There are two ways around the Greek islands; slow oily car ferry, or island hopping onboard a small and nimble aircraft. To get from Athens to Heraklion, and then onwards to Paris for the Paris Air Show, national Greek carrier Aegean offered the perfect solution.
If you don’t know, Aegean has a fleet of A320s with some A321s and a single A319. With this fleet, they operate all-economy intra-Europe routes, as well as domestic services. They also fly to nearby nations such as Israel, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
For this review, it will include all my flights on the carrier, from domestic within Greece and also to Paris.
The aircraft is laid out in a pretty typical single-aisle A320 3-3 configuration. There are 30 inches of legroom, although I found that if one of your fellow passengers reclined the seat in front, you dramatically lost space.
Now, the seat is a little basic for what is considered a full-service airline. There is no foot rest, no in-seat power, no cup holder and no neck padding. In fact, the seat is a little too hard, and deeply reminds me of flying Frontier in the USA.
There is no seat-back entertainment onboard Aegean, which is rather dramatic as some of their flights push five hours.
They do ‘have’ entertainment that is streamed on your device, but only on international services to and from Athens. Even then, the service doesn’t actually have much, boasting just 800 songs and magazines in different languages. No WiFi, no TV shows, no movies, which is a little embarrassing as many other airlines manage to do the streaming-to-devices method with ease.
As Aegean is a full-service carrier, there was some complimentary food on board. I experienced perhaps had one of the fluffiest and delicious bread rolls I’ve ever had!
The meal consisted of grilled chicken, pasta with alfredo sauce and some steamed veggies. There was also cheese and crackers (long-time readers will know that I always give extra points for cheese and biscuits) and a chocolate block. I was also served two beverages upon asking.
Further snacks and alcoholic drinks can be bought for card or cash.
There was no meal service on the very short, 40-minute inter-island service, however the cabin was served a small snack and a beverage.
Now, about the beverages. There was no ice served with any drinks, nor tea or coffee available. I find it a little strange that in such a hot part of the world there would be no ice, and that the Greeks, who love their coffee, don’t have that option on their national carrier.
The meals, boarding, and farewell were delivered with a smile, and I felt very welcome onboard their aircraft.
The service on Aegean is more than satisfactory. With included baggage and meals, it is a delightful way to reach the Greek islands without having to fight over seats with those heading to the cheaper parts of the islands on low-cost-carriers.
However, the fact is that it would be a mistake to place them in the same league as Singapore Airlines, despite the fact they are both in Star Alliance. Transferring off an excellent airline like Turkish Airlines (you can read our view here) to Aegean will be a bit of a shock to even the most foolhardy traveler.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!