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Cheap flights to
Istanbul (SAW)

Save hundreds on your next flight with deals on highly rated airlines.

Flights to Istanbul (SAW) overview

Going searches for the best fares and sends members deals bookable 1-12 months in advance. Going members save approximately 34% compared to normal flight prices to Istanbul (SAW).

Cheapest Going deal


Average price roundtrip


Average Going deal price roundtrip


Best month to fly

Going found the most deals with travel dates in January.


Worst month to fly

Going found the least deals with travel dates in April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Top tips for finding a cheap flight to Istanbul (SAW)

Book in the Goldilocks Window

While there’s no specific day of the week when airline tickets to Istanbul—or anywhere else—magically drop, we do have tips on how far in advance of a trip you should book to find the best deals. We call it the Goldilocks Window—not too soon, not too late. That means booking 1–3 months before a domestic trip and about 2–8 months before an international trip. If you plan to travel during a busy period, like May in Istanbul, look on the earlier end of the window, about six months out.

Unfortunately, last-minute deals are very rare, especially during busy travel seasons. We see airlines regularly raise prices at the 21-, 14-, and 7-day points before departure dates. As tempting as it is, don’t wait until the last minute to book.

Use the Greek Islands Trick

One of our favorite tips for finding cheap flights—the Greek Islands Trick—may be named for how well it works for the Greek islands, but it can actually be used all over the world. If you really want to fly from Atlanta to Istanbul in May, you could be looking at a price tag of $1,300 or more. Instead, check out fares to London, which can be found for under $700. Pair that with a low-cost airline ticket (sometimes under $200) to Istanbul, and you’ve saved yourself some money to put toward your hotel.

London isn’t the only city that works here. Check for flights to Athens, Sofia, Vienna, really anywhere that gets you across the ocean and close to Turkey for the cheapest price. If you find a cheap flight to Ankara, you could even take the train to Istanbul instead of an extra flight. The point is that if you can be creative with your itinerary, you can sometimes save a few hundred bucks.

Search alternative departure airports

If you live in Atlanta, it’s likely not often that you search for flights from other cities. Why would you, when Hartsfield-Jackson is right there and can get you anywhere you need to go? Well, we see shockingly cheap fares from airports all over the country, big and small, and if you’re only looking at flights from your home airport, you could miss out. If you see a $550 roundtrip fare from Chicago to Istanbul, for example, then even adding a $250 flight from Atlanta to Chicago would mean you’re still saving a whole bunch of money. In other words, even Atlanta-area residents can save by checking out the deals out of other major airports before booking a trip.

Fly when it’s cheaper

There’s no real bad time to visit Istanbul, and you can save money by flying when other tourists are not. While April–June and September–October have the most ideal weather, and therefore the most tourists, more people traveling also means airlines can raise prices. Instead, travel in the off season, like January. You’ll need a jacket, but the sights are just as beautiful and you’ll get to see them with fewer tourists, as well as save on your flight and hotel.

Shoulder seasons—the periods just before and after high season—are another great time to travel to get the best of both worlds. You’ll have better prices than high season and also better weather than off season. Even if you plan to travel during a peak season, there are still ways to save. Look for fares on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, which are generally the cheapest days to fly. Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive.

Set alerts for specific trips

Flight alerts are a smart traveler’s best friend. Set up flight alerts for your travel dates (make sure to set a few if your dates or airports are flexible), and you’ll get an email when fares drop into your price range or by a significant amount. Gone are the days of constantly checking flights and worrying you missed a deal. (You could also join Going and let us do the work for you.)

Istanbul is one of the busiest airports in the world and very well-connected to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the US. Most visitors can reach Istanbul on a nonstop or one-stop flight.

Frequently asked questions about flying to Istanbul (SAW)

What is the airport code for Istanbul Airport?

The airport code for Istanbul Airport is IST.

When is the high season in Istanbul?

Istanbul has two peak seasons: from April–June and late September–early November. During spring and fall the weather is warm but not too hot.

When is the best time to visit Istanbul?

For perfect weather, the best time to visit Istanbul coincides with the high season, from April–early June and late September–early November. There’s really no bad time to visit Istanbul. It can get hot and humid from late June–August and chilly from January–February, but the weather is rarely extreme. If you can travel in mid-summer or mid-winter, you can save money on flights and hotels.

Does IST have its own on-site hotel?

Istanbul Airport has two YOTEL locations inside the main terminal building. The YOTELAIR is located airside within the Duty Free area of the terminal, and guests must have a valid boarding pass for an international flight to stay. The other YOTEL location is landside on the departures floor, near the check-in desks. Both hotels have rooms for 1–4 people, ensuite rooms with monsoon showers, free Wifi, and a lounge with 24/7 food and beverage service. YOTEL also offers Recharge Cabins that can be booked by the hour; those are near the IGA Lounge.

Istanbul Airport also has iGA Sleepods, pods with blankets and pillows that can be rented by the hour. They are located in the international terminal near Gate D.

What lounges are available at Istanbul Airport?

  • International Terminal: iGA Lounge (on the Mezzanine floor after passport control), SkyTeam Lounge (Level H above the main concourse), Turkish Airlines Business Lounge (near Gate E1), Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge (near Gate C1)
  • Domestic Terminal: iGA Domestic Lounge (near Gate C1), Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge (across from Gate G6)

Turkish Airlines operates three lounges at IST. The Turkish Airlines Business Lounge has snacks, a full bar, rest areas, showers, private suite rooms, a children’s playground, free Wifi, a buffet of Turkish and other cuisine, TVs, worship spaces, and complimentary newspapers and magazines. It is available for Turkish Airlines and Star Alliance business class passengers.

The Miles & Smiles Lounge also has TVs, newspapers and magazines, a playground, rest areas, places for worship, private suite rooms, showers, and an open buffet and bar, as well as a cinema and library. This lounge is available for Turkish Airlines business class passengers, Miles & Smiles Elite and Elite Plus members, Star Alliance Gold members traveling on Turkish Airlines or a member airline, and Turkish Airlines Corporate Club members traveling on a Turkish Airlines flight.

The Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge has a playground, showers, snacks, beverages, a meeting room, and free Wifi. Business class passengers; Miles & Smiles Classic Plus members, Elite, and Elite Plus members; Turkish Airlines Corporate Club members; and Star Alliance Gold members can use the domestic lounge.

The iGA International Lounge is a very large lounge with an outdoor terrace. It has a buffet, full bar, duty-free shop, pool table, baggage lockers, live cooking stations, free Wifi, complimentary massage service, personal workspaces, a playground area, children’s toys, infant care facilities, an alcohol-free zone, showers, and restrooms. Those with an iGA Pass Card can use the lounge, as well as PriorityPass, Dragon Pass, High Pass, and LoungeMe members. Anyone with a valid boarding pass can also purchase access for $90. The iGA Domestic Lounge has the same entry requirements and similar amenities, though no terrace and no showers.

The SkyTeam lounge features a buffet, a bar, showers, flight monitors, a TV room, and lounge seating. First and business class passengers, as well as Elite Plus members on AirFrance, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Tarom, and Saudi Arabian Airlines can use the lounge.

What are the rules for traveling with pets to Istanbul Airport?

Istanbul Airport recommends checking with your airline for airline-specific restrictions. IST has multiple pet relief rooms:

  • International terminal on the iGA Lounge floor near the Museum
  • International terminal near Gate D
  • Near check-in Island E on the departures floor
  • Opposite the entrance gate on the arrivals floor

If you are traveling from outside Turkey, you will need to follow additional restrictions. US-based passengers will need a health certificate from a USDA-accredited veterinarian, current rabies and other vaccinations, and the pet must be microchipped, among other rules.

How far is Istanbul Airport from Istanbul?

Istanbul Airport is about 25 miles from the Istanbul city center, or a 50-minute drive with light traffic. That said, there is often traffic, and the drive can take between 1–1.5 hours.

What are the transportation options for getting from IST to Istanbul?

There are a couple of options to get from IST to Istanbul.

  • By rideshare or taxi: The 25-mile trip from the airport to Istanbul’s city center can take about an hour, sometimes longer. Uber operates out of IST, but taxis are generally more reliable. Prices can range from $25–$35.
  • By public transportation: The Metro Line M11 departs from IST, near the parking garage by Exit 11. From the M11 line you can transfer at Gayrettepe Station to the M2 line, which takes you to Vezneciler Station. From there it’s about a 15-minute walk to Sultanahmet Square. The total trip time is about 40 minutes and costs about $3.

How long is the flight to Istanbul?

From the Northeast US, it takes 9–10 hours to reach Istanbul on a direct flight, while from the Southeast it’s closer to 11.5 hours. From Chicago it’s 11 hours, Dallas it’s 12 hours, and LA and San Francisco it’s 13 hours. From the coasts, Chicago, and Texas, it’s easy to reach Istanbul on a nonstop flight. From elsewhere in the US you’ll likely make a connection, adding a few hours to your flight time.

From most major European cities you can reach Istanbul on a nonstop flight of 3–5 hours. There are plenty of nonstop flights from around the Middle East, ranging from 1–5 hours, as well as from around Asia. A flight from Beijing takes 10.5 hours, and from New Delhi it’s about 7 hours.

Numerous cities around Africa offer nonstop flights to IST. From Nairobi or Accra it’s a 7 hour flight, from several cities in Morocco it’s about 4 hours, from Cape Town it’s 11 hours, and from other African cities it ranges from 4–11 hours. Istanbul is less well-connected to South America, but you can fly from São Paulo in 12.5 hours. From the rest of Central and South America you’ll have to make a connection, and the flight time could be up to 18 hours.


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* Prices are per person and include all taxes & fees in USD. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing, however, prices are not guaranteed, as airline pricing can change by the minute. Average Going fares are based on average prices of deals found by Going.

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