I recently enjoyed two visits to Ataturk Intl. Transit.
I'll talk about WiFi, bathrooms, purchases, trying to rest until the next flight and speaking with the locals.
The airport is huge, modern and processes planes, people and baggage from around the world at an amazing and very efficient rate!
There is no free WiFi. I went from end to end looking for it. If you are a luxury traveler then you don't care about this as there are many luxury traveler lounges in the transit terminal. that ain't me
The green port cafe has relatively reasonable prices and WiFi, with charging available (EU 220 ports). At the other end, upstairs above the overly well-lit and so then, hot as hell, food court you can find the Kitchenette (WiFi password in June 2012: 3534333231). A fruit and yogurt with a fresh orange juice there was about $ 14 USD.
On my first visit I went to five separate WC's in spread out in the transit area. Forget it--you won't get away from the smell. They mop the floors frequently--with eau de sun dried urine toilette. In Ukraine you can't sit on a clean seat (even at McDonald's*) but in this airport the floor is the target.
There's a Starbucks in the transit terminal!!!!!!!!!!!! Note: They do not sell ground or beans in bags
I found out my ATM card (bank card Visa) did not work in Istanbul. It did work with a PIN code. But(!) every nincompoop who said, "Yes you can use your PIN code to purchase here", told me, "No you cannot use your PIN code to purchase here," AFTER I tried to make a purchase and asked them where do I enter my PIN code (this was at the Greenport Cafe and the Duty Free shop--which occupy 40% of the terminal space).
Resting until your next flight
I had transit layovers of eight and nine hours. Both times I occupied myself hiking to find WiFi, finding a relatively breathable bathroom, and looking for a place to crash.
In the center of the transit terminal people are sprawled about on every chair and in chairs at cafes with their heads on the tables. I couldn't find a place where I could expect to sleep for four, five or six hours. So I took a less traveled path.
I went into the long hall of departure gates. I found a darkened area at gate 214! There I found people sleeping on rows of chairs. So I joined them. I found a row of chairs at the end of the gate and I set an alarm on each of my two phones so I wouldn't miss my flight.
You don't need alarms. Apparently in the world community when you walk into an area where you see dozens of people sleeping it's really good form to begin having loud, conversations and laughter with your friends! I was awakened about every 45 minutes by new groups of people doing this. And they represented RU and EU as well as other countries. WTF? Really--WTF?
Speaking with the locals
In Turkey many people speak English (see the US State department for an article on the 21+ billion dollars given to Turkey for economic and military aid). In fact about the only people who do not speak EN are the ones working at the information booths in the airport.
The airport is a machine. It moves people and their packages efficiently.
Bye for now my friends,
Ps The photo is looking south and the Mediterranean Sea is very close!
Pss Fly Turkish Airlines (I've flown with them four times and the aircraft are modern, clean and clean and clean, and the crew is nice--they will not offer wine but if you ask for it they get it for you--ant it was good, both the Cabernet and the Chardonnay
* I've been to McDonald's in Ukraine many, many times: Kiev (10+ times), Donetsk 10+, Odessa 3, and Simferopol 4. The Ukrainian male penchant for seat down splatter is the reason Ukraine has squat toilets in most places, and foot rests instead of seats on the trains (six train trips in UA).