Aegean Airlines has become like “my” airline. They are the airline that I have consistently held top tier status with for 5 years now and the airline that is just about always my first and last leg of flights in and to Europe. As such, I have learned quite a bit about them over the years and since they are becoming increasingly popular, I thought it would be nice to share a few things about them.
6 Things to Know About Flying with Aegean Airlines
1. They Have Been Voted as the “Best Regional Airline” For 8 Years
Aegean has an ever-growing presence in Europe (and even outside of Europe in the Middle East and Egypt) and they have taken the award for the Best Regional Airline 8 out of 9 years. They deliver a solid product whether you are flying them on a 30 minute flight or a 3+ hour flight.
2. Their In-Flight Food Is Really Good!
If you are used to flying US airlines, you may be surprised to find that a 40 minute flight with Aegean will still get you a food tray. It may be small and something more of a larger snack (maybe a stuffed croissant) but it is still good!
The food in business class is really good but even in economy, it is really something that most people would not expect. I have had decent pasta dishes on 2 hour flights, as well as food trays with native Greek treats or food. Last year, Aegean started serving different little foods to highlight various parts of the nation of Greece – a great way to get introduced to some of the food before you arrive in Greece.
I would take the economy food from Aegean on a 2+ hour flight over the business class food from a US airline on a 2 hour flight any day!
3. They Are a Growing Airline
Aegean just placed an order for up to 42 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft – a deal valued at $5 billion (list prices). This is to help them grow into newer markets while also saving money with some of the cost-saving features of these new aircraft.
An order like this is a good sign from an airline that has a relatively young fleet already. Believe it or not, Aegean flies to more destinations than just those in the European region. In addition to those flights, they also fly to cities like:
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Beirut, Lebanon
- Cairo, Egypt
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Amman, Jordan
- Tehran, Iran
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
This is in addition to cities all over the region of Europe – and they are adding more destinations and frequencies all the time.
Their hub is Athens with smaller hubs in Thessaloniki and Larnaca. They have recently upgraded their lounges in these airports and they are definitely a nice place to stop in and grab a bite (if you are flying business class or have elite status).
4. Their Elite Status Is Very Easy To Retain!
Tip: They give you 1,000 miles just for signing up!
A few years ago, it seemed like more people outside of Greece had Aegean Gold status than those in Greece. This was thanks to their low bar for qualification and the fact that it lasted for several years with just a couple of flights credited to it. However, they changed that a few years ago and now their Gold status (which equals Star Alliance Gold) is similar in qualification to other Star Alliance airlines – unless you fly a few Aegean/Olympic flights!
But, once you have that status, it is really easy to retain! I have Aegean Gold which only requires 12,000 miles and 4 Aegean/Olympic flights per year! Or you can skip the Aegean flights and credit 24,000 miles to them. If you can fly the 4 flights, that is an insanely good deal for keeping Aegean Gold status – especially since it comes with lounge access throughout the Star Alliance network!
See this post for more information.
5. The Aegean Airlines Staff Is Very Pleasant
Ok, I am sure you may have a story about someone that wasn’t that kind but I have found that most of the Aegean staff that I have encountered (in airports, on planes, on the phone, via e-mail) have been very helpful, polite, and really wanting to help out the customer.
There flight attendants are fantastic – always very kind and helpful to anyone on the plane that requires that little bit of extra assistance. Their gate staff have also been very helpful and on the lookout for those that need a little extra help.
One thing to note – if you are flying Aegean from another city to a destination in Greece, you will not be dealing with Aegean staff but staff from a partner airline or contract agents. This is important to note because they can be very stiff at times and really tough on you when it comes to things like your carryon bag (the Aegean staff members have always been kinder than these agents at other airports).
6. They Offer Frequent Sales Throughout Their Network
At least a few times a year, they offer tiered sales of up to 40% off to various destinations throughout their network. Sometimes they are strictly domestic but most of the time, they are other countries. If you know ahead of time when you are going to fly, these sales can be a great time to save some serious money!
Bonus! Their Award System Is Really Good, Too!
I have talked many times about this but Aegean has some great sweet spots on their award chart like 45,000 miles for one way business class tickets between the US and Europe (which includes Israel and Egypt). Not only that, but they make it very cheap to combine miles from different people into one account to get to that award quicker. See this post for more information about this.
I count it a pleasant experience each time I step aboard an Aegean flight. I know I will be met with friendly staff and good food that always makes the flight a more enjoyable travel experience. All in all, I cannot recommend their airline enough. Once you fly with them, it is easy to see why they are the best regional airline for this many years.
One thing I will give a complaint about – their new charges for certain seats on airplanes. C’mon, Aegean, at least waive it for elites! 🙂
Thanks for all the great info on your site – I’ve been looking at 3 business class seats to TLV from JFK next June – Austrian has the availability, and the miles on Aegean are great – I cant find any options other than Austrian air – Any idea what the surcharge would be??? I don’t want to blow all my Starwood points without knowing the surcharge first – But cant look at the flight on Aegeans site without transferring the miles first…