Please sign in to post.

Connecting flights in Istanbul

I will be traveling from Houston TX to Rome IT with a 2 hour layover in Istanbul. I thought that would be enough time but when I check my flights it comes up in Red to check layover times! Now searching I see that I have to get my luggage and recheck it for the second leg of the flight? Can anyone help explain this? Is 2 hrs enough time? I will have global entry if that helps. Thanks!

Posted by
7649 posts

Global Entry only applies when returning into the USA, so that won’t help with Istanbul plane connections. Can you carry-on your suitcase instead, avoiding waiting to collect it at baggage claim and then rechecking it? I presume both flights are on unrelated, non-code-share airlines? Does any airline get you directly from Texas to Rome? We flew American Airlines from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Rome a couple years ago, although that option might cost you more, but would it be less convenient?

Posted by
6 posts

Not sure I can pack 14 days in a carryon but will sure try! That seems like it will help a lot. Both flights are Turkish airlines the whole way.

Posted by
7649 posts

Huh, but they won’t transfer your luggage onto the connecting flight? I haven’t flown Turkish, but lots of other airlines have handled the transfer when I’ve done a checked bag elsewhere.

This forum, and Rick’s Website and guidebooks have lots of suggestions to aid packing light. I’ve gone 6 weeks with one international-carryon-sized suitcase, plus a personal carry-on bag. Don’t take too many shoes, wear the same things more than one day, bing just 2-4 underwear and wash in the sink if needed. Minimal electronic and photography gadgets.

Posted by
6 posts

I thought they would transfer luggage but one thread I saw said you have to pick it up and transfer it to another check in point and then thru customs?

Posted by
1422 posts

I flew Turkish Airlines via Istanbul last September, booked on 1 ticket, and we didn’t have to pick up our luggage nor did we have to go thru customs. We just had to walk to the next gate and that was it.
Are you sure that the person who wrote the thread you read was in the same situation as you?

Posted by
6 posts

This is good to know. I don’t know what the difference of 1 ticket vs 2? I will have 1 ticket to Istanbul and then don’t you get another one from Istanbul to Rome so that would be a 2 ticket trip? I am more confused!

Posted by
27424 posts

Have you purchased your tickets yet? Normally, if you book from your home airport to your final destination (Rome in your case) it's considered one flight, although with two tickets. That's very different (usually) from going to an airline website and buying one round-trip ticket to Istanbul and a second round-trip ticket from Istanbul to Rome. Do you have just one 6-character, alphanumeric ticket-locator number, or do you have two?

I have not changed planes in Istanbul, but I flew into and out of that airport last fall. It is a very, very large airport. Your plane may spend a lot of time taxiing, and you may have a lot of walking to do even if you don't have to deal with claiming and re-checking baggage.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you. Yes I have just One confirmation number. We have already bought our tickets. I think I am going to try the carryon only route. Thank you

Posted by
1422 posts

If you booked this on 1 ticket and have 1 confirmation number, your luggage will be checked thru to your final destination. Literally all you have to do at Istanbul airport is walk to the next gate.
Last September I flew via Istanbul on both my outbound and return flight. We had a similar transfer time as you and it was easily doable, no rush at all. I did check luggage and there was no issue whatsoever.

Posted by
738 posts

Are you flying Turkish Airlines all the way, or are you changing carriers in Istanbul? I have never had to recheck luggage flying Turkish through Istanbul.

However, two hours is a close connection in Istanbul. If there there is any delay whatsoever in the first leg of your flight, it will be extremely difficult to make the connection.

I have missed my connection on two separate occasions. The first time Turkish put me up in a hotel overnight, and the second time they were able to put me on a later flight. Both times my checked luggage arrived with me at my final destination.

Posted by
1837 posts

I've transferred on Turkish Airlines through Istanbul Airport several times. It is very well signed. When you disembark, look for signs directing you to International Transfers. It can be a long walk, but there are a lot of movable walkways. Your luggage will be checked through to your final destination, as others have said. You'll need to go through a security checkpoint, and then you'll come out into the main terminal. From there, you'll walk to your gate. Two hours should be plenty of time.

Posted by
1837 posts

I forgot to share something really valuable for you, in case you're feeling anxious about the short connection:

There is a special place to go for short international connections. Follow the signs that say Short Connection International. I think they are purple.

https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.flyertalk.com-vbulletin/2000x1504/b88631f6_d8f0_40b7_a92e_6b4194366ca2_43d73c65cfeb0a97e559b9104bc250e1d24e16a2.jpeg

Here are some websites with details about making connections at Istanbul Airport:

https://www.istairport.com/en/flights/airport-guides/transfer-passenger-guide/?locale=en&tab=2#external-to-external-lines

https://notordinaryblogger.com/how-to-transit-at-istanbul-international-airport/

Posted by
18802 posts

Your luggage will go through. You may have to go through a secondary security check. Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. But it doesn't take 15 minutes if you do. I was flying TA through IST 4 to 6 times a year. My favorite airport. I would like a little more than 2 hours cause I am paranoid, but I have done 1 hour layovers a few times. Go, enjoy.

Posted by
7649 posts

Sounds like the flight, and the connection in Istanbul, aren’t going to be any problem. If (emphasis on “if”) there’s some delay, Turkish Air will get you to Rome. even if they have to put you in lodging overnight. But it likely won’t come to that. You’ll make your connection in istanbul, and arrive in to Rome, no problem. That’s not a requirement to do carry-on, but it frees you and simplifies your trip overall.

Being able to carry on your bags, despite the inconvenience of having to keep an eye on your luggage, and it’s a bit cumbersome in airport restrooms, lets you move thru the airport and onto / off of planes with no delays.

Having a single booking confirmation makes a big difference in simplifying your air journey. You did this right.

Tip: in Rome, a go to a cafe in the morning and order a Maritozzo. It’s a sweet bun, filled with whipped cream. It’s classically Roman, and sure beats Sugar Frosted Flakes or Cap’n Crunch!

Posted by
12 posts

I know this is a late reply but it might help someone else. We were in the Istanbul airport 2 days ago. The walk from one gate to the other is very long. However, if anyone in your party is over 65, or you are traveling with small children, there is a shortcut that you can use. You still go though security but we didn’t have to wait in line.

Posted by
77 posts

Hi me. That is so interesting about the shortcut. Can you tell me where I can learn more? My husband and I will be in the Istanbul airport this October. Both over 65 with some mobility issues. Don’t want to request special service at this point but a shortcut would be a godsend.
Edited: I think I found the information on the Istanbul airport website. Thanks so much ME! This will definitely help us.

Posted by
77 posts

Hi Mr. E. I’m sorry that posting a link on this page is beyond my technical capabilities haha! I did a google search and the services for 65+ are listed under the IGA Fasttrack program for Istanbul airport. These services are free to 65+ including the use of a “buggy” to get through the airport. The website shows access points and indicates that there are airport staff members with yellow vests with (65+ on them) to assist. Hope this helps and maybe someone else knows how to post the link.