New Turkish Airlines Lounge Review: I Miss Chuck E. Cheese

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New Turkish Airlines Lounge Review is part of the ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.


Getting There: I have to put Getting There instructions as I do in Hotel Reviews because like taxiing to the gate (see Turkish Business Barcelona to Istanbul: Glad to Lie Flat), it takes a long, long time to get to the lounge, if you can find it at all.

The lounge is located near gate E1. There are no signs of its existence until you get closer.


Do you recall my old Turkish Lounge Review where I described the place as Chuck E. Cheese meets Costco? With Turkish Airlines moving to the new airport, that lounge closed and this one opened. But is it better?

The Business Class Version of Emirates First

The best way to describe this lounge is to say that it is a stripped down version of Emirates First in Dubai. And what does a limited edition of first feel like either in the sky or on the ground? It feels like business class (see Cathay A350 HKG-BKK: I Miss First Already).

Instead of a la carte, there are food stalls. Instead of a bartender, it’s do it yourself. Instead of high end champagne, there’s, well I couldn’t find the bubbles. While the selection of food is still there, the seating is still there, and the over-the-top size is still there, it’s not first. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my seven hour experience. Here’s what I did:

Sleep

The sleeping rooms have a quirky rule whereby they are reserved for transcontinental flights only. My flight from BCN to BEY didn’t qualify. No sleep room for me. Showers are available to all.

Nap

Without a private room, I needed a place to take a nap. It was midnight and the place was packed. People were sleeping all over the place. That’s not a good look for a lounge, but soon I was going to be a part of the opium den of transients.

Could sleep here under the bright lights.
Glad I found here.

Sit

Plenty of places to sit. I always enjoy lounges that are above the terminal.

Costco Food

The place is divided into food stalls. Each making its own variety of food. I stopped at each and had a sample. Instead of a huge plate stuffed with more food than I could eat (see Are You the Fat Guy in the Lounge?), I received a small portion that I would consume and move on. In that way, the lounge preserved its Costco charm.

Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. is dead. The lounge is more serious. It still has a video game section, a remote car racing circuit, and a golf simulator, which like the old lounge wasn’t working. Entertainment is now an afterthought.

Art Gallery

This was a waste of space. Besides sophisticated bloggers, who would stop in and admire the art?

Chai And Dessert 

There were chai stations all over the lounge. Beneath the chai was a hot water station. It was used by passengers looking to heat their packaged noodles as well.

Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi is awful. To get the password, passengers scan their boarding passes at the mobile stations. That’s a clever idea but useless given the connection speed.

Shift Change

The food is changed from dinner to breakfast. This is done all at once, meaning there was nothing to eat in the interim. That’s not well thought out.

Taxiing

Leave yourself time to reach your gate. I was departing out of terminal A. I was told it would take 15 to 20 minutes. Walking at a brisk pace, it took at least that amount. I was tempted to flag down a golf cart. It’s one thing to build a huge state of the art airport, it’s another to make it functional. This one is not.

Overall

I liked the old Turkish Lounge better. This one is grown up and boring. From where a kid can be a kid to this. The magic is gone. Forget Costco, this is more like Sam’s Club. And nobody likes Sam’s.


If you enjoyed the New Turkish Airlines Lounge Review, read the entire ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.

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