Welcome to my multi-part review of our summer vacation. We spent 12 days abroad, predominately in Athens and Paris (and a half day in Amsterdam before heading home). Happy to answer questions as I finish up the series. 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
After the quick lounge exploration we proceeded through security. I hadn’t done much research into the airport so we quickly found out there’s not much past security. The waiting areas are only about 30 feet deep and there are a few newsstands. I would imagine it gets quite crowded for bigger planes. We were on an A319 and it was still a bit cramped in the waiting area.
While waiting to board an agent started tagging all our rolling carry-on bags to be checked. I politely asked if we could carry them on. I know my bag doesn’t fit the international requirements for sizing but at least 2 of our other bags did. She ignored me at first so I repeated the question and she informed me that all the bags were over-sized. I pushed back a bit and she said that I could try to fit them in the overhead bins but she asked me to leave them tagged so they could check them at the bottom of the jet bridge if they didn’t fit.
When we got to the end of the jet bridge the flight attendant wouldn’t allow any of the bags on board. I explained to her that the gate agent said it was okay to take them on to see if they fit (and immediately realized how stupid I sounded saying that). I had my wife board with the rest of our family since space was filling up quickly.
I pointed out that two of the bags were much smaller roller bags (one had some of the kid’s play items in it) and should meet the size requirements. She picked one up and said, “Oh, these are much too heavy. They’re overweight.” Seriously, bags were nowhere near the weight limit of 8kg. She said she’d ask the pilot if the “heavier” bags could be brought on.
A few minutes later (with most of boarding complete) she came back to tell me that the captain didn’t feel it would be safe to fly the plane with the heavier bags in the cabin. I realized I was losing this battle badly and started to remove a few things from the bags on the jet bridge that we might want onboard. She really wasn’t happy with me doing so, since I was off to the side and not holding up boarding.
Admittedly, I was a bit frustrated at this point. I asked her to tag the bags with priority tags so they would (hopefully) come out sooner in Paris. She said she didn’t have any tags and that I could go back up to the gate to ask for them. I didn’t want to walk back up and risk them closing the boarding door. A gate agent happened to walk down at that moment and was happy to priority tag them (no idea how often those things actually work).
While all this was going on, the kids were on board getting to pick from a basket of toys and activities. I didn’t get a picture of the full offering but the items the kids got kept them occupied for a while. I always think this is a nice touch when we run into it while traveling. I wish more airlines did something like this.
We were seated in the first few rows of the economy class cabin. The seats themselves were reasonably comfortable. Their slimline was somewhere between United’s gates of hell slimline and the much nicer British Airways seats. As you can see, not only did the kids have plenty of legroom but Gabby, our adopted adult daughter had plenty of legroom as well. The seats have the magazine rack moved up above the legs to allow for more space like most new generation seats. I didn’t take conscious note of whether we were in an extra legroom section and can’t find any seat maps online that tell that tale.
Even though the flight is only about 3 hours we were served a hot meal. I’m not much for airline food but the spaghetti and meatballs** were quite tasty. The brie and crackers plus the chocolate made for a filling meal.
Seat selection is something that Star Alliance members are allowed to do early for themselves and their party. However, Gabby was on a separate itinerary with no status and I had to wait until 24 hours prior to departure to grab her a seat. It was no issue grabbing her the aisle seat in the bulkhead right in front of us, though she was generous enough to sit with the kids and let my wife catch a nap.
Aegean offers two classes of economy fares, GoLight and Flex. They also offer a discount of 33% on most child fares. We were just fine with GoLight fares which aren’t terribly restrictive. Their website outlines the differences quite well.
Other than our brief snafu with the bags it was an easy flight with a good meal. The service wasn’t as quick as Lufthansa but wasn’t as bad as some of the more complacent domestic US crews.
All in all, I would consider Aegean again, especially given how affordable our tickets were. They’ve consistently featured rock bottom prices to a bunch of Greek islands from Athens recently if you’re thinking about going.
**Side note: Tweetie pointed out in the comments that I referred to my plate of Penne as “Spaghetti and Meatballs”. Yes, I know the difference. My grandmother used to refer to all pasta as “Spaghetti and Meatballs” and it just kind of stuck with me and pops out once in a while. In actuality, she usually referred to them as “sghettis”. So, there you have it.
The post Flying Aegean In Coach. Athens & Paris For Dollars A Day was published first on Pizza in Motion.