Wednesday 29 March 2017

Traveling with electronics to the UK with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul Airport

I travelled to the UK on Monday from Dubai, via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. 

I opted to leave my laptop at home and took my camera in my hand luggage. 

The additional security was managed by the airline and our plane took off on time.

Usual screening took place in Dubai and on transfer in Istanbul. No information was available at check in on what the procedure would be in Turkey and Turkish Airlines were slow to update their website with information.

The gate number was annnounced at 12.55pm, 1 hour before take off for boarding as normal, but after presenting passports and boarding passes, we had to queue for bag, explosive swabbing and external body search (pat down)  Every non British passport holder was asked to show their travel documents, boarding passes for earlier flight if in transit and photographs of their exit stamp from earlier flights was taken. 

A variety of electronic items were removed from passengers, including games consoles as well as laptops, iPads, kindles and a computer monitor. Everything was bubble wrapped, bar coded and packed in suitcases to be manually put in the hold. Each passenger received a ticket and was required to sign and list the contents.
I handed over my entire camera bag and listed the lenses, tripod etc, other passengers just handed over the main body of the camera, prior to boarding. 

We were informed our items would be handed back to us on arrival to in Birmingham and on exiting the plane, clearing passport and entering the baggage hall, there was a stand for Turkish Airlines, where receipts and goods were passed over in exchange for a signature.

Despite the process being relatively simple, there was no information available at the airport and very little information online, which caused quite a bit of concern amongst passengers and slowed the process down due to passengers asking endless questions when it wasn't necessary if announcements were made.

The whole process could've been a lot simpler and less stressful if entry to the boarding area had started earlier, information given at check in and updated online as cameras were excluded from the cabin ban for the UK, but with the process being new, I wasn't allowed to take it in the cabin. 

I'm hoping they have established a better system in Birmingham, by the next time I travel in June, it was fortunate that arrivals was exceptionally quiet, the young man who was returning electronics to passengers made the process more complicated than it needed to be and it was time consuming and didn't take into account passengers who may have been in transit, maybe the airline knew this in Istanbul or maybe there were passengers who didn't get reunited with their belongings. 

In general I'm more than happy to go through the extra security, I don't use my laptop during the flight and passengers can use their electronic items right up until boarding is announced. I was happier knowing my camera was taken on and off the plane manually, rather than packing it in my suitcase risking theft and mishandling. 

I did have one minor wobble when the airline forced the lid closed on a case and did point out that they needed to be more careful as kneeling on the lid of a suitcase containing laptops was not a good idea. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this Suzanne I know how difficult it has been for you to get this information too. Really useful thanks. #MOndayEscapes

    1. thanks, i'm flying again with them to the UK in June I'll be able to compare how things have changed/relaxed/improved

  2. I suppose it is all very confusing at the moment but reassuring that the measure has been taken to keep us all safe, thanks so much for linking up #mondayescapes

    1. I'm more than happy for the new measures, it would just make it easier if things were explained

  3. Ouch! Yes, I think I would have been a bit upset being someone using their weight to close that suitcase. Hopefully the information available to passengers will become clearer soon. It was all brought in very fast #MondayEscapes

    1. i'll update in June when i next fly that route