How to Get a Turkish Airlines Free Transit Hotel


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Did you know about Turkish Airlines free transit hotel?

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 notoriously long layovers. Thankfully, Turkish Airlines values its customers enough to offer a layover hotel for qualifying Turkish Airlines layover passengers who fly with them. As long layovers are an excuse for me to squeeze in an extra trip somewhere, I search for and book long layovers. As such, I have had the opportunity to stay at Turkish Airlines free layover hotel …twice.

What is Turkish Airlines layover hotel?

If you have a long layover at New Istanbul Airport, then Turkish Airlines offers a 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. You have to have a connecting flight in Istanbul with them to 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.

Read travel tips on connecting flights and layovers


Turkish Airlines itinerary honolulu to bologna
Turkish Airlines itinerary honolulu to bologna


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 qualify, the booking has to be organic. It cannot be a route you’ve pieced together 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.

Read my tips for staying in hotels

Do I need to get a Turkish visa online if I stay at this layover hotel?

Simply put: 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 like many countries, the moment you set foot outside the hotel and leave the airport layover area to go into Istanbul city, you need a Turkey visa.

By partaking in Turkish Air’s day tour or hotel, a Turkish visa is required.

Does Turkey have a visa on arrival?

No. Turkey does not have a visa on arrival. You need to apply and get your visa before arriving in Turkey.

American travelers can get a Turkey visa online quickly and easily through the government website. This is where I got mine.  Cost is $20 and is valid from the date you request and onward for 60 days. I got my visa within a day.

Okay, so essentially, I paid $20 for my Turkish Airlines free hospitality hotel. It was still worth it and you’ll see why.

See my list of Capsule hotels in Airports

Where is the Turkish Airlines free hotel desk location in 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.

SO Prospecting 728x90 min

Arriving into New Istanbul Airport with my layover ticket, I went to the Turkish Airlines hospitality desk outside of Arrivals.

The office has two hospitality sections~

1) Turkish Airlines free transit hotel

2) Free transit tour of Istanbul.

You tell them your flight number or give them your flight itinerary and they ask you to sit and wait as they check to make sure you qualify.

Traveling to Turkey? Check out Things you NEED to Know before visiting Cappadocia
Turkish Airlines hospitality New Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines hospitality New Istanbul Airport


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 hospitality New Istanbul Airport
Turkish Airlines hospitality New Istanbul Airport
turkish airlines hotel shuttle
turkish airlines hotel shuttle

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 of your shuttle pick up time the next morning.

Your room has all the standard amenities of a three to four-star hotel, complete with complimentary water bottles and room slippers. Watch my video for the entire experience as well as a tour inside New Istanbul Airport!

turkish airlines transit hotel meal
turkish airlines transit hotel meal


Watch my Turkish Air free hotel experience in Istanbul + New Istanbul Airport Tour Video

Turkish Airlines long haul + free transit hotel Turkish Airlines + New Istanbul Airport



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