maybe we got lucky but that early we didnt encounter any lines

Mount Dora, Florida
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4. Re: How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

It is difficult to determine if you will really require the 2 and 1/2 to 3 hour early arrival that airlines recommend for international travel out of Ataturk. We left last Wednesday on a KLM flight to AMS that departed at 6:00am.

We arrived at the airport at 3:00am. The first security line was empty, and the airport seemed quite calm until we reached the Lufthansa counter. Here there were about 100 people waiting in line and only two Lufthansa employees working behind the counter. Progress seemed slow.

Our KLM counter was also jammed, with nearly 100 people waiting in a line served by only two employees. Since we have Sky Team Elite Plus status we were able to by-pass this line and check-in immediately. After passing through immigration and the second security check we had enough time to spend about 45 minutes in the Sky Lounge.

On the plane I spoke with another passenger who had been in that long line. She said that she had been in that line for nearly 90 minutes.

We flew in and out of Ataturk three times last year, and all but one of those flights were at 6am or earlier. We could not use the Sky Priority check-in on one of those flights because there was not one staffing that line. On that occasion we were in a long line for over one hour. On another occasion we had no wait at the airline check-in counter, but one security lane was closed and we waited 45 minutes in the only open security line at 3am in the morning.

After many flights out of Ataturk, I have reached the conclusion that this airport never goes to sleep. There are always planes arriving and departing. Sometimes you can be lucky and have no lines and have a bit of time left over after completing the check-in process. On other occasions, I have been happy that we allowed ourselves ample amount of time to check-in.

Most international flights, at least those that we have taken, start to board the place an hour before scheduled departure. I prefer to board early because I do like my carry-on luggage to be over my head rather than stuffed in some other location of the plane or gate-checked because there is no more over-head storage.

5. Re: How early to get to Anaturk airport for a 5 AM deptarture?

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