Flights & Layover in Istanbul

Discover valuable details that will assist you in preparing for your flights and layovers at Istanbul Airport [IST], including essential information about arrivals and departures, expert advice on navigating layovers, transit flights, and flight connections. 

Arrivals & Departures

The best way to check real-time information about arrivals and departures at Istanbul Airport [IST] is to visit the airport's official website. On the website, you can find a list of flights that are expected to arrive or depart, the exact times of arrival or departure, flight numbers, and the current status and any delays.


Arrivals at Istanbul Airport [IST]

To view the current arrival times and arrival terminals, you can visit the following page on the airport's website: Arriving Flights at Istanbul Airport.

  • Passport Control Points: Istanbul Airport has more than 100 passport control points, as well as over 15 e-passport entry points.
  • Information Point: There are two information points at the arrival terminal, which assist passengers with guidance and information. If you have any questions about Istanbul or activities in the city, you can contact the tourist information desk in the  at the arrivals floor meeting hall.
  • Lost Baggage Service: For help to any baggage-related issues, contact the lost-and-found office of your airline representative before leaving the baggage reclaim area.

Departures from Istanbul Airport [IST]

To view the current departure times and departure terminals, you can visit the following page on the airport's website: Departing Flights at Istanbul Airport.

  • Entrance: Since the airport consists of a single terminal, you can enter from all seven entrance gates to the departures area. However, it is advisable to determine your entrance to your check-in location. Near the airport's entrance gate and at the entrance are screens, where you can check which gates are open and the average waiting times.
  • Security Check: Unlike many other airports, Istanbul Airport has two security checkpoints due to extra precautions. One takes place at the entrance to the departure area, the other after passport control. It is best to prepare your check by putting all your items with metal parts, such like belts and phones, in your hand luggage.
  • Information Desks: If you need information or assistance for your trip, head to the information desks or the digital "Ask Me" kiosks distributed in more than 20 locations in the Departure area.
  • Approximate Walking Times: Istanbul Airport covers an enormous area. That’s why you will find screens with approximate walking times to the gates. Be sure to check these screens so you don't miss your flight.

Useful Information about Arrivals & Departures at Istanbul Airport [IST]

  • Istanbul Airport Map: You can also use a detailed map of Istanbul Airport [IST] to help you navigate the airport and see how it is laid out. This can be useful for planning your movements around the airport. You can find a map on the airport's website or by asking a staff member at the airport for assistance.
  • Airline Company Details: On the official website of Istanbul Airport, you can find a list with the airline company details. There you can see information such as the location of the airline's lounge, IATA and ICAO code, phone number and website.
  • Last Minute Tickets: If you need last minute tickets for a departure from Istanbul airport, you can contact the ticket sale offices of the respective airlines at Istanbul Airport. To find out the phone number or location of the office at Istanbul Airport, it is best to visit the official Istanbul airport website. There you will find an overview of all airlines' contact numbers, their website and a map with the corresponding location.

Flights to and from Istanbul Airport [IST]

It is recommended that travelers arrive at Istanbul Airport [IST] 3.5 hours before their international flights and 1.5 hours before their domestic flights to have enough time for the mandatory safety checks and.

The airport covers a huge area, so it is important to allow enough time to go through the various security lines and get to your gate. You can see the approximate walking times to the gates on the screens in the departure floor.

Another important point is the fact that traffic in Istanbul can be heavy at times, so it is a good idea to factor this into your travel plans.

When arranging a transfer service from the city center to the airport, it is recommended to allow an extra 30 minutes to account for traffic and ensure that you don't miss your flight.

Overall, it is best to plan to arrive at the airport early to avoid any delays or stress.


Flight Connections and Layovers

What is a Transit Flight?

A transit flight is a flight that a passenger takes to get from one destination to another, with a stop at an intermediate airport along the way.

This type of flight is often used by passengers who are traveling to a destination that is not directly served by a flight from their departure airport.

Unfortunately, sometimes the time between two flights can be very long and more than 2 hours. Some passengers prefer to find a hotel nearby to rest or briefly visit the city. However, Istanbul Airport offers a range of activities and services for such situations.

What do I need to know about Layovers and Stopovers in Istanbul Airport?

If you are taking a transit flight at Istanbul Airport, there are a few things you should know in order to make your trip as smooth as possible:

First, it's important to check with your airline to make sure that your layover time is sufficient to allow you to make your connecting flight. In general, a layover of at least two hours is recommended in order to give yourself enough time to go through security and make your way to your next gate.

Then, it's important to understand the difference between connecting and non-connecting flights. A connecting flight is one that is operated by the same airline, and in this case, your luggage will be automatically transferred to the next plane.

However, if your transit flight is a non-connecting flight, you will need to collect your luggage and re-check it for the next flight.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that, if your transit flight is non-connecting, you may need to obtain a transit visa in order to pass through the airport. This requirement can vary depending on your nationality and other factors, so it's best to check with the airline for specific information.

Finally, if you already have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, you can follow the progress of your flight on the airport's FIDS monitors and proceed to your gate when it's time to board. If you don't have your boarding pass, you will need to go to the transfer desks or the desk of the airline company within the transit zone to get your boarding pass.

In the case that your transit flight does not depart from Istanbul Airport but from Sabiha Gökçen Airport, you can get there by taking the Havabüs shuttle bus. There is a İST-8 SABIHA GÖKÇEN - İSTANBUL HAVALİMANI line that operates every 40 minutes between the two airports. The ride takes around 70 to 80 minutes. Another option is to go there by taxi, which takes about 45–60 minutes, but is more expensive.

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