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Hey guys! Welcome to the first of another series of flight reports!
After spending an amazing week in the Greek islands of Santorini and Crete with my family, I sadly had to leave a few days early as I had stuff coming up back home. While looking up flights for the trip back, I noticed that flights to Milan via Athens with Aegean was available for a nice price. This was perfect for me as I've never flown with them before, plus I knew someone in Milan that offered me to stay with them for the night before continuing on to London. So, after quick search for flights to London from Milan, this 'interesting' itiniary was born:
As an added bonus, this would also be my first time flying Wizz, hitting two birds with one stone!
For the 2 flights to Milan, I paid around €125 in total. This includes the flight, 23kg checked luggage and seat selection. I booked the flight itself with a third-party but the seats and luggage on Aegean's own website as most third-party websites inflate the price of these add-ons massively (and I don't really trust them too much from past experience).
Anyway, back to this flight report.
Centre of Heraklion at night. This is when the city is at its busiest where everyone comes out and all the shops are open; it is very quiet during the day.
I searched online for ways to get to the airport, which informed me that there are buses that run to the airport. However, the information was very confusing and the only location I got for the bus stop was an old intercity coach terminal that was closed. Also, Google Maps doesn't include any bus routes/stops in the city. All of this, combined with the fact that the buses are all in Greek meant that I gave up fairly early on and decided to take a taxi instead. This only costed me €13, very cheap (like most things in Heraklion).
As usual, I aim to get to the airport around 3 hours early to account for anything unexpected and give me plenty of time to 'explore' the airport. In hindsight, this was overkill as the airport was almost deserted this early on and it was small enough you can walk from one side to the other in under 5 minutes.
The main check-in area, very quiet…
…apart from this group of passengers that was supposed to be on the 10:30pm Ryanair flight to Milan that got cancelled. It was later announced that the flight will be delayed until 1:00pm today. The plane actually arrived from Milan on time, however I assume there must be a technical issue as I saw the plane getting towed to a more remote parking position on FR24. Anyway, they stayed there for a while longer before getting a bus to (what I hope) a hotel.
The morning's departures. We were actually the 2nd departure of the day, a 05:40 Corendon flight to Düsseldorf was missing for some reason.
A quick session of cat-spotting. ;)
There was a load of counters lining the entire check-in area, including an Aeroflot one, which won't be opening for a while.
Apart from the ticket counters, there really aren't much in the check-in area apart from a 24 hour convenience store staffed by a very rude attendant.
The check-in counters for Aegean and Olympic. As I mentioned I came way too early, the counters only opened 2 hours before the flight.
Although judging by the lack of passengers this early and size of the airport, you could probably get away with arriving only an hour early (not recommended though).
Security took under 5 minutes and we are through to the duty-free area.
The departures area. The non-Schengen gates (or 'B' gates) are segregated by a passport control point further along.
There really isn't much to do in the airport, the airport Wi-Fi is incredibly unreliable as it kept saying 'access point full' and it's really pure luck whether you'll be able to connect onto it or not. Even if you do manage to connect, the signal is very weak apart from a very specific area in the terminal.
Our flight time for this short hop was 30 minutes, according to the captain.
The route for our flight:
Boarding started 30 minutes before departure and was done by bus.
Some quick info about our Airbus A320-200:
Age: ~14 Years
She was delivered to Aegean in early 2009 and is painted in the 'Acropolis Museum' special livery, which she's worn for her entire life.
The crew handed out hand wipes during boarding.
The legroom - not bad.
Tray table and magazine holder.
We departed on time - not too much to see sadly as it's very dark, especially as we turn straight into the Aegean Sea after takeoff.
First signs of daylight as we climb out of Heraklion.
Cruising just above the clouds.
Immediately after the seatbelt signs went off, the crew started distributing another packet of hand wipe, a bottle of water and a snack (salted breadsticks), not bad considering the short flight time.
Nearing Athens already.
A quick look at the contents of the seatback pockets, which includes a safety card, a seasick bag, a duty-free catalogue…
…and a really hefty 270 page in-flight magazine.
Because I didn't get enough time to do this, the 2 photos above was taken on the Athens → Milan leg, which explains the lighting inconsistency. The contents are identical on both flights.
Starting our descent into Athens with a beautiful sunrise.
We'll be landing on runway 21R of Athens.
Over the Petalioi Gulf just east of Athens with views of Euboea Island (the 2nd largest island after Crete, where we came from).
A left turn puts us on final approach, with lovely views of the mountains north-east of Athens.
Flying over some farms? I think. The trees look way too organised, although I'm not too sure what they're farming.
Anyway, welcome to Athens! We landed on time.
A short taxi later, we arrived at our parking position, we had to wait here for around 10 minutes for the buses that'll take us to the terminal to show up.
For those passengers with a short connection (<1 hour), Aegean provides a dedicated transfers agent to help them reach their connection successfully.
I now have a 9 hour layover at Athens, mainly because the only other option was a 45 minute layover, and I wasn't willing to risk that at all.
A quick bus ride later, we arrived in the departures area. I opted to leave the airport as I wanted to explore Athens for a bit.
The baggage reclaim area, My luggage was going straight to Milan, so I didn't have to do anything here.
With my 9 hours here, I originally wanted to go planespotting in Athens. However, I accidentally bought the wrong metro ticket, which was more expensive. So instead of letting it go to waste, I decided to go to Athens city centre and have a walk around the main sights instead.
Thanks for reading!
Sadly, because I only had a very limited time on Crete, I didn't get to visit many of its famous attractions. So here are some of my favourite photos from Santorini instead:
The blue domed churches that the island is famous for:
Thera at night:
Looking north towards the entire island with Thera being the closer settlement on the right and Oia the one in the distance.
A very nice domestic flight from Heraklion to Athens, cabin was nice with a good amount of legroom. The snack and bottle of water was a really nice touch, especially for such a short flight. Crew nice and professional, overall I'd highly recommend them.
As for Heraklion airport, honetly not a great experience at all, especially considering it's the 2nd busiest airport in Greece. Facilities aren't great, and Wi-Fi pretty much non-existent. The lack of people during my early-morning departure made the experience bearable at least, very curious on how the airport handles during the peak summer traffic.