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Istanbul & Tbilis airports

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cgichard

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Several queries relating to the same journey:

Arriving at Istanbul (Ataturk) airport on SQ from MEL via SIN; 5hr wait, then on to TBS on TK, so different PNR. I suspect there's no chance of SQ checking any baggage right through to TBS? So would that mean I'd have to go through immigration at IST to clear baggage and then check myself and baggage through in again, even though I'd be in transit and not leaving the airport? From what I've heard of IST that could take several hours of queuing. For this and other reasons, I'm really hoping to be able go HLO, but it's a long trip with rather varied activities in rather different locations, so I may not manage HLO and need to know what would happen if I did have baggage.

Also, is there any possibility I could check in / get boarding pass for the IST-TBS flight at a TK desk at SIN? I have only a bare-bones eTicket for that flight with no information about online check-in. Does anyone know where I might find that info?

If there is any spare time left after queuing I'm hoping to spend it in the HSBC lounge as I have the right CC for that.

Then re TBS. On another site I read that (some while ago) the US State Dept. was advising against using the Metro in Tbilisi. Not sure if that advice is still in force. Has anyone used it recently to get from the airport into the city centre (not sure yet where my hotel is located - it's a group booking)? Or would a bus be better? Is there any route info in English? Or should I just plump for a taxi: are there official and to-be-avoided taxi services, how can I tell which is which? etc. It will be late on a Friday afternoon. None of this seemed to be covered in the latest Bradt guidebook.
 

cgichard

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Going to Georgia again next June, so I'm bouncing this thread with much the same queries as 3 years ago, as it's the only one that came up in my search for "Istanbul transit"!

Trouble is that I don't now recall all the detail, and anyway things may have changed in the interim. Especially whether or not a transit visa is now required for 5-6 hours transit in IST.

I did manage HLO last time and hope to do so again. This time my IST-TBS ticket is an SQ award, but it has a different booking reference from my SQ MEL-SIN-IST ticket, which I assume means it is a separate PNR, with the same implications for checking bagage through. But I do recall having to do some queuing at TK counters in IST and being shunted from one queue to another without understanding why.

I should be able to access the HSBC lounge again: it was a good place to spend what remained of the transit time. And last time, the tour company arranged for the hotel to send a taxi to pick me up so that was OK. This time the same should be possible thsi time, so no concerns on that score.
 
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