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Flying between Istanbul & Athens in October 2021

Has anyone flown between Istanbul and Athens very recently (since September 2021)? How difficult was it in the current Covid situation? Are travelers allowed to fly from Istanbul to Athens and back these days? What are the requirements involved? Is a PCR test required before flying to Athens? Back to Istanbul? We will be originating in the US, flying to Istanbul, staying for one night, then flying to Athens for three nights. Then back to Istanbul. Any very recent experiences and info are appreciated,

Posted by
12550 posts

In July no PCR test was required for Greece or Turkey; but dont ask here, check the official sites so you get it right.

In July I flew Houston - Istanbul, Istanbul - Kyiv, Odesa - Istanbul, Istanbul - Zagreb, Athens - Istanbul and Istanbul - Houston; in September I flew Houston - Istanbul, Istanbul - Budapest, Budapest - Istanbul and Istanbul - Houston.

If you are in transit you need nothing more than that which is required by your final destination but if you are staying in Istanbul you will need to sign up for their PLF and you will need an E-Visa.

If you are spending just the night (in transit), I believe less than 24 hours (but please check me on that) you need nothing.

On one flight I had a 14 hour connection so I stayed in the airport hotel; not bad, and its on the Air Side so you dont have to fool with security. I've done this a couple of times.

You might gather by the frequency that the Istanbul Airport and Turkish Air are among my favorites.

I head back out in November.

Posted by
142 posts

@James E. Have you done any of the Covid tests at the Istanbul Airport? I think they do any of the tests. Do you know how quickly they give results? I am a frequent traveler to Turkey, but haven’t been since Covid started.

Posted by
12550 posts

I got the antigen for the flight back to the US. Whole process including results took less than 30 min. But there were very few there when I went through. They had about 8 stations set up, just two were open, but I suspect they can take a pretty good rush if need be. Pretty well run.

Posted by
37 posts

I just returned last week. We flew from Athens to Istanbul then back to Athens. All I needed was my immunization card. Did not need covid test for any flights. My daughter had a recovery letter as she is not vaccinated and we both had covid in July. Everything was pretty easy, no no real issues.. Just check both Greece and Turkey websites to make sure there have not been any changes. We flew Athens to Istanbul 9/10 then Istanbul to Athens 9/17.

Posted by
37 posts

Also, it was extremely difficult to get taxis in Turkey. I had read everywhere that you had to register with a pass for the tram ( due to covid) so we avoided trams the 1st 4 days it is as I could not figure out how to get to get it completed online. With the difficulty getting taxis we Then went and purchased single trip tickets from the ticket machines, no registration required and no issues. A local told us there are issues with getting taxis due to traffic. We had no problem with scheduling taxi transport online ahead of time though, just in the city.