reader-travel-tip2Free Layovers, in Istanbul and More
Each Friday, we’re featuring a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip builds on the popular Icelandair stopover (don’t forget to enter our Icelandair contest) and it comes from Ed K. (of

“Turkish Airlines is one of our favorites for service. They have been voted the ‘Best Airline In Europe.’ They offer Paris-LAX (at least they did for our trip this week) to compete with Air France but since they don’t fly direct you have to go through Istanbul, a backtrack of 1,400 miles, and then take a longer flight (but non-stop) IST-LAX (about 2.5 hours longer than Paris-LAX) the next day. But they matched the Air France fare and gave us a free night in a hotel in Istanbul including shuttle and breakfast.

The Paris flight leaves at 11:15 am and arrives in Istanbul at 4:00 pm, so depending on whether you need to collect baggage and the hotel they select, this layover gives you a full evening in Istanbul—enough time for a quick trip to the Grand Bazaar and/or a walk around Sultanahmet and the Blue Mosque/Aya Sofia/Old Town. The shops and restaurants stay open very late, so with this option, you can get in 7-8 hours in Istanbul.

The non-stop to LAX departs the next day at 12:45 pm and arrives LAX at 4:30 pm. Turkish doesn’t advertise it, but we found it on

Here are some other layover deals:


Comprehensive—and a great tip for all those looking to sneak more travel into a trip. Thanks, Ed!



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3 Comments On "Reader Travel Tip of the Day: Free Layovers, in Istanbul and More"
  1. Frank Gaschen|

    Turkish Airlines layovers: I took advantage of this offer and, although the local office confirmed with my travel agent that I qualified, I was denied the offer in Instanbul. What made it worse was that I could not explain anything to the office as I was “dismissed”. I am easy going so I left, vowing to never fly them again. BTW, you can order a birthday cake if you are traveling within 3 days of your birthday, and my travel agent ordered this as a treat for me. no cake, and no explanation. I never said a word, as I realize where are they getting a cake at 32,000 feet. The departing flight was delayed overnight, so instead of a hotel in or around Boston, they drove us on a bus for 1.5 hours to New Hampshire, with no meal credit, just snacks. At the lounge in Istanbul, I was denied entry because my United Membership No. began with TK and I was told that this was an improper membership number for Turkish Airlines. After speaking with about four people, they relented and allowed me entry. It was such a horrendous experience that I will never fly on Turkish again.

    1. Julie|

      I have used Turkish Airlines many times and I have to say that, in my experience, their in flight service has always been fantastic. And, to my amazement, they did bring us a birthday cake at 32,000 feet for my then 9 year old although I had not even ordered one. We shared it with some of the fellow passengers and even sent some to the pilot. A little surreal!!! I have to admit, however, that their after sale service is horrendous and they certainly don’t seem to have the after sale customer service that we are used to!

      On the plus side, we did a fantastic food walk tour with Istanbul Food Walks during our 2 day stop over in Istanbul and it was a brilliant way of seeing the backstreets whilst tasting some delicious food. 100% recommended: (careful, has an “s” at the end)

  2. Daniel Kraft|

    Turkish Airlines is adding many cities to their list of North American destinations, including Miami in the fall of 2015. They have some very good fares as an introductory offer, including in business class. We are taking advantage of a multi-city booking fare which appeared on Expedia (and not on Turkish Airlines website which charges all kinds of extra booking fees) for less than $700 from Johannesburg to Istanbul, stopping over for five days in Istanbul, and then Istanbul non-stop (~15 hours) from Istanbul to Miami. And it’s about $2400 for business class for that booking!

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