I'm online again for another trip report covering a new line link between Lyon and Athens by Aegean Airlines.
Aegean Airlines has announced the launch of new links aplenty for the summer 2013 season. One of them goes to my hometown, Lyon twice a week. Originally planned for a first flight in late june, the start of the link was scheduled in early june at the end. Good move for me as I'll have a quite busy end of june but at the beginning of june, it suits fine for me! So, I've booked a 2 days trip to the capital city of Greece with a major highlight in the name of the inaugural flight from LYS to ATH! A very first for me! As you could guess, I was really looking forward to board that flight!
At the beginning, the fare were sky-high (around 300€ return while it was around 180€ return via MUC or ZRH...) but after waiting a bit, I found a better fare at around 160€ return. That's way better! I didn't wait a second and I booked it directly through the basic but efficient Aegean Airlines' website.
Courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper
As usual, I made my way to the too-expensive Rhônexpress. It was quite crowded and a bit messy as the doors open directly on the self-service ticket machine, so you can't board the tramway when there is a crowd using the machines...that's a "very smart" designed station...well, I managed to take a seat!
Inside of the Rhônexpress
After 30 minutes, we eventually arrived in the majestic Lyon Airport HST station.
Fairly long trek toward the terminal.
I reached the check-in counters manned by a very pleasant ground agent and after dropping off my luggage, I went in Terminal 1 schenghen airside area. This part is now used by TP & IB mainly while KM & A3 (among other schenghen carriers) use this part too. This airside area is tiny but it does the job nicely. There is only a store and a bar in it. The views are limited by the airbridges and as the windows are facing eastwards, it's not that good for taking photos in the morning. So, I'm sorry for the poor quality of my pics.
Not that much of activity here but nice destinations!
The airside area is divided in 2 parts, so this is the first half of the airside area
Well, that's the second part obviously
Now, time for a bit of spotting
An AFs babybus playing hide and seek with me
Nice A5s Bombardier CRJ-1000 taking off
Childish Small Planet Airlines livery for this Airbus A320
Very nice KM Airbus A320 in new colors bound from MLA
Reverse in action for this U2 Airbus A319
Gorgeous livery coming right in front of me, KM Airbus A320
Spotless Boeing 737-300 belonging to LH bound from FRA
New ZI colors for this Airbus A320
AF Airbus A318 pushed back
Where are the gears on this A5 Bombardier CRJ-1000?
LH by Eurowings Bombardier CRJ-900 bound from DUS
This is the best I could take of this beautiful Airbus A310-300 of TS landing after a long flight across the pond from YUL
New A5 livery on this Bombardier CRJ-1000 beauty
Nice TS Airbus A310-300 almost parked at T2
Old liveried ZI Airbus A320
Helvetic for LX Fokker 100
OS Bombardier Dash8-Q400 taking off bound to VIE
Those are 2 nice birds!
KM Airbus A320 reading for departure
Nice TU Boeing 737-600
U2 has 4 (I guess) Airbus A319 based in LYS
An A5s Bombardier CRJ-700 reversing
Now, that's the 1st time in my life that I see an inaugural ceremony, it was so cool see it!
Time for the fire brigade to be ready for the water canoon salute!
Reverse in action for this nice A3 Airbus A320 which has the honors to inaugurate the Athens-Lyon link!
Taxiing to the apron, as you can see, LYS isn't that flat
Let's the images talking...
Many people at the gate weren't aware about this tradition and were very impressed (some were...worried too!). And it was delightful to be part of such event.
After a quick turnaround it was time to board the plane. Some Aegean Airlines representatives were present but nothing was told about this inaugural service. That's the only regret I have because all the ground and on-board staff were in a very good mood!
FIDS, not many flights will depart from here after us...
The gate assigned to the inaugural service, as you can see, nothing much to say but very pleasant staff though
Flight # : A3633
Departure airport : Lyon St-Exupéry (LYS/LFLL)
Arrival airport : Athens Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH/LGAV)
ETD : 1050
ATD : 1120
ETA : 1430
ATA : 1440
Scheduled flight time : 02:40
Actual flight time : 02:20
Aircraft type : Airbus A320-200
Reg # : SX-DVN
Seat : 04A
Photo © Gavin Bowler
Photo © Nikos Fazos
Boarding started in very usual way : Business and *A Gold, families with young children, passengers needing assistance then from back to the front. The boarding was called a bit late but as I wasn't in hurry at all, I didn't mind.
How I like walking in a glass-jet bridge!
Passengers were greeted by a very smiling F/A and even by the captain himself. Very nice touch!
Such a pleasant sight
The F/A in the galley gave to everyone a nice gift which I found a very nice touch to celebrate the airline.
The Aegean' goodies which were given to all passengers! Thank you A3!
The cabin was spotless and the smart colors used give a very pleasant feeling onboard. You feel you're in modern and comfortable airliner.
Leatherish seat, comfortable enough for the flight lenght
Generous legroom (at least for me)
To my biggest surprise, we were served a pre-take off drink to choose between OJ and white wine. Wow! I'm so impressed today! Then, the Aegean Airlines' candy was distributed, as usual with this airline.
I chose the OJ, nice touch from A3
The candy sitting on my leg (I forgot to take a photo on the tray table )
Seat pocket content
After the boarding completed annoucement, we eventually pushed back way behind schedule. Not a big on-time performance from the greek carrier but I was in good mood, I didn't mind the late departure.
Push-back with a nice view over the Terminal 1 Non-schengen gates
TU, BA and TK getting ready for their next flight
Taxi along the Terminal 2 featuring a nice TS Airbus A310...
...and a very nice blueish KL Embraer 190
The T2 regional pier with 2 old-style boys facing...
...a new-style one! Well, I don't really like this livery...
During taxi, safety video was displayed after being teased by a nice entertainment
The best IFE program ever!
Safety procedure video
Well, it seems true today
Taxiing to the northern part of the airport while someone on final
Hey! A belgian bird! It reminds me something...
Well, today, we'll take off from 18L, that's not usual as in LYS, 36R-18L is mostly a landing runway while 36L-18R is for take-off...
Accelerating on 18L
Rotating while passing by some construction work
Climbing and turning over a small town called La Verpillière
Flaps retracted with the airport at the distance
The city of Bourgoin-Jallieu which hosts a famous rugby team
Beautiful sight. On the left, the very nice Lac de Bellegarde, on its right (cover by clouds) the Dent du Chat (Cat's Tooth) mountain range and then, the very nice city of Chambéry with the Lac du Bourget (the largest natural lake in France). You can spot Chambéry-Aix les Bains airport (CMF/LFLB) which used to be an airbase (Air force helicopter flying school)
Another shot of the city of Chambéry
Beautiful views of the Alps
Between 15 to 30 minutes into the flight, a meal was offered. Consisting in a pasta with meat balls and some feta cheese dish (very tasty), butter, cheese, crackers, bread and chocolate biscuit. The meal was very filling and fitted well for the flight duration. It's on par with what LH offers on MUC-ATH when I flew there last october
Quite nice meal
Flying along the Adriatic sea coastline
Above the Adriatic
Overflying the city of Brindisi with the airport in sight (well...I guess it's BDS!)
Shortly afterwards, I was pleasantly shocked to be offered a very nice small portion of vanilla mousse with some chocolate on the top. I guess it's because we're in an inaugural service but...OMG ...what a brilliant service! It was very tasty while it could have been cooler. Well done Aegean!
Tasty vanilla mousse
Reaching Corfu island
Around 2hrs into the flight, we started a very scenic approach
The famous Rio-Antirrio bridge
Approaching ATH over the Peloponnesian mountains
The Isthmus of Corinth
The Saronic gulf
Approaching new ATH while crossing the old ATH
Closer to the ground
Airbrakes & reverses in action
Vacating the runway
Passing by a rather small OA Bombardier Dash8-Q100 and a rather suspicious looking Astra Avro RJ-100 (looks "mafia-ish" to me, according the livery...)
An OA' Bombardier Dash8-Q400 (soon to be in A3 colors? )
I guess it's a private Embraer 145
So many different airlines parked in ATH : EK' Boeing 777-300ER, TK' Boeing 737-800, EY' Airbus A32x, A3' Airbus A320, OS' Airbus A321, AF' Airbus A320
Parked with a french neighbor, the flight comes into its end...sadly
I thanked the crew for this very nice flight and made my way to the arrival hall which was a rather long trek in a fairly deserted terminal. During the walk, I noticed that the only way to transfer to another flight is to go through a security checkpoint. Bad point for ATH. The terminal was in very good condition, there is nothing fancy but everything is quite convenient and does the job well.
Windowless jet bridge
Long halls toward the baggage claim
Arrival hall, it took 15 minutes to get my luggage which came with one of the first
After claiming my luggage, I decided to use the metro which conveniently departs from ATH every 30 minutes to the central area of Athens city. You just have to step outside the terminal, follow the Train/Metro station signs and after 5-7 minutes, you're there! Beware before going there, none of the self-ticket machines or manned counters accept credit cards, be sure to have cash ready! The one-way journey costs 8€.
Walking outside the terminal
This bridge leads to the station
Very spacious station, well, very deserted though...be sure to have some coins/notes in your pocket unless you're good to go back to the terminal where the nearest ATM is located...
After purchasing the ticket, I made my way to the platforms (this station is served by both commuter trains and metro)
Before stepping in a fresh metro.
The journey lasts for an hour before reaching the Syntagma station. Announcements are made in greek and in english as well, nice thing!
I spent a day and a half in this city. Well, I admit that I didn't liked my stay there. For the first time in my life, I felt unsecure as a pedestrian (due to the traffic) and I walked in many cities! The pedestrian walkways are in very bad condition.Many greeks don't speak english or just barely understand it which is not really helpful for tourists. Except that, Athens has many nice places, I liked walking on the Lycabettus hill from where you could have stunning views over the city and I had a very nice dinner in a tiny restaurant located in a small street. There are many ancient greek remains scattered across the city and as some streets are pedestrian area, it was quite pleasant to walk there.
The Athens Academy, nice architecture
The Greek Parliament Guard, funny ceremonial dress but very martial
The Greek Parliament
Olympic stadium, so impressive! Arriving there after running a marathon must be very impressive!
So tasty dish made with fresh (VERY fresh) tomatoes, nice feta cheese and delicious pita bread. Topped with delicious olive oil, it was perfect to eat!
The view from the Lycabettus hill
Nice greek remains
View over the Parthenon
The second day, as the flight was scheduled to depart quite early, I didn't want to wake up at insane time, I booked a room at the very convenient Sofitel Athens Airport hotel situated right in front of the terminal! This hotel feature a wonderful complimentary swimming pool at the highest floor with beautiful views over one of the runways...nice place to spot the aircrafts departing or arriving as you'll see...
Life is gooood...
but I was more excited by this...
Nice wingflex on this TK' Boeing 737-800
LO' Embraer 195 retracting her gears
OA' Bombardier Dash8-Q400
Astra' Avro RJ-100 wearing a suspicious black livery...looks like she's owned by some mafia' leader!