Today: Aegean Airlines Economy Class from Brussels to Mykonos
Because of the COVID19 pandemic, leisure travel to/from Belgium (my home country) was banned for almost the entire winter and spring. The travel restrictions (to some countries) were finally lifted mid-May, and early June, I went on my first trip abroad in more than 9 months. I choose the Greek island of Mykonos as my destination (because of its designation as a green area, meaning I could travel to/from Mykonos without the need to quarantine upon return). Getting there required two connecting flights (since directs flights were not offered around my desired travel dates): one flight with Greece’s flag carrier Aegean Airlines from Brussels to Athens, and one flight with Olympic Air (an Aegean Airlines subsidiary) from Athens to Mykonos. I booked the trip in Economy Class (as I always do for my flights within Europe). The journey was uneventful, but left a sour taste in my mouth because of the unjustified high ticket price and the unruly COVID19 behavior of some passengers onboard.
Have you ever flown with Aegean Airlines? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more information below the YouTube video):
- Price of my ticket
- Onboard COVID19 safety
- Flight from Brussels to Athens
- Layover at Athens Airport
- Flight from Athens to Mykonos
1. PRICE OF MY TICKET
I paid 520 euros (!!!) for my one way ticket from Brussels to Mykonos. Yes, you read that right. That’s a shocking amount of money for a one-way Economy Class ticket within Europe. When I started looking for my ticket (about one month prior to my departure), the average price for an Economy Class ticket from Brussels to Mykonos (or any other Greek island) was around 370 euros (one way). While I was hoping that the price would lower in the days before my departure, it kept increasing. Aegean Airlines was the cheapest carrier as one-way Economy Class tickets with Lufthansa, Swiss and Air France were sold for more than 800 euros. It’s pretty disheartening that airfare is skyrocketing because of the COVID19 crisis (a combination of increased demand and limited availability of plane seats).
2. ONBOARD COVID19 SAFETY
After the shock of the price of my ticket came the shock of the onboard experience, not so much the onboard service itself (Aegean is a great airline) but rather the behavior of some other passengers. The flight was fully packed, which was already a rather uncomfortable experience after living socially distanced for more than 9 months. But what made it absolutely worse and appalling was the fact that about half of all passengers in my row, as well as the rows in front and behind me, were not wearing their face masks properly. Most did not cover their nose (making a face mask totally useless) and some were only covering their chin while talking and laughing loudly. The Aegean Airlines crew did not intervene nor did they make any remark about it. People seem to have forgotten that you need to wear a mask on a plane, not only to protect yourself but also – and mainly – to protect other passengers (hence why I think it is utterly egoistic when people refuse to wear their face masks properly).
Once in the air, I learned that wearing a face mask did not make any sense at all: Aegean Airlines was offering a complimentary lunch snack (more on that below), so all the face masks came down anyway. I felt that the only layers of protection I still had were my vaccination (I received my two jabs with the Pfizer vaccine a few months ago) and my FFP2 mask (which I did not remove for the entire flight, not even during the lunch service). Some would say my fear of contamination is not justified, but I like to consider myself as cautious and prudent, especially when it comes to COVID19 as I contracted the disease myself a few months ago.
3. FLIGHT FROM BRUSSELS TO ATHENS
- Trip: Brussels (BRU) to Athens (ATH)
- Airline: Aegean Airlines
- Aircraft type: Airbus A320
- Aircraft registration number: SX-DVT
- On time departure: Yes (11 am)
- On time arrival: Yes (3 pm)
- Miles: 1300 miles
- Flight time: 3 hours
- Seat: 11F (exit row)
- Class: Economy Class
The flight from Brussels to Athens was operated by one of Aegean Airlines’ Airbus A320 aircraft. The carrier’s A320s feature 174 seats per aircraft in a 3-3 layout, including a small Business Class cabin that consists of Economy Class seats with blocked middle seats. Aegean Airlines’ Economy Class seats have a pitch of 30 inches (76 cm) and are 18 inches (46 cm) wide. For the 3 hour flight to Athens, I had selected seat 11F in the exit row, which offered more legroom than the Business Class seats.
The flight itself was uneventful. A complimentary lunch bag was offered, which included a sandwich (choice of meat or vegetables), a cereal bar, and a bottle of water. The lunch bag also contained a flyer with instructions to fly safely during the pandemic.
4. LAYOVER AT ATHENS AIRPORT
I had a one hour layover at Athens Airport. Athens Airport is the largest airport in Greece and named after Elefthérios Venizélos, a well known Cretan politician & prime minister of Greece (1864-1934). Built at a total cost of around € 2.1 bn, it began operation on 28 March 2001 (in time for the Summer Olympics of 2004). It is capable of handling 65 take-offs and landings an hour, or 600 a day. The airport currently has a capacity of 16 million passengers per year, although that will eventually be expanded to accommodate 50 million passengers a year.
My layover was a smooth experience. I had to go through a security checkpoint when moving from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. From the domestic terminal, a bus took passengers from the gate to the plane (not ideal during a pandemic).
5. FLIGHT FROM ATHENS TO MYKONOS
- Trip: Athens (ATH) to Mykonos (JMK)
- Airline: Olymic Air
- Aircraft type: De Havilland Canada DHC-8
- Aircraft registration number: SX-OBA
- On time departure: Yes (4.30 pm)
- On time arrival: Yes (4.50 pm)
- Miles: 94 miles
- Flight time: 20 minutes
- Seat: 16A
- Class: Economy Class
The flight from Athens to Mykonos was operated by Olympic Air, a regional airline and subsidiary of Aegean Airlines. The journey was flown by one of the carrier’s De Havilland Canada DHC-8, commonly known as the Dash 8. The Dash 8 – the most productive turboprop in the skies – is known as the “network builder” due to its short take-off and landing capabilities, and efficient regional operations. The rather cramped cabin of Olympic Air’s DASH 8 feature 78 seats arranged in a 2-2 layout. I had selected seat 16A, but unfortunately, the large engine blocked most of the view (only the seats in the first rows of the Dash 8 enjoy unobstructed views). Despite a very short flight time of only 20 minutes, Olympic Airways did offer a complimentary bottle of water and chocolate biscuits to all passengers, which was a nice gesture.