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Making a connection at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport - what to expect


Later this month, my family and I (all adults) are traveling from NYC-JFK to Malta via Turkish Airlines with a connection at Istanbul's Ataturk airport. I am trying to figure out the following in advance:

1) Do we have go through passport control & security again after arriving in Istanbul?
2) Do we have to claim our checked-in luggage at Ataturk Airport and have re-checked for the segment?
We have layer-overs of 2:30 (to) and 3:55 (from).

Sorry if the questions seem silly but it has been a while since I made connection in Europe.

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
6869 posts

I don't believe you have to go through passport control unless Istanbul is your final destination and you are exiting the airport; otherwise, you transit within the security zone to your connecting gate and then go through passport control once you get into Malta, which is part of Schengen (I assume that Turkish Air flies to Malta, or code-shares with Air Malta)? I am not positive (but pretty sure this works like any other airport connection) so let's see what others say. I had an overnight in Istanbul before/after going to Malta so that was a different story.

Posted by
1078 posts

When you exit your plane on arrival, you will be directed to the "transfer tunnel" and can then eat and spend with wild abandon in the secured area without going through security or PP control before your connecting flight. Bags will be transferred to your connecting flight. Just be careful to only drink bottled water, however, we've eaten several times at the food kiosks with no problem. Can't really recall, but I do think they accept Euros but also CC's. Do check your gate because you could have a long walk.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks for the information!

Yes, we are travelling to Malta via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines for both segments.

Posted by
6869 posts

One unrelated piece of advice, I assume you will use public transport to get around in Malta, correct? If so, buy your transport pass right at Luqua airport (there is a booth right before the exit). The lines in Valletta to purchase passes (at the main bus terminal) are much longer. The bus system is great..brand new buses, good A/C, and great accessibility everywhere from Valletta.