Turkish Airlines has serious aspirations. They want to be the best airline in Europe (some might argue they already are), and compete with the Gulf state behemoths like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. Nowhere is this aspiration more evident than in their Flagship lounge at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.
I have done some traveling over the years and have seen my share of airport lounges. I’ve never seen one quite like this. Turkish Airlines’ in flight magazine brags that their lounge is bigger than some airports. Yes, you read that correctly. It is several stories high and almost feels like you are entering a small shopping mall. They have a small movie theatre (more like a nice home theatre type set up), a pool table, a virtual driving range, Turkish style tea gardens and a video game station. I spotted a massage therapist providing massages in several locations. They even have hotel room-like suites for passengers with layovers from four to seven hours.
Most importantly, there is food everywhere. There are several walk-up counter service style restaurants.There are also food bars all over the place. They have an olive bar, a dessert bar, juice bars, vegetable plates and everything else you can imagine. I’ve got a trip to Eastern Europe next month and am flying through Istanbul mainly because I had such a great experience in the lounge last time. If you are in the region, I highly recommend stopping in.