With my husband residing in Greece and myself based in the UK, during the winter periods, one may find it a bit trickier to commute to the Greek Islands as direct flights are shut off for the off-peak season. But in all honesty, travelling via a connecting flight to Greece is simpler than it looks.
Prior to the off peak season approaching for Greece, I would travel to my husband directly from Stansted to Kefalonia with Ryanair or Jet2. Both are great airlines and both consist of a fairly short commute time for a flight. However once November hits, it means that any passengers wishing to reach their chosen Greek Island for the winter has to first commute to Athens and then journey forwards to their final destination. I am one of those people, and from my experience, I really do prefer travelling indirectly.
I have always wanted to travel on Aegean Airlines. I didn’t know too much about the company before I flew with them, but I knew that they were the best and largest Greek airline there is and from reading more about them in brochures and seeing their advertisements , they really do present their company with a really serene and calming vibe. And having finally travelled with them now onboard, they did not disappoint.
Upon entering the aircraft on Aegean, the cabin crew welcome you warmly and provide you with an antiseptic wipe. This was a lovely first impression of Aegean as a lot of UK based airline companies choose to not opt for this approach. However, Greeks are more inviting and giving so this is clearly reflected in the service you will receive on board with Aegean.
The aircraft overall has a lovely vibe to it aswell, it kind of reminds of British Airways. They share similarities such as their seats which are alike in comfort, spacing and looks and also the service provided by the cabin crew. So now I will detail more specifics about Aegean and my own personal experience of them…
The cabin crew on board provide a really friendly and professional service as mentioned above, but what I am most impressed with, is that the company employs multilingual cabin crew. The cabin crew on board will speak native Greek and will be proficient in English. This is due to the base of the customers being Greek citizens but the second common customers on board are English. My experience of communicating with the cabin crew went perfectly due to the bilingual abilities of the staff. They also exceeded my expectations of cabin crew. They provide a friendly, professional and luxurious service to all passengers so I definitely think it’s worth the money as you are also paying for the service that you receive.
Food and Beverages
The food and beverages on board for an economy ticket is unrivalled to any other airline so far. Even though the food is packaged, the quality and substance of the traditional Greek foods that are served on board is exquisite. For example, some dishes I have eaten on previous flights include a Chicken and Feta pasta and Chicken and Vegetables. They provide a healthy selection of food options on board; again reflecting the healthy lifestyle the Greek culture has. If you also have a special dietary requirement, this is catered for by Aegean as they offer special meals: this includes but is not limited to Gluten Intolerant, Diabetic, Vegetarian Vegan and Kosher meals. In regards to the beverages served on board, they have everything you could ask for and more, they have a selection of fruit juices, water, alcoholic and soft drinks as well as hot teas and coffees. I have previously tried a bottle of their local red wine that they had on board which was sweet and full bodied, boding well with the food they served on that specific flight. The only downside I have is that they only have 1 specific choice of a red and white wine each respectively and no options for a rose wine however this is not an issue at all as the amount of other drinks on other makes up for the lack of rose wine.
However if you opt to fly Business Class… you are in for a real treat. You are offered a 3 course meal that is created by group of alumni chefs, alongside a wide selection of hot and cold beverages (including a variety of alcohol such as wines, spirits and beer). But we will delve more into what it is like in Business Class in Aegean Airlines another time…
Whilst you sit back, relax and enjoy your flight, you can opt to purchase wi-fi if you so require it. Aegean offers all passengers a free 10 minute access to the internet after which you have a selection of options to choose from regarding your wi-fi needs. The costs for the internet access start from €4 and have a cut off price at €9. However depending on your ticket class, you may be able to get internet access for free.
Economy Fare Options
But before you book with Aegean, it is worth you having a good understanding of the Economy Class and the options it contains. Firstly you have the Light fare , which is the cheapest ticket option but it only allows you to bring on board 1 item weighing up to 8kg (this could be either a hold-all, mini suitcase or backpack). The next best option is Flex. Flex allows more flexibility for your travels: allowing you to bring 2 pieces on board – a bag of up to 8kg and 1 personal item. And then you have Comfort Flex. Comfort flex offers flexibility and comfort. It allows you to bring on board 2 pieces. Again, 1 item weighing up to 8kg and 1 personal item. But furthermore, you are also permitted to bring one checked bag of up to 23kg in the hold. You also get the option to choose a free seat on the aircraft and change your ticket if you so require without a rebooking fee whereas the previous fares do not offer this to customers freely and charge an amount if they wish to do this.
Miles+Bonus is the loyalty programme that Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air offers to all passengers. The more you travel with Aegean and Olympic, the more you are rewarded. You accrue miles when you fly with Aegean and any of their airline partners. So for example, when I fly from Heathrow to Athens, I typically accrue about 1,500 miles. This is then added to my Miles+Bonus account and I can then exchange the miles for rewards, upgrades, transfer the points or keep saving them!
It is also worth noting that with this loyalty programme, they have 3 tiers: Blue, Silver and Gold memberships. When you join Miles+Bonus, you begin as a blue member and you are also offered 1,000 complimentary points just for signing up to the scheme. Then once you start travelling on Aegean, Olympic or any of their qualifying partners, you will accrue tier points and once you then gain 12,000 points, you then become a silver member which ultimately means more rewards for you. I recently became a silver member and I am so far loving it; I received complimentary access to the business lounge in Athens and a business class seat on any qualifying journey which I have used for my trip from Athens to London. In order to become a gold member, you need to maintain your miles and fly with Aegean or Olympic air 4 times and gain 24,000 tier miles. The benefits of Gold is even more unlimited, with constant access to the Business Class lounges in Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki and Larnaka), Free Wi-Fi and special baggage allowance. The Miles+Bonus loyalty programme is one that has come extremely handy to my husband and I due to our travels back and forth to visit each other. The rewards you can reap from this scheme are huge; you can use your points to shop at participating stores or you can redeem your miles to save money on your flight with Aegean! This choice is completely up to you!
Aegean Airlines is a fantastic airline company that provides excellent and unrivalled customer service and exceeds value for money expectations. The comfort of the seats provided on board is suitable for short haul flights; there could be an increase in additional leg room for longer haul flights however but the food, beverages and overall on board experience trumps any minor issues (if any) Aegean has. I thoroughly enjoy travelling with Aegean; I have a much more comfortable journey compared to that of travelling with ryanair or Jet2 (and that is saying something as those airlines take me directly to my husband). However the costs amount to approximately the same price, so why not go opt for a much more pleasant journey and receive a better customer service?