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Monday 29 January 2024

Flying Back To Athens On Board Aegean Airlines A320CEO!

 Welcome to my 2nd flight review on Aegean Airlines!

This is Aegean's Airbus A320CEO with the racoon style cockpit. 


There are 2 airlines operating on ATH-SKG route and since there is not much of a choice, I decided to fly Aegean Airlines once again, this time flying on the Airbus A320ceo version. The airline operated the A321neo and A320neo on certain flights but I chose this flight as the flight timing suits me better. It would have been cheaper to do a round trip with Skyexpress but in the end I chose to fly back with Aegean as I was able to earn miles with my Krisflyer program and also fly on the older version of the A320 aircraft and do a comparison between the old and new Economy class product. 

For this flight, I decided to sit near the rear, behind the wing to enjoy just the wing and the view of the scenery. 

After several days in Thessaloniki, here are some photos of the city. 

This is the neighbourhood of Kalamaria.

For the few days, I spent some time at the Thessaloniki City Centre. 

Traffic was heavy at that time.

The white castle 

You have to come here to enjoy the view of the sea, museums, the important monuments and enjoy some delicious Greek food at the restaurants. 

There is even a 30 minutes ferry ride. 

Thinking of feeding the pigeons? Better don’t! 

Contrails of aircraft can be seen. 

I enjoyed a couple of hotdogs at this cafe. 

If you are lucky, you can enjoy a good view of the sunset. 

This is one of my meals at a cafe, it was absolutely delicious.

This is the Umbrella Sculpture by Zogolopoulos. 

The golden light shining on this beautiful city. 

Sometimes mother's nature is beautiful, don't you agree? 

White Castle at night 

It was nice enjoying the Greek atmosphere at night in the city centre. 

About Thessaloniki Airport 

This is Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia, the international airport for the city of Thessaloniki. It is the second largest city in Greece and is located 13 km from the city centre. This airport was opened in 1930 and is a hub for Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air and Sky Express. In addition, the airport has 2 runways, runway 10/28 and 16/34 and operates 2 terminals. Terminal 2 was opened at the beginning of 2021 and is used mainkly for international (intra-Schengen) and domestic flights.

The map of Thessaloniki Airport (SKG) (Photo: Wikimedia)

On the day of departure 

After spending about 40 minutes on the public bus, I reached the airport in this gloomy weather. 

This is the bus that took me to the airport from town. 

A mechanic was repairing a broken down car. (below)

Welcome to Thessaloniki (SKG) Airport! 

There are 2 terminals, one for domestic and the other for international flights. Both are connected by this footbridge (below). 

I made my way to Aegean's check-in counters. Complimentary Airport Wifi is available at this airport. 

There are a number of shops in this terminal. 

This is where I could check-in for my flight, but I decided to use my mobile boarding pass instead meaning I could skip checking in as I wasn't going to check in my cabin baggage. 

After some time of security screening, I was at the air side. 

After navigating some duty-free shops, I was at the gate area. 

The domestic terminal is small so walking from one end to the other took less than 20 minutes. 

These are the remaining flights on that day. 

My flight departed from gate 2. 

I did a check on which aircraft was flying me back to Athens, the honour goes to SX-DNA. 

The aircraft was on final approach to SKG. 

The aircraft just took off from ATH Airport. 

Once again, my flight was parked at a remote parking lot and we took the airport bus over to our aircraft. 

Fortunately it was not raining at that point of time. 

The tail livery is certainly very attractive. 

My ride: SX-DNA (Photo: llgaz Deger)

Airbus A320-232 (Leased from ALAFCO) 
Engines: 2 X IAE V2527
Configuration: Y174
Delivered to airline in June 2015 
6655th Airbus built 
Built in Toulouse (TLS)
Age: 8+ Years old (January 2024)

Flight route: SKG-ATH 

Miles: 186

My seat: 26F (Photo: Seatmap.com)

Date of departure: 9th January 2024 
Airline: Aegean Airlines 
Flight: A3117
Flight Route: SKG-ATH
Aircraft: Airbus A320ceo 
Registration: SX-DNA 
Seat: 26F 
Departure Gate: 2 
Load: 100%
Flight time: 40 minutes
Actual Flight time: 38 minutes
Schedule Departure: 1445
Boarding: 1411
Push Back: 1444
Take off: 1451 
Schedule arrival: 1540
Actual arrival: 1529
Departure runway: 28
Arrival runway: 03R

About Aegean's A320CEO Economy Class Cabin 

Aegean configured the A320ceo with 174 seats in a 2-class configuration on this aircraft. For business class, they take up the first front rows of the cabin with the middle seat blocked and have a better legroom space of 32 inches. Other than that, the seat is the same as Economy Class. Each seat has a seat width of 18 inches and can recline up to 3 inches with the exception of the emergency rows and last row of the cabin. For Economy Class, the seat pitch is around 30 inches and for the emergency rows, 33-34 inches (row 11 and 12).

This aircraft offers WiFi (Complimentary for A3 Miles & Bonus members) but do not offer power sockets on this aircraft. 

Economy Class cabin 

This cabin product is older than the airline's A320neo's. 

The leather seats may be comfortable but the tight legroom space was tight making my legs uncomfortable, however it was bearable for this short flight. 

The in-flight magazine and safety card are placed in this literature holder. 

While for the disposal bag is found at the seat pocket near your legs. 

As you can see how thin the seats are. 

The overview of the cabin.

This was my seat, 26F.

My in-flight experience 

As our aircraft was parked at a remote parking lot, it took a while for boarding to complete. Looking at the skies, it was a complete opposite from my arrival, the skies were filled with clouds with some angry ones from the distance, I was expecting some turbulence on this flight. 

With a minute ahead of schedule, we pushed back and made our way to the departure runway. The flight was full and I was not lucky this time as I had a seat mate beside me. It doesn't matter especially for a such a short flight. These seats are not as comfortable as the A320neo cabin in my opinion. The Captain made his announcement and informed us about some weather ahead of us especially during take-off and we can expect some during our descent. After take off, we encountered some bumps and it took a while before the seat belt sign was turned off. By then the aircraft started its descent when the cabin crew were released from their seats. I have to give credits to them as they made a lot of effort to come around and distribute snack and a bottle of water to every passenger. By the time they are done, they started collecting the thrash but during our descent, we encountered some rough turbulence and the hardworking crew had to hold on. So to all you travellers out there, please be nice to the cabin crew, not an easy job at all especially flying through bad weather! 

Our landing at Athens was a bit bumpy but we touched down ahead of schedule, 11 minutes to be exact. For the passengers, we made our way to our destinations but for SX-DNA, it went on to do a couple more round trips on ATH-SKG route before calling it a day later that evening. As for the crew, I believe they are working on the next flight. Overall, it was a bumpy flight but I was happy to be able to use the WiFi to get my mind off the bumps.  

What's provided for each passenger? 

Safety Card 

Disposal Bag 

In-Flight Magazine 

In-Flight Snack 

During boarding, we were given a piece of chocolate. 

Every passenger was given a packet of cookies and a bottle of water. 

In-Flight Entertainment - WiFi 

I was pleasantly surprised that wifi was available on this aircraft. 

After logging in and agreeing to the terms and conditions, you are ready to surf! 

During the flight, I monitered my flight's progress. 

At this point we were almost there, lining up behind SZ-DNG. 

After the turbulent arrival, we taxied to our remote parking lot near the terminal. 

Window view (Take off to Landing) 

This is Aegean's A321neo. 

Soon we were on our way with light raindrops hitting our aircraft. 

We finally took off in this dreadful weatherl. 

Goodbye Thessaloniki! Thanks for the memories. 

Unfortunately the weather wasn't good that day.

Not long after take off, we hit the clouds and there was a bit of turbulence. 

We finally broke out of the clouds when we started our descent into Athens. 

We hit some light chops during our descent.

The view was spectacular as our pilots battled with the wind to ensure we landed safely. 

We touched down smoothly on runway 03R. 

The taxi towards our gate didn't take long. 

We parked besides this Aegean A320 which was almost ready for departure. 

My Flight Summary 

Welcome back to Athens! 

I hanged around the air side for a short while to do some plane spotting. 

This is Sky Express A320neo. 

Once I was done, I made my way out of the airport and because it was my last day in Greece, I decided to stay at a hostel in the city area. 

I took the train to my accomodation, Athens Hawks Hostel and it exceeded my expectation. 

I took the single room with private toilet, though it's small, it was comfortable. 

It also comes with a balcony! 

I thought this is a nice place to stay for budget conscious travellers. The walk to the nearby metro (Omonia) is around 5 minutes. 

My ratings 

Airline Mobile App/Website: 3.5/5 
Airport Experience (SKG): 3/5
In-Flight Service: 3.5/5
In-Flight Entertainment System (WiFi): 4/5
Seat Comfort: 3/5
Cabin Ambiance: 3/5
Cabin Condition: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5
In-Flight Snack: 3/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Overall rating: 38/50
Percentage: 76%


After flying on both domestic and international flights with this airline, what stands out for me are the wonderful crew and the advantage of able to use the complimentary WiFi on both sectors. (You can sign up with the airline's mileage program and sign in to use) As for the Economy Class cabins, they are certainly similar to the low cost carriers with tight legroom space and no seatback entertainment system and also the in-flight meal on the FRA-ATH sector was disappointing but other than that, everything else was ok, I was glad that my flights went according to plan with no lengthy delays and for the cabin service, the crew were great even on my domestic flight sector, the bad weather didn't stop the crew from doing their job even though it was a rush job for them due to the short flight time. 

As a member of the Star Alliance, this airline offers great connectivity for the local travellers to travel to other parts of the world on codeshare flights from major city airports in Europe so some of you must be wondering why doesn't this airline operate wide-body (A330, A350, B787, B777 ..etc) ? Operating on long haul flights require lots of resources and there isn't any point to do so when they are fellow partners able to help out instead of competiting with them. For an airline of the size of Aegean Airlines, it is better for the airline to focus on domestic, Middle-East and European flights, helping to feed codeshare partners' passengers to Greece and regional routes and the partners can return the favour by flying the airline's passengers to their destination either from Greece or major hubs. 

Hope you enjoyed this trip report! 

For my previous trip report (Sky Express A320neo ATH-SKG), click here

For my next trip report (Gulf Air A321neo ATH-BAH), click here

Have a good one! 

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