Istanbul Airport

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Here’s some of the airport news that caught our attention today.

May I help you, virtually?

Our first encounter with a video help desk was at the massive Istanbul Airport in October 2019.

It seemed odd but, then, efficient to step up to what seemed like an unstaffed information desk and then have a live video chat with someone located offsite.

But now video chats are the socially distanced way to get questions answered in an airport.

As of May 2020, volunteer Airport Ambassadors staff the Virtual Information Booth at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF).

And now Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is running a Virtual Assistance pilot program in Terminal 2.

Travelers can have real-time video conversations with a customer services specialist over a touch-free tablet system installed at the information booth.

As health safety and social distancing concerns continue, we expect to see more airports offering some sort of virtual help desk.

San Jose International Airport shows off its ingenuity

Like most airports now, Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is implementing new health and safety measures in its terminal.

We like the no-nonsense social distancing signage and floor decals.

And we are impressed that instead of waiting months for out-of-stock hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass barriers, the Facilities and Engineering team at SJC is making its own.

At Your Gate + Grab = Service

Grab, the time-saving app that lets you order from an airport restaurant and then go straight to the pick-up line to get your meal is partnering with AtYourGate, the service that lets you order airport food via an app and have it delivered to you wherever you are in the terminal.

The partnership makes sense on many levels but is perfectly timed for these ‘no-touch’ times.

Grab already operates in over 50 airports in 4 countries. AtYourGate serves 10 airports now, with 40 more to be served in short order.

Snaps from Istanbul’s new $12 billion airport terminal toured the new $12 billion Istanbul Airport (IST) terminal this week.

We’ll circle back to share more information and advice about making your way through this shiny new space, but we wanted to share just a few snaps of what we saw on our tour.

Great selfie-spot in the main terminal area at Istanbul Airport
Cute robots are available at Istanbul Airport to answer questions and help travelers find their way.
A Yotel with rooms a landside restaurant and bar and rooms on both airside AND landside is in the main terminal lobby of Istanbul Airport.

There are, of course, shops and restaurants galore at Istanbul Airport.

And spaces where travelers can stop and nap.

More about the new Istanbul Airport soon.

Have you been to the new Istanbul Airport? Tell us what you saw – and bought?

Reader review: Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul Airport

A recent post here on shared news about the renovated Turkish Airlines lounge at the Istanbul Airport, which has private relaxation rooms, showers, a playroom, private infant rooms, a billiard lounge, a library, and a business center.

I haven’t had the chance to visit the airport – or this swanky lounge – in person, but reader Orit Rindner has:

“I ate a full lunch and a full dinner (5 hour layover), had a shower and then they gave me a room to rest in. I would give it a 10. I even took a pic of the ladies room… Even the doors of the stalls were teak and I think and they had a woman clean each toilet every time somebody came out of it and fold the toilet paper like they do in hotels!”

Thanks so much Orit! And thanks for sharing the view of that first-class loo.

Turkish Airlines’ classy lounge at Istanbul Airport

I haven’t had a chance – yet – to fly on Turkish Airlines or visit Istanbul Atatürk Airport, but this renovated and expanded airport lounge makes me want to plan a trip there now.

Located in the International Departures section of the airport and capable of accommodating more that 2,000 passengers daily, the lounge has private relaxation rooms, showers, a playroom, private infant rooms, a billiard lounge, a library, and a business center.

The lounge is accessible to Turkish Airlines’ business class passengers, Miles&Smiles Elite, Elite Plus card holders and Star Alliance Gold membership card holders.

Checking my wallet for the right card now…

The lounge seems enticing, but keep in mind that Turkish Airlines also offer free tours of Istanbul to anyone with a layover of a least six hours.

Baklava, anyone?