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Beautiful airport, painful prices!
Dalaman Airport, Turkey (DLM)
Member Name: Lovehearts
Dalaman Airport, Turkey (DLM)
Advantages: flying into the airport is easy and stress free.
Disadvantages: Flying out is a bit chaotic and the prices are unbelieveable, no seats at check-in
Knowing what an airport is like before travelling there is a very important. This is because you spend two hours in it, but most importantly two hours of your well earned holiday in it. The last thing you want is to have either a rotten ending or start to your holiday because of the airport. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of what Dalaman is like and the precautions you should take before travelling there.
Dalaman is quite secluded from most holiday resorts, although it is the main airport for many resorts such as Calis, Dalyan, Hisaronu, Turunc, Fetiye, Olu deniz, and the largest resort in Turkey, Marmaris. From Marmaris, it is often an 80 minute drive with a private transfer such as a shuttle bus. However, it can take up to two hous if you have booked through a tour operator ie. Thomas Cook, as the coaches are much larger, drive a lot slower, have a much longer stop-off, and they waste a lot of time with the holiday representative prancing about at the front of coach telling you not to go out without sun tan lotion and what not. The journey can be very off putting although if you are going to a resort such as Olu Deniz or Hisaronu, you will find the journey is a lot shorter.
*arriving into Dalaman*
When you arrive into Dalaman, it is very likely you will pee your pants on the way down. Turkey is a very mountainous country, so it may seem at first like you are about to crash into the mountain. Also, depending on the direction you are landing, it may also see as if you are about to plonk into the water, but have no fear, you will soon zoom over a beach. And the most interesting part about the landing, is that you will be absolutely convinced you are about to plonk into marsh land, as this surrounds the runway. So have in mind these are things to look out for and don't be afraid whilst landing, it's perfectly normal. If you are flying with a Turkish airline, it will be the most wild landing you ever experience, I think they like to ensure they are directly over the runway before they drop like a stone.
Dalaman airport is very good at getting everyone offloaded quickly and out the airport. I have arrived both daytime, night time, and early in the morning, and I have never waited in the actual airport for more than 20 minutes altogether (from the aeroplane landing to getting out the building with my luggage),so it clearly very organised. When you land, you may see a derelict old white building that is falling apart. Don't fear this is the old airport you would have landed into if you came prior to 2006, and an airport I have been in many times. You will then come past a very new, very shiny, glass airport where your plane will drive towards.
Only once in all the years have I landed did I have to use a set of stairs to get off the aircraft, very often you are taken straight to the terminal through a walkway. When you arrive you will notice a very empty building which has gloomy light (if it's night time) and tiny spotlights above. There are two ques beside each other so ensure you go in the right order. You might go to the "Visa/Vize" section first. If you are a UK citizen, you must pay £10 for a 90 day visa. If you return to turkey within 90 days, you will be exempted from having to pay for the visa. Then, make your way to "Passport Control/Passaport Kontrol" and they will stamp your passport and you're free do go. This sounds like a lot of hassle, but actually they do it at an amazing speed and for all the hassle you have to go through they do a great job.
There is a set of escalators to get down to the main terminal, so if you are flying with the likes of Easyjet and decided to take a small case, please be careful whilst on your way down it is a very fast escalator.
You will be very happy to see your luggage is already spinning around on the conveyor belt ready for you, unlike being at the likes of Luton or Stansted and waiting over an hour for it. You can rent a trolley for 1 Euro, but it's not worth it really unless you have a few kids who can't carry their own case. There is a duty-free-on-arrival so if you want you can buy as much booze as you so wish.
After this, it's on your way out the main doors. Turkey is probably the most lenient country is continental Europe, so there's no further immigration/Quarantine/security checks. You are out the airport but be warned, there is an extremely steep slope down to the bottom which is not good for anyone with a heavy case. You will see there is a small outdoor café which is open 24 hours (don't buy anything from there, it's not worth the money), and you will see various stands circling the outside of the airport. Simply look at whatever company is proving your transfer (be it First Choice, Transferonly, ResortHoppa) and whoever is there will be happy to help you. If you have travelled with a British tour operator, you may have to wait for your rep, wait until she checks your name off, wait until they find your coach. If you have booked wisely with a smaller transfer company which is Turkish-owned (transfer only for example), a man will happily take your case (if there's more than one of you, they will take the ladies or they will take the child's, they are very respectful in Turkey), and show you to your coach immediately. If you're with a British tour operator, they will give you a number and you will have to circle the entire car park for a coach and probably meet a few people trying to hassle you to get a taxi.
Driving out of the airport, there is beautiful untouched grass, gorgeous palm trees, and if you're lucky you will see an aircraft flying over your head on the way out. After that, you drive out into a shabby town, a complete dump but don't worry the resorts are nothing like this.
**Flying out from Dalaman**
Flying into Dalman airport is a very pleasant experience. However, flying out of it is not. You will drive into the airport and are taken up a large slope to the terminal. I find the drive up the hill, in itself, very uncomfortable. It is cheaper for airlines to fly in and out of the airport early hours in the morning as Dalaman charge less during these times. As you will see, there are two Dalaman Airports. The shiny brand new one is to impress the tourists, and the shabby old one for Turks going on domestic flights. If you are flying out in daylight, consider yourself lucky as the airport is very quiet at this time. If you are flying out in early morning, prepare for hell!
You arrive at you look inside the door to see a security check. If you are here at peak hours, prepare to stand outside the airport for at least half an hour before you even get in the doors. Liquids of all sizes can be taken in at this point, although the rule for sharp items and explosives still apply: I don't know why you would have explosives with you anyway but I'm just saying! Security commences as normal but be warned they are extremely brutal with their searches. As a Muslim I am very often dragged into the private cubicles for no apparent reason for an extra search, there's no such thing as political correctness here! If this happens to you, don't get a fright if two men come int o search you, just politely ask for a female and they will search for one.
My aunty had a bowel bag as you has no bowel, during a search they noticed at and despite giving them a doctors letter (saying that her bag could not be touched without a doctor present), they took her away and searched it anyway, poking and prodding at it probably potentially causing damage to it.
There is a set of check-in desks and it is all a bit chaotic, but it is usually a quick experience. Now here's a warning for you: don't go into past the next security check unless your flight is boarding. For this security check, it is exactly the UK. No liquids are allowed past, any liquids under 100ml must be placed in a small bag (which they provide). What I honestly suggest you do is stock up on food before you go, and sit on the terminal floor at check in and eat like you've never eaten before! Why? Let me tell you the food and drink prices in Dalaman:
Yes, I mean GBP not the national currency!
CAN of coke: £3.50 [ RRP 50p]
McDonald's Happy meal: £6.50 [RRP £2]
McDonald's child size chips: £4 [RRP £1 for medium]
KFC adult meal: £10 [RRP £3.50]
Water: £4 [RRP 40p]
Chips + Beer: £10 [RRP £4.00]
The prices are absolutely ridiculous, and thee are no seats until you go into the second security terminal so really you have to throw all your liquids away and either pay these ridiculous prices or pay on the plane.
The inside of the terminal is beautiful and there are a range of Duty Free shops you can chose from. If your gate number hasn't been called yet, you can simply sit in the restaurant area and they won't bother you. There are many signs showing you how to get to your gate, but I wouldn't waste my time with it really it is a fairly small airport and you can find your way no bother.
There is a very nice glass area to sit in whilst waiting for your plane sometimes there's a little café which has cheaper prices than the rest of the airport, and you can get a coffee and a Croissant for £4, which isn't too bad at all. You can walk into any gate and use any of the café's it used to be that you went through security because being allowed into the gates but they've moved this now to where check-in is. If you go to the top floor and go to the last gate on the left of the airport (number 32 or 34 I think) and get the café there. There are toilets in the gates, at check-in and at the restaurant area. There is a cash point machine and a phone box inside the airport at the restaurant area which is great.
If it wasn't for poor seating and high prices, I would have gave this 5/5. The airport is beautifully regenerated, although they could do with more seats at check-in. If you can, try and get your flights during the day as the airport is much Quieter, many times I have flew from Dalaman to see only two flights were flying out during the day. Air Traffic controls aren't reduced as the Domestic airport is still running and Turkish airline flights are zooming off and into the runway during the day, but at night time there is an insane amount of flights going out so staffing and organisation may not be as efficient.
If you are flying from Dalaman soon I hope this was useful, if you are not, then I apologise for the very long review J
Summary: Just missed the five star mark for me!
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