Welcome to my multi-part review of our summer vacation. We spent 12 days abroad, predominately in Athens and Paris. We did squeeze in about half a day in Amsterdam before heading home. While I’m writing the series, I’m happy to answer any questions you have ahead of time. We traveled in mid-July, so right in the middle of the Athens financial crisis. Here’s most of what I expect to cover, including links to posts I’ve already completed:
- Planning Our Summer Vacation!
- British Airways First and Business Class Lounges at Philadelphia Airport
- US Airways Business Class from Philadelphia to Athens
- A Speed Bump Upon Arrival At Arion
- Arion Guest Room Review
- Arion & Westin Amenities
- Arion Restaurant Reviews
- A Quick Trip To The Acropolis And Parthenon
- Athens Metro System
- Temple of Poseidon at Sounio
- Swimming With The Fishes
- Restaurant Review: Garbi (Seafood)
- Restaurant Review: Kiku
- Our Two Favorite Restaurants In Greece
- Tips On Getting Around Athens Airport
- Flying From Athens To Paris
- Hyatt Regency Etoile Paris
- Eiffel Tower
- Arc de Triomphe
- Disneyland Paris
- A Study of Macaroons
- Various Restaurant Reviews
- Taking The Train From Paris To Amsterdam
- Sheraton Schiphol Airport
- US Airways Business Class from Amsterdam to Philadelphia
The Schengen and Non-Schengen areas of Athens airport form one long concourse. You can find a good interactive map on the airport’s main website. As you pass the ticket counters, the Non-Schengen area is to your right, where you’ll find the British Airways Terraces lounge. I didn’t get a chance to explore that lounge.
To the left is the Schengen area. There was a passport check prior to the lounges but no boarding pass check so I believe you could visit these lounges regardless of where you were traveling. I took a quick spin through the Lufthansa Business Lounge and the Aegean Airlines Club. Both were utilitarian, but comfortable enough given the lack of seating in the rest of the terminal. Unless you’re eating in a restaurant or sitting in a lounge, you won’t find too many places to sit outside of security. And, once you’re past security there’s very little in the way of food and drink.
There are two lounges in the Schengen Area that I visited briefly. After spending some time in the kids area (with a bit of a fail on age) we didn’t have time to relax in the lounges before boarding since everyone wanted to do a little shopping. There’s a dozen or so stores on the way to the gates and a handful of them are much less touristy than the standard offerings.
Lufthansa Business Lounge
This lounge is like many other small Lufthansa lounges I’ve been to around Europe. Somewhere between a light and heavy amount of food, various beer, wine and spirits and a small amount of comfortable seating.
It’s better than being in the terminal but I certainly wouldn’t pay for access.
The Aegean Club was bigger and stocked with a wider variety of food and drink than the Lufthansa lounge (not surprising, given this is their home airport).
There are a handful of different seating areas and the lounge was only about 1/3 full while we were there. Two notable items were the “make your own tea” area and the humongous smoking room (seating easily for 20). Unsurprisingly, you’ll find all Greek wines here and a lot of greek yogurt.
In both lounges I asked about bringing guests in. They both said I could bring in a guest but not my entire family. When I mentioned my wife and 2 kids, both said they were fine with them coming in that day since the lounges weren’t crowded.
If you’re a Star Alliance Gold member entitled to lounge access, I’d lean towards the Aegean Club lounge. There may be a few spots on the carpet but the lounge staff was exceedingly welcoming and the variety of food and beverages offered would make for a pleasant space to kill some time.