Posts: 3579
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 1999 5:41 am

Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 1:04 am

I have read many posts about that subject. I have frequently flown with OA since my father used to be an employee. The fact is that since the early 90s I have noticed a decline even in business class. On my first trip to NY i was sitting in the upper deck. The service was absolutely fantastic. Really hot and tasty plate that was steaming and that was served individually after the main meal was served. Then, we had the tray with all kinds of cheese that we could choose from. Finally, dessert and fruit wasn't just a bowl in the meal but a tray with cakes and fresh friut that passed along the isle. Still, I was flying with my mother, an x-FA of Olympic and she would tell me how REAL FIRST CLASS service used to be when olympic was owned by onassis. Now, as many of you have said, FAs just pass around the meals and disappear. Although I haven't flown on the 340s, I have heard that only Business class is worth it. I know that seats back in Economy are really crampy and that you have to stand just a few cm away from your screen if the passenger in front wants to sleep! That's why most of you didn't mention the economy class part. I also find the specific 340s uncomfortable for long flights and so do many passengers. Especially for the JFK route, bigger aircraft should have been the choice, as this flight is always over 90% full. I love the airline and i would like to see it grow and flourish. Sometimes, it is not bad to critisize as it is a way to see what the problems really are  ! The FAs were most of the times great but there was this one B**CH that i wanted to slap her!!! A year ago I had to go to Toronto on a 747 and it was usually full. We had NO-SEAT tickets and the only choice we had was to sit in two business seats that are located after the 1L door right opposite to two crew seats. One of the FAs made clear that she didn't want us to sit there(She wasn't even the chief FA of the flight!!). The thing is that she and her colleagues are used to sit in these seats even if they are not supposed to. Finally, the captains that were close friends to my father gave us their two seats in the upper deck's last row that were their rest seats as far as I know. I am sad to see that a company like OA where my father spent 33 years of his life has ended up employing people that ruin her image so badly not only to me as a Greek but to all Greeks and foreigners.

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 6:06 am

Ya-sou Lewis, was wondering if Olympic is still getting those new 737-700/800s to replace the aging 737-200s? And was wondering if Olympic might be considering ordering the new RR Trent powered A340-600s with more passenger capacity to handle the busy North American routes during the summer months and a lot more power for takeoff.

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 7:00 am

They stoped the 737'sNG for a while, but I bet the orders will come back do to noise Regulations by 2002...OA already has 2 717-200s and 2 more on order with 1 of them almost ready! And I think they are still using 1 742....I'm not sure ..well at list that was over the summer...!
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 7:02 am

The problem with OA is that is state-owned. That means the personnel is civil servants and as civil servants they cannot ever be fired. That is the law.

I myself had some bad experiences flying with OA and I was thinking that everything has to do with the "nobody can fire me" syndrom. And the image of an airline relies mostly in the inflight services.

The FA who spills juice on you and just says "sorry" without even looking at you, the FA who serves food and dissapears, the FA who likes to sit on a seat even when a paying passenger should have sit there, this is common behaviour of the greek public sector.
The CEO is appointed, not hired. The whole board of the company is appointed, even the union's representative is appointed by the political parties which control the union.

How can an airline work like this? The airline business in Greece prospers the last 5 years. Guess what. Olympic is shrinking, loses passengers and public trust and increases the debt. The private airlines are growing. There is bussines. But OA just cannot follow that. Not as a state-owned airline.
Posts: 262
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2000 3:10 am

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 7:18 am

Give me an alliance or give me death! -

This is the true reason for the apparent "decline". I used to fly OA to ATH, since they are still the only airline to offer direct service to Ath from Montreal, Boston, and a 9x weekly out of JFK. Their pricing is competitive, and so is the service. Yes, a 31" on economy is not the best one may have ever dreamed, but heck, this is exactly what all the European majors are offering, too! Add to this the fresh look of the 340's.

But out there in the wilderness of competition, without any whatsoever alliance, the game is lost.

Latest developments call for immediate privatization; move to the new Athens airport this March; lease of 15 737NGs starting this June; lease of two more 717s by the Aviation subsidiary; and retirement of the 732s within a year, which will bring the average fleet age to 5 years. Too good to be true? Who knows.

My 0.02 Euros

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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:20 am

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 7:59 am

Ovelix, I agree with you 100%!

Come on! Who of you thinks that OA is going to survive the next years! I don´t think so.
Who wants to buy an airline like Olympic with such debts and employees   (and especially with such unions).. Nobody!! And even if the state is going to sell most of OA who again wants to have a government in his neck which is still holding about 40 % of this airline!   .... Again nobody! It is really sad to see an airline with great opportunities to do so extremely bad.
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 1999 12:20 am

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 11:56 am

Lewis I agree with you in most of your sayings but think of the other side.Indeed in Onasis era and a couple of years after owned by the state OA was one of the best airliners and this can be proved by many facts eg was and still is in collaboration with BA, also about the service you said is true etc.Since the state realized that they can take money from it they did what is very usual in Greece called rousfeti.And from that time OA begun to lose its greatness.I personally don't blame mostly the employees (FAs, staff etc) because I try to be in their place and their anger because it's all about the politics.Think also that these people work harder than their colleages from other airliners since,according to the state,they have to work harder and be paid with delays in order for OA to growth again.
Ovelix ok OA is shrinking and losing passengers but what can be done since you said and I agree that CEO and board are placed by the convernment ? I don't agree with nobody can fire me because they don't think that way in OA believe me I know a lot of pilots and FAs.Olympic's staff was proude for their company in Onassis era and they were doing their best with pleasure.Still those remained and not hired today are its best employees and those that keep it alive.I don't want to talk about the private airlines because it's a dirty game trying to 'eat' Olympic.Although I don't agree with privitization (why BA is a great state-owned airliner ?) in this case I agree with privitization (since we have incapable politicians of leading this country) but under conditions.And because I have doubts about these conditions (as Olympic's employees has too) I'm very curious to see what will happen because I don't see a real interest from the state to make OA big again and so if the new owner will have the same low interest as the state..They intend to start by this February having the 40% owned by the state.
As regards for the 738 are still in order and the 717 are on their way.
Looking forward to your answer.
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

RE: Flying With Olympic Airways

Thu Jan 11, 2001 9:45 pm

OA 269

Onassis era enden for OA in 1975. The decline till today is continiuous.

The attempt last year to sell the 20% of OA to British Airways failed mostly because the government and the unions refused to accept that many employees are not needed by the airline and have to be fired.

All these years, government by government, Olympic Airways was hiring people with one and only qualification: Who they voted for. Thousands of employees today are not needed by OA but (as we said) nobody can fire them.

Hear this too: OA hires FA's with seasonal contract. That means that you SIGN and you AGREE that when your contract expires you have to leave. Many times the permanent staff goes on strike demanding that the seasonal personell should be permanent too. Most of the times they suceed (especially when there is an election soon).

The same happens with mechanics. Pilots usually don't follow, except when they want to hire their own children. The commitee which hires pilots is consisted by pilots too. Guess who they hire

My opinion is that you can't compete the private airlines when your thoughts are old. OA is no longer a monopoly and the managers (the state) have to act like managers. But they can't.

A privatization plan is ready to go. Let's hope that the future will be better that present.