Day 6. Istanbul – city centre to the airport

It was back to clear blue skies on our final morning in Istanbul and after a leisurely breakfast we completed our packing and checked out of the Holiday Inn Istanbul Old City which had been an ideal place to stay during our city break. We trundled our luggage the short distance to the nearest tram stop and boarded a service that for once wasn’t too crowded, enabling us to find somewhere to stand with our luggage. We had decided to return from Sultanahmet as we had noticed a terminus there quite near to the Blue Mosque which was reasonably convenient for us and it seemed sensible to board at a starting point.

Sultanahmet Square, the terminus for one of the airport shuttle bus routes
Sultanahmet Square, the terminus for one of the airport shuttle bus routes

A coach was already in the bus bay and although several passengers had already boarded, there were plenty of spare seats. As with the outbound journey, we were given receipts for our luggage as it was placed in the hold so there was no danger of anyone taking it by mistake which was reassuring. The return journey to the airport took 55 minutes and cost 18 TL (£2.38) each which we paid for using our shared travel card. On arrival at the airport it’s necessary to place all bags through a security scanner near the entrance. This seemed to be operating efficiently as there was no queue whatsoever.

Istanbul International Airport
Entering the gleaming new Istanbul International Airport

The gleaming new Istanbul International Airport is a far cry from its predecessor Ataturk with its spacious interior and clear signage. We checked in at the Turkish Airlines desk for our return flight to London Gatwick and were surprised to note that there was a designated queue for passengers travelling from the UK, USA and Israel. No-one was actually waiting in this queue so we were soon on our way to passport control.

Checking in at the Turkish Airlines desk in Istanbul International Airport
Checking in at the Turkish Airlines desk in Istanbul International Airport

Moving onto security, lines of passengers snaked around the zone as far as the eye could see. Worst of all, several of the security scanners were not in use. Surely the airport must know how much traffic to expect and be able to operate at full capacity during busy periods.

Istanbul International Airpor
The spacious, modern interior of the new Istanbul International Airport

Eventually we made it through to the airside terminal which had plenty to occupy us until our flight was due to depart. Food options though were surprisingly limited with numerous units yet to be occupied. After strolling around awhile we settled down to feta and tomato rolls and cups of coffee costing 31 TL (£4.10) each – astronomical by Istanbul standards but still very reasonable compared to other international airports.

Shopping at Istanbul International Airpor
Lots of tempting shopping opportunities in Istanbul International Airport

Don’t expect to be able to use the free wi-fi in the airport. There are plenty of signs advertising this, but as with the majority of cafes and restaurants in Istanbul, it’s necessary to enter your mobile telephone number and believe me, it never seems to work!

Gate, Istanbul International Airpor
Arriving at our gate for our homeward flight back to the U.K.

At 13.30, twenty five minutes before the scheduled departure time we were settled into our seats on an Airbus A321 which gave me an opportunity to start catching up on some more recently released films. I started with ‘Red Joan’ starring Dame Judi Dench which I found captivating and then managed to squeeze in a second one ‘The Fishermen’s Friends’ which was light hearted and also enjoyable.

Lunch on Turkish Airlines flight
Lunch on board our flight which tasted much better than it looked

Turkish Airlines provide an excellent service on their medium length flights (4 hours from Istanbul to London Gatwick) with a full lunch service. We both opted for beef stuffed aubergine with rice and yoghurt dressing, roll, butter and a strawberry mousse. We accompanied our lunch with small bottles of Turkish wine and my red was of a reasonably good quality. Tea and coffee were served as the trays were collected and after a smooth and uneventful flight we landed into London Gatwick on time after a very pleasant short break in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines
Our aircraft back in London Gatwick

This brings to an end my series of posts on Istanbul which I hope you enjoyed reading. It had been a very interesting city break with plenty to keep us occupied and with prices much lower than in most other European countries, a very tempting destination!

If you have enjoyed reading this series of posts hen you may also be interested in the following:

Istanbul city break

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul


29 thoughts on “Day 6. Istanbul – city centre to the airport

  1. Pingback: Day 4. Istanbul – exploring Kadikoy – Love Travelling Blog

    1. Thank you for taking an interest in my series of posts on Istanbul. We found the city to be very safe both day and late at night and although it’s busy I would have been happy visiting there by myself. I do hope my posts inspire you to visit the city soon. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely to see more photos of the new airport, it does look nice and shiny! I struggled with the security scanners at the Helsinki Airport when going to London, most of them didn’t work and there was no-one around to give any assistance. We almost missed our London flights because of it! Ok to be fair, if we had missed the flight, the fault would be all mine as I didn’t want to wake up early enough, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That airline claims to fly to more countries in the world than any other airline. Interesting that they had a dedicated line for UK, USA and Israel. I wonder what prompts that separation from the rest of the world? It was an interesting trip and once again left me with regret I’d not included that location in my travels around the world during my business travel years.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Jonno for your much appreciated thoughts. Hope you get to Istanbul in 2020 and I’ll really look forward to reading your take on it! Hope you both have a lovely Christmas. I’m at home now with all the family and would you believe it, it’s actually fine!


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