I am travelling from Africa to London, connecting in Istanbul. Both flights are on Turkish Airlines, same ticket. No checked bags. I have a 55 minute connect time. Assuming the inbound flight is close to schedule, will that be enough time for a connection?

I am particularly concerned about any additional security queues in the transit process since one flight is coming in from Africa and the next going out to the UK, sometimes the airport is required to put transit passengers through another check. Hopefully someone has some recent experience with the transit process


  • Do you know which airport you will be using? There are two in Istanbul. The Ataturk International and Sabiha Gocken Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 4:53

1 Answer 1


It will potentially depend on the exact country, but most countries in African are NOT considered "clean" from a security perspective. That means that as you've suspected, you will most likely need to go through the transit security area before being let into the departure area.

Depending on the time of day, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to at least half an hour or more. If you are in business class or have Star Alliance Gold status it will generally take less, but even that's been a bit hit-or-miss recently.

55 minutes from a non-clean country is going to be tight, especially as many flights into Istanbul airport nowadays end up using "bus gates" where you have to catch a bus to the terminal - adding further delays even if your inbound flight is delayed.

Personally I would look for a longer connection if possible. If you're headed to London it's worth considering alternative airports as well (eg, Gatwick rather than Heathrow).

If there's no better alternative, 55 minutes IS doable (they wouldn't sell you the ticket if it wasn't), however you do run a real risk of not making your connecting flight - but at least as you're on a single ticket it will be Turkish Airlines' responsibility to put you on a later flight.

If you're doing the same itinerary in reverse it's a little different as the UK is considered clean, so they will allow you to deplane directly into the departure terminal (presuming you already have your connecting boarding pass).

  • Traveling in Business on both flights, Premier Gold status. So some advantages (maybe), but risks noted. Thanks. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 7:11
  • There is a dedicated TK Business/Star Gold line that is normally (but not always) faster. Personally I'd go for a longer connection and spend some time in the lounge (I connected through IST about 10 times last year!)
    – Doc
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 9:39
  • "but at least as you're on a single ticket it will be Turkish Airlines' responsibility to put you on a later flight" This! If you miss your flight despite making your way straight to the gate, you will be re-booked
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 0:35
  • @Doc "as the UK is considered clean, so they will allow you to deplane directly into the departure terminal" Interesting. If you arrive directly at departures, where do you go if intending to enter Turkey? At SAW there's no way out of departures other than backtracking through transit security, which was frowned upon by staff when I decided to try and clear immigration in order to reach a Hotel (which succeeded) when having been re-booked onto a later flight.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 0:39
  • @Coke As you exit the plane (or the bus) they will direct transit passengers who already have a boarding pass up the ramp to the departure area, whilst arriving passengers are sent to arrivals/immigration/etc. At IST, backtracking from departures back to the arrivals immigration area is trivial, and whilst there are staff at the entrance they will normally not even bother to ask where you are headed. (I've done this many times - departure area to drop my bags in the lounge and the head out to Istanbul for a few hours)
    – Doc
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 0:50

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