Last Updated on
Turkish Airlines free transit hotel stay… did you know you can get one?
Turkish Airlines has a huge fleet and network, which dominates New Istanbul Airport, the largest airport in the world. Some of the Turkish Air routes have long layovers. Thankfully, Turkish Airlines values their customers enough to offer layover hospitality for qualifying layover guests who fly with them. I have had the opportunity to stay at Turkish Airlines free layover hotel …twice.
Table of Contents: How to Get a Turkish Airlines Free Transit Hotel
- 0.1 What is Turkish Airlines layover hospitality?
- 0.2 Turkish Airlines long haul flight from San Francisco to Italy
- 1 What are the qualifications for a Turkish Airlines free hotel stay?
- 2 Getting a Turkish visa online for a layover
- 3 How to Find Turkish Airlines hotel desk location at New Istanbul Airport
- 4 Watch my Turkish Air free Istanbul hotel & New Istanbul Airport Video
- 5 Best Travel Insurance for Turkey
- 6 Watch Turkey Travel Guide Videos
What is Turkish Airlines layover hospitality?
If you have a long layover at New Istanbul Airport, then Turkish Airlines offers layover hospitality for its passengers. Layover hospitality can be one of two choices- either, a free Istanbul hotel (up to a maximum of two days) or a free day tour of Istanbul and you have to have flown with them and qualify.
The best news is that this offer is not only for Business Class passengers. Economy Class passengers can get a free hotel stay in Istanbul for their extended layovers too!
Read my Turkish Airlines Economy review
Turkish Airlines long haul flight from San Francisco to Italy
When I knew I’d been accepted to attend a Social Travel Summit conference in Ravenna and my flight expenses would be sponsored, I researched flights and I was thrilled to see an itinerary flying Turkish Airlines. I was going to have my first Turkish Airlines experience and it had a 15 hour layover. Flying from Honolulu to Bologna (Italy), I knew I’d be a soldier going off to a long war… 40 hours worth, at least .
Generally, I try to make use of my layover time. Sometimes, I will use them to create extra travel. So 15 hours felt like a decent time for decent options.
What are the qualifications for a Turkish Airlines free hotel stay?
Turkish Airlines has qualifications for rewarding passengers with their hospitality program. You have to meet the qualifications for it, namely:
” Economy Class passengers having a connection time of 12 hours or longer and Business Class passengers having a connection time of 9 hours or longer can benefit from hotel service free of charge in case a transit flight with a shorter connection time is not provided for the related travel. (Note: For transit flights with a connection time shorter than the designated above, you will not be able to benefit from this service even if the transit flight with a shorter connection time is full.)”
Also, in order to quality, the booking has to be organic. It cannot be a route you’ve pieced togetther to create an unnaturally long layover nor does it count if you book a day’s stopover in Istanbul for a quick vacation. In my itinerary, I really had no choice. That was the organic route and it was not purposely created that way.
Getting a Turkish visa online for a layover
If you have a layover and are staying solely in the airport layover area awaiting your next flight, you do not need a Turkish visa.
But if you are planning to leave the layover area to see the city or visit the outer part of the airport, you need a Turkey visa.
By partaking in Turkish Air’s day tour or hotel, a Turkish visa was required. Turkey does not have a visa on arrival so you need to get your visa in advance. American travelers can get a Turkey visa online quickly and easily (government website here). Cost $20 and is valid from the date you request and onward for 60 days. I got my visa within a day.
How to Find Turkish Airlines hotel desk location at New Istanbul Airport
Opened on October 2018 and costing over $12 billion, the New Istanbul Airport is the world’s biggest airport. It is 22 miles from Istanbul and a bit out in the boonies. There is a metro into Istanbul apparently but I did not explore that option. I was here solely for the layover hotel.
Arriving into New Istanbul Airport, I went to the Turkish Airlines hospitality desk outside of Arrivals. The office has two hospitality sections~ 1) free transit hotel and 2) free transit tour of Istanbul. You tell them your flight number or give them your itinerary and they ask you to sit and wait as they check to make sure you qualify.
A representative calls your name and you are allowed to join the group to take the shuttle to your hotel. The hotel I stayed at was located at least 20 minutes away from the airport.
Turkish Airlines Free Transit hotel
Turkish Airlines is very organized about their free layover hotel. They hand you your key with information such as Free Wifi, the meals included in your stay and the time your shuttle pick up time.
Your room has all the standard amenities of a four star hotel, complete to complimentary water bottles and room slippers. Watch my video for the entire experience as well as a tour inside New Istanbul Airport!
Watch my Turkish Air free Istanbul hotel & New Istanbul Airport Video
Turkish Airlines long haul + free transit hotel Turkish Airlines + New Istanbul Airport
Best Travel Insurance for Turkey
American travelers often pay a premium on travel insurance. World Nomads offers economic solutions for travelers who seek security and peace of mind. It covers 150 countries.