Category: Top Air Travel Posts (page 1 of 2)

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

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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.

 

More flights & routes to Greece this summer as Ryanair opens new bases in Athens & Thessaloniki

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Ryanair aircraft photo

A Ryanair media image of one of the aircraft in its fleet of more than 300 Boeing 737-800s. The low-fare airline is opening new bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and is adding new flight routes to Greece.

 

 

More flights: Getting to Greece is becoming a lot easier — and cheaper — with low-cost airline Ryanair announcing today that it will establish bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and will add nine new flight routes in April.

The new bases and flights are part of a $280 million (U.S.) investment that Irish-based is making in Greece, which last year experienced a strong increase in tourist visits that could be matched or even exceeded in 2014.

Beginning in April, two aircraft will be based at Ryanair’s new operations centre in Athens. They will enable Ryanair to offer 154 flights per week on six new routes — to the Greek cities of Chania, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, to Paphos in Cyprus, and to London and Milan.

Also starting in April, one aircraft will be based at Thessaloniki, This will give Ryanair the opportunity to provide up to 212 weekly flights to Athens, Pisa and Warsaw.

Ryanair already has one base in Greece — at Chania airport.

 

Travellers will benefit from cheaper fares

In a media announcement about the airline’s expansion into Greece, Ryanair’s director of commercial operations, David O’Brien, said the new routes will benefit consumers who until now have not had a cheaper alternative to Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, which currently dominate flights in the Greek travel market.

“Our 6 new Athens routes will allow Greek consumers and visitors to escape Aegean/Olympic’s high fares and instead enjoy Ryanair’s lowest fares and industry leading customer service and punctuality. Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, and looks forward to working with Athens Airport to unlock the vast potential currently suppressed by high access air costs,” Mr. O’Brien said.

 

Ryanair investment could create 2,800+ jobs

The new operations bases and flights will benefit more than just travellers booking Ryanair flights — they will create thousands of jobs and give the struggling Greek economy a big boost, too.

Ryanair estimates that its Thessaloniki base will handle 1.6 million passengers annually and will create 1,600 on-site jobs. It expects the Athens base to handle over 1.2 million passengers a year, and create more than 1,200 jobs.

Flights on the new routes to and from Thessaloniki and Athens will go on sale Wednesday, January 15.

If you have free time to travel in Europe during February or March, check out the special seat sale that Ryanair is offering to celebrate its expansion in Greece. Until midnight on Thursday January 16, the airline is releasing 100,000 seats with fares starting as low as £16.99. Bookings can be made at www.ryanair.com.

 

Winter edition of Aegean’s in-flight magazine shines spotlight on Athens’ top cultural attractions

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Aegean Airlines Blue magazine

Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou descends the Renaissance-styled staircase at the National Library of Greece in Athens in the cover photo for the Winter 2013-2014 edition of Blue, the in-flight magazine of Aegean Airlines.

 

No flight required: If you haven’t been to Athens before, or haven’t spent much time there, the current issue of the Aegean Airlines in-flight magazine presents plenty of good reasons why you should book a first-time or a longer repeat visit to explore “the eternal capital of culture.”

With its “Rediscover Athens” cover feature, the Winter 2013-2014 edition of Blue magazine explains “why we love Athens” and shines the spotlight on the city’s top cultural attractions — Athens’ history, museums, architectural landmarks and monuments; its city squares, hills, mountains and landmark streets; its wealth of cultural activities and its exciting culinary landscape; and its extensive, vibrant seafront.

 

Photos of world-famous Athens attractions

The feature includes a fashion photo shoot in which acclaimed Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou poses at some of the city’s outstanding landmarks, including the fabulous Acropolis Museum, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Stoa of Attalos, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the Monastery of Kaisariani.

Maria also poses at the enormous construction site for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, a spectacular new complex which will ultimately be home to several new Athens cultural attractions — the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera, and the Stavros Niarchos Park. The immense size of the building site, as well as the cluster of at least eight tall construction cranes towering above it, grabbed my attention when we passed by last October. Considering the severe financial crisis that has firmly gripped Greece for the past five years, I had not been expecting to see such a vast construction area with so many cranes in one place. But it’s a promising, bright sign that Athens remains one of Europe’s top cultural centres despite Greece’s economic woes.

Blue magazine’s “Rediscover Athens” profile also includes an “Insider’s Athens” report in which Maria describes her favourite city hangouts.

Don’t fret if you’re not taking an Aegean Airlines flight in the near future — the seatback pockets on Aegean’s aircraft aren’t the only places to find a copy of Blue magazine. The full 228-page winter edition is available online in e-book format, so you can read the feature story and peruse the ads and other articles wherever you may be. Click here to view the issue.

 

Aegean announces seat sale; British Airways offers new direct flights from LHR to Mykonos & Santorini

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Aegean Airlines seat sale poster

This striking sunset view of a blue-domed church in Firostefani village on Santorini illustrates a seat sale promotion that Aegean Airlines announced today

 

Get there cheaper: If you have been thinking about travelling to Greece sometime during the first half of this year, now could be a good time to book your flights — Aegean Airlines has just announced a sale on direct flights to Greece from more than two dozen destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

In an email sent to customers and followers today, Aegean advises that fares are available at savings up to 30 per cent for travel between February 10 and June 30 of this year.  The seat sale applies to direct Athens-bound flights from 22 different cities, as well as to its direct flights to Heraklion, Kalamata, Corfu, Rhodes and Thessaloniki from various locations.

The promotion ends January 20.

 

British Airways launches new routes in early May

While Aegean’s sale will make springtime trips to Greece cheaper for many travellers, two new British Airways routes will make it easier for people to get to two of the most popular islands in Greece — Mykonos and Santorini.

Starting May 3, BA will fly direct to Mykonos on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Terminal 5 at London’s  Heathrow Airport. The BA website says fares are as low as £85 one-way.

And beginning May 4, BA will fly direct to Santorini on Wednesdays and Sundays, also from Heathrow’s Terminal 5. According to BA’s new route announcement, fares will be as low as £175 one-way.

Those flights are bound to be a big hit with travellers who want to maximize their island time without having to stop over or catch a connecting flight in Athens.

Check the British Airways website for further fare and flight information.

 

Sleek new Athens International Airport website is a cool & inviting digital travel gateway to Greece

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Athens International Airport new website announcement

Athens International Airport new website announcement by the site’s creator, Mozaik Integrated Digital Marketing Agency

 

 

Digital travel: Athens International Airport has launched a striking new website that helps enhance the airport experience for travellers and establishes an impressive “digital travelling gateway” to Greece for business and leisure visitors alike.

Designed by Mozaik  Integrated Digital Marketing Agency, the sharp-looking new website is clean, crisp and easy to navigate, offering quick-to-find information about virtually everything any traveller might need to know about the airport’s services and facilities — and how and where to find them.

From real-time flight arrival and departures to airport access and transportation services, from corporate and business information to guides to duty free shops and tourism services, the website has it all — in a fun and dynamic presentation that features vivid time-lapse videoclips of scenes from the airport and Athens area.

 

One of the Athens airport website's time-lapse videos shows a dramatic sunset scene at Cape Sounion

This screen capture from the new Athens International Airport website shows one of the time-lapse video sequences that greets online visitors. This particular clip shows part of a dramatic sunset scene at spectacular Cape Sounion.

 

 

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