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6 Reasons To Pick Turkish Airlines For Summer Travel

Turkish Airlines
Written by Charlie

Tens of thousands of people will be traveling to Europe (and beyond) this summer, many because of the increased strength of the US Dollar. Finding travel in such a crowded time of year may be a little difficult but not necessarily because of high prices – it also is because there are so many great options and even great prices (even in business class).

Whether you are traveling in coach or business, paid or award, Turkish Airlines deserves your consideration as a great airline to choose for your upcoming travels and these are the reasons why.

6 Reasons To Pick Turkish Airlines For Summer Travel

Turkish Airlines

Credit: Bocman1973 / Courtesy Shutterstock

1) Low Taxes/Fees (on awards)

If you are traveling on an award, you will find that taxes/fees for Turkish Airline flights are going to be the cheapest of European airlines. In some cases/airlines, you can save as much as $70-100 per person roundtrip on award ticket taxes/fees. That is a significant savings and one that is a good reason to choose Turkish.

2) Istanbul Is A Great Layover Airport (Free Tours and Hotels!)

Turkish Airlines

Get a free tour through Istanbul with your layover of 6 hours or more!

Turkish Airlines provides international passengers with layovers of over 6 hours with a free tour of Istanbul. That includes free transportation and access to the museums and locations you visit. In addition to the tour option, you can instead take advantage of their free hotel offering.

The hotel offering is available for passengers who are on a forced layover (meaning you do not have an earlier connection option). For the hotel option, if you are traveling economy, you must have at least a 10 hour layover and be connecting from one Turkish flight to another (one of those being an international flight). Business class customers only need a 7 hour layover to take advantage of the free hotel option.

For both the tour and hotel options, you will need to check on whether you need a visa or not. For US citizens, you will need to apply online and pay a $20 fee per person (but it is good for 180 days with multiple entry)

3) Free Internet (In The Air)

Some of Turkish Airlines’ planes (Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-300 aircrafts) actually have internet on board. And it is free! Warning – it very likely will be quite slow! If you want to do some very basic things like e-mails/messaging, you should be fine. Just remember that it is free internet on a place with hundreds of others accessing it as well. Let that help temper your expectations of what speeds you may expect. Still, it is free internet!

4) 2 Free Bags (Great for your cruise or extended vacation)

Turkish Airlines

You can check 2 bags at 50lbs each for free on Turkish Airlines! / Courtesy of Shutterstock

Airlines going to Europe will give you 1 bag at 50lbs. If you have elite status or are traveling premium economy, you can get 2 bags. But, with Turkish Airlines, everyone can take 2 bags at 50lbs each (on routes from the USA and others). While I mostly travel with just a carry-on, I know that many of you who will be traveling to Europe during the summer will need more than just the one bag. If you are taking a cruise or a couple of week vacation, chances are the 2 bags per person will come in handy!

5) Good Seat And Service (In economy, and of course in business)

Of course, people’s experiences will vary, but our travel on Turkish Airlines – even in economy – has been excellent. The food has been better than decent, the service has been good, and they have been very good with our kids. The seats have been comfortable as well. While there is not a lot that makes one economy seat and experience much better than another airline, Turkish Airlines is certainly not a terrible airline to fly on for the seat and service.

6) Good For One Way Travel (To match with your one way awards)

Turkish Airlines

One way travel on Turkish Airlines can be cheaper than other airlines!

While many of us prefer to use miles for international travel, if you are traveling with a family, you may not have enough miles for round trip award travel. In that situation, Turkish Airlines can be ideal for either your paid return ticket or the ticket to Europe since they do not charges the extremely high one way prices that the other airlines will throw at you.

In some situations, your one way ticket may be just about 50% of the roundtrip ticket! That is not common for European travel at all so it makes Turkish Airlines a very compelling carrier for your travel.

Bonus Reasons

If you are a Star Alliance elite member, Turkish Airlines is also a great choice as you will have access to what I think is the best business class lounge around. It is a great place to kill a longer layover and you can even get a studio to sleep in depending on class of travel/length of layover.

Another bonus reason is the size of Turkish Airlines network. If you want to travel beyond Europe, Turkey is well-situated to give you access to Asia and Africa, as well as anywhere throughout the Middle East.

Finally, if you are traveling in Comfort Class or Business Class, flying Turkish Airlines is a great way to ensure you get the max amount of sleep enroute to your European vacation. Since the flights to Istanbul are going to be longer than to Frankfurt, London, Paris, etc, it will give you enough time for rest. Many people may not care about this, but if the flight overnight is only going to be a few hours long at night, it may not give you the time of rest you might like. I know I like the length of the flight – when I am flying in business, that is! 🙂

Turkish Airlines

Flying business class on Turkish Airlines is a great way to get to Europe!

What are your opinions of Turkish Airlines? Is there anything else you like or dislike about the airline?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • i was thinking of flying economy Turkish to Istanbul, stay there for few days and continue on to Athens for few days… what do you think about this award booking? will I be eligible for the tour as well?

    • That sounds like a great trip! Unfortunately, the free tour is only available for layovers up to 24 hours. You could book the long layover on the way over to get an idea of what you want to see and then spend a few days in Istanbul on the way back exploring more.

  • Thanks for the article, interesting read!

    Been wanting to fly Turkish for a while now, definitely on my to-do list!

    One more thing I like about them (without having ever flown TK ;)) is, that they are great for multi-city bookings – for example, I have to travel frequently between Frankfurt (home of friends & family) and Singapore (my current home) – TK allows for some really creative booking, for example FRA-(IST)-SIN (stop)-(IST)-TLV/AGP/FCO/VKO etc., allowing me to take a vacation before coming home to Germany (just need to book a one-way flight home to FRA) for usually the same money it would cost me for a basic FRA-(IST)-SIN.

  • A different point of view…. I am booked on Turkish from IST to Edinburgh one way after a seven day visit to IST with my wife. Turkish limits coach passengers to one checked bag at 20 kg (44 lbs). The second bag will cost 10 Euros per KG (or $200!!). Buyer beware (and I was, unfortunately, not)

  • We flew Turkish a few times to Europe and Maldvies and the service, food and entertainment are all very good even in basic economy. Additionally, TK lounge available for all Star Alliance Golds and above is indeed one of the best. However, TK can advertise free Istanbul city tours precisely because it doesn’t have to provide them often due to their layover scheduling. Even if you have more than six hour between flights, the layovers are likely to be in the afternoon or late at night as is the case with US outbound flights. On the other hand, city tours start at 9am and go either until 12:00Noon (short tour) or 3pm (long tour). So, too many layovers would just not fit that precise window of opportunity.

  • Wi-fi is only free for J pax (1 device per seat), otherwise it’s like $10/1-hour or $15/24-hour (on my IST-ORD 77B in J flight). My A333 from YUL-IST had no wi-fi either

    A333/340 may not have Wi-Fi

    Agree on the tours/hotels, they are not that useful. or even the lounge sleep rooms have very strict restrictions

  • Just finished IAH-IST rt 12 hr flight. Never got wifi to work on plane or in airport (since I didn’t want to give my credit card info). Like the diff menu items like chicken w/arabic spices and the cucumber/dill/yogurt dish. If you have Lounge Club then there’s a decent Primeclass lounge w/showers and hot food. You can get a kilo of turkish delight (diff flavors) for 10 lira/kilo (under $4) in the city at the open market instead of 11 euros at the airport for a tiny box.