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Transit from U.S. to Athens through Istanbul

Has anyone recently transited from the U.S. through Istanbul to Athens (i.e. not leaving international terminal)?

Any difficulties? Any tips?

A recent article from Travel and Leisure described it as easy, even during COVID.


Posted by
6 posts

I belong to a private facebook group. A traveler just said they had big problems doing this. They were randomly tested at the airport, it was positive, and immediately put into quarantine. They were not allowed to have a PCR test done and were stuck in quarantine for quite some time.

Not sure if it's a scam, or incompetence. But this person is now saying she's heard from several others who've had the same problems. This happened just a few days ago.

Posted by
2 posts

I have the same question. I assume if you don't somehow test positive for covid, then it'll be ok?

Posted by
27405 posts

Where was the testing problem--at the Istanbul airport or the Athens airport?

Posted by
18717 posts

A recent article from Travel and Leisure described it as easy, even
during COVID.

I would suspect that this is the truth. Neither Greece nor Turkey require testing if you are vaccinated. Istanbul airport, pretty well done. One of my favorites. Maybe it wasn't a scam. Maybe he was positive?

Posted by
15673 posts

I flew via Istanbul less than 4 weeks ago from Tel Aviv to Chicago. It was smooth as silk. The TLV-IST flight was on a smaller jet and we parked on the tarmac, buses were waiting to shuttle us to the terminal where you have to go through security (be sure to follow the transit passenger signs). They didn't ask me to take out my laptop or my 3-1-1 bag and even a half-full bottle of water went through, but they dug into the bottom of my carry on bag to confiscate my manicure scissors. Then it was a longish walk through the duty-free to the gate - I was rushing because the signs said my flight was already boarding (it wasn't) but I don't think it was more than 10 minutes, maybe 15 at the most. (It seemed like there was less walking than in the old terminal.)

Be aware that on your return, there will another security check (always before boarding flights to the US in Istanbul). There's a passport check and they asked to see my negative PCR test. Then they went through hand luggage pretty thoroughly and wanded a lot of passengers as well. All of that is because the US doesn't trust the standard security measures in Turkey.

It's been my experience that Turkish Air is very particular about weight limits. The limit on hand luggage is 8 kg.

Posted by
15673 posts

Any other questions, PM me - I'm traveling on the West Coast and not checking the forum much but I do get email notices of PMs.