Whats a Turkish Airlines Stopover

If you’re flying Turkish Airlines internationally from basically anywhere on their network, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be flying through Turkey en route to your final destination, and that probably means a stop at Turkish Airlines hub in Istanbul. It’s an awesome city and to encourage people to actually explore Turkey, rather than just flying through it, The flag carrier has implemented a free stopover service.

This is not a new concept and variants of this concept exist within the industry, take Singapore Airlines Stopover Program for instance.

An Important Distinction between Turkish Airlines Stopover & Layover

At this point, it is important to make the distinction between a stopover and layover as Turkish Airlines use the phrase “stopover” interchangeably which causes confusion (a quick Google about it shows that people have mashed the two concepts up passing them off as interchangeable). Turkish Airlines has two different programs targeting transit passengers. One of the programs is aimed at passengers who have around 6-24 hours of layover in Istanbul. While the other is aimed at passengers, who wish to spend a day or two in Istanbul before continuing onto their journey. In short, they are two similar but different concepts and apply to two different groups of travellers of circumstance.

Stopover

A stopover, as discussed in this article, focuses on what it says on the tin – a stopover in Istanbul. As will be explained, it allows you to visit Istanbul for up to 48 hours depending on travel class with a complimentary hotel so you can explore the city. This, of course, is heavily advertised as a key feature when flying with Turkish Airlines.

This works in many ways, for timid would-be adventurers who fear long-haul flights, the Turkish Airline Stopover in Istanbul program is the perfect way to break up the trip. For seasoned travellers, it offers a way to bolt-on an additional location while also boosting the local tourism economy.

Importantly, unlike a forced layover, aside from the hotel and with exception to the visa fees you bear the cost of travel around the city and the cost of travel between the airport and hotel.

Layover

A forced extended layover, which also technically known as a Stopover Paid-by Carrier (or STPC for short) is when you are forced to transit for an extended period of time due to an organic layover, as opposed to voluntary layover. In other words, what this effectively means is that you are forced to transit because of the airlines routing rather than because you have chosen to stay at the airport for an extended period.

In Turkish Airlines case, if you have an organic layover of more than 6 or 12 hours, the airline will provide either a city tour or a hotel and transit between free of charge – this, of course, is buried and never advertised. I discuss this in another article further.

Summary of Turkish Airlines Stopover

What is the Stopover In Istanbul?

Turkish Airlines offers a stopover program in Istanbul for free on almost every ticket fare class and city-pairs. So long as you meet the requirements, this package is perfect for travellers who like to be a little spontaneous in their journey and build in a day or two in Istanbul.

It is important to remember that while the hotel is complimentary, the visa is not and you will need to make sure you have a visa upon arrival.

How does a stopover work In İstanbul?

If you find great Turkish Airlines flight deals on Google Flights or Turkish Airlines, you can book a multi-city journey for the same price as a standard round trip, as long as Istanbul is the city in the middle.

Economy class passengers can avail a free one night stay at a four-star hotel whereas business class passengers can avail a free two nights stay at a five-star hotel.

Free accommodation

The catch is you can’t just rock up expecting to have it.

To make use of the program you have to send an email to the mail address designated according to your departure point stating your name & surname, reservation code (PNR) or ticket number, date range for the anticipated accommodation, preferred room type (single, double or triple), telephone and e-mail address at least 72 hours before your first flight.

Once You’ve Got A Booking

Email Turkish Airlines

Once you’ve made a booking with Turkish, you simply email the local Turkish stopover office, no later than 72 hours prior to the flight.

When you email, include your name, your record locator/confirmation number and which date(s) you’d like to stay in Istanbul. You can also note if you prefer double beds, etc. Add in your email and telephone number.
Then they will get back to you with a list of hotels that you can choose from.

You can even send an email or call them on the number provided if you have any doubts about the stopover program before and after booking your flights.

Get A Visa

Turkey requires visas for citizens of many countries and to ensure the easiest entry process, it’s best to get one well in advance although some countries can get it on arrival. You can read up on everything you need to apply online at the Turkey e-visa website, from past experience it takes 5-10 mins tops.

Possible hotels with the Turkish Airlines Stopover

The FlyerTalk thread on this does highlight some common hotels and by the looks of things they aren’t your cheap budget end hotels.

Business Class Hotels

  • Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel
  • Hilton DoubleTree
  • Wyndham İstanbul Petek

Economy Class Hotels

  • Courtyard by Marriott Istanbul International Airport
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel

Turkish Airlines Stopover Terms and Conditions

These are the main rules that need to be adhered to for the stopover to apply – I have bolded the main ones for emphasis

  • Stopovers only apply for the cities and countries in the scope of stopovers indicated in the table above.
  • A stopover is only available for passengers transferring via Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). Outbound and inbound flights should be through Istanbul
  • All flights should be included (in) the destinations given in the table in order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service.
  • Free accommodation is available for round-trip tickets. Free accommodation can be used on the outbound or return journey. In order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service, all outbound and inbound destinations of the flight shall be included to the ‘Stopover Destinations’ list. However the departure and return country of the round trip must be the same for a stopover to apply.
  • Visa fees, the cost of travel around the city, and the cost of travel between the airport and hotel are borne by the passenger.
  • Passengers wishing to benefit from stopover free accommodation service should prefer a transit duration between two flights lasting 20 hours or more.
  • Free accommodation is only available for flights operated by Turkish Airlines. Passengers can take advantage of free accommodation using their ticket number only ıf issued by Turkish Airlines stock number starting 235
  • In order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service, the application must be sent to the relevant country’s e-mail address at least 72 hours before the first flight. You can obtain more information in How does the stopover work? section.
  • Passengers using stopover free accommodation service cannot benefit from TourIstanbul service at the same time.
  • Passengers without any hotel vouchers cannot benefit from free accommodation service.
  • Boarding pass and hotel voucher must be presented during check-in to the hotel.
  • After obtaining a hotel voucher for extra accommodation, you can benefit from the special fares of Turkish Airlines by directly contacting the hotel.
  • The hotel options provided are subject to the availability of Turkish Airlines contracted hotels.
  • [Turkish Airlines provide] 1-night stay in a 4-Star hotel for Economy Class and 2 nights stay in a 5-Star hotel for the Business Class.
  • Passengers that get an involuntary ticket reissue due to a flight cancellation for operational reasons, cannot benefit from the stopover accommodation service.
  • Hotel vouchers are non-changeable after once voucher is issued by the system.
  • Free accommodation is subject to Hotel availability and Turkish Airlines has the right to change terms and conditions at any time.
  • Passengers travelling with AnadoluJet cannot benefit from the Stopover Accommodation service.

Turkish Airlines Stopover Eligible City Pairs

Departure pointsArrival pointsE-mailTelephone
AlgeriaAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Middle East[email protected]+21 366 907 8308
AustraliaBalkans, Europe, Middle East, Turkey domestic routes[email protected]+61 2 9255 9900
AzerbaijanAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina and Brazil), Asia & Far East, Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, London, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Frankfurt, Barcelona, ​​Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania[email protected]+994 12 404 10 51
BelarusAsia-Far East, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Europe, America Region[email protected]+375 17 3272555
China (PVG, XIY, CAN, PEK)America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe, Africa, Middle East[email protected]+86 10 6465 1867
DenmarkAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+45 33 38 0849
EstoniaAsia & Far East and Eastern Africa, Southern Europe, America Region, Middle East, Eastern Europe[email protected]+372 623 1111
EthiopiaUSA, Canada, Amsterdam, Moscow, Geneva, Stockholm[email protected]+251 11 662 7781
FinlandAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+358 9 774 518 15
GhanaEurope, America Region, Asia-Far East, Beirut, Israel[email protected]+233 302 73 45 60
GreeceMiddle East, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, Balkans, North Europe, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa[email protected]+30 210 985 00 76
IrelandAsia, Far East, Africa, Middle East[email protected]+353 1 844 79 20
IndiaAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe and Middle East[email protected]+ 91 124 4193000
IranAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, North Europe, Balkans, United Kingdom, Africa, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain[email protected]+98 21 235 46
ItalyAmerica Region, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Japan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Jordan, South Korea[email protected]+39 02 36563813
Ivory CoastEurope, America Region, Asia-Far East, Beirut, Israel, Medina[email protected]+225 88 37 31 08
JapanEurope, Middle East, Africa[email protected]+81 3 3435 0421
KazakhstanAmerica Region, South Africa, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Greece, Kiev, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, United Kingdom, Ireland, Schengen Countries, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Doha, Bahrain[email protected]+7727 250 6219
KuwaitAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe, Balkans, Asia Far East, Africa, Middle East, Cyprus[email protected]+965 18 849 18
LatviaAsia & Far East, Middle East, Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico) and South Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+371 673 59441
LithuaniaAsia & Far East, Middle East and America Region (USA, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico), South Europe, Africa, Georgia[email protected]+370 521 90 725
MalaysiaEurope, Middle East, Africa, America Region[email protected]+60 3 2164 0849
MoroccoMiddle East & Cyprus, Saudi Arabia (Hajj & Umrah), Asia & Far East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, France, Malta, Belarus, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Norway and Cuba[email protected]+212 522 640 507
NigeriaAsia-Far East, Middle East, America Region[email protected]+234 1 277 22 30-32
NorwayAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+ 47 930 85 235
OmanAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, Ireland, North Africa, Europe, Balkans, Jordan, Lebanon, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia[email protected]+968 2476 5074
PakistanUSA, United Kingdom, Ireland, Schengen countries, Canada, Saudi Arabia (Hajj, Umrah), Azerbaijan[email protected]+92 21 384 02 333
PortugalAsia-Far East, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Balkans[email protected]+351 213163121
QatarEurope, Balkans, North Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Cyprus, Mauritania, Ghana and Ethiopia[email protected]+974 3030 4712
RussiaAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Asia-Far East, Africa, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Malta, Israel, Prague, Vienna, Belgrade, Baku, Bucharest, Jordan, Croatia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Central Europe, Middle East, Northern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+7495 980 5207
SerbiaBrazil, Argentina, Cuba, USA, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Iran, India, Israel, Oman, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles[email protected]+381 11 209 72 25
South AfricaAsia-Far East, America Region, United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, Saudi Arabia (Hajj, Umrah), Middle East, North Africa [email protected]+27 21 936 3448
SpainMiddle East, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, Balkans, North Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, North Africa, Greece[email protected]+34 91 758 23 35
SwedenAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans[email protected]+46 8 120 95 115
TanzaniaAsia-Far East, Middle Europe, North Europe, America Region, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Tehran, Najaf, Oman, Paris, Lyon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom[email protected]+255 754 933 000
ThailandEurope, Middle East, Africa, America Region[email protected]+662 091 0300
TunisiaAmerica Region, United Kingdom, Africa, Asia-Far East, Middle East, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, Greece, France[email protected]+216 71 960 999
United KingdomAsia, Far East, Africa, Middle East[email protected]+44 207 471 6640
UkraineAmerica Region, Europe, United Kingdom, Ireland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Georgia , Azerbaijan, Thailand, Israel, China, Maldives, Dubai, Morocco, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates[email protected]+38 044 289 44 00
USA Africa, Eastern Europe, Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nepal[email protected] +1 703 992 0476

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