I´m kind of worried about the transfer in Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. I have only 2 hours 20 minutes to until my flight onward to Manila.

I'm flying from Germany to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines and from Istanbul to Manila with Saudi Airlines (different airlines so I booked separate tickets).

If I do my check-in online for the flight to Manila, is that still enough time? Do have to go through Immigration or can I go straight to the transfer area?

2 Answers 2


You do have to pass through immigration, collect your bags, pass through security and re-check your bags.

140 minutes might be OK, a little tight but doable. If your nationality requires you to have a transit visa from Turkey then you definitely need a visa/eVisa for this. It is not a direct air-side transfer.

Run, Don't walk!

As noted in George's comment below, if you don't have checked baggage then you don't need to go through these steps. You can check-in online, have a boarding pass and go straight to your gate after passing security.

  • 2
    I would add that if he checks no bags in, and could check into his onward flight online, he can use airside transfer (which IST has) and doesn't need to do this.
    – George Y.
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 1:57
  • No i don´t need a transit Visa for Turkey and i have checked baggage. So definitly through the immigration.Could be a problem :/ I´m going straight to the immigration and NOT to transfer/transit right? I arrive @2:30pm in IST, it is prime time in atatürk airport i guess and much crowded or?
    – besi
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 8:19
  • I can't really say anything about the crowd. I have always seen IST very busy and in this case you are going through the immigration 2 times but I think 2 hours 20 minutes don't sound too tight. Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 9:00
  • Thank you Hanky Panky, i hope you are right. Just to make it sure and don´t lose any time in airport, i´m not going to the transit/transfer area right?
    – besi
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 12:49
  • Correct. You are going to immigration/passport control. Not to transfers. Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 12:56

As you have checked luggage, remember that the critical point is the check-in deadline, which is 1 hour before the departure time of your outgoing flight.

This means you have 1 hour 20 minutes to:

  • exit the plane
  • get to immigration
  • queue at immigration
  • go through immigration
  • wait for your bags
  • go through customs
  • get to the departures area and find the check-in counters for you flight
  • queue
  • drop your bags

If everything goes as planned, this should be more than enough. However, if your incoming flight is late, it will quickly become very tight. Remember that if you miss the check-in deadline, you're on your own:

  • unless you have a fare that allows changes (and you make the change before the check-in deadline), you will need to book and pay for a new ticket
  • the return ticket may be cancelled as well
  • if you need to stay overnight, any hotel, meals, or transportation costs will be on you

If you still can, I would recommend rebooking with a bit more time. 4 hours between scheduled departure and arrival should give you enough buffer. If not, check if you are eligible for travel insurance which would actually cover this situation.


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