Review of Aegean Airlines flight Istanbul Athens in Business

Airline Aegean Airlines
Flight A3884
Class Business
Seat 2F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:10
Take-off 09 Aug 14, 22:45
Arrival at 09 Aug 14, 23:55
A3   #55 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 203 reviews
Published on 13th December 2014
???? ???! ????? ?????? ???? ???????????? ?????? ??? ??? A3 ????? ???? IST-ATH. This is the fourth flight in this itinerary all taken on August 2014. A bit of a warning, this post may contain a lot of photos. ????!

For those who are joining us today and have not checked out my other reports of this trip, feel free to check among the following:

Flight 1 - UA 1585 IAH - ORD
Flight 2 - LX 2609 - ORD - ZRH
Flight 3 - TK 1908 ZRH - IST
Flight 4 - A3 995 IST - ATH

The nice thing when planning with miles on UA, you can plan an itinerary on one-way segments rather than round trip. This gives greater flexibility in finding desired flights and making interesting itineraries. Since my round-the-world birthday trip in 2013, I wanted to return to Vienna and spend a few days enjoying the city. So now I needed to find a way to get from IST to VIE. Surprisingly when looking for flights, there was no available nonstop flights using mileage from IST to VIE either on TK or OS, with a slight preference to TK as I would be OS a bit later in this trip. Some interesting itineraries popped up including flying the 9W-leased 77W with TK in J from IST-LHR and then LH doing LHR-FRA-VIE or TK A332 IST-BCN and then LX doing BCN-GVA-VIE. This is the one itinerary I actually took my time researching because I could not decide on for the longest time. I ended up letting the LHR option slip my hands until I came across this option.

Out of nowhere one day, I noticed an interesting itinerary pop up. I could leave IST late in the evening and be in VIE in the afternoon the following day. I remember it came up when I extended my vacation an extra day. It would also mean flying on a brand new airline and revisiting two airports. This trip report would now cover my very first trip on A3 from IST to ATH.

On my last day in ?stanbul, I woke up early for a quick trip to Asia going via the ferry and returning via the brand new Mamaray Line. This was my first time in a predominantly Muslim country and it was very interesting to see how secular life and traditional life cohabitate.

To back up a bit, A3 allows one to check-in 48hrs before the flight, so I had already checked in just under the 48hr mark. The J cabin looked full via online check-in with only 2 rows for J. I initially reserved 1D when I checked in. I was able to get a Passbook version of my A3 boarding passes saved to my iPhone.

photo 257D7B4C-B004-40BE-81C1-63B4F4708FAE_zpsakp9cxza
My current collection of Star Alliance Passbook Boarding Passes

Initially I wanted to have taken the tram/train option back to IST as the tram was just a few steps away from my hotel. However, when I experienced how crammed it can get in there, especially in the direction to Zeytinburnu, I opted for taking a car service back to the airport. Because I did not know how bad traffic would be to IST on a Saturday afternoon, I left the Sultanahmet area around 18:00. The ride took about 45min and not bad for 52TRL.

photo 11C15998-7CDA-435A-A133-0C4126ABCC8B_zpsgkf9j7ev
Passed by this, the bid logo for ?stanbul 2020, which ended up going to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

We arrived at Entrance B of the Check-in Hall, which had lots of people packing, unpacking, and repacking prior to going inside. All bags needed to go through an initial x-ray screening. One side was busy with tons of travelers heading back to Central Asian destinations, while the other side was rather empty. I chose the empty side since it did not matter which side you chose.

photo 941DAD5F-0811-47A0-856A-E0E8875E09AC_zpsy9zndodg
Entrance B

photo 1FD9B4F9-5A1D-4000-87E5-F237CE52FC7E_zpsq1tuyl8f
Buses dropping off hordes of passengers

It only took about 5min to get through the initial xray security. This initial screening is nothing new to me, but it would be a pain if I was stuck behind the hordes of Central Asians that went shopping. Once through, I made it to the rather expansive, and a bit drab departure hall. It reminded me of BKK’s, with less of a metallic feel.

photo 9757D557-3AE6-47E9-AEEF-A98B13C1DB60_zpsw5joam4l
TK check-in desks and self-service kiosks.

photo 0E49DF52-D115-4FE8-9CD9-F8011DA71AEC_zpsegoy4iun

photo AB634A72-23AC-46AA-8CC6-579FBC58AEB3_zpsx3thc6wl
Hundreds of passengers trying to check in at many TK Y desks

I tried to see if A3 opened their desks early so I could check out TK’s ?stanbul Lounge, but I feared the desks would not open until 2hr before the flight, rather than 3hrs. Thus, I walked around and check out the layout of the departure hall. I noticed the food hall upstairs and in a rare chance decided to get something to eat as I had eaten a very large breakfast at my hotel, but only snacked on some simit and roasted corn from the street vendors for lunch. I noticed the airport has a viewing deck, however, I saw it packed with employee workers in need of their nicotine fix. I guess a few male agents were stressed out as they would be smoking two cigarettes at a time. With my luggage and again the crowdedness, I passed on the viewing deck.

When I would visit HKG, I would be tempted to try Popeyes at the airport, but I end up not doing it. I had seen a few Popeyes outlets during my visit, but there would be no way I would try that while visiting the city. Once I got to the airport, there were no Turkish options that intrigued me, so I figured I might as well try it out and see if it is like anything that I am used to back home.

photo AB634A72-23AC-46AA-8CC6-579FBC58AEB3_zpsx3thc6wl
Do I love that chicken from Popeyes in Turkey?

photo 323D922A-D8C1-441F-8029-70B4249DB723_zpsjbb8sjas
My “spicy” meal

I will say, I know Turks like a bit of heat in their food, but I was slightly disappointed that this was nowhere near spicy. I did ask if it was spicy, and the guy exchanged it with spicy, but it just did not have that heat that I like with Popeyes. It was still good for fried chicken, and it helped pass the time while I watched check-in lines grow and shrink as people made their way airside.

photo 29D93A2D-6F19-464F-B548-598ED510FDC0_zpsrcbkddtk
View during late afternoon snack

Once done, it was time to check out where people were heading, especially with those with carts full of bags! Among the sounds heard were the sounds of bags getting plastic-wrapped along with the loud screeches of packing tape.

photo 25B3F80A-B0CC-43E5-9EB3-7814F1F5AD67_zps8e3x8j5j
Airline ticket counters and food hall above.

photo 0833353A-1AC8-4E12-BA4C-0A4EE9A74E75_zpscyhvtjag
Mini art gallery in the center of the Departure Hall

photo 521A5767-BA8D-4022-9207-5FA3158B8464_zps74xjjp9m
I wonder how much they will charge for overage fees, if they do?

I do have to comment on the hundreds of passengers with ridiculous amount of checked in baggage. I learned, at least in ?stanbul, that August is a big shopping month where all retail outlets have tons of sales. These people bought a lot, and probably will bring them back home to sell. The majority of these passengers were women who did more than the normal ladies shopping holiday. Some men and kids did join them, but mostly women.

photo D703D8A0-215A-4B0A-9332-D165BEE61578_zps6ptmvgrh
TK queue for ASB (Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) separate from the normal TK counters probably because of the baggage fees.

photo 4A6F46E5-DC45-4905-A067-E603EE90EE9F_zpsk9ap3kcq

photo 01D579D9-74D4-4BD0-953D-E7DCF907D87A_zps0ptcbwum

photo 4CF82380-AA18-4FF7-926A-85B175E4C08E_zpstudu79zc
Check-in line for SCO (Aktau, Kazakhstan) with DV (SCAT). It just sounds a bit wrong to say “I’m flying SCAT!”

At this time that I visited IST, they have some interesting airlines flying to some interesting destinations. Again, SCAT Airlines of Kazakhstan is one of those I have only read about, and discovered its an acronym for Special Cargo Air Transport. While I would see these people check-in, by the time I would get airside, it would be too dark to get any decent pictures since I preferred to hang out at the TK lounge than walk around the airport.

photo 02390CC3-1DAF-4654-A69A-9CD1EA54D8AE_zpszzcygbam
J check-in for J2 to GYD (Baku).

photo 0407D87C-8E92-42F0-8478-FEC19FB22333_zpst4iknga5
Y check-in for J2 was previously the Y check-in for EK.

photo FA6D9C06-0D0E-416F-B4C0-A9E81989DDD1_zpssurvlseh
Special passport control and security for TK priority fliers.

photo 12A84EA9-3643-4CA5-A8A3-825B6FF9B541_zps76gvjqdi
J check-in for KC to ALA

photo 8F623EEF-E5E2-4908-B9FD-9FA550DAF115_zpstmlsf8az
Long Y check-in line for KC to ALA.

photo A288AC08-65C5-4640-89D7-F91649A48441_zps4dzuwfwi
Empty ME counters for flight to BEY.

photo AEDDC09B-9B0B-4D51-85C4-1D1A35659391_zps6bxoe2ii
A3 counters setting for tonight’s flight to ATH.

photo DDD2F642-7DBB-4D08-9A84-664B9DBE56B0_zpsxhryuaws
FIDS indicating check-in counters as well as status.

photo F975728F-22E5-46F5-A91B-92ABB335D72C_zpskp1cqxk1
Self-service kiosk that would allow me to check in for my A3 flight. If only it would also let me drop off my bag right now.

photo F975728F-22E5-46F5-A91B-92ABB335D72C_zpskp1cqxk1

photo 88F44A9A-513E-4894-BAF5-0096CF73B0CF_zpslfynxnhf
SV counters for MED.

photo CFB3BCC6-3165-45E6-BA73-EC7FEB16D11E_zpskfidapdi
A bunch of Americans getting bumped or displaced by TK.

Around 19:50, the Celebi ground handling staff started to set up the A3 counters. Ten minutes later they started checking in passengers. A *G member had already queued up before me on the the J line. There had been a sizeable group queuing up for Y check-in.

photo 593ECAF2-BF04-4780-974C-64A2F7021DE6_zpsoapx36xv
Greek lady queuing early at A3 counters.

photo 7F3EBAC7-3D7E-44EC-B6D2-022D53215B96_zps1by1n6es
J counter for A3

When it was my turn, the agent smiled, and I greeted with Merhaba. As he was typing away, I hear the boarding pass printer spit out two A3 cardstock boarding passes. He noticed that I have a long layover in ATH and asked if I would like to check my bags all the way to ZRH or not. I asked if I could pick it up at ATH. I then hear the buzz of the baggage tag machine spit out my tag to ATH. He put a priority tag on it and I watched it make its way underneath the bowels of IST. He put my connecting boarding pass inside my passport and showed me my IST-ATH boarding pass with the baggage tag receipt stuck to the back of it. Finally he told me about the Fast Track lane I could use to get airside a bit faster. With that he wished me a good flight. Minimal, but effective interaction. I kept my cardstock boarding pass and utilized the kiosk-generated one.

photo E8AD0F8B-4FC2-455E-9D92-A4A20EF77808_zpshkjjpbme
Kiosk-generated boarding pass and a Fast Track card

I tried to go airside through the special TK ?stanbul Lounge channel, but I was turned away since agent said only for TK priority passengers. She did say I could enter the lounge once airside. I did not mind because I was curious anyway to see how crazy IST is once airside on the departure side of things.

photo 8FF99042-F8A5-4CCD-96BC-49FAE744F1C3_zpstpovzmcl

photo 33DB9963-85E0-43EA-AD30-E82311A0AF62_zpsvyev7ocx
HY 274 (Uzbekistan Airlines) check-in counters still open checking in passengers to TAS (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)

photo 12E84AE1-F586-468B-843B-89E32EF4A8D4_zps6l08dkdd
Passport Control

It took a while to find the Fast Track lane since it was very unassuming on the farthest lane. They had an agent that checks to see if you have the appropriate voucher to use the line. Then you walk a couple of steps to where an agent takes the voucher, while another agent checks to ensure I have a boarding pass. I am then directed to the bored passport control officer, who checks out my passport, scans it, stamps it, and nudges it to indicate he’s done with it. Finally, I make it to a rather empty security line. A total of 4min and I am finally airside.

photo 0FD1779C-9EB3-4C4E-ACB1-C582EA648627_zpscaxlspkp
First view airside.

I was actually amazed at how massive it feels airside. I wish I could have checked in early and be airside when many of the European flights departed. While it was still crowded, it felt relatively calm. I checked out what was on offer while I made my way to the lounge.

photo 8B254D6E-4F48-472A-848A-E31842FADC8B_zpsquqahgvh
Is my flight listed?

photo 408CFC8B-6AD5-4E6C-B374-D77E9BF08257_zpswju8l9vs
It’s listed by no gate yet.

photo 04F38D79-BA40-4D4A-BFA5-DB127145FED2_zpsvr9tyl3q

photo 54BE7E84-8BB2-4002-A13F-9F57045A0C78_zps8zzloqpb
Any last minute gifts that I forgot to buy?

photo 9B06DDA8-0526-4B7B-9099-F09E6EF7F2D6_zpseggvyviu

photo 0C17F7B8-646F-4D55-B226-43A29DDF4AAB_zps2efnqxxs
Families waiting at a Caffe Nero waiting for their flights to list gate numbers.

photo DF108437-C85B-4402-950B-3070E11E8EA6_zpsuwz882wu
Hmmm … Victoria’s Secret or Simit Sarayi? I’ll go for the simits, thank you!

photo 988B202E-B49D-4F52-B453-86FFEB9C10BD_zpsnrrwchup
Airside entrance to TK’s ?stanbul lounge.

It was finally time to check out what has been billed as one of the best airline lounges in the world, the TK ?stanbul Lounge. Upon entering, most of the lounge agents were busy trying to help passengers who would like to enter the lounge, but had no status at all. Another agent was available to guide those entering by showing them where to scan their boarding passes. It feels like you are going through a long subway-like turnstyle, but there was no turnstyle, and the 2D barcode scanner seems oddly placed on the side rather than on the top.

photo 7CD89408-5594-4CA6-8CA1-664AA7C61A3A_zpsxtkdgcq2
My little hand carry in a glass locker and walked around just to soak up the entire lounge.

When I entered the lounge, I was amazed at the arrangement. I will just let the pictures do a bit of the talking.

photo DD994166-28B2-4322-A889-8CF1F1C31829_zpsk3cjwvh9
Upon entering from the locker area, view to left.

photo 5D9F6BAA-160B-4E68-99C4-DBEE971D502F_zpszhwhe1ku
View ahead.

photo 7175932F-BF00-41ED-A883-FE4A9E1534F6_zpsykmneiqm
Library and pool table

photo 653C8687-FD54-4AD9-9F7B-18477E4EBCF6_zps4x08tgpm

photo BFD86AFC-7680-437D-8A7C-181B0A1DEE34_zpseicoc6sd
The wall of TV’s on various news channels from around the region and world.

photo B6A720BB-9128-420F-93BF-C657C146A863_zpsxk9duqvb

photo 18C7C83A-534F-403C-8B9B-9D2A7FCE7C57_zpsvhqwo223
“Cool” drinks. Most drink stations had just been replenished, so there were rarely any cold drinks on hand.

photo C4E6913D-D032-4514-94FE-D220AE7E8CA3_zpskfz0h3yz
Drinks cabinet

photo EFC65854-376C-4638-94D8-FA9565CABF9C_zps4i1t1glu

photo 05CB8B1E-BF14-4D5D-B727-C72E673CD1E5_zpsdzehjz2w
Çay (Tea) Station

photo D6C8FF3A-E239-49CF-B3DF-C362DF1C0D71_zpsz1zrnptr

photo 6B0271E6-BCB9-4B7C-9B0B-28416CE7FA02_zpsuss3lort

photo A6E1353A-B16A-427E-BE2F-3259D32F1FF3_zpseluiijey
Mezze Station

photo BBBE279A-9ADC-476C-B13A-0A956EC8B880_zpsv4siu4uw
Salad Station

photo AFAB71AD-0193-4157-AF32-B685F3137413_zpsiyoqljg0

photo 3B742461-D2E9-46DA-B465-E9BA1072E208_zpsz1e6x25k
Soup Station

photo DD32B057-2A5D-4B8A-8DE8-EDCCB8932F8E_zpsr629slvo
Hot station behind the glass window

photo 9328FD5A-11DC-43AB-8351-860FBFB55198_zpsnvpzsos2

photo EBD4FF32-87C9-467F-A01B-D2707F762D30_zpsqk1y14pk
Delicious Lemonade

photo 98B36424-0AF2-4F18-AB51-22FBFA28B471_zpsbwdtwddk

photo 38382A04-DDB7-44FC-A8FF-834BE6FE6091_zpsgmyjfugf

photo E070B064-CDC6-427F-AA89-750E794335AC_zpsroon0on0
Do&Co Desserts Gallore!

photo AC651CBF-CA06-4C19-A7CB-3BBC596D3A6E_zpsifqizk1o
Jellies and Pistachio Lokum

photo CD66F3E3-FD6D-49F4-9AD4-0DD75227F41E_zpsd9r8beuh

photo CED6AFF2-73F2-4073-B248-B83E8A97A943_zpsdc6ij8bn
Tonight’s selection of hot items.

photo 2EC03840-B143-4369-8841-99D43F8AD3D6_zpskxaqtlg9
Dining area

photo 9271BEE9-1998-4413-A69E-F9E5AA40B03B_zps5qqqy1vu
First round of food.

My minor complaint of the first round of my meal was that the lamb was just a bit too dry for me while the chicken was juicy. The desserts were delicious, but I had to be careful eating them because of the almonds. The lemonade was nice and refreshing. Was hoping they had some sort of fresh cherry drink, but all they had were the “cool” juice cans. After finishing the first round, I got a second helping of the chicken and tried a couple of the mezzes. However, I did not take a photo of the second and third rounds. I was already full from the Popeyes, and I doubted I would get anything to eat tonight on my A3 flight. To take a break, I continued walking around both floors.

photo 67314BC1-1DB1-4627-9A2B-EAC7D367A0DA_zpsmkdreo20
I like to call this part “The Global Stairway”.

photo 4ED711A0-86F8-4F1C-88A6-F40DF4A74DED_zpsuj8kkwvo
The location of this piano makes it feel like it’s in a wintry setting.

photo 0D4DCAD7-B600-4847-9A56-DA86FBFDE8BC_zps125awwan
Fresh fruit stand.

photo FB25B12B-307A-4D79-8D3C-8077823846C0_zpsty0ucjqa
Yum … Limonata!

photo A686D8A5-F33D-4088-8546-9B551CBF9E65_zpspd7mxj7q
A delicious sour cherry, chamomile, and lavender tea.

photo 57CF658D-0FFA-4733-8C38-5C6C3F6A66CC_zps1uzuzju2
Another delicious tea with mint, fennel, and date syrup.

photo 5A022FC7-E15B-4D07-B4D6-07CCBEE94678_zpsk3d6lus4
Small salad bar

photo 93EADACA-1BB9-422E-B9DD-BB6969351246_zps7rxbimzf
Another view of the “Global Stairs”

photo 02223DEB-3746-43D6-B2B7-926407A31348_zpsxyw0zwkn
Lower level TV area

photo EF4C7EE9-5F43-4F2E-8578-E00A3C0D8D62_zpsh1t2cjep
Snack lounge and the TK racecourse in the distance.

photo 76DE6DAE-D07C-4087-981E-96C8DCFA9CEB_zpsmwtx04dv
The TK Open, Closed.

photo 7D855CD1-AC5A-4BA0-BFA7-374E54034FA2_zps8ka7mdfz
TK 77W model on the racecourse.

photo 380796B1-0832-41E4-ACC2-B69542FE53C9_zpswbtw1jsf
Another piano area on the lower level

photo E6860618-8146-4832-8215-649F41E1A7CF_zpsprbed913
Computer area and snacks on the lower level

photo D8620CA0-0B34-43A9-9197-E124C2547ED4_zps55zoc6a8
More desserts!

photo 72B6D7E6-40D1-41E6-902C-180017BE96EA_zpscf08u9sh
Fresh Ayran, very interesting and probably would have made the lamb meatballs a bit more enjoyable.

photo 88B229B3-482D-4489-B769-08EEFA868634_zpsk4pzczpa
Pasta of the Day

photo CD350545-D770-4DC6-B23D-CAAB1296E79C_zps34us1yvp
My flight will depart from Gate 220.

photo 28266AFA-4C7A-4D65-B0D0-446DBDF4484C_zpssazynf39
Lahmacun, a Turkish pizza with different toppings

photo 4BB564F5-C677-4359-9A48-D5C2CA1187F6_zpsm7pvv7qv
Trabzon butter, I did not try it.

photo 7A6A8B21-B89A-43EF-95B6-4B40A0F331BD_zpsqzul40xv
Yum! Simit! Well, Simit Sarayai is a lot better.

photo 50D2BEFD-B683-4F5A-A505-B7F597D465F2_zpsrdcxwnjc
An interesting collection of teas promoting wellness.

I noticed I was running out of power on my iPhone and iPad, so I took a break while I was on the lower level to let them recharge while I relaxed and collected my thoughts to write my reports. The lounge offered free WiFi and I used the opportunity to do a bit of FaceTime with my parents and to check-in on my dog. The one thing I did not do that I should have so I would have felt squeaky clean was to have checked out the shower facilities. I will say the lower level WC felt like a lounge in itself when I made a quick pit stop. In terms of my fellow travelers, the lounge was not busy at all. I image it would be, especially around the time many of the North American and European flights depart. By 22:00, I decided to go ahead and make my way to my gate since I was not sure how far I would have to walk.

photo BDA79A23-ABFB-4732-AA40-C7B6966EEB4A_zps5ckhskjl
I just want to take a feather and tickle his feet just so we don’t have to see those piggies.

photo 2E555ED6-4A3A-42B3-9222-25FBD6DDC790_zpskxq9e8ew
TK … Widen Your World. I thought it was Globally Yours!

My second minor complaint of the lounge is the lack of views, whether it is the busy departure area or any aircraft movements. I appreciate a lounge that has an amazing view of airplane movements. The only view you could peer out to would be the driveway to departure drop-off.

photo 56721E3B-4FFB-4C3A-9FB8-170511A3BEB8_zpsl8a5afkx
Pool table and library

photo 21B5A6B3-BF0A-41C2-9684-02369298B9DA_zps3tczdfrv
Apparently they were doing some filming, but I did not see any filming going on.

At this time, the airport started getting quieter. I guess I kept on expecting that the airport would be packed. Probably at this time, fewer flights depart. I had expected for a long walk to my gate, but I lucked out that with the lounge being relatively close to my gate.

09 August 2014
A3 884
ETD: 22:40
ATD: 22:50
ETA: 23:59
ATA: 00:07

photo D7355537-2E51-425E-8F23-07F2D76E7C5F_zpskg7lzmlv
Heading towards the gate on a travelator. The lounge is seen on the right.

photo 5535D513-A0AD-4B2D-BBFB-33157C3DB92B_zpsqwy4nuyf
Hey! It’s my gate, just on the other side of the lounge.

photo 6E617847-C19D-406D-9CA2-36F1AC505792_zpswgaryb1v
My flight is code-shared with OA as well as TK on my flight ATH.

When I got to the gate close , the Celebi ground staff had just arrived via the jetway. They actually gave a message about a 10min delay in boarding. Tonight's flight actually had a nice mix of passengers. I would say just about half of those flying that night were Greek nationals returning home from holidays in Turkey. A quarter of the flight composed of fellow Americans who came off TK-North American flights. I walked around the gate lounge to see if I could capture a photo of any aircraft movements.

photo 24534E58-5B70-42DC-9D1E-E3A83147A955_zpsf2i6b4yw
Blurry pic of the SX-OGB taking me to ATH tonight.

photo 879D3A02-5BF6-47FE-B201-B33B3877170C_zpsbsn7gbdp
KC A320 to ALA finishing up boarding at Gate 219, a possible W5 A310 heading back to THR, and a TK A330 at Gate 218.

photo B67C82B2-9F07-4022-9D45-D51A2D5ECCA0_zpsatzp2izo
Passengers waiting to board my A3 flight to ATH.

By 22:15, the Celebi staff had finished setting up for the flight and called for pre-boarding of J passengers, Miles & Bonus Gold, and *A Gold card members. Since I was the closest person to the boarding area, I was the first one to board. I handed over my kiosk-generated boarding pass for the agent to scan and then I was on my way down the jetway.

photo F15930C9-146B-4A8B-821D-5E2DF5C29AB4_zpspbnj7mve
Glass jetway attached to the building.

photo 3BABB26B-13ED-4C1D-97E8-FE708EAD05FA_zps84q7nyrl
Covered jetway connecting to the plane.

A beautiful younger FA and an equally beautiful Purser saw me approaching and welcomed me with “???? ???!” and in kind I replied “?????????!” which brought a smile to them. Immediately I am amazed by the beauty of the FAs on this flight. While it was Summertime, I understand the ladies not needing to wear something to cover their arms. However, I do wonder what do they wear when temperatures get colder. Do they wear tight-like material that OS FAs wear underneath their sleeveless dresses.

photo DF010B27-1F95-4119-A72A-EF725314B56F_zpsyeudhlm2
View of cabin from my seat.

Like my LX flight from ORD-ZRH, I was actually rather excited to be flying A3 for the first time, and wished I would continue on A3 to VIE, but did I could not find a decent flight arrival into VIE. Once I got situated, the FA that welcomed me asked if I would like a pre-departure drink, suggesting if I would like to try some Greek wine. I said thank you and asked to try the white wine. As she went to fix my drink, I checked out my surroundings.

photo 0B7DA4E5-AF02-4BEB-93B1-3DB138EFD733_zpsgsjhjhxz
Legroom shot.

photo ED92164C-4C62-4B5B-88E8-A0C4601DA40E_zpsttwfbzzi
Front view from my seat.

For a couple of minutes, another passenger and I were the only passengers to have pre-boarded. I took that time to take some extra pictures. In the mean time, the FA brought over my Greek white wine, while Purser Maria welcomed me on board and handed out the menu for tonight’s flight. Wow, for this evening flight, I would get an actual meal? After Maria handed me the menu, the FA held out a basket if I would like any boiled sweets.

photo D59ED95B-14FD-47B5-AF5C-1D3EBDC41BD0_zpsc3olqu3g
Middle-seat tray table

photo 23C53688-E30A-44ED-8C5A-98C226C856C6_zpsr6m38kwj
White wine, menu, and A3 some boiled sweets

About five minutes later, the rush of Y passengers boarded the plane while I perused the items in my seatback pocket. We would have a decent load tonight to ATH. Within 10minutes, the majority of passengers had boarded and we waited a bit for paperwork to be finalized from Celebi to the flight deck and to Maria.

photo 63A15849-8DBE-4EAB-8D10-1212D7DDA45E_zpsrm1glbal
Celebi ground staff waiting to finish up loading up before pushback.

At the time of of departure, 22:40, they had closed the main cabin doors while Maria called for doors to be cross-checked. Maria then powered up the safety video while the FAs took positions during the video, similar to UA FA’s. When the video finished, we still sat at the gate. The captain had announced that there would be a slight delay because of a bit of traffic in the taxiways.

photo CA8A91B9-B08C-4A0B-AFE5-F9A99DB2FA50_zpsv9gr1hzi
TK 738 getting ready for departure somewhere.

photo 62EBBF1E-7EFC-4283-AF90-AF212023DEC3_zpswfutuqmd
I believe HY 767 heading back to TAS.

Finally we started our way towards towards 35R. The other FAs ensured everyone was belted in and ready for the flight. As they walked up and down the aisle, they looked like fashion models walking up-and-down the runway. Their uniforms and their presentation enhanced this fashion model look. All were nice and smiling. The one thing I was curious about is whether there is any significance to the color of scarf they wore. Maria and the FA who offered me the wine wore white scarves, while the other 2 FAs mainly in Y wore blue ones.

While we had a slight delay because of the traffic in the taxiway, once we pushed back, we immediately leaped into air on our way to ATH. Maria gave her welcome in Greek and English, followed by messages from the flight deck. Immediately after the FAs were released and the seat belts turned off. The FAs did a full service run. With only 4 in J tonight, Maria mainly worked our cabin, while the FAs had their own cart and section and did a speedy service giving a sandwich, nuts, and a drink.

photo 63E5EB7A-9C18-449E-90F2-42AFAE5FF4E4_zpsex7oozse
Oshibori and drink run

Maria first did an oshibori that was rather lukewarm, which was fine. It was still hot in the cabin and wish she used iced-cold water on the oshibori. Next, Maria went to each customer and asked what they would like to drink and if we would partake in the small meal available tonight. It was nice that we got menus for this flight. However, the catering that A3 uses at IST did not load anything mentioned in the menu with only one chicken meal and the rest seafood meal, which included items I could not eat due to my food allergies. Either way, I asked for the meal so I could add to this lengthy trip report.

photo 48BDE037-3DDB-48D9-8521-39B687402CF8_zps0kdw7tyu
After ordering the meal, Maria placed this white A3 mat down.

photo D99493DE-F841-46EE-B962-9D0F7E66A3FF_zpsogeeaoub
Tonight’s meal. While it looked appetizing, I ended up not eating it because of the pinenuts. The creamy dish was OK. Either way, this seems a lot better than the snack given on a 3hr+ flight on UA domestic flights in F.

If I remember correctly, this was the only flight that utilized fancy-looking plastic utensils. I was getting a bit tired and I believe I passed out while during the meal as I did not really the meal. Probably Maria or one of the wondering FAs saw I had fallen asleep and picked up my tray and returned my tray table to its upright position. Before I knew it, I could hear the dings and the heavy walking of the FAs to indicate we would soon be arriving into ATH.

Peering out of the window, I could see the lights of the suburban towns of Athens. I tried to take a video of the arrival, but it was too dark to catch anything. I then noticed the IKEA as we touched down on 03L. As the wheels touched the runway, a couple of passengers in Y started clapping, just like my TK flight. We taxied around, passing by the rather empty satellite concourse as we made our way to the hard stand on the opposite side of the main terminal.

Finally we pulled into hard stand while we waited for the ground staff to set up stairs and whatever else. The FA who served me wine back in IST closed the curtain to the F cabin to let the 4 of us in J deplane at our own leisure. When I collected my stuff, I thanked Maria with “E???????? ????!” and she graciously smiled and replied “????????!”

photo 2706D85B-BD3A-4B8E-AB3A-A24F48E66B79_zpswuxz5xkp
After stepping of the plane.

photo EF791429-00F2-4A3A-8802-A5AB6EB41C69_zpskhw1u840
SX-OGB had the pleasure of taking me to ATH tonight.

I was the last one to deplane from the J cabin. I tried to take a few pictures as I was walking to the bus, but one of the A3 staff kindly ushered me into the bus. What I did not know was that we would have our own bus back to the terminal and they were waiting for me to board so they could then deplane the rest of the passengers. This was a first getting such a big Cobus bus to take me and three others to the main terminal.

In terms of highlights being bussed to/from a plane, this has to rank and the second most memorable one. The first one was at CDG many years ago flying CDG-IAH on an AF A340-300, the day the Concorde returned back into service. I noticed a bunch of people on the ground getting all excited and then I immediately noticed AF employees surrounding a Concorde. I excitedly grabbed my camera and was about to be admonished by the Asian ground staff until I pointed to the Concorde, and she allowed me to take a few pics. On the downside, I cannot find those pics I took. On the plus side, all passengers on my flight were given a small model Concorde to signify its temporary return to the skies.

photo ACEC9F2E-52B5-4D02-815A-054B22053B26_zps3ppssjgc
Hologram prior to Greek Immigration.

After the bus ride, we immediately end up at passport control. The area had 6 desks and only 2 opened, one just for EU passport holders, and the second for all passport. I got directed to the EU lane as the officer had not been ready for me. The officer at the EU line had no problem with me there, and then just stamped my entry into the EU.

photo 8F1E5215-4692-480B-AF18-F466F53E5291_zpsynyakbrn
Baggage Belt 1 at ATH

photo 470A325F-3D8B-4F75-AA5E-DEFBB5D71404_zpsme0xvqlf
It’s all Greek to me! ;-)

photo C397E636-2297-4C9A-A019-C3E561BC806F_zpsk9urm5qd
Arrival FIDS

Since I was among the first off the plane, I waited about 10minutes before the bags started to appear. My suitcase immediately showed up and it was time to find a place to hangout while I wait for the LX counters to open up.

photo AFD98A0D-823C-4C25-B753-6CA733EC068D_zpsyikupqki
My trip so far courtesy of

See more


Aegean Airlines

Cabin crew10.0

Turkish Airlines Lounge


Istanbul - ISL


Athens - ATH



A3 really impressed me. The Celebi staff were efficient, yet once I stepped on board SX-OGB, Maria and her beautiful co-workers truly impressed me. Their warm smiles and happy attitudes seemed to infectious on this flight. Now I had read trip reports with great A3 staff, and it is nice to know the staff on this flight are proud of their airline, even on a late night flight home. I hope to fly them many times as I have become a new Miles & Bonus member as I give less and less to UA.

Information on the route Istanbul (ISL) Athens (ATH)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 5 avis concernant 2 compagnies sur la ligne Istanbul (ISL) → Athens (ATH).


La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Turkish Airlines avec 8.1/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 24 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 124870 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6858 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this next flight in your trip. Looks like you had a very good experience with Aegean. The TK lounge in IST is amazing. Interesting that you switched to Aegean's mileage program. Living in the US, how can you avoid flying UA if you're accruing mileage with Star Alliance? BTW I added A3 to the front of the flight number for you and noticed the class showed as F, so I changed that to J for you. Thanks.
  • Comment 124901 by
    marathon GOLD 10168 Comments
    AF too allows one way flights at no FB airmiles extra cost.
    Such a vivid rendition of this Oriental bazaar landside (even if IST is in the European part of the city) ! The line of trolleys loaded with oversized tight wrapped parcels is especially amazing.
    The contrast with TK's lounge is all the more stunning. I agree that a lounge without a view on the planes cannot be called perfect, though.
    I find it strange when passengers applaud at landing after a flight in nominal conditions. Thanks for these especially comprehensive report !
    (The captions under the pictures, rather than above, are somewhat bothersome. I quit using the mouse back and forth halfway through the report, and stopped reading the shorter ones.)

Login to post a comment.