August 19, 2008
651 / FCO
Departure Time: 11:00
Arrival Time: 14:00
It's been a year since I last flew on Aegean. The last time was from Athens to Rhodes and back. I'm please to see that they upgraded the route to the new A320 from the old and tired 737 series that had operated these flights in the past. Check-in at FCO
was quite a circus. There were 3 counters (2 for econmy and 1 for business) and thus there were 3 lines, but the closer to the desks your got the more disorderly it became. We got the checkin desk 2 hours before the flight, but somehow we manged to be among the last to check-in. Some people thought it was their right to cut the entire line, and they even laughed about it like it was a joke.
We patiently waited our turn to check-in and simply watched the circus in front of us. We still had plently of time to spare thankfully. We got a few drinks and then proceeded to the gate. The windows were very cloudy and dirty so I couldn't take a picture from inside the terminal.
Boarding was on-time and the same people who cut the lines at check-in were all cutting the lines in a mad rush to get on the plane. I don't understand the logic behind this madness at all! There was still plenty of overhead bin space by the time we got on the plane. I was immediately struck by how beautiful the interior of this new Aegean A320 was. Very clean, modern, and inviting. These Recaro seats were amazingly comfortable and the leather was of a good quality. The pitch was quite good as well.
The pilot greeted us in Greek and English. The FAs made a greeting in Greek and English as well. The safety demo on the overhead LCDs was done in Greek, English, and Italian. The Italian portion strangely lacked any animations.
We pushed back from the gate pretty much on schedule. While pushing back I caught a glimpse of an AA
763 and a DL
763 (both head back for the states). We took off right behind the both of them. There was also an OA
737 behind us also heading for ATH
Takeoff was powerful and we headed out to the west and then made our way south over Naples and then so the SE
as we headed for ATH
. The flying time announced from the flight deck was 1:40. An actual lunch was served on this segment (which I declined). It looked disgusting and from what I heard it was really was. It was a cold pasta and veggie dish served with 2 small pieces of chicken (also served cold) as well and some sort of dessert.
Look... it's Greece! (i think)
The airshow was played the entire duration of the flight on the overhead LCDs. It was the new Rockwell Collins 4200 system as well. There was another drink service before landing as well as the duty free cart. I purchased an Aegean logo keychain (cool huh?).
It's worth mentioning that the sinks in the bathroom were out of order. They were both taped up. Hopefully whatever was causing the issue was fixed soon because it's very disgusting to have no sink to use after using the restroom. There were however sealed sanitary napkins placed in the restroom for use in lieu of the sink.
Mid-flight the captain came on the PA and gave us an update on the flight (Greek and English). Very professional and very sincere thanking us for flying with Aegean. We arrived into a typically hot and windy summer afternoon in Athens. We parked at the remote stand (as was typical for my last flight with A3
). We took the stairs down (whoo hoo) which provided me the opportunity to take these excellent shots!
I have to say that I really love flying Aegean despite the issues I mentioned above. They really are a great carrier who have beautiful FAs and very professional pilots. They are also fast becoming the European carrier with the youngest fleet. The A320s that they have are really a joy to fly on. If you can I highly suggest taking A3
and see and feel the different for yourself. I look forward to the day when I fly A3
again and hope that they'll eventually go longhaul to JFK
After leaving the airport we went to our hotel (Athens Hilton) and I was upgraded to the Acropolis Suite!!!! I have never been given such a generous upgrade at Hilton (even though I am a Gold member only). I had booked two rooms here on points and was still given such a generous upgrade. It pays to stay loyal to a hotel chain. I must send the hotel a nice letter when I get home.
We awoke at 5am and had breakfast in the room and then took a cab to Piraeus for a ferry to the island of Paros. We took the Blue Star Naxos and it was awesome! Truly a top notch ferry company. We were only in Paros for two night, but it was more than enough. On the return to Piraeus we could only get seats on the GA
Ferries Anthi Marina (a nightmare at sea). Seriously, this boat is like something out of a horror film. I read that its sister ship capsized many years ago in the English Channel! Anyhow we made it safely back to Piraeus and took a cab to our hotel on the beach in Vouliagmeni. I'll post about the rest of my trip when I get back to California next week.
View from our boat on our way to Paros...
Hotel in Paros (very remote, too windy, and nothing to do really...)
The Anthi Marina
Thanks for looking