Airline Review: Aegean Airlines
Addendum (June 2013): On 18th June 2013 it was announced at 2013 World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show that Aegean Airlines was the winner of the Best Regional Airline in Europe for the third consecutive year. These awards are considered as the most prestigious in the airline industry because they are the passenger’s choice. Aegean Airlines has won this awards four times – 2009, 2011,2012,and 2013.
Addendum (September 2014): Since writing this review Aegean Airlines has won the award yet again. That’s five times in a row, an accolade they well deserve
Below is my review, first posted on 31st May 2013
Flight: Athens-London Heathrow
Aegean Airlines is a full service airline and the largest Greek airline by passenger numbers, destination and fleet size. Since 2010 it has been a member of the Star Alliance. It serves 47 destinations with a fleet of 30 aircraft.
I purchased the ticket through Skyscanner and chose Aegean based on price and the fact they flew into Heathrow Airport which is far more convenient for me. Was redirected to the airline’s website. The site was easy to navigate and the price quoted was what you paid. Baggage allowance was included.
This was all done online but became a little complicated without access to a printer while away. I was as able to choose and change my seat with no extra charge. The whole process, except the printing, was simple and efficient. We chose seats 4B and 4C up near the front.
At the airport
There was no queue at the bag drop off. Travelling with my wife who is recovering from a knee injury meant asking for assistance. This was happily provided by Aegean Airlines’ staff in the form of a wheelchair – a vast difference from our experience at Gatwick 10 days earlier. They also sorted things for the Heathrow end of the flight. At this point our seats were changed by the computer to 18E and 18F. It was a little sobering to realise that these were the seats exactly halfway between two emergency exits on the Airbus 321-200; that is they were furthest from the exits where we were least likely to impede other passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency landing.
We were met with the wheelchair and sped through passport control and security. There was only 20 minutes wait at the gate before we were taken on board the flight and seated. The extra seat in the row of three had been blocked by staff at check-in and would not be assigned unless the flight was full. This was to enable my wife to have a little more room for her leg.
The interior was very clean, probably a new or refurbished aircraft. The corporate colours of navy, red, grey and white make for a restful but business like interior. The leather seats were comfortable and supported the lumbar region extremely well. Legroom was adequate for me but then I am not overly tall.
Drinks were served soon after take off but had to be postponed due to turbulence, however, we were kept informed as to the situation. As soon as the seat belt sign was switched off service began again. I was surprised to find that it was a hot meal served with salad, a roll and some cheese followed by baklava. The flight was only short-haul so I had expected the usual dry snack and yoghurt. If Aegean can do it why not other airlines? They also showed a full length feature film on the drop down screens.
In skies dominated by budget airlines it is a pleasure to experience the service offered by Aegean. They seem to have chosen not to go the way of most other carriers – simple cold snacks – to compete and elected to offer service commensurate with medium and long-haul flights.
Aegean Airlines has now moved to the top of my list for flying to Greece.
Disclosure: I flew with Aegean Airlines at my own expense and did not receive any special treatment as a travel writer. They were unaware of this. It would make no difference as I always retain editorial control and write as I see and experience things.