Dining Out Magazine

TAV: Istanbul Ataturk Airport

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion
Rating: 20/100

Total: 20/100

While traveling around the world, mainly Europe and the Middle East, I spend a great deal of time in airports. I usually enjoy myself in some of them, while in others I feel bored, claustrophobic and disgusted by the smell. In a nutshell, a good airport, especially one that’s an international hub for many travelers, should have natural lighting – well lit during the day and a bit dimmed during the night; It’s soothing to the eyes. A good airport should be spacious, high ceiling and of course with a good duty free area, a few decent boutiques and of course some good eateries/coffee shops.

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The Istanbul Ataturk Airport is one of Europe’s business hubs, but I’m afraid it is an airport that simply disgusts me. It has nothing pleasant to highlight. Not one decent restaurant, along with the worst unpleasant and unwelcoming staff on earth. It is badly lit… and to top it all off, there is a minimal choice of shops and interesting things to discover.

I have to stop a minute and dwell on the staff a bit more. I’ve been through the Ataturk Airport a few times now and every time I try to find something interesting about it, but sadly with no success. Even if some of you might enjoy it or think it’s big enough, you cannot but notice the unwelcoming unprofessional scathing staff. Unbelievably bad staff. None of them know what a smile even is. None of them know the meaning of hospitality and tourism. They barely speak english while others not even know a word, and talk with travellers in an aggressive filthy way. This is bizarre in the 21st century and a perfect impression on what to expect inside the city. They are all in the wrong jobs.

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On the west of the airport, you’ll find the Star Alliance business lounge -one of the best in the world – and to the east, you’ll find the food court. In the middle, just after check-in a long alley of shops on both sides are located between the gates. if your gate starts by “3″, expect to take the bus not the tunnel leading to the plane.

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The shops:

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The different food outlets:

  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Sbarro
  • Burger King
  • Cafe Nero
  • Istanbul Cafe
  • C&B
  • Turcuisine
  • Sweet delights
  • Quick Asia
  • Express O
  • Cafe Inn
  • Eat & Go
  • Coca Cola Cafe
  • Kitchenette
  • Flight Point
  • Popeyes
  • The Greenport
  • The BeerPort
  • Two turkish ice-cream corners

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On the first floor there are three different lounges and the kitchenette main restaurant with a bit more unpleasant waiters. Choose between one of the three lounges, the HSBC, the Millennium with an entrance fee of $40 and the PrimeClass Lounge with an entrance fee of €30. Decent food is served here, with free Internet connection, showers and relaxing sofas which will help the time pass faster.

Don’t try to ask any desk for information. Like I mentioned before, I tried to get an upgrade on my ticket and was put on hold a million times, listening to screeching tunes of their slogan Globally Yours in a Turkish accent. It seems, not only are they unhelpful in their Beirut office but also at their airport. I tried again to upgrade my ticket at the airport: this simple task made me visit four different counters with each one sending me to the other until it was time for the flight and the upgrade became obsolete. Most of the employees barely understand English and are not willing to help obviously.

Couple of information desks with kids chatting on Whatsapp. This one below was empty.

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No one at the airport or on-board Turkish airlines feels like working… And they claim to be the number one airline in Europe. What a joke. I am not exaggerating… I am only stating facts. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

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