Category: Air travel (page 1 of 2)

New Emirates route will link Athens and Newark with non-stop daily flights year-round

Emirates airline Boeing 777

An Emirates airline photo of the Boeing-777-300ER-2 aircraft it will fly on a new route linking Athens to Newark beginning in March

 

Four season flights:  There’s good news for North American travellers: Getting to Greece from the USA both during and outside the peak season summer months will soon be a lot easier.

Emirates airline today announced a new route that will provide daily non-stop service between Athens International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport — year-round.  It will be the first time since 2012 that an airline will offer daily non-stops from the USA to Greece all year long.

The non-stop transatlantic service is part of a new Dubai – Athens – Newark route that will launch on March 12 2017.

Emirates will fly a Boeing-777-300ER-2 on the route, providing 8 seats in first class, 42 in business class, and 304 in economy.

 

“Emirates flight EK209 will depart Dubai at 10:50 local time, arriving in Athens at 14:25 before departing again at 16:40 and arriving into Newark at 22:00 on the same day. The return flight EK210 will depart Newark at 23:45 local time, arriving in Athens the next day at 15:05. EK210 will depart once again from Athens at 17:10 bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 23:50, facilitating convenient onward connections to over 50 Emirates destinations in India, the Far East and Australia,” the airline said in its media release.

“Passengers in all cabin classes can enjoy the friendly service from Emirates’ international cabin crew, meals prepared by gourmet chefs, and over 2,500 channels of the latest movies, TV shows, and music hits on its award-winning ice inflight entertainment system,” the announcement added.

While the new Emirates route will greatly facilitate travel to Greece for Americans, it also will benefit travellers in Toronto and other parts of eastern Canada by providing a possibly more convenient alternative to flying to a major European city and then catching a flight to Athens. I’ve been considering off-season trips to Greece, so the forthcoming Emirates service is welcome news to me personally, as I’m sure it will be for the large Greek communities in Toronto, Montreal and the New York City area.

 

Festive music and fun for kids at Athens airport on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve

 Athens airport Christmas and New Year events

Special music and children’s entertainment events will be held Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at Athens International Airport

 

Travel treats: Athens International Airport will be sharing the holiday spirit with special festive music and fun for kids on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on both of those days, the airport will be treating travellers to live music and entertainment, as well as fun events specially geared to children, in the open access area of the terminal’s departures level.

The entertainment lineup for both December 24 and December 31  includes:

♦ appearances by two Happy Mascots — the Christmas Elf and the “living toy,” Miss Carousel — who will entertain children with acrobatic tricks, wish cards and photo opportunities

♦ the wind-up Living Statue, who will delight travellers near Entrances 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the open access area of the departures floor; and

♦ the Transformation Booth, where visitors can choose fun accessories and props for photo-taking. The booth will be at  Entrance 2 for the check-in counters.

On Christmas Eve, the Experimental Music School of Pallini will present a musical program of carols and all-time-favourite Christmas classics. The ensemble includes students who specialize in Greek and international traditional music and who play traditional instruments. The performance will take place from 12:00 to 12:45 in the open access section of the airport shopping center on the departure floor.

On New Year’s Eve, the Athens-based band Vanila Swing will help travellers bid farewell to 2015 with a live swing concert featuring the group’s trademark blend of 50s rockabilly and 40s swing with a fresh rock’n’ roll twist. The concert will take place from 12:00 to 13:00 in the open access section of the airport shopping center on the departure level.

The holiday festivities are a collaborative effort between Athens International Airport and the ελculture cultural platform.

SkyGreece starting Athens to New York service on June 19

SkyGreece Airlines Beoing 767-300 ER aircraft

SkyGreece Airlines photo of its Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft

 

SkyGreece Airlines has announced that it will commence service between Athens and New York on June 19.

At a press conference in Athens yesterday, SkyGreece officials said the airline has long-term plans to add flights to Boston and Chicago as well.

Details of the airline’s announcements were reported in Greek media yesterday, and also were posted on the SkyGreece Facebook page.  As of this morning, however, the New York route had not been added to the SkyGreece website, so online booking and price information for flights between Athens and NYC is still unavailable.

 

Service to Toronto starts May 24

Earlier this year, SkyGreece announced that it would start flights between Athens and Toronto beginning on May 17.  But yesterday’s announcement said that route will begin one week later — on May 24.

In March, SkyGreece announced that flights between Thessaloniki and Toronto would commence on May 20, but at yesterday’s press event the airline said the first flight on that route will be June 18 and will include a stopover at Budapest.

The SkyGreece website says the airline has only one aircraft in its fleet, a Boeing 767-300 ER that seats 274 passengers, but media were told yesterday that the company also has an Airbus A340-300 that carries 300 passengers.

SkyGreece has a strategic alliance with BH Air of Bulgaria to offer service between Europe and North America, and plans to add six more aircraft to its fleet. Starting on June 26, the airline will offer a flight from Athens to Zagreb and Toronto.

Click here to see my previous posts about SkyGreece.

SkyGreece launches new website with online booking

SkyGreece Airlines

A screen capture of the home page for the new SkyGreece Airlines website, which went live today (April 7 2015)

 

Travellers curious to check SkyGreece Airlines fares and schedules, or book seats, can do so online now that SkyGreece has launched a new website.

The airline announced on Facebook today that its new site — featuring fast and easy online booking — has gone live.

The new site makes it a breeze to check prices and routes for the airline’s service between Athens, Toronto and Montreal, and between Thessaloniki and Toronto. Since March 21, when SkyGreece first announced that flights were available for booking, customers had to phone an airline reservation representative or contact a travel agent to obtain further information.

Out of curiosity, I checked fares and availability for the dates I am already booked to travel to and from Greece next month, and discovered I would have saved about $100 flying economy class on SkyGreece.

The airline offers three fare categories: economy, “economy flex” and premium.

I have reported extensively on SkyGreece Airlines … click here to see my previous posts.

SkyGreece offering $899 fare for flights from Montreal & Toronto to Athens & Thessaloniki

SkyGreece Airlines

SkyGreece posted this promotional offer on its Facebook page March 21

 

[Editor’s note: this post was updated March 25 with information about Toronto-Athens and Toronto-Thessaloniki fares]

 

Fare deals: SkyGreece Airlines has finally released introductory fares for its new Toronto to Athens, Toronto to Thessaloniki  and Montreal to Athens routes, which launch on May 17, 20 and 23, respectively.

In a post on the SkyGreece Facebook page March 21, the airline announced that economy class fares for a limited number of round-trip flights between Montreal and Athens will start at $899 (taxes included) for departures between May 23 and June 13. The price includes advance seat selection and two pieces of luggage weighing up to 40 kg.  Presumably, the price is in Canadian dollars.

Fares must be booked before March 27 either through travel agents or by calling SkyGreece’s North American reservations desk at 1-855-781-8585.

A “comfort class” option is available; however, the Facebook page announcement does not indicate what those particular seats cost.

The $899 fare breaks down to $334 for the flight and $565 for applicable taxes, fees and surcharges.

 

Flights from Toronto to Athens & Thessaloniki

In a Facebook post on March 25, SkyGreece announced that prices for its direct flights from Toronto to Athens and Toronto to Thessaloniki will start at $899 (taxes included) for departures between May 17 and June 14. These seats must be booked by April 4, and include the same advance seat selection and luggage allowances as on the Montreal to Athens flights.

As I reported in a January 29 post, the airline said it will offer three flights per week between Toronto and Athens, commencing May 17. A once-weekly flight from Toronto to Thessaloniki will start on May 20, and the Montreal to Athens route will begin operations on May 23.

The new airline will offer Canadian travellers an alternative to Air Transat and Air Canada rouge, which until now have been the only airlines with direct flights between Canada and Greece. The Transat and rouge flights are only seasonal, however, whereas SkyGreece is proposing to fly year-round.

Earlier this month, the Internet has been abuzz with word that return SkyGreece flights could be booked online for as low as US $415, including all taxes and fees. (That would be CDN $521 under current exchange rates.) Several people contacted me to say they had seen these prices on Google Flights Explore; however, when I checked, I couldn’t find any SkyGreece flights listed at all. Another person later told me he had seen a July return fare of CDN $561 for a July 5 flight.

The $899 special fare is a good deal — but I’m glad I didn’t delay booking my next trip to Greece to see if I could save money once SkyGreece released its prices. I found an even cheaper fare on Air Transat in early January and will be flying to Athens on that airline for the 11th time this spring.

Still, I’m sure the seats available at that price will be snapped up quickly. It will be interesting to see how SkyGreece’s regular fares will compare to those offered by its competition. The new routes could be appealing not just to Canadian travellers, but also to Americans living in border states a reasonable driving distance from Montreal and Toronto. With the US greenback so strong against the Canadian dollar at the moment — US $1 = CDN $1.26 at today’s exchange rates — more Americans are bound to consider flying to Greece from Canada this year.

 

SkyGreece Airlines

On March 25, SkyGreece posted this announcement about promotional fares for direct flights from Toronto to Athens and Toronto to Thessaloniki

 

SkyGreece Airlines will launch service to Canada on May 17

SkyGreece Airlines Boeing jeet

SkyGreece Airlines posted this photo of its Boeing 767-300ER  aircraft to its Facebook page today.

 

Routes revealed: Travellers will have more choices for direct flights between Canada and Greece beginning Sunday May 17.

That’s the day SkyGreece Airlines is expected to launch service between Athens and Toronto, with three flights per week.  On Wednesday May 20, SkyGreece will start a once-weekly flight to Toronto from Thessaloniki, and on Saturday May 23 it will debut a once-weekly departure from Athens to Montreal.

More good news: SkyGreece will offer service during winter months, too, with two flights per week from November 2015 until April 2016. (The flights to and from Thessaloniki will only be seasonal, however.)

Canadian charter airline Air Transat and Air Canada rouge, a “leisure” division of Air Canada, are the only carriers presently offering direct flights between the two countries — and only during the spring to fall travel period.

 

First-ever service between Thessaloniki and Canada

SkyGreece will become the first carrier to offer scheduled commercial service between Thessaloniki and Canada. The two Canadian airlines fly to and from Athens only.

The SkyGreece transatlantic schedule was revealed January 30 on the Greek Air News Facebook page. The Greek Air News report did not include any information about fares for the flights between Canada and Greece. Curiously, SkyGreece didn’t make any announcement about its new routes on either its website or its Facebook page on January 30. It did, however, post two photos of its single Boeing 767 aircraft on Facebook (including the one I have republished at the top of this post) along with the comment “The family will be growing soon!!”, which suggests SkyGreece may soon be adding more aircraft to its fleet.

But on January 31, SkyGreece did post news of its routes (indicating slightly different service starting dates than Greek Air News had mentioned.) “We have listened to the continuous demand of the Greek community in Canada and in Greece and decided to develop our flight schedule to meet the demand.,” the airline stated on its Facebook page.

 

Executive appointments announced

As I reported in a January 21 post, SkyGreece received Canadian regulatory approval this month to commence scheduled service between the European Community and Canada. In an announcement about the Canadian Transportation Agency decision, SkyGreece promised to unveil its “new and exciting flight program” within days.

A private company based in Athens, SkyGreece has offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York.

On January 26 the airline announced the appointment of Denis Codere as its deputy chief commercial officer, and on January 28 it announced the appointments of Eleni Kessaris and Louise Cofsky to director positions on its Canadian management team.

 

 

Agency approves SkyGreece bid for licence to fly to Canada

SkyGreece Airlines aircraft

Facebook page photo of the SkyGreece Airlines aircraft

 

Application approved: Canadian travellers may soon have a third option for direct flights to and from Athens now that the Canadian Transportation Agency has approved SkyGreece Airlines’ application to offer scheduled service between Canada and Greece.

In a ruling released January 20, the Agency said it has approved the SkyGreece request “for a licence to operate scheduled international services between member states of the European Community and Canada.”

SkyGreece is a private company incorporated in Athens, It has offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York.

In a post on the SkyGreece Airlines Facebook page today, the airline said it is “extemely happy” with the Agency’s long-awaited decision.

“More great news about SkyGreece Airlines S.A. and its new and exciting flight program will be unveiled in the next few days,” the airline added.

There is no word yet on the results of SkyGreece’s similar application for a licence to offer service between Greece and the USA.

As I reported in a March 25 2014 blog post, Greek media had reported that SkyGreece was hoping to commence flights between Greece and New York during the summer of 2014. But the applications for licences to fly to Canada and America took longer than expected, and as I reported in a post on June 18 2014, SkyGreece began operating charter flights to certain destinations in Europe and north Africa instead.

Although SkyGreece has only one aircraft at present, service to Canada would give travellers an alternative to Air Canada and Air Transat, which are the only Canadian airlines currently offering direct flights between Canada and Greece.

I’ve been curious to see how competitive the SkyGreece fares will be, but even if they’re dirt cheap I won’t be flying SkyGreece to Athens — I’ve already booked flights with Air Transat for my next Greek holiday this spring. But if their prices are good, and their schedule reasonable, I definitely would consider SkyGreece for subsequent flights.

I will keep you posted on any forthcoming route and fare announcements from the airline.

 

British Airways & Edelweiss Air launching new direct flights to Greek Islands in 2015

a street in Kos Town

Landmarks and popular historic sites in the center of Kos Town on Kos island. British Airways will offer London to Kos flights starting next May.

 

 

More flights in 2015: It will be easier to travel from London and Zurich to several Greek islands next summer thanks to new routes announced recently by British Airways and Edelweiss Air.

British Airways will launch flights from London Gatwick to Rhodes and to Heraklion, Crete beginning in late April, and will add routes from London Heathrow to Corfu and Kos starting on May 1.

Meanwhile, Edelweiss Air will increase its service from Zurich to Heraklion starting on April 29, and will begin direct flights from Zurich to Corfu starting in June.

 

New BA destinations

In a new routes announcement on its website, British Airways says it will start flying from London Gatwick to Heraklion commencing April 26. Flights have been scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. When I checked the BA website today, it was showing flights available at prices from £69 (one way).

Only three days after the flights to Crete kick off, BA will begin new service to Rhodes. Flights will start on April 29, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The BA website showed one-way fares available from £109.

From May 1 to September 20, BA will fly four times a week from London Heathrow to Corfu. Flights were available today at prices as low as £83 (one way).

Also from May 1 until September 20, BA will offer two flights per week from London Heathrow to Kos. Tickets were available today at prices from £73 (one way).

With the new routes, BA will be flying to six different Greek islands next summer. As I reported in a January blog post, BA commenced twice weekly flights to Mykonos and Santorini this past spring. It will continue flying to those islands again in 2015.

 

New Edelweiss routes from Zurich

Edelweiss Air already operates summer flights from Zurich to Crete, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes. When Edelweiss recently released its summer timetable for 2015, it announced it will increase the number of flights to Crete starting on March 29, and will launch new routes to Corfu beginning June 16.

Flights to Crete will now be available up to six times per week, while during peak summer season there will be two flights weekly to Corfu.

Check the Edelweiss 2015 timetable for further details, and consult the airline’s website for fares and other information.

 

2board summer issue features food guide, hotel profiles + tour ideas for Athens & Chania

2board Magazine Gastro Guide

The July–September issue of 2board magazine features a gastronomy guide, suggested tours for Athens and Chania, and profiles of top boutique hotels

 

 Tons of great tips: If you’re passing through Athens International Airport anytime this month, be sure to grab a copy of the July–September issue of 2board magazine while you’re in the terminal.

The 212-page glossy publication is packed full of useful travel tips about hotels, restaurants, and attractions at a variety of destinations — information that could come in handy during your current travels in Greece, or for planning a future holiday.

2board is the official magazine of the Athens airport. Copies are available free of charge from magazine racks situated at various locations in the terminal building.

I always find a wealth of interesting information, travel ideas and helpful research material in 2board, and this summer’s edition is no exception. In fact, it’s one of the better issues, content-wise, that I’ve seen. (And, as always, it’s packed with photos of luxurious resorts, villas and restaurants I can only dream about visiting someday … but it’s still great fun to imagine what it would be like seeing these places and photographing them with my own camera.)

 

Gastro Guide to 10 top restaurants

Foodies will want to flip directly to page 21 for 2board‘s “Gastro Guide to Greece,” which profiles “Ten restaurants that do not simply dish up Greek high gastronomy, they consistently take it one step further.”

The guide highlights two acclaimed restaurants on Mykonos, three on Santorini, one each on the islands of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, and two on the Greek mainland — one at Preveza and another in Halkidiki:

Etrusco at Kato Korakiana on Corfu;

♦ Old Mill at the Elounda Mare Hotel at Elounda on Crete;

♦ The Squirrel, one of the restaurants at Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki;

♦ the dining room at Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge above Megali Ammos beach on Mykonos;

♦ the brand new White Star at Lakka Square in Mykonos Town;

♦ the restaurant at SESA Boutique Hotel at Kanali beach in Preveza;

♦ The Greek, a new dining room at the Sheraton Rhodes Resort on Rhodes;

♦ Selene in Pyrgos village on Santorini;

♦ Sea Side by Notos at Santorini’s Perivolos beach; and

♦ the dining room at the Grace Santorini hotel in Imerovigli.

The Gastro Guide includes full-page photos of the respective restaurants’ chefs and some of their tantalizing creations, along with suggestions of signature dishes to try if you get the opportunity to dine at one of these fine establishments. A word of warning: don’t read this article on an empty stomach, because the stunning food photos and descriptions of the unique dishes will instantly make you feel hungry!

 

Facebook page photo of the dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant

The seaside dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant in the Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki. The photo is from the Danai Beach Resort Facebook page.

 Please click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading this report.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Aegean in-flight magazine lauds the marvels of Milos

Aegean Airlines Blue magazine cover image

Fashion model Vasilianna strikes a pose on one of the seaside rock formations at spectacular Sarakiniko beach on Milos island in the Cyclades. The photo, by Olympia Krasagaki, graces the cover of the summer 2014 edition of Blue, the in-flight magazine of Aegean Airlines.

 

Cover story: One of my favourite islands will be getting a lot of international attention over the next three months thanks to Aegean Airlines.

Milos is pictured not only on the cover of the airline’s in-flight magazine Blue this summer, but also in a Nature focus article as well as in a fashion photo spread featuring some of the island’s breathtaking beaches and magnificent coastal scenery.

The articles laud Milos for its “extraordinary beauty,” “spectacular coastline” and gorgeous beaches, and points out that the volcanic island also “has plenty of pretty, traditional villages, ancient monuments, excellent local cuisine and an overall air of elegance.”

Milos is, of course, one of the splendid island destinations that can easily be reached from Athens on daily flights by Olympic Air, which merged with Aegean several years ago.

The release of the summer 2014 edition of Blue was announced today on the Aegean Airlines International Facebook page.

The 340-page glossy magazine will be available to passengers flying Aegean during the next three months, and also can be viewed online in an e-book format available on the airline’s website. Click here to peruse the online edition.

The magazine cover photo shows a fashion model posing on the seaside at Sarakiniko, which is one of the most fascinating and impressive coastal landscapes I’ve seen out of all the Greek islands I’ve been fortunate to visit so far.

More pictures of Sarakiniko are included in a women’s fashion feature that starts on page 212. The fashion spread includes photos shot at other spectacular locations on Milos, including the colourful fishing village at Klima, the picturesque mountain town of Plaka, the scenic seaside at Fyriplaka beach, and the Glaronissia islets off the north coast of the island near Pollonia.

 Aegean Airlines Blue magazine

The coastline at Fyriplaka beach provides a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop for this fashion photo by Olympia Krasagaki. Click here to open the online edition of Blue magazine and view full-size photos of the superlative Milos scenery.

 

Places to see, eat and drink on Milos

The Nature focus Milos: natural wonder begins at page 116 and includes amazing photos of the majestic coastal rock formations at Kleftiko and the incomparable Papafragas, a sliver of sandy beach wedged between tall stone walls. The article describes popular tourist and natural attractions on Milos, including some of the island’s 75 remarkable beaches, and suggests places to eat and drink.

Restaurant recommendations include our personal favourite O Chamos at Papakinou beach in the port town of Adamas, as well as Archontoula and Fatses in Plaka, Ergina in Tripiti, Enalion in Pollonia, and a few others.

For nice spots to enjoy a drink, the magazine’s picks include Akri and Mikro in Adamas, along with Gatis, Bakaliko and Utopia Café in Plaka (see my April 4 2012 post Utopian sunsets on Milos for photos of the sensational sunset views from the terrace at Utopia Café’s outdoor terrace).

 

Profiles for other island & mainland destinations

Although Milos claimed bragging rights to the cover photo and two feature articles, it isn’t the only must-see Greek destination profiled in Blue magazine. The summer issue is packed with beguiling photos and interesting travel information about 17 other intriguing islands as well as several cities and regions on the mainland.

For foodies, there are appetizing descriptions of new restaurants that have opened recently on the islands of Rhodes and Mykonos, as well as in Halkidiki.

For fans of arts and culture, there are articles about the 2014 Sani Festival in Halkidi, plus the impressive Viannos Art Gallery in Keratokambos, a small town situated at the southernmost point on Crete.

And for travellers who’d like to plan some island hopping, there are informative reports on things to see and do on Syros, Kasos, Paros, Corfu, Kos, Leros, Naxos, Lemnos, Ikaria, Kastellorizo, Kefalonia, Santorini, Rhodes and Astipalia — all accompanied by captivating full-colour photos.

If you’re lucky to be flying Aegean while the summer edition of Blue is available, be sure to collect a free copy from the seat pocket — it will be an excellent research resource for future Greek holiday planning. (And please get a copy for me!)

 Thalassitra Church Milos

If you haven’t been to Milos and want to see why it was an outstanding choice for Blue magazine’s cover, check out my Milos photo collection on Flickr. It includes images of Milos landmarks like Thalassitra Church at Plaka village (above).

 

SkyGreece now listed on signs at Athens airport … but still no news on flights to North America

SkyGreece airlines

SkyGreece Airlines posted this photo on its Facebook page today, announcing that its name was just added to signage at Athens International Airport

 

 

Sign of things to come?: SkyGreece Airlines is one step closer to commencing flights — its name was added to signage on the departures level of Athens International Airport today, in preparation for tomorrow’s launch of charter service to Stockholm.

The photo shown above was posted on the SkyGreece Facebook page at what was lunchtime for the four North American cities to which it is supposed to eventually offer service — Montreal and Toronto in Canada, and New York and Chicago in the United States.

The photo was accompanied by the comment: “Officially today our sign went up at Athens International Airport,” but no further information was provided about possible schedules or fares.

The upstart airline’s last news release had been posted March 31 on its Facebook page, announcing that it had submitted documentation required to obtain all necesssary licences and permits from the American and Canadian Civil Aviation Authorities. It added that, “in order to respect the American and Canadian Civil Aviation procedures,” SkyGreece would not issue any further press releases until all required licences had been obtained.

Hours after posting the sign photo to its Facebook page today, SkyGreece added a post confirming that it will operate on a charter service basis until it secures the necessary legal paperwork to begin flying to North America, and will not comment further until that happens.

 

Charter service to Scandinavia, Eritrea and Somalia

The latest post drew swift reaction on social media, quickly receiving hundreds of “likes” and dozens of comments on Facebook.

In one comment, a Facebook member said: “First flight out tomorrow departing at 17:00 hours from Athens to Stockholm, Sweden! Routes will be as of June to / from Asmara – Eritrea, Mogadishu – Somalia, Stockholm – Sweden and London Gatwick – UK. Hope to see some more coming in soon. Good luck!

I thought the remark about flights to Africa was just a joke, but the fellow who posted the comment said he wasn’t kidding.

The US and Canada will be coming in at some point, as I gather once the permits have been granted from their Civil Aviation Authorities. It’s not so easy when one is new and wants to come in and have some of that pie that has been enjoyed all this time by Delta, US Air, Air Transat and Air Canada. I think we just need to be a little patient,” he said.

 

First flight to Stockholm on June 19

The Greek Air News Facebook page subsequently posted a photo of the sole SkyGreece airplane along with a statement confirming that the airline’s first commercial flight will indeed be to Stockholm, at 17:00 on June 19.

The airline SkyGreece signed a cooperation agreement with the Swedish Tour Operator Flyolympic.Se and on account of it flies in Europe, Africa and Asia,” an English translation of  the Greek Air News post indicates. “SkyGreece will perform and flights from – to Athens-London (Gatwick)-Stockholm (Arlanda)-Asmara (Eritrea)-Mogadishu (Somalia) For more information and ticket reservations, you can visit the official website www.flyolympic.se or FlyOlympic to your travel agent. Good start SkyGreece!!” the translated post concludes.

So perhaps there is a huge demand for flights between Greece and Mogadishu after all. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful SkyGreece will soon be able to announce fares and flights to North America — if their prices are competitive and their flight dates are decent, I would consider them for a return trip to Greece later this summer.

I previously reported on SkyGreece in posts published on the blog on March 25 2014, January 10 2014, and June 25 2013. Click on the links for each of those reports to see photos and obtain more information about SkyGreece Airlines. And stay tuned for further updates.

 

Travel tip: Avoid taking a large carry-on case when flying Olympic Air to small Greek island airports

Olympic Air De Havilland DHC-8-402Q aircraft

An Olympic Air media photo of one of its De Havilland DHC-8-402Q aircraft. The airline flies smaller prop planes to Naxos and several other islands.

 

 

Carry small!: Here’s a tip for those of you (especially from North America) who tend to travel with a large carry-on bag, particularly one of those 22-inch hard-sided cases with wheels and a pull handle. If you’re going to be flying Olympic Air to or from islands like Naxos, Paros, Milos, Syros or Kastelorizo, your case probably won’t fit in the overhead bins. So travel with a smaller bag instead, or be prepared for the possibility your carry-on may have to be checked in at the gate when you’re about to board.

Olympic Air uses Bombardier Dash 8-100 aircraft on its routes to a number of Greek islands with small airports. Although the 37-passenger propeller planes are ideal for serving destinations with short runways, their compact interior space isn’t so convenient for passengers since the overhead bins are shallow and significantly smaller than the ones on Boeing and Airbus planes.

 

Carry-on cases may have to be checked at the gate

Several Americans waiting for our Olympic Air flight from Athens to Naxos last month were taken aback when airline personnel approached them in the lounge at our gate and advised that their bags were too big to be taken on board. The cases were tagged and given to ground crew for delivery to the aircraft luggage hold.

When we got on board, we thought our knapsacks — which held fragile laptops and camera equipment, along with travel paperwork and other personal belongings we couldn’t afford to lose — might wind up being checked, too. The knapsacks easily fit under the seats on the Dash-8’s we have flown from Milos, Paros and Naxos in the last three years, but for this particular flight we were assigned bulkhead seats in Row 1. That meant there was no seat in front of us under which we could slide our carry-ons, so they had to go somewhere else. But they each were about an inch too wide to scrunch into the narrow overhead bins. Luckily for us, the flight attendant offered to store them in the lavatory for take-off and landing. But she could just as easily have insisted they be checked into the hold.

 

Brilliant carry-on advice from Condé Nast Traveler

Next time we travel, we’ll prepare in advance for the possibility our carry-ons might get gate-checked — using advice I read in an online Condé Nast Traveler magazine article just the other day.  The #1 item in the magazine’s list of The 12 Biggest Travel Mistakes You Think You’re Too Smart to Make recommends putting important valuables “in a thin pack or pouch inside your carry-on” so that, in the event you’re required to surrender the case at the last minute, “you can remove the smaller bag and keep an eye on it beneath the seat in front of you.”

Brilliant suggestion! To which I’ll add one of my own: Tell the check-in staff you don’t want a front-row bulkhead seat!

Note: If you’re travelling to Greek Islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes or Kos on Aegean Airlines, you’ll be flying on an Airbus jet aircraft, not a prop plane, and the overhead bins should be big enough to accommodate your carry-on. But it will still be a good idea to be prepared as Condé Nast recommends.

Click here to see the allowed baggage limits section of the Olympic Air website, and click here to view the Aegean Airlines baggage allowance chart.

 

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