During the month of February I took a trip to Istanbul to celebrate my birthday. I’ve been wanting to visit Istanbul for a long time now and finally booked the trip about a month and half before departure for a really good deal. My flight route to Istanbul was as follow: LAX-JFK-LHR-IST and my return was IST-LHR-JFK-LAX. I started my first two legs of the journey with American Airlines and flew their two newest aircrafts which are two of my favorites from their fleet, the A321T their newest transcontinental from LAX to JFK and the heavy 777-300ER from JFK to LHR, the last leg of my journey I flew OneWorld partner British Airways on a airbus 319.
On a future blog post I will share more details about my visit to Istanbul and some of the adventures I went on during my visit. The day of departure arrive and I was very sad to be leaving Istanbul, my driver got to my hotel at 4:30 am and we arrived to the airport by 5:30am leaving me with about 3 hours and 30 minutes to kill before boarding the first flight of the day. The fare for the pick up at that time was 50 Turkish Liras which was a flat rate.
The driver dropped me off at the British Airways Terminal and I went ahead to check in at the Business class counter. The check in process went by fast and I was on my way to customs and security. The custom process was a breeze, the officers were friendly and asked me if I liked Istanbul and without hesitation I told them, “I can’t wait to come back”, they laughed and wished me a safe journey home, once you clear customs – the security screening is right after, easy process with no need to remove your shoes, the whole process took just 10 minutes.
Being an American Express Platinum card holder and having their PriorityPass Select card granted me access to the HSBC Premier Lounge.
- Boarding Pass.
- Priority Pass Select Card holder (admission is free).
- You are allowed to bring one guest.
- If you have the HSBC Credit card, you are granted access as well.
The lounge upon arrival was pretty full but luckily I was able to find a spot to sit and relax. It offers a variety of sitting sections, it’s not very big but it’s well maintained and equipped with a Business center, terminal views and couch sitting section that offers more of a relaxing type vibe for the visitors. The lounge also has TV’s and a departure monitor to keep track of your flight while being at the lounge and lastbut not least, Free WiFi.
Food and amenities of the lounge, one of my favorite things about Istanbul was the food – it was simply incredible and so tasty. The lounge surprised me with the variety of food they were offering. Turkish delights, pastries (all kinds), veggie and turkey sandwiches, soup, salads, etc. I have to say this lounge was impressive and can compete with a few big lounges I’ve visited throughout the year. The drinks of choice were endless ranging from their popular beer called Efes Pilsen, to their delicious turkish and pomegranate tea and a variety of sodas and alcoholic beverages (wine,vodka,whiskey) and it was all free of charge.
Things that impressed me about the lounge:
- Customer Service.
- Drink Selections.
- Food Selections. (Breakfast and variety)
- Cleanliness. (There was always a staff member making sure all was clean)
- Business Center. (Computers available for use)
- WiFi Speed.
Botton line and final thoughts, I enjoyed my time at the lounge before my flight and I would visit this lounge again due that this is one of the lounges i have access to. If I had to give you all a tip, make sure you keep track of your departure time when being at this airport. It took me 20 minutes or so just to get to my gate and I was walking (there was no other way to get there). This airport is very big and departure gates are little ways a way from the lounges. Luckily, I made it on time and just 5 minutes shy before the boarding process began but I would of liked to be there sooner than that. I have to give a high five to all the staff members at the lounge for keeping this lounge spotless for the visitors.
Have you all been to any other lounges within Istanbul Atatürk Airport? What other lounge should I visit next?