As someone who currently lives in Greece, I have learned which routes, airlines, and times work best for us in terms of cost, availability, and comfort. One of the good things about Greece and travel to the US is that prices can be quite a bit cheaper from here to the US than from other European cities, especially in business class. This makes the introduction of Emirates’ newest city pair very interesting – a route between Newark and Athens!
New Emirates’ Route of Newark and Athens
Greece as a Cheap Origination Market
Economy tickets can be widely found most of the year out of Athens or Thessaloniki to major cities in the US for as low as $300. Most of the time, it is more around $390 – $440. For roundtrip international airfare, that is not that bad! While most of the time, like many European routes, these prices are based on roundtrip travel, you can travel one way for pretty cheap sometimes also. Airlines like Turkish and Air Serbia have cheaper one way flights than the high premium of one way tickets that US carriers and many of their partners sell.
Business Class Tickets
Business class tickets can also be found for much less than from other points in Europe. Last year, I regularly saw prices of around $1,200 – $1,300 on Turkish Airlines from Greece to JFK – roundtrip! That is pretty good and an excellent way to travel between Europe and the US! I also took advantage of a lower price than that for Qatar Airways out of Athens to New York through Doha (although the return was in coach).
I have written before how you can flying on A380 flights with Emirates and Etihad out of Athens for under $1,800 one way in business class to the US (transiting through Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively). While higher priced than most of us pay for one way travel, that is not that bad of a price for business class travel on these fine airlines!
New Emirates Route – Newark and Athens
Well, it should be interesting to see what prices start looking like for travel between the US and Athens now that Emirates has announced their latest route of Newark – Athens starting March 12, 2017! The full statement from Emirates on this announcement can be found here.
This flight will be part of a Newark – Athens – Dubai flight and will follow the schedule below:
- EK209 will depart Dubai at 10:50 local time, arriving in Athens at 14:25 before departing again at 16:40 and arriving into Newark at 22:00 on the same day.
- Depart Athens at 4:40PM – arrive in Newark at 10:00PM
- EK210 will depart Newark at 23:45 local time, arriving in Athens the next day at 15:05. EK210 will depart once again from Athens at 17:10 bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 23:50
- Depart Newark at 11:45PM – arrive in Athens at 3:05PM the next day
I have to tell you – I love these flight times! When I do fly to the US, I normally need to take flights that will get me there as quickly as possible as I normally only have a day or two in the US. This typically leads me to book with Turkish (departing late at night and spending the night in Istanbul) or through Munich to Washington, DC. During the May – October timeframe, North American carriers run their seasonal flights and it makes it easier as well but those times are much earlier than the new Emirates’ time and not quite to my liking as these new times.
My New Favorite Route and Airline?
Emirates will be servicing this route with their 777 aircraft which will feature 3 classes (incidentally, the only flight between Greece and the US that offers first class). Since it is not the A380, it means no first class shower but otherwise the same first class cabin. However, the business class cabin will feature lie-flat seats (which Ben at One Mile at a Time says are more like angled-lie flat).
It will be interesting to see how well this flight serves Emirates overall since tourist dollars can be easily had with travel to and in Greece for the summer months but it may not be a big moneymaker year round. However, this will certainly make Delta and United, specifically, somewhat frustrated since their flights normally have a high load during the summer to Athens and award availability can be very hard to find, especially in business class. When Emirates started flying JFK to Milan, we saw price cuts from the other carriers periodically to match Emirates’ prices so we would likely see the same here.
Easier Alaska MVP Gold 75K
So, why does this new Emirates’ route have a shot at being my new favorite between Europe and the US? I always have Star Alliance Gold status through the Greek airline Aegean and am typically able to requalify each year somewhat easily due to their low qualification threshold. So, that has me looking around sometimes at other elite programs which may be helpful to me as well. I am about to drop American’s Executive Platinum status (overall not greatly impressed, but not flying domestically in the US much either) and had really wanted to go for Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K again. With this new route from Emirates, this could make this more of a reality, especially with the (likely) cheaper premium fares on this route than from other European origination cities.
We will have to see but I am certainly looking forward to trying out this new route on one of my trips to the US!