Hello fellow travelers. I recently signed up for the Best of Turkey Tour for this May. I see on the itinerary where it suggests that one book a flight out of Izmir after 11am. I found a flight with Turkish Air at 12:55pm which arrives in Istanbul at about 2:10pm. My international flight is at 5:00PM. Would I have sufficient time to make my 5pm flight if I arrive in Istanbul at 2:10pm? Thank you.
I'm pretty sure I took that same flight from Izmir to Istanbul last October after the Best of Turkey tour. My international flight, also Turkish Air, was at about 5:00 pm too and I had plenty of time. The Istanbul airport is huge, just walking between gates can take 15-20 minutes, but also has some of the best shopping and eating I have ever seen. I had a Shake Shack burger that was better than one from the original in NYC. And every designer brand in the world is among the shops (I know you didn't ask about that).
Thank you PonyGirl for your response and information. I'm actually looking at two different international flights, one is at 5PM with Delta and another is at 5PM with Turkish Airlines. If I chose the Delta flight, which has better connections, I will need to go to baggage claims then check-in in Departures to drop-off my luggage. If the flight from Izmir to Istanbul is on time, I think I may be ok with a 5PM international flight regardless of airline.
I believe that if you claim your baggage at IST, you are leaving out of custom control. It is my understanding that if you want to go through customs again, you would need a Visa. I think it is better not to claim your baggage and have your baggage checked through to your final destination. That way, you don't have to worry about getting a Visa.
Since she is going on the Best of Turkey tour, she will have gotten a visa, so that should not influence her flight/baggage decisions.
I go through IST often, yes. You can make it easily. Even on 2 tickets, but i wouldn't do 2 tickets. It's too risky because of other issues.
It's likely that if you book open-jaw with either airline, you won't have issues - as long as it's all on one ticket. Your luggage should be checked through to your final destination and you should get both boarding passes in Izmir.
However, I would book an earlier flight. As has been said, there's plenty to keep you occupied at IST for another hour or two. My only experience flying from Izmir was after the RS tour several years ago. A bunch of us were flying to Istanbul and a few had earlier flights so our guide suggested and the whole group agreed that the tour bus would leave an hour or so earlier for the airport. When we got to Izmir there were long lines for check-in. Several of us were offered - and accepted - earlier flights than we'd booked. Then there were multiple flight delays and later scheduled flights, even though somewhat delayed, left before those that were "earlier."
Be sure that the flight from Izmir is to IST. There is another airport in Istanbul (SAW) and Turkish does offer transfers through that airport - which is a long drive to IST.
Don't wait too long to get to your departure gate at IST. There are additional security checks there for all flights to the US.
Thank you all for the information.
To be on the safe side, I have decided to book my international flight returning home for the following day so I'll be spending one night at the Istanbul airport Yotel hotel. In the event my flight from Izmir to Istanbul is delayed, I figured it'll just be best to fly out the following day. So on Saturday, I'm flying from Izmir to Istanbul then staying at the Yotel Landside. This flight is via Turkish Airlines. On Sunday, I'll check-in my luggage and head to my gate for my flight with British Airways.
You have a 3 hour layover in a well designed and well operated airport.
You will have to go through a typical security check: 15 minuted tops. Then to the gate; maybe a 5 minute walk. At the gate, you will get in another que and present your passport 3 more times ending in a search of your carryon luggage. The whole process at the gate takes 5 to 10 minutes. So, at the outside 30 minutes. Door to the plane can be closed 30 min before flight time. In theory. So now you have used up an hour. Two hours to go. Do make sure your flight in is landing at IST, as there is another airport.