Flying Back Home With Atlasglobal and TAROM

This review covers my flight home with Atlasglobal and TAROM after a holiday in Turkey.

Flying home

After an incredible journey across Georgia and Turkey, starting from Kutaisi and traveling all the way to Izmir, my holiday had come to an end.

I had an interesting ticket booked to get back home.

At a cost of 120 euro, I had purchased a combined Atlasglobal and TAROM ticket for my journey from Izmir to Bucharest via Istanbul, with Atlasglobal operating the flight from Izmir to Istanbul and TAROM operating the flight from Istanbul to Bucharest.

I discovered that Atlasglobal and TAROM actually have a codeshare agreement on some routes and sell integrated flight tickets, which I found quite interesting as I had not heard of it before taking these flights.

Sadly, my experience flying Atlasglobal turned out to be my only one, as a few months after my trip the airline filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations permanently.

colchis fountain kutaisi
The Colchis Fountain in the centre of Kutaisi, Georgia. ©Paliparan
alsancak ferry
Travelling by ferry across the Gulf of Izmir. ©Paliparan


Atlasglobal was a Turkish airline that was founded in 2001 under the name Atlasjet, which was eventually changed to Atlasglobal in 2015.

The airline had its main hub at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and a secondary hub in Antalya, from where it operated both domestic and international flights.

Izmir Airport

I flew with Atlasglobal on a domestic route, specifically the short hop between Izmir and Istanbul.

I opted for an early morning flight out of Izmir – a long layover at Ataturk Airport – followed by an evening flight to Bucharest.

Although the possibility of taking a late afternoon flight with a shorter connection was available, the unfortunate reality was that it was a Monday and I had to return to work.

By choosing this option, I was able to work remotely from the lounge at Istanbul Ataturk Airport for the entire day.

As the suburban Izban trains had not yet commenced their schedule for the day and my flight was very early, I chose to take a taxi to reach the airport.

At 6am the large domestic terminal of Izmir Airport was still pretty deserted.

Not surprisingly, the majority of flights from Izmir go to both Istanbul airports and the capital of Ankara on various carriers, but there are also occasional flights to other destinations in Turkey.

Passing through security was a breeze, leaving me with ample time to enjoy some breakfast and an iced coffee at Starbucks.

izmir airport domestic terminal
The domestic terminal of Izmir Airport. ©Paliparan
domestic departures board
Domestic departures board. ©Paliparan
pre-departure snack
Little pre-departure snack at Starbucks. ©Paliparan

Izmir (ADB) to Istanbul Ataturk (ISL)
Atlasglobal – Flight KK29
– Airbus A321-200
Economy Class – Seat 12F
Departure: 7.25am
 – Arrival: 8.25am
Flight time: 1h – Distance: 205 miles
Price: 120 euro for ADB-IST-OTP

atlasglobal izmir istanbul ataturk flight
The flight between Izmir and Istanbul takes only an hour. ©Great Circle Mapper

Atlasglobal Airbus A321

The flight to Istanbul with Atlasglobal was operated by an all-economy class Airbus A321 aircraft.

However, Atlasglobal also operated some planes with a proper business class cabin with large leather recliner seats during its years of operation.

Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a clear photo of the aircraft as the windows of the airport were enormously dirty.

The greatest aspect of flying the Airbus A321 is the fact that some economy class seats directly behind the emergency exit row have a nearly endless amount of legroom.

I managed to assign myself one of these seats, which for sure made for a comfortable way to fly!

atlasglobal airbus a321
The Atlasglobal Airbus A321 which would fly me to Istanbul. ©Paliparan
atlasglobal airbus a321 cabin turkey istanbul
Boarding my Atlasglobal flight to Istanbul. ©Paliparan
missing seat airbus a321 atlasglobal
Some seats directly behind the emergency exit row have almost unlimited legroom as the seat in front of it is missing. ©Paliparan
airbus a321 economy class unlimited legroom seat atlasglobal
Not a bad way to fly in economy! ©Paliparan

Flying to Istanbul

The flight to Istanbul passed by quickly as I fell asleep shortly after take-off and only woke up moments before landing.

Because of this I’m not even sure if there was any onboard service offered during the domestic Atlasglobal flight!

As the flight was quite comfortable, with friendly flight attendants and a safe arrival in Istanbul, I had no reason to complain whatsoever.

pegasus izmir airport
Pegasus aircraft parked next to our Atlasglobal plane at Izmir Airport. ©Paliparan
take-off izmir airport atlasglobal
Taking off from Izmir Airport. ©Paliparan

Istanbul Ataturk Airport lounge

Once at Istanbul Ataturk Airport I headed straight for the international terminal.

Thankfully, there were hardly any queues at both the security check and passport control, making the process surprisingly smooth and efficient.

As I was flying TAROM and have SkyTeam status with Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue frequent flyer programme, it meant that I could access the business lounge.

The Comfort Lounge 2 was the designated lounge for all SkyTeam airlines flying out of the old Istanbul Ataturk Airport, as well as a few other airlines.

comfort lounge 2 istanbul ataturk airport flight
The Comfort Lounge II at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. ©Paliparan

Comfort Lounge 2

The Comfort Lounge 2 was absolutely packed with passengers in the early morning, but by 11am it started to clear out quickly.

Despite the challenge of switching back to work mode after a holiday, I was able to focus and be productive during the couple of hours I spent working at the Comfort Lounge 2.

The Comfort Lounge 2 itself was decent enough.

Despite the lack of tarmac views, the Comfort Lounge 2 did offer some natural light from windows that overlooked one of the car parks.

However, the food and beverage options in the Comfort Lounge 2 left a bit to be desired.

The food items didn’t look particularly appetizing and the taste was rather bland.

It reminded me of the food in the KLM Crown Lounge, which also has a similar quality to a university canteen rather than a premium business lounge.

The drinks selection was mediocre too.

Although there was a decent choice of soft drinks and Turkish coffee was available, the booze selection was limited to a single beer (Efes Light) and a bottle each of white and red wine.

comfort lounge 2
Inside the Comfort Lounge 2 at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. ©Paliparan
comfort lounge 2
Comfort Lounge 2. ©Paliparan
comfort lounge 2
Seats in the comfort Lounge 2. ©Paliparan
comfort lounge 2
My office for the day in the Comfort Lounge 2. ©Paliparan
food buffet
Food buffet in the Comfort Lounge 2. ©Paliparan
comfort lounge food buffet
Comfort Lounge 2 food buffet. ©Paliparan
food buffet
The food didn’t look too appetising in my opinion. ©Paliparan
desserts turkish tea
Some desserts and Turkish tea in the lounge. ©Paliparan

Istanbul Ataturk (ISL) to Bucharest (OTP)
TAROM – Flight RO264
– Airbus A318
Economy Class – Seat 5A
Departure: 6.35pm
 – Arrival: 7.50m
Flight time: 1h15m – Distance: 284 miles
Price: 120 euro for ADB-IST-OTP

tarom istanbul bucharest
The hop from Istanbul to Bucharest takes a little over an hour. ©Great Circle Mapper

TAROM flight home

My TAROM flight departed on time, and I quickly fell asleep from take-off until arrival, exhausted from a long week of traveling and a busy day of working from the lounge.

Check out my previous review of the TAROM Airbus A318 if you want to learn more about this aircraft.

tarom a318 boarding
A TAROM Airbus A318 being boarded. ©Paliparan

End of the trip

The TAROM flight from Istanbul to Bucharest marked the end to my trip through Georgia and Turkey.

Many thanks for joining me on my entire travel adventure.

If you missed any earlier chapters of this trip report, you can find the trip report index below.

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Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Khachapuri & Kebabs: A Summer Trip to Georgia and Turkey‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Kutaisi (Airbus A320)
2. A Day in Kutaisi, the Charming Capital of Imereti
3. Caves, Churches and Monasteries – A Kutaisi Day Trip
4. Review: My Warm Guest House, Batumi, Georgia
5. Beautiful Batumi – The Pearl of Georgia’s Black Sea Coast
6. From Georgia to Turkey: Batumi to Kars by Bus
7. Review: Kars Konak Hotel, Kars, Turkey
8. A Day Trip From Kars to the Ancient Armenian City of Ani
9. Goose, Cheese and Russian Remnants: A Visit to Kars, Turkey
10. Review: Dogu Express Night Train Kars to Ankara, Turkey
11. Review: AnadoluJet Ankara to Izmir (Boeing 737-800)
12. Review: Ege Palas Business Hotel, Izmir, Turkey
13. Izmir: Turkey’s Most Liberal and Liveable City
14. Ancient Ephesus: An Easy Day Trip From Izmir
15. A Visit to the Hilltop Wine Village of Sirince
16. A Beach Trip From Izmir to Cesme and Ilica
17. Foça: A Beautiful Seaside Town to Visit From Izmir
18. Flying Back Home With Atlasglobal and TAROM (current chapter)

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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