Plane Spotting Istanbul

Plane Spotting Istanbul Ataturk (now the old airport)

There is really only the one airport hotel used for plane spotting in Istanbul. The Radisson Blu hotel below offers great views from airport facing rooms. A taxi can also be used from the Radisson to be taken to the famous Fly Inn Mall where excellent photographs can be taken from the outdoor viewing area in the food court, journey time is around 10 minutes.

 Important update March 2020. The majority of flights have now moved out of here to the new Istanbul Airport. We will update the site when new hotels are reported at the New Airport.

Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel Istanbul
is an excellent base for spotting at the north side of Istanbul Airport, between the parallel runways overlooking the bizz ramp. Free internet is provided with good connection speed reported.
Location: **

Situated on the north side of the perimeter about a 10 minute ride away from the terminal complex. The shuttle bus to the hotel runs every hour, at 30 minutes past the hour from the terminal. Follow directions for the hotel shuttle pick up, this area has space for around 10 minibuses at a time. The hotel minibus is usually not in the colours of the Radisson hotel, so check the front windscreen for the hotel name, or ask drivers when they park up if in doubt.

Tip 1 : The breakfast buffet is large and will set you up for the rest of the day. It is recommended that you get the full bed and breakfast package to take advantage of this. 

Tip 2 : Taxis are plentiful outside the hotel if you are planning a trip to the Fly Inn shopping mall for photography. Fares range between 10-20 lira for a one way trip.

Tip 3 : Try out the Kebab restaurant next to the petrol station across from the hotel as you can get a great meal for less than half the price of the more expensive hotel food. 

Tip 4: If you arrive early, the hotel have been known to allow early check in when there is availability so it is always worth a go. Likewise, checkout is 1200 but again they have been known to allow late check at at 1800 with no charge if they are not fully booked.

Spotting: ***

Most aircraft can be read off from suitable rooms. The final approach, and threshold of runway 18L can be viewed from airport facing rooms. If you have a scanner most aircraft will call up with their reg when they check in on frequency. It is reported that to get everything a SBS is essential. Ask for a room facing the airport, for example room 154 has reported excellent views of the runway.

In the usual runway configuration departures will cross the hotel and can be read off. Arrivals are more distant are can require flight tracking equipment. 

Room’s 385, 441 and 542 have confirmed views of all 3 runways. Movements on the twin parallel runways are readable with binoculars during daylight, however flight tracking software would be required for the far runway in the distance.

A short walk across the footbridge allows you to read off most bizz jets from the executive apron.

Photos: * Poor quality due to distance from terminal and haze etc
Value: * From around £100 but worth the cost due to lack of hassle !
Book:  

For online reservations please visit the Radisson Blu  website or click here  to visit booking.com who may occasionally offer better deals

Please help support our site. We are constantly checking the links for hotels to find the best price offered for our readers. If the price on this site is the best quote you receive, please help us by booking your hotel from the link provided as we receive a small commission payment from the hotel. This helps contribute to the running costs of this site enabling us to continue to offer a great service

For a list of other hotels in the Istanbul Airport area please click here

Comment!   If you want to add or update anything, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page!
Istanbul Airport Photography Image 2 (300px) Image 3 (300px)
 Above: View from The Radisson Blu, Istanbul Airport (double click on picture to enlarge)    

THE FLYIN MALL featured in the video below is the place to be for photographers. It is easily accessable by taxi from both The Radisson Blu above, and Wow Hotel featured below.

THE WOW AIRPORT HOTEL
 
Location: ** Situated on the Eastern side of the airport perimeter. Although the general airfield views are not as good as the often used Radisson Hotel above, this hotel can offer a cheaper alternate.
Spotting: **

Report below credit Peter Etherington

After spending some time before I left the UK looking at hotel options, I decided not to use the Radisson as the price was expensive for the period I was there.  Instead I booked the WOW Airport hotel. It was 1.3 miles from the Airport with its own shuttle bus, restaurants, bar and leisure complex, breakfast included, and more importantly free WIFI.  In the immediate vicinity of the hotel is a major conference/exhibition centre, so has its own metro station about a 5 minute walk away and is one stop from the airport.  About a 10 minute walk is an office complex with a small shopping complex in it, which houses a Starbucks and a Carrefour Express.  Had asked for a high floor airport facing room, but as I had arrived late, just before midnight, the hotel was full and was only able to get a room on the back on the 3rd floor.  However after a chat with the guys on reception, he told me to see them in the morning and they would see what they could do.  So after breakfast went to reception to see what could be done.  They were aware of the issue and a room was being organised for me but not ready until after 12pm, that was fine.  I went back to room packed up bags again and went to lobby and waited.  By 11.15 I was called over to say that room was ready for me, room 1718 was allocated, which was top floor and a king size room as well. Rooms in the range xx15 to xx24 will get you views facing the airport, rooms xx01,xx12, xx14 and xx25 are on the side so you will only see either arrivals or departures, rooms in the range xx02 to xx11 are on the back of the hotel.  Got myself sorted and set up with laptop and SBS and nothing could be missed.  Looking out of the room you are facing the rear of the Turkish maintenance hangers straight in front of you, the runway threshold and Biz aprons are slightly to the right, with the terminal complex to the left.

After getting sorted thought it was time to get some spotting done from the notorious FlyInn Complex.  I initially thought it was going to be hard to get there, but after speaking to the hotels guest relations team, taxis are available from the hotel security staff and it was a short journey.  Sure enough there is a small rank by the main road and they radio through to them to get you one.  After showing him the address, which the hotel had written down for me, off he went, about 10 minutes later we were there and it cost me on 20 TL, about £6.  Stayed here all day buying the odd coffee from the Café and eating in the food court and buying drinks in the supermarket in the basement.  The return journey was just as quick, with taxis waiting outside the FlyInn and was slightly cheaper at 15TL, about £4.50

Meals in the hotel were or good quality and variety.  Breakfast was had in the main dinning room, which consisted of breads, cheeses, cold meats, fruit, cereals, preserves, various olives, hot hard boiled eggs, sausages and other hot options which varied daily, but included chips, onion rings and potatoes.  For evening meals I either had something at one of the FlyInn’s outlets, Chinese, KFC, Burger King, kebabs, salads etc, or ate at one of the outlets within the hotel, which were Burger King, a Turkish restaurant or an American Themed diner with its own bowling alley!  Had a good couple night in here as they also showed all of the World Cup matches on huge TV screens.

Decided to do a day in Istanbul itself for the tourist options and found it rather easy to navigate to and from.  After walking to the station, you need to purchase 2 tokens at 2TL each for your journey, 1 per section, as you need to change after a few stops from the train to the tram.  The tram will take you direct into the heart of the old town down by the Blue Mosque.  The journey takes between an hour and hour 20 depending on how long you have to wait for the connection.  If out for the night be careful you don’t leave it too late for getting back as the system shuts down around midnight.  I caught a tram at 10.50 and was on the 2nd last train for the airport, arriving at the hotel for 11.45.

Photos: * Rather distant from the room. The viewing terrace at the FlyInn offers the better option.
Value: * From around £100 but worth the cost due to lack of hassle !
Book:  

For online reservations please visit the website of AGODA or Hotels.com

Please help support our site. We are constantly checking the links for hotels to find the best price offered for our readers. If the price on this site is the best quote you receive, please help us by booking your hotel from the link provided as we receive a small commission payment from the hotel. This helps contribute to the running costs of this site enabling us to continue to offer a great service

For a list of other hotels in the Istanbul Airport area please click here

Comment!   If you want to add or update anything, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page!

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Above : The view of the bizz area and taxiway from the Wow Hotel. All photos credit Peter Etherington

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Above : Departures from Runways 35R/L can be easily read off in day time, however photos are distant.

Below : Arrivals on Runway 05 can be seen in the distance, however Flight Tracking Software is required to tie them up.

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Posted in Europe, Turkey, World