This Airline Has a Virtual Flight Simulator in Its Business-class Lounge

The entire flight is completed in 4K resolution and offers 360-degree views of Istanbul.

Someone using the Hezarfen Flight Simulator Experience by Turkish Airlines in the Istanbul Airport
Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

There's a new way to see the world at Istanbul's airport — and you don't have to board a plane to do it.

Turkish Airlines has launched a virtual flight simulator — named the Hezarfen Flight Simulator Experience after Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi, the first person to take flight in Turkish aviation history — that will take travelers high above Istanbul, the airline shared with Travel + Leisure. Travelers can access the flight simulator in the CIP Business Lounge at Istanbul Airport.

"We are excited to offer this experience that provides a bird's-eye view of today's Istanbul, flying from Galata Tower and to Maiden's Tower, in the eyes of Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi," Turkish Airlines general manager Bilal Ekşi said in a statement provided to T+L.

Using virtual reality goggles, travelers follow Çelebi's flight path, starting from the Galata Tower and touring iconic Istanbul sites like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapı Palace. The entire flight is completed in 4K resolution and offers a 360-degree view as well as the ability to experience wind and flight movements, according to the airline.

The new flight experience comes just weeks after Turkish Airlines resumed its stopover program, giving travelers a free one-night stay in Istanbul. Economy passengers will receive a stay at a four-star hotel, while business class passengers will receive a two-night stay at a five-star hotel.

"We aim to show the Turkish hospitality and unique wonders of Istanbul to our passengers opting for stopover accommodation service while contributing to tourism in [Turkey] and increase the number of transfer passengers flying Turkish Airlines," Ekşi said in a statement provided to T+L.

Last year, Istanbul Airport was named the most improved airport in the world by Skytrax, rising to 17th place from its previous ranking of 102.

Interactive experiences have popped up at airports all over the world, like at Singapore's Jewel at Changi Airport, which features everything from sky nets to a hedge maze and canopy bridge to pass the time before a flight.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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