Mini-Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge, Washington Dulles Airport

The Turkish Airlines lounge Washington Dulles is popular, but I’m not a fan. It was my last stop on my morning Priority Pass lounge tour of the Dulles A concourse.

When this lounge first opened it was pretty exciting for United Airlines flyers. As a foreign Star Alliance carrier lounge, it’s accessible to United’s Gold elite members and higher (and all of the concourses at United’s Dulles hub are connected). Then it also signed on with Priority Pass.

So while it’s a nicely-designed lounge, and many customers like the food, it’s crowded. Pre-pandemic they seemed to impose capacity limits and the place was less overrun – but frequently they’d be turning away Priority Pass. I haven’t been turned away the past few years when I’ve gone to check it out, and that’s actually… not great?

This lounge is too small for the volume of passengers and it turns an architecturally interesting space with tarmac views into a chaotic mess.

People seem to respond favorably to the food here.

There were lines for the restroom.

I walked around the lounge to see if there might be a relaxing place to sit, but there wasn’t.

Honestly I couldn’t get out of here quickly enough. It would be a nice lounge if it wasn’t so crowded. It’s simply too small for the volume of passengers here.

I would have visited the Lufthansa Business lounge next, but my flight was scheduled to depart at 11:45 a.m. and the lounge only opens at Noon. So instead I headed back to the Chase Sapphire lounge to pull up the lunch menu and take photos of the lunch buffet.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thank you, Gary, for your review. My flight will arrive at IAD tomorrow at 11:15, so I will be at the Turkish Airlines lounge in Washington, DC, at about noon. The quality and taste of the food at the Turkish Airlines Lounge at IAD surpasses that of the AMEX Centurion Lounge and the Delta Air Lines Sky Club® at other airports. Because of the quality of passenger accommodations around lunchtime, I expect this Turkish Airlines lounge to be busy.

  2. Are privacy considerations in scope when photographing lounges? Many people are clearly visible in these photos, and would be identifiable by their acquaintances. Arguably, airports are public spaces, and the inclusion of these people is incidental, but traditional high-class norms would dictate that you don’t photograph other people in lounges, to say nothing of publishing those photos on a heavily visited website.

  3. Tend to agree with your assessment. The breakfast offering is not that great. Food gets better later in the day. Woefully inadequate bathroom facilities. You’re better off going back into the concourse. It is convenient for the morning ET flight to Addis Ababa. I usually have a few hits of Scotch and then stumble out the door, across the hall to the departure gate.

  4. So, Gary, you only like the premium lounges at IAD (like Chase and Capital One) and don’t want to mix with the germy masses in a regular Priority Pass lounge? Got it. j/k lol

    The Turkish Airlines lounge is too crowded because their food offerings are quite good (relatively speaking for a PP lounge). [I’ve been doing the Cap One lounge myself since last year and] It’s been a few years since I visited Turkish, but last few times I was there, they offered good entree, soup, and dessert selections including a tasty, flaky/nutty baklava. Their food offerings beat the pants off the other PP lounges at IAD which offer you bags of chips and maybe some finger foods.

    I do recall (around 4 years ago) having to wait in line with other PP card holders outside the lounge as it was full and no one except premium-ticket customers could enter until/unless other guests left the lounge.

  5. When I was there a few months ago, I got in immediately because I am a Star Gold, but if I had just been Priority Pass, they would have put me on a waitlist. That said, it’s painfully obvious these days that they don’t have adequate facilities to accommodate Priority Pass in addition to their alliance obligations. Why don’t they discontinue their PP contract? I assume it’s because they want the extra money, but we all know that’s not the right business call to make in this situation. You can’t turn your premium lounge into a bus station. As far as bathrooms go, I had to go in to the terminal to use one. The line was too long in the lounge.

  6. It was my understanding that United Gold Level on domestic flights could no longer use the Turkish and Lufthansa lounges when flying Domestic flights thru IAD. If that’s the case then Turkish should restrict access to only PAX on its flights only. That may cut down on the crowding.

    “The following rules and restrictions apply:
    When traveling on a Star Alliance member-operated flight, eligible Star Alliance Gold members (MileagePlus Premier 1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold) may visit designated Star Alliance member lounges. United Star Alliance Gold members may access any United Club only when holding a boarding pass for a same-day international Star Alliance member flight. United Star Alliance Gold members may access other Star Alliance member lounges before any departure on a Star Alliance member airline flight.”

  7. I wonder if how crowded it is depends upon the timing. I have used this lounge before when flying Southwest, and it did not seem very busy, but this was not timed around most of the international flights that I would expect to be using the lounge.

  8. This lounge has some sentimental value for me because it was my first ever lounge experience. I went during breakfast which I agree with everyone who says it wasn’t that special. My flight got delayed so I stayed past 11:00 so I hit the lunch changeover and I enjoyed it a lot more. I still think about those meatballs! (Forgot the actual name)

    I haven’t been back since but I remember seeing it in a top 10 PP lounges in the US list which at the time I believed it. But I agree it is very small and when I’ve passed by it there’s always a line to get in.

    Thanks again for all the IAD lounge reviews! I’m going later this week and am inspired to get there extra early to embark on a similar tour.

  9. I have visited Turkish, Lufthansa and United lounges before my last flight this month out of IAD. Lufthansa was by far the best. Then comes Turkish and United was a nightmare. So crowded you barely could find a seat, buffet depleted, bartenders extremely unfriendly and overwhelmed by attendence. Polaris is great though but regular United lounges are becoming nightmares

  10. I walked in and right out of this lounge a few weeks ago. It was loud and crowded, around 8pm on a Monday. I went across the hall to Peet’s, got a coffee, and found an abandoned gate nearby that was much more comfortable.

  11. The Turkish lounge in Miami was a zoo when I used it last fall, a description similar to yours, Gary. Except the food was disappointing. And the overcrowding made it not relaxing. Better to just find an empty gate elsewhere in the terminal.

  12. Dulles (IAD) Turkish lounge is fantastic. Nice staff, consistently good hot fresh food. Crowded? ‘Lounges’ in general are busier; even fancier lounges have cut headcounts. I find for what Turkish lounge does (and for whom) no better lounge in the US. Sounds like you almost want concierge service with no weights whatsoever. I just don’t know how realistic that is unless your Bill Gates…or some other very wealthy person. We’re just hard-working folks who appreciate a nice lounge being available to average people.

  13. Looks like the Cap One lounge in DFW in the late afternoon. Crowded, children crying, people everywhere. And – 4 toilets for the entire lounge.

  14. Customers and passengers are good but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

  15. I use this lounge all the time flying to Istanbul. It’s hit or miss in terms of crowd size. The food is good but I barely eat it to leave room for the excellent business class food on Turkish airlines which is always good.

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