lewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3794 posts, RR: 4 Posted (5 years 10 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 8296 times:
About a month ago, I was invited by some friends to join them on a trip to Kythira Island. It would be my first visit to this island, located underneath the Peloponnese in Greece but administered by the Piraeus Perfecture.
A bit of info on the island: Kythira, according to mythology was the birth place of Aphrodite (also claimed by Cyprus). It was conquered by the Romans, then the Byzantine Empire, the Turks, the Venetians, the French, the Russians, the French again and finally the British. The island was united with the Greek state in 1864.
The island is served by non-frequent ferry service from Piraeus and by frequent ferry runs to the Peloponnese. There is also one daily flight, part of the government subsidized flights and a few seasonal charters. The contract was held up til recently by Athens Airways but it was lost along with others to Olympic Air. The airport was recently renovated and was quite impressive for the number of flights it serves. Knowing that it is a destination served by small aircraft even during the summer busy period, I proceeded to book my flight one month in advance. The return ticket cost a total of EUR 121.
Aircraft: De Havilland Canada DHC-8-102 Dash 8
Departure: 10:30 am
In order to secure a window seat in the front, I proceeded to check-in via internet the day before the flight. It was a good idea because the flight was full. I arrived at the airport an hour before the flight, dropped my luggage and went through security. The flight was on-time and I was surprised that boarding for the 30 or so passengers started quite early and with no further delays.
The aircraft to me seemed quite small but I liked the row with 5 seats in the back. The seats were comfortable and the seat pitch was plenty even for tall passengers for this 35' flight.
There was only one flight attendant that made the announcements and served drinks. The announcements were made and afterward she proceeded to demonstrate the safety features. Obviously silent since she couldn't do both at the same time! The aircraft went in the air in a few seconds and the service started quickly for this short flight. Olympic Air provided refreshments, hot beverages and a choice of nuts or cookies. I chose the latter as you can see from the seat pocket in the picture above.
An announcement from the cockpit explained our routing and some flight details but it was barely audible in the cabin. It was either too loud in the cabin or the speakers were not very good. Unfortunately the window was not very clear, I was sitting against the sun and it was not ideal for pictures. Nevertheless, here are some I took during the flight and while approaching KIT.
Flying over the Aegean Sea
Flying over Lakonia, 5-6' to land
Flying parallel to the airport
Turning to the runway (barely visible)
Parked in front of the terminal
Transfer to the terminal was on foot. The terminal was small but looked new. There were pictures inside of a Transavia 737 at the airport as well as old photos, including a Skyvan landing on a dirt runway back when the airport opened. The luggage was delivered on the belt within 15'.
The flight was short but the FA was always smiling, very polite and very fast to serve all passengers in time. This was my first flight with OA and though it was not a long flight I enjoyed my stay on the plane.
Some pics from my stay in Kithira:
Our rented ride, the perfect car for the crappy island roads
Street in Kapsali Town
Firi Ammos Beach
Kithira Old Town and Castle
Kithira Town (Chora)
Old Greek flag with royal emblem, never seen it live, only in photos. The king has some fans on the island!
Swimming in the freezing river underneath a waterfall
Shoreline in the west, tall cliffs and loads of caves
Kaladi Beach (best beach on the island IMO)
An old shipwreck near the port
Fjord-like beach in Avlemonas Village
The castle of Kythira and surroundings
After 5 days on the island it was time to head back to Athens but before our flight we found out that ATC was on strike in Greece and this would cause delays and maybe cancellations. With no warning call from OA, I went to the airport 50' before departure as planned. No delay was announced.
Aircraft: De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8
Departure: 11:45 am
The check-in was a bit slow because one counter would issue boarding passes and weigh the luggage and another would take the luggage in after a security screening. The gate opened shortly after finishing my check-in. Hand luggage security was fast but not nearly as thorough as at the major airports. We waited in the gate area for 10' till boarding started from gate 2 out of 2.
Like when we arrived, passengers just walked to the aircraft.
I sat at 14D, boarding from the front door till my row. The cabin looked newer than the -102 we took on our way there. The seats were equally comfortable but the specific row had a weird alignment with the window, which was not very clear, and was also under the wing and most of the view was blocked.
Shortly after a short takeoff roll, the captain announced that the flight would not exceed 5000ft so as to avoid having a delay due to the restrictions of the ATC strike. This provided some excellent views during the flight.
Flying low over the sea
On this full flight there were two flight attendants that were again smiling and being very attentive to all passengers. They served drinks, hot beverages and a choice of cream cheese and ham sandwich or cookies. I had the sandwich which was very fresh and tasty. The service was very good for a short 30' flight and before landing when all passengers had finished the trash was swiftly collected.
A small island
Flying off the west coast of Makronissos, south of Athens
The approach to ATH with a sharp turn before landing
Walking to the bus
In general I enjoyed both flights. I preferred the second due to the aircraft. Service was very good for a short flight, both flights were on time and the plane proved to be a very good fast alternative to the ferries for going to the islands.
ODAFZ From Afghanistan, joined Jul 2004, 357 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 7721 times:
Thank you for this wonderful report
The new Olympic Air has nothing to do with the old Olympic Airways and it is in their honor
to provide such nice in flight service. May American regionals and mainline learn from that.
Your pictures of KIT say more than 1000000 words on this wonderful isalnd
oa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 30070 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 7604 times:
Great report and nice pictures. Just having my morning coffee here before going to work and its put me in a good mood! Although I wish I was in Greece now laying in the Sun
Nice to hear consistant good reports from Olympic Air. I have experienced a number of great flights since they launched, also family and friends some of whom would have chosen other carriers before the re launch now choose Olympic Air all the time.
lewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3794 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 7592 times:
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1): Really nice TR. I love TRs about such tiny and unknown destinations.
Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 3): Your pictures of KIT say more than 1000000 words on this wonderful isalnd
Since it was my last vacation in Greece for this summer I did it the proper way, we visited 2-3 beaches per day and tried to explore most of the island. I even had a guidebook with me and enjoyed seeing most of the island by car. It is the only island I have visited so far that had that many villages and other places to see.
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1): I couldn't agree more, on all my recent flights to EFL the crew have been exemplary, a huge difference from the non existant customer srevice on the 'old' Olympic Airways.
infodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1497 posts, RR: 30
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7488 times:
Thanks for this nice report, it's always a pleasure to read about the beautiful Greek islands and in particular to see some pics of one of the lesser-known ones. I just fancy being transported to one of those beaches!
It seems you had good flights on Olympic Air with excellent service for such a short hop.
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
SAHSA From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7488 times:
Reminded me of my trip to Thira Island last September.
Quoting lewis (Reply 5): The old OA was a hit or miss. This product looks way more consistent
I agree. I was on one of the last OA flights from JFK to ATH, and it was just 'ok' but my ATR-72 flight on OA from Thira was much better. On the other hand, all of my flights on Aegean, which I believe merged with the new OA, were outstanding. Beautiful photos, I love Greece. Can't wait to get back and explore more of the islands. Thanks for sharing!
oa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 30070 posts, RR: 59
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7470 times:
Quoting SAHSA (Reply 7): On the other hand, all of my flights on Aegean, which I believe merged with the new OA, were outstanding.
Have not merged yet but will do subject to final approval. Will be good to have a large strong airline with a strong product. Both the new OA and A3 seem to sing from the same hym sheet so should all go smoothly.