Flying Turkish Airlines business class out of Istanbul has many advantages, but one benefit stands out even more so than the acclaimed lounge.
Airlines understandably treat their own passengers and elite members better than others. That goes without saying. Some airlines take this to the extreme, though. Lufthansa and Singapore only allow first class passengers on their own flights into their first class lounges. This, they assert, is to protect the integrity of their product. Incredibly, SWISS won’t let you into its first class lounge even if you are flying SWISS unless you bought the ticket directly from them!
In Istanbul, Turkish Airlines takes it own stab at “elitism” via an exclusive passport control and security check area. Hidden on the far side of the terminal, the special entrance might easily be confused for an employee or crew entrance.
But a prominent sign states the entrance requirements–
Entrance is only for Turkish Airlines Business Class and Elite Plus (top-tier) members. Star Alliance Gold? Take a hike. Flying on a Star Alliance partner like Lufthansa or Singapore in business class? This line is not for you.
This is such a convenient way to clear security and passport control. I’ve never seen a line here and you can literally walk from the check-in desk to the lounge in under two minutes.
Your boarding pass is carefully verified as you enter, you pass through security, then hand your boarding pass and passport to a dedicated immigration agent. Once stamped out, you walk out directly into the lounge:
Practically, that cuts your “commute” time by at least 80% from check-in to the lounge.
Were we flying on Lufthansa back to Germany, we would have proceeded to the normal security and immigration queue. Centrally located in the terminal, wait times often exceed 30 minutes to get through and from there it is a five minute walk to the lounge.
Turkish treats its own well, especially in Istanbul. If you’re ever deciding between options out of Istanbul, keep in mind this added benefit of flying Turkish in business class.