Review of Aegean Airlines flight Athens Santorini Island in Economy

Airline Aegean Airlines
Flight OA358
Class Economy
Seat 25F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 00:45
Take-off 21 Nov 17, 16:00
Arrival at 21 Nov 17, 16:45
A3   #34 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 93 reviews
KévinDC
By 561
Published on 12th February 2018
Hello and welcome to the 3rd report in this series.

After a lovely few days on the Greek mainland (bonus at the end of this report), it was time to head out to the Greek Islands. With only one week to explore Greece, we didn't have enough time for island-hopping so we decided we would visit one island. Naturally, that island was Santorini–the crown jewel of the Greek islands–which had been on the bucket list for years.


Routing

Washington Dulles IAD ✈ London Heathrow LHR | British Airways, B747-400, Business Class
London Heathrow LHR ✈ Athens E Venizelos ATH | British Airways, A320-200, Business Class
Athens E Venizelos ATH ✈ Santorini Thira Intl JTR | Aegean Airlines, A320-200, Economy Class
Santorini Thira Intl JTR ✈ Athens E Venizelos ATH | Aegean Airlines, A320-200, Economy Class
Athens E Venizelos ATH ✈ London Heathrow LHR | British Airways, A320-200, Business Class
London Heathrow LHR ✈ Washington Dulles IAD | British Airways, B747-400, Business Class


Pre-flight and Check-in



Despite the shoulder season, there were still 3 options of airlines flying nonstop between Athens and Santorini: Olympic Air/Aegean, Ryanair, and Vueling. Although the Irish and Spanish low-cost carriers offered slightly lower round-trip fares, being in Greece, I decided to try the local carrier.

Flights were booked directly on OlympicAir.com. Flights can be booked on either the Aegean or Olympic websites as the two Greek airlines are essentially once since they merged in 2013. Domestic flights within Greece are operated by a mix of Olympic and Aegean aircraft, but all are marketed as Olympic (OA flight numbers).

Aegean/Olympic offer two types of fare categories on these flights: GoLight fares, which do not include checked baggage, and Flex fares, which include 1 checked bag and free flight changes.

photo aegean site

We went for GoLight fares as we would be staying in Santorini for only 3 days and only needed cabin baggage. As we would be returning to the same hotel in Athens for a few nights, we were able to store our larger bags at the hotel for the 3 days we'd be in Santorini.

photo olympic cost

Seat selection at time of booking was not possible; however, online check-in opens at 48 hours prior to departure, which is nice.

On the day of departure, we dropped off the rental car about 3 hours prior to departure. As we had checked in online and didn't have any bags to check, there was no need to go to the Aegean ticket counters.

photo img_8721photo img_8722

I stopped by a kiosk to print out our boarding passes as the kiosks throughout the airport are set up for use on most airlines serving ATH.

Fingers crossed that the middle seat stays open!

photo img-1467

Security was a breeze with no queue and automatic boarding pass scanners.

photo img_8723

Schengen Concourse Lounges



Once we were airside in Hall B, the concourse dedicated to flights within the Schengen area, we headed to one of the concourse's two Priority Pass lounges.

We started out at the Goldair lounge, which was very crowded. Upon entering the lounge, the agent had us wait for a minute while she checked to see if there were any open seats in the lounge. There were just a few left, so she let us in. It's always a gamble with Priority Pass access as lounges can deny access for lack of space. According to the agent, the Aegean lounge was closed for renovations, so the lounge was handling a lot more passengers than normal.

photo img_8726

The Goldair lounge is not particularly large, but has a lot of natural light. Unfortunately for #AvGeeks, there are no views of the tarmac as the lounge faces landside.

The rental car center, where we had just dropped off the car, is on the right.

photo img_4496

The food offering was ok. Better than most lounges in the US, but nothing exceptional.

photo img_4492

Some hot items consisting of pastries filled with meat.

photo img_4493photo img_4494

We hadn't eaten yet, so I was getting pretty hungry and had a bit of everything.

photo img_4495

After a short stay we decided to go check out the other lounge in the Schengen zone.

The Skyserv lounge was a bit less crowded than the Goldair lounge and was about the same size. Overall, it seemed less hectic than the Goldair lounge as there were walls separating the space.

photo img_4497photo img_4499

The food offering was about the same as the Goldair lounge.

photo img_4498

Boarding announcements were not made in the lounge, but there were several screens displaying flight information in both English and Greek.

Much like British airports, gates are only displayed about an hour prior to departure. My flight to Σαντορίνη is showing on-time 😀

photo img_4500

Boarding



About 15 minutes before boarding time, we starting making our way towards the gate, passing by the relatively large smoking lounge.

photo img_4501

Lots of Aegean aircraft were parked remotely. Based on the fact that our boarding gate was on the lower level of the concourse, I was guessing we'd be boarding one of those aircraft by bus.

photo img_8724photo img_8725

Some nice tarmac views from the gates on the lower level.

photo img_8727

I'm probably in the minority, but I like the new Iberia livery. I like that it has bright colors despite all the white.

photo img_8728

Whereas I find the Aegean livery a bit dull.

photo img_8729

When boarding begins, Star Alliance Gold are called first. It always seems a bit pointless to have priority boarding when boarding is by bus, but I guess it allows the first who enter the bus to position themselves by the door for a quick exit.

photo img_8730

After priority boarding, general boarding begins. Of course, it's a huge mess as these is no order to the boarding, such as by rows or zones, etc.

Once on the bus, I was able to get a decent spot by the door to make sure I would have enough space in the overheads for my rollaboard. I'm not used to having to think about that anymore since I usually only fly oneworld airlines, where I have priority boarding.

photo img_8732

There are always nice views when boarding by bus, but the black spots don't make photography easy.

photo img_8731

After a short ride, here we are at our A320

photo img_8733

Stepping off the bus it's chaotic once again as people naturally gravitate towards the forward boarding door; however there are airstairs also connected to the rear door for those seated in the back. There was a sign indicating which rows should board from which door, but of course people don't read 😛

Knowing our seats were way in the back, we headed to the rear boarding stairs.

photo img_8734

Tarmac boarding is fun when it's beautiful out like this.

photo img-1470photo img_8736

Our seats are only a few rows from the rear door and luckily there was still enough space overhead for both of our bags.

The leather slimline seats look really thin.

photo img_8737photo img_8738

Being so thin, the seats are a bit hard. Luckily, the flight is barely 30 minutes.

The seat pitch is tight. Being of pretty average height (5'10"/1.78 m), my knees almost touched the back of the seat in front when sitting straight up.

photo img_8741

Egyptair A321 parked in the next spot over.

photo img_8739

It looked like it was going to be an empty flight, but then another bus arrived. The load ended up being close to 100% full, so unfortunately the empty-middle-seat lottery didn't work this time.

photo img_8740

The friendly cabin crew handed out candies in the cabin once all passengers were seated.

photo img_8743

The Flight



The Egyptair A321 pushed back right before us, which delayed us a few minutes as we were blocked in.

photo img_8742

As we waited, the airshow played on the overhead screens, showing the route for today's flight.

photo img_8745photo img_8746

Finally, we were ready for pushback from the stand.

photo img_8744photo img_8749

The safety video played as we pushed back and began to taxi. The video played twice–first in Greek, then in English.

photo img_8747photo img_8748

Olympic Dash-8 Q402

photo img_8750photo img_8751

Taxi was short and we were off in the beautiful late afternoon light.

photo img_8752photo img_8753

The empty parking stand we had left just a few minutes earlier.

photo img_8754

Beautiful rugged coastline of the Attica peninsula.

photo img_8755photo img_8756

Looking back towards the airport in the setting sun.

photo img_8757

Shortly after takeoff, cabin crew passed out chocolate-filled mini croissants. With less than 30 minutes flying time, there wasn't enough time for a full drink service, but water was offered upon demand.

photo img_8759

As expected, the short flight over the Greek islands was very scenic.

photo img_8761photo img_8763

It was also nice to have the airshow to get an idea of our location.

photo img_8762

Almost as soon as we'd reached cruising altitude, we began out descent.

photo img_8764photo img_8766

Nice low pass over the Santorini group of Islands on landing.

photo img_8770photo img_8772

White buildings perched on cliff-sides, typical of Santorini and the Cyclades Islands.

photo img_8773photo img_8774

After doing a loop around Thirasia and the southern tip of Santorini, we landed from the south.

photo img_8775photo img_8776

And here we are at tiny Santorini airport, as the last rays of sun disappear.

photo img_8777

Time to explore this beautiful island!
There will be a Santorini tourist bonus in the next report.

Thank you for reading!

Below are a few tourist bonus photos from our first few days on the Greek mainland.





Sounion, the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula, and the temple of Poseidon

photo img_8583

The temple of Poseidon



An Attica sunset

photo img_8615

Delphi and the nearby mountain town of Αράχοβα (Arachova)

Delphi - Temple of Apollo

photo img_8642photo img_8645

Theatre of Delphi

photo img_8653

Sanctuary of Athena

photo img_8690photo img_8706

See more

Verdict

Aegean Airlines

6.5/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment7.0
Meal/catering6.0

Independent Goldair Handling Lounge

7.1/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment7.0
Services7.0

Athens - ATH

8.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Santorini Island - JTR

7.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

A short scenic flight with Aegean. The cabin crew were very friendly and were constantly in the aisles on this short flight. Usually, on domestic U.S. flights, there is no service at all on a 30 minute flight, so kudos to Aegean for managing a snack service. The seats themselves weren't particularly comfortable and the legroom was poor. However, for a flight of this length, it was totally fine, and the combination of airshow + beautiful scenery were a nice distraction.

The Athens airport is pretty pleasant and efficient in the off season--though I imagine it can be a zoo in the summer. It was nice to have a choice of 2 Priority Pass lounges inside the Schengen concourse. There are 2 more Priority Pass lounges serving the non-Schengen gates.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 431806 by
    marathon GOLD 8179 Comments

    It is unclear if the neutralized middle seat gamble worked ?
    Nice aerial views despite the having chosen seats on the wrong side, looking out west on an evening flight.
    Thanks for sharing !

    • Comment 431819 by
      KévinDC TEAM AUTHOR 4076 Comments

      Hi Marathon, thank you for your comments! Alas, with such a high load factor the middle seat gamble did not pan out!

      "Nice aerial views despite the having chosen seats on the wrong side, looking out west on an evening flight."
      - Thanks! Yes, I knew I'd be facing right into the blinding sun, but I selected the right side on purpose based on the typical landing patterns I had seen on flightaware/flightradar for JTR. Normally aircraft land from the north, and being that the airport is on the south side of the Island, I was hoping for great views (in spite of sun glare), but oddly we ended up doing a loop around the islands and landing from the south. Still got a decent view of the islands, though.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 431873 by
    Lowendenkmal 24 Comments

    Hi! Thank you for your great FR. You did nice pictures! I really would like to go to Athens.

Login to post a comment.