Agean Airlines - Cross wind on Santorini

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by albatross710, May 2, 2014.

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  1. albatross710

    albatross710 Established Member

    May 15, 2004
    Had an interesting experience on Monday travelling my final leg of a 5 leg journey BNE-MEL-SIN-ZRH-ATH-JTR with our booking for 2 on A3 360 departing Athens at 7:10pm for Santorini. The journey had so far been wonderful and on time, QF-SQ-Swiss.

    Sitting at Gate B28, a downstairs gate for busing to the aircraft we noticed that there wasn't much action at the counter at the boarding time of 6:35 and checked that the boarding time had slipped to 7:15. Then came an announcement that an update would be made at 8pm. No other information.

    It seemed that my Santorini Caldera view would have to wait.

    At 8pm there was an announcement in Greek after which about 25% of the waiting passengers left the lounge. 5 minutes later came the announcement in English that the flight was cancelled and we should go to the ticket office. Well you can imagine the length of the queue at the ticket office with a 737 worth of people lined up. While I was at this queue Mrs Albatross was dispatched down to arrivals to collect our bags. She returned empty handed as she needed the boarding passed with baggage vouchers to claim the bags. The same boarding passes I needed to rebook. Anyway, she headed back off to get the bags while I stayed in the queue at the ticket office.

    When I did get to the front of the queue, the agent was still incredibly polite and in a good mood. He accepted by Tripit view of the booking and arranged for a double room at the nearby Sofitel. When I say nearby, it is opposite the airport entrance and very convenient.

    After the accom was arranged I was next to line up to get a new boarding pass at the checkin counter. Once again all of the pax stayed happy and the agents seemed to cope with the arrangement.

    While I was in this queue I found another pax from Brisbane whom had been on A3 358, the 4:15pm flight to Santorini and the operating aircraft for our A3 360. They had departed, they had flown to Santorini, had done a missed approach due to excessive cross winds (35 knts apparently)and returned to ATH. They were bused off the aircraft, waited, reboarded, deplaned and eventually cancelled as well. So I was a little disappointed to think that while we were waiting to board for a 7:10 flight the operating aircraft of the earlier flight was as least 3 hours behind schedule at sitting at Gate B3.

    The re-booking process went well. We had an open choice of the next day's flight. As we had so far been 40 hours since leaving Brisbane I opted for a later start the next day.

    After this queue it was off to the Sofitel to join the new queue for hotel checkin. By this stage we were getting to know our fellow passengers much better. Still in good spirits. Once again the hotel staff had a system for dealing with the issue and everyone kept happy. We checked in without Accor LeClub status or number as the booking would not earn points. I did however negotiate a free drink as a LeClub platinum. We made the room by 10:10pm.

    While all of this queuing was going on the hotel banquet room was being set up for a buffet dinner for the pax. Start time 10:30pm. A reasonable meal was available.

    So, all up, it was much better to be delayed and well fed at Athens, than to be off the side of the runway on Santorini. For Agean they were dealing with four cancelled flights, 2 ATH-JTR & 2 JTR-ATH

    Breakfast was available next day from 3:15am. We took up the offer about 7am only needing to be at the airport by 8am for our 9:15 flight.

    Having been through the Athens airport security a couple of times for this flight both Mrs Albatross and I both remarked how friendly and polite the security process was.

    So, here we are having had our little holiday trip spoiled by a cancelled flight and at the same time happy and impressed that it was handled well. It may have helped that we had just come off the back of our SQ Suites experience and we were in pretty good spirits.

    Enjoy your travels and always enjoy the journey where ever it may take you.

    • Like Like x 2

  2. kpc

    kpc Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    We took A3 to Santorini and Mykonos last October...both are special places. Be careful of pickpockets...we lost my camera in Santorini! Best sunset i have ever experience was at Santorini!
  3. PointyEnd

    PointyEnd Junior Member

    Mar 21, 2014
    Gold Coast
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

    Jan 26, 2011
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Sounds impressive service. Perhaps it happens frequently? Hope not as we are flying to Santorini in July. :)
  5. BillytheFIsh

    BillytheFIsh Member

    Mar 17, 2014
    I think it's a fairly frequent occurrence.

    The reverse happened to me when I was in Santorini back in 2010. I had a flight JTR-ATH one evening and then ATH-SIN-BNE the next morning.

    There were high winds and all flights JTR-ATH were cancelled, so I had to decide whether to risk the first flight in the morning, or try and get on an overnight ferry.

    I took the ferry option and made my ATH-SIN flight (just), but the best thing was watching the massive ferry mooring in the high seas. I can't find my video of it, but it looked something like this:

    Crazy stuff.
  6. boomy

    boomy Senior Member

    May 10, 2013
    MEL and BNE
    Sorry to hear about your delay but at least Aegean took good care of the pax.
    I have 2 flights coming with them next month, hopefully no cancellations :)
    How did you find their lounge in ATH? Worth arriving earlier to spend some time there?
  7. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Sorry to hear of your troubles Albatropoulos!

    You have witnessed the Greek attitude to life. They only care about living day to day. Any Greek that was going to be successful has migrated somewhere better.

    Don't ever get caught up dealing with public service. You get sent from one counter to the other so 'official' stamps can be put on your paperwork and most likely issue is not resolved at the end of the day anyway.

    Enjoy your holiday.
  8. albatross710

    albatross710 Established Member

    May 15, 2004
    Unfortunately we didn't have lounge access on the way as we had completed the *A redemption and were on separate tix. This time next Friday we will know the answer as that is when we unfortunately commence our homeward journey.

    From my limited pilot, weather and tourist experience, with the wind coming from the west, the air mass needs to rise sharply over the caldera which would then create severe sink at the airfield.

    No chance of dealing with the public offices. They are either closed or on strike. So far the locals are friendly but are not happy about the level of taxation that is being unleashed on them.
  9. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Serves them right.

    One of my cousins is a senior lecturer at uni with 4 kids. Do you know why some people have 4 kids in Greece? Special benefits. Anyway he didn't earn a huge amount as a lecturer but whinged about €2000/year tax.

    Another 2 cousins were public servants and both worked for 30+ years in same department. They both left in their early 50s and received a lump sump payment of around €60000 + €2000/month tax free. One of them has gone into private enterprise working full time earning more money with very little tax.

    Now Greece is trying to survive and the oxygen thieves think the measures are too harsh. Welcome to the real world.
  10. TomVexille

    TomVexille Enthusiast

    Nov 12, 2013
    Sounds like the service recovery went rather well
  11. tuapekastar

    tuapekastar Established Member

    Mar 16, 2005
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    Glad the recovery worked well for you albatrossity! :)

    Myself and two friends arrived in ATH from different origins a few years ago to catch the same flight to JTR (also on A3). This was at the height of the unrest due to austerity measures, and naturally there was a 'general', or at least very widespread, strike that day and all flights to JTR were cancelled. The earliest A3 could get us there was a day after we we due to come back, so it was a full refund (offered without hesitation) then off to book the ferry for the next morning, and accommodation for that night. The guy at the travel office was polite and friendly and advised not to actually go into town as we would see his countrymen at their worst. Got a hotel near the port, detailed instructions on how to get the bus there, and what had to be the last tickets for the morning ferry. All went fine, the hotel on Santorini even said they would not charge us the first night, so we just had one day less on Santorini (magical place BTW). I had an overnight at the Sofitel on the return - most expensive night of my entire trip, but a very nice hotel it has be said.
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