Does anyone have experience catching an international connecting flight at the newly opened Istanbul airport? I'm using Turkish Airlines and, barring any delays, have 1h35min layover. Any experience/advice is useful! I've already connected once at Ataturk and I've managed to go through security and find my gate within 30 minutes, so I hope the new airport will be as smooth, even if it takes more than half an hour.

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    If nobody ends up responding to this (which is quite possible, since the airport has been operating for only three days at this point), I'd encourage you to answer your own question after your trip. Posting your own experiences will help future travelers. Apr 9, 2019 at 12:59
  • Thanks. I'm hoping eventually someone will share their experience as my trip is in a month and a half :) If nobody does, I'll make sure to review my experience!
    – xmorellax
    Apr 11, 2019 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


Okay, since I didn't get an answer, I would like to post my own with an update of my experience transferring there. First of all, the background information: I was flying SARAJEVO TO ISTANBUL and then ISTANBUL TO TOKYO (NARITA). My first flight was 36 MINUTES LATE. What you need to know is that the taxi time is ridiculously long, and we didn't even taxi at the gate. I saw on the in-flight entertainment screen that THERE IS A SHORT INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION FOR LAYOVERS 75 MINUTES AND LESS, but the staff was unhelpful in telling me about it when we landed, and just told me to hurry and ask the ground staff. Which is fine, but I had no time since we were about to board the bus. The bus ride took another 5 minutes, so, in total, I had about HALF AN HOUR had everything been on schedule, to get to my next flight.

When you enter the airport, you go up an escalator and are immediately in front of the INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER. It's HUGE and only operating about a half, but it was super quick. Mind you, I was there at 1 am, so it may be different during the day but generally, it felt like it would be less congested than Ataturk (however, it took me 10-15 minutes at Ataturk max). This time, I spent about 3-4 minutes through the security and saw that my TOKYO flight was 10 minutes delayed. Perfect!

You go to your LEFT, straight down and then up an escalator and voila: you're at the departures floor.

Don't be scared of the airports size. It is enormous, and feels even more so as it is incomplete. However, if you have AT LEAST 20-25 MINUTES to get to your gate, you can make it. But you should hurry as there are no trains connecting anything and the gates (A,B,C,D,E,F) are FAR. REALLY FAR. It took me about 18-20 minutes to get to D14 from the moment I reached the departure floor, and I was rushing and semi-running the whole time.

My flight was eventually 40 minutes late because it's taxi time was around 46 minutes. Yep, you heard me right.

tl;dr: Up the escalator, you see the transfer immediately; down to your left, up the escalator and from there, follow the signs to your gate.

Everything is well-marked, so you shouldn't get lost. I had no time to explore the airport this time, but it looked good.

Overall, it took me 25-30 minutes in total to go through security and get to my gate.

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