I had a few flights last year on Aegean Airlines but a couple of weeks ago was my first time flying Aegean Airlines with my newly minted top tier Aegean status! You can read about how easy it is to obtain Star Gold through Aegean Airlines here and you can read about how I obtained it here.
So, that Sunday found me on my way to Thessaloniki airport in northern Greece to check-in for my Aegean flight. Having flown in an out of Thessaloniki last year, one of the things I was most looking forward to as an Aegean Airlines Gold was the elite check-in lines. The European lines for checking in as an economy passenger/passenger with no status can be disorganized (at best) and very confusing. Those traveling in one of those categories have to expect to be at the airport with a fair amount of time to spare before the flight.
The check-in process did not disappoint! The general passenger line was very long and the line for business class/elite passengers had no one in it. As a result, I was checked-in, bag checked, through security, and in the lounge 13 minutes after I stepped into the airport! The process was a lot more streamlined for their elites and fairly easy.
The lounge hosted by “my” airline was a very nice lounge – above my expectations. The seating was all leather and there was an abundance of drinks and snacks. The internet was sufficiently quick. The only bad things that I noticed about the lounge was that there was only one bathroom stall (for men) and there were quite a few flies flying around. Other than that, it was good! The food was all Greek and the atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the runway.
When the time came for our flight, the lounge attendant announced our flight and came and opened the door in the lounge overlooking the runway. We went down and boarded the buses for the plane. It is worth mentioning that the boarding process in Thessaloniki can be a mess. There are no boarding zones. Everyone just crowds to the door and floods on to the waiting buses. As an elite member with access to their lounge, you get to wait for all of that headache of boarding to disappear. Once everyone is on the plane, the bus takes the elite members to the aircraft. They board their aircraft from both the front and the back so I entered through the back and found my seat in the exit row. I had chosen the seat without a seat in front of me and it was very comfortable.
Aegean Airlines has been the SkyTrax winner of the European Regional Airline for 2011, 2012, and 2013 and for good reason. Their flight attendants are all very attentive to the passengers. They take very good care of children that are on the flights and the meal service is really good. I have a few meals now on Aegean flights (all under 2 1/2 hours) and they have been hot and cold meals. I have found the hot meals to be quite better than international food service in economy. The cold meals are typically sandwiches (like mini subs) and include something sweet for dessert.
Overall, I am looking forward to flying Aegean Airlines more in the near future as Aegean Gold. I just wish my Gold credentials would hurry up and get here. 🙂