Category: Air travel (page 1 of 3)

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

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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.

 

SkyGreece starting Athens to New York service on June 19

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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