Free Layover Hotels with Turkish Airlines

I wrote a post a while back about Ethiopian Airlines offering free layover hotels at Addis Ababa and today I’ll be covering the process with Turkish Airlines. I’m surprised with the number of passengers who aren’t away that the airline they are flying offer transit hotels. Turkish fly twice daily from Dublin to Istanbul and connect on to over 290 destinations worldwide. I’m a big fan of Turkish Airlines and find them very good although they have implemented some small cutbacks in the last couple of months for example removing the pre-meal Turkish Delight. Although the fact I complain about removing a small Turkish Delight shows you how good they are.

Turkish airlines offers free hotel accommodation (up to 2 nights) to passengers when the connection time is more than 10 hours for economy passengers or 8 hours for business class passengers at Istanbul Airport. You must be booked on the shortest possible connection. If there is a flight scheduled (even if there were no seats available when you were booking) with a shorter connection you are not entitled to hotel accommodation. The hotel will be somewhere in Istanbul and transport is provided to and from the hotel. Breakfast is included and sometimes dinner is as well.

I’ve experience being sent to the Marriott Renaissance Polat Istanbul and Grand Cevahir Hotel and Convention Center but there are plenty of hotels they use. Overall, the hotels tend to be very good quality.

When you are checking in for your flights you can ask to check the bag to Istanbul so you can collect it during the layover or get it checked through to the final destination. I had a 24 hour connection in Istanbul and they were happy to check my bag all the way through to Dublin from Kathmandu. This meant at Istanbul I didn’t need to collect it. On arrival to Istanbul airport follow signs to immigration and the clear immigration. You will need a visa to enter Turkey. The process is completed online and is very similar to the US ESTA system. Once through immigration you will be in the baggage hall. If you have checked your bag to Istanbul, collect you bag otherwise continue straight through customs.

Once you leave customs there will be a line of counters offering ‘City Tours & Hotels’ and you probably will be shouted at by a few of them. Turn right and walk all the way to the end of the hall. There will be a Starbucks and beside it the Turkish Airlines Hotel Desk. Once at the counter, you will need to provide the boarding pass for the onward journey. They will keep the boarding pass and tell you to wait around near the desk.

After a while, a member of staff will come out with a list of names and call them out. When you hear your name go over and collect your boarding pass. Once everyone has been called out, the staff member will take you to the Turkish Airlines shuttle bus which will bring you to the hotel. You don’t need any confirmation for the hotel. When checking into the hotel once I was just asked for my passport, the second time they asked for my boarding card as well.

When you are checking in, the hotel will tell you what time the shuttle will arrive to bring you back to the airport at. Normally they collect you 3 hours before your scheduled departure time which is very early. You can elect not to use this shuttle and make your own way to the airport should you wish.

The process has always been very smooth for me when using the layover hotel. It’s always nice to have a nap and a swim instead of waiting around Istanbul airport. The hotels have always been very good quality and the transport to and from has always been efficient. If you are considering booking flights through Istanbul don’t worry if there is a long transit, the hotel makes it a lot easier!

8 comments

  1. Great review.
    I will be flying to ATL from MAN mid October 17, this includes a forced stopover in IST.
    Like DUB, there are two flights a day from MAN and I made the booking at the TK office at the Airport, booking myself a business class seat on the early flight to IST (10.40am) , which I was told by TK ticket desk I would be entitled to a complimentary hotel room, even though they have an afternoon flight ex MAN. (This makes it a shorter connection).

    In fact, if you look at the new U.S. website, it offers either HOTEL or TOUR if booked on the early flight or late flight.

    I also emailed the THY HOTEL DESK with my flight details and they confirmed that I was entitled to a complimentary hotel room.

    As both daily flights from MAN are unable to connect to ATL on the same day, this is possibly the reason why. However, I’m not holding my breath and prepared to make my own arrangements.

    1. They may have changed the policy which would be brilliant. I’ve always booked the first flight back to Dublin in the morning but if I could take the afternoon flight after a layover it would be much better.

      If you have an email from the THY HOTEL DESK it be pretty hard for them to deny you a room although nothing would surprise me with TK staff in IST.

      Let me know how you get on – I might need to go changing some of my reservations!

  2. Very helpful information – just what I needed to know. Thanks.

    We plan to use this facility next month when transitting Istanbul.

  3. I would like to WARN everyone on this thread, we made use of the free hotel on our 20+ hour layover in Istanbul. We chose Turkish Airlines over other airlines with shorter layovers as we were excited to make use of the free hotel and explore the city. From what I had read on similar threads we would get a hotel near the old city or near the hotel which is also not far from the city. This is most definitely not the case.

    When we arrived in Istanbul airport we went straight to the hotel desk (which is not at all clear or obvious to find). We waited in line for at least an hour to be assigned a hotel (with no indication of where it would be). Once assigned we had to wait another 45mins until we were called to the bus. Once outside waiting for the bus we had to wait another 30mins in the cold at 5am in December. The bus trip was then another hour to a hotel that was quite literally on the outskirts of the city. 3+ hours after landing we finally made it to the hotel. There was farmlands 500m from the hotel. Not close to the airport or the old city. The hotel was Hampton by Hilton Istanbul Kayasehir. There was also no public transport or hotel shuttle into town. We therefore had to organise our own transport which was an hour long taxi ride.

    Furthermore we were expected to stay at the hotel for 14+ hours and they only provided us with free breakfast.

    Trust me, spend the money and rather get a cheap hotel in centre of town then go through this ordeal.

  4. Hi , just one query. Do we have to apply for the visa in advance or can we get the visa at the airport? I’m flying with my 7 months baby and we both have british passport but my wife’s nepal passport. We have got 13 hours transit at turkey flying from kathmandu.

    1. I wouldn’t be sure to be honest. Their website seems to say your wife may be able to get a online e-visa.

      Nepal: Ordinary and official passport holders are required to have visa to enter Turkey. Official passport holders can get one month period visas and ordinary passport holders can get 15 day period visas from from the Turkish diplomatic or consular missions abroad. Nepalese passport holders with a valid Schengen members or USA, UK, Ireland visa or residence permit may get their single entry e-Visas valid for one month via the website http://www.evisa.gov.tr, provided that they meet certain conditions.

      I’d be very interested in hearing what is necessary. I am hoping to bring my Nepali friend to Ireland in a few years.

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