Welcome to my 2024 New Year trip report!
My ride: SX-NEC in the airline's new livery
Flying with Aegean Airlines has been in my mind for a while and when the chance presented itself, I decided to go for it. This Star Alliance member is probably one of the more popular airlines in Europe as they are quite well known for its milege program (Miles+Bonus) and also I heard praises about their in-flight service and meals (especially on business class). However I would be flying Economy Class so will I be impressed with the airline? Read on to find out.
As the airline is also a Pratt and Whitney A320NEO operator, I was worried that my scheduled aircraft (A320NEO) might change to the A320CEO, however checking the flight records of A3 831, most of the flights (3 weeks before) were operated by the new aircraft (NEO). I was fortunate to be able to fly on the airline's A320NEO as later on I checked, the following day's aircraft was operated by the older A320, the CEO version.
NEO - New Engine Option CEO- Current Engine Option
Anyway, without further ado, let's begin this trip report!
About Aegean Airlines
Aegean Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance since June 2010 was found in June 1995, started operation 4 years later. This airline operates an all-Airbus fleet comprises of A320 and A321 (CEO and NEO) version, flies to both European and Middle-East destinations. The airline's main hubs are Athens (ATH) and Thessaloniki (SKG) Airports and owns 2 subsidiaries, Animawings and Olympic Air. Currently, the airline is flying with 2 different liveries, the old and the new livery, I was fortunate to spotted both at both ATH and SKG Airports. I have to admit that the new livery is certainly growing on me. What do you think?
This is the old livery (Airbus A320CEO)
This is the new livery (Airbus A320NEO)
Did you know? Every member of the Star Alliance needs to paint at least 5-10 % of the fleet with the alliance's livery!
This is Aegean's Star Alliance livery on the airline's A320CEO aircraft.
Booking with Aegean Airlines
The mobile apps on both Ipad and Iphone versions are smooth and I had no issue navigating. Looking at the different types of fare, I chose the Flex as it offers me the best value.
The Ipad app version gives a comprehensive comparison between the fare types, that is what I like.
The price of the airfare for the one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Athens is not bad at all.
Once booking is done, I was able to check my booking on the airline's website/mobile app but the problem is my booking won't be saved on the app unless I have an account. So each time I access to the mobile app, I have to keep keying in my 6 digit PNR and my last name in order to access the booking. Some airline's mobile app will automatically saved your itinerary on the app without the need of logging in until the day of departure.
The mobile app version is equally as clear with the terms and conditions.
23kg of allowance is enough for most travellers but if you need more, you have to pay a hefty price for it.
Since the Up Front seats is free, I decided to select the seat with a good engine view.
Initially I picked 7A, later I changed to 6F. Glad there is no restriction to the seat selection which some airlines have.
Overall I like Aegean's mobile app and website and I think the airline IT has done a great job. Hopefully the airline allow us to store our itinerary on the app without the need of being a member of the airline's frequent flyer program.
About Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is the main hub of Lufthansa and is the biggest airport in Germany located at the outskirts of Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse. This is one of the busiest airports in Europe due to the city being Germany's financial capital. Lufthansa holds some shares in the airport so both the airport and the airline has a close working relationship. Currently the airport has 2 terminals, Terminal 1 is home for the airlines in the Lufthansa Group and the Star Alliance members while for the Skyteam and Oneworld members, most of them are using terminal 2. The airport is connected to 2 dedicated railway stations connecting the airport to the city and other parts of the country. In 2026, the construction of terminal 3 will be completed and that would help to ease the traffic of both terminal 1 and 2.
This is the current map layout of Terminal 1 and 2.
On the day of departure
Photo of me in my hotel room with this background, that's pretty cool, right?
This is the surrounding neighbourhood near the hotel.
The train ride to the airport station took about 10 minutes.
Frankfurt Airport Teminal 1 Landside
From the station, I made my way to the check-in counter at Pier A.
Don't you like the old style of flight information? These days you don't see too many of these.
This airport offers free wifi.
Cafes are available.
This is Singapore Airlines check-in counter and no I won't be flying with this airline home.
This is Aegean's check-in counters. Initially I wanted to queue up to obtain the boarding pass and check in my luggage but a short while, I gave up and instead used the mobile app boarding pass and just carry my small luggage on board.
Checking my flight, it was due to depart at gate A36.
This way to the airside and it took me about 30 minutes to clear security. As Greece and Germany are members of the European Union, there is no need to go through passport control.
Currently the following countries in the EU group are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 countries that allows a free movement of goods, capital, services and citizens of these countries.
Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1 Airside
While waiting for at the security line, I saw this aircraft painted in this special Tintin's livery, this aircraft is operated by Brussels Airlines. Do you recognise this cartoon character?
Once the security check was done, I made my way to pier A of the airside. To get there, you need to follow the signboard leading you to a lift and from the lower level, you can walk through the underpass to get to the other building.
What I like about the interior of the terminals at this airport is they offer good view of the tarmac which allow great opportunity to take good photos of the aircraft.
There is quite a bit of walking to do so make sure check your flight time and give yourself some time allowance to walk over.
Once there, I had some free time so I went to do some plane spotting.
Checking my flight status, nothing changed yet,
This is home of Lufthansa!
My first sight of Lufthansa's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Personally I feel that the first batch of the 787 Dreamliner should have been transferred to Austrian Airlines as their Boeing 767 and 777 are old and cabin products are outdated.
The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of Lufthansa was on its way to Munich.
This is Lufthansa's Airbus A340-300 in the Star Alliance livery.
There are still a few aircraft in Lufthansa's old livery.
This airport offers complimentary WiFi and there are a few cafes to enjoy before flying off.
This Austrian Airbus A320 surprisingly turned up at my assigned gate A36, so I wasn't surprised when there was an announcement regarding a gate change for my flight, we were relocated to A26 before the final gate change at gate A24.
This Aegean's Airbus A321NEO was bound for Thessaloniki.
Do you like the racoon style cockpit?
Checking my aircraft's status, it had about half an hour to go before arrival.
While waiting for the arrival of the aircraft, I did some plane spotting. The air sidein Terminal 1 is certainly photography friendly.
This is Lufthansa's Airbus A320CEO.
Rental Bicycles at the airport with the Lufthansa Airbus A321CEO preparing for departure.
Austrian's livery is certainly attractive in my opinion.
This is Condor Island livery, one of the liveries in four different colours painted in this style
It's great to see Lufthansa's Boeing 747-400 once again!
This was my flight's final assigned gate.
I spotted another green stripes livery on this A330-900neo on final approach to this airport.
After this Lufthansa's A321CEO pushed back, my aircraft arrived at this gate not long after.
This is the airline's A321NEO, notice the difference in the engine size.
This is Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8I.
My aircraft arrived a minute ahead of schedule time.
We boarding the aircraft about 15 minutes before our schedule departure time, I wonder what was the cause of the delay.
Let's go to Greece!
It is great to be flying on the first day of the new year.
The racoon style cockpit
Time to experience my first Aegean Airlines flight!
It's nice to have wifi on board and to make the experience better, this airline offers complimentary WiFi for all members of the airline's frequent flyer program, comfortflex and business class passengers.
My ride: SX-NEC
Airbus A320-271N (Leased from ICBC)
Engines: 2 X PW1127G
Delivered to airline in March 2020
9583th Airbus built
Built in Toulouse (TLS)
Age: 3+ Years old (Jan 2024)
Flight route: FRA-ATH
My seat: 6F (Photo: seatmap.com)
Date of departure: 1st January 2024
Airline: Aegean Airlines
Flight: A3 831
Aircraft: Airbus A320neo
Schedule departure: 1120
Pushed back: 1143
Flight Time: 2 hours 30 mins
Actual Flight Time: 2 hours 17 mins
Schedule arrival: 1510
Actual arrival: 1515
Departure runway (FRA): 18
Arrival runway (ATH): 21L
About Aegean's A320NEO cabin product
Aegean Airlines selected Collins Meridian slimseats for the 180 seats installed on the airline's A320NEO aircraft and like most European Airlines, the business class is based on the economy class except that the middle seat is not sold, so for this airline, it fits in a tray console at the middle seat. The tray console can be removed and the airline can configured the cabin to an all Y class if it wants to.
For all the seats, the seat width is 17.5 inches and for the business class seats, the seat pitch is at 32 inches can recline up to 5 inches. As for the Economy Class seats excluding the emergency rows, they have a seat pitch between 28 to 30 inches and can recline up to 4 inches. Only the emergency rows cannot be recline but have a legroom space of 35 inches.
This is the business class cabin
Even with the middle seat remain vacant, I consider this a Premium Economy product. Flying Business Class within Europe on narrow-body doesn't justify the hefty price that comes with it. However you receive benefits of flying business class such as lounge access, priority security check and boarding and better in-flight meal.
The seats do look comfortable and the better legroom space may be worth it for longer sectors.
Will you pay more to upgrade yourself to these seats? The airline offered me a chance to upgrade to this class but because my flight was departing at 10.25, I have to reach the airport very early to enjoy the lounge access. I decided rest is more important and besides these seats are not the true business class seats.
The legroom space was bearable for this relatively short flight.
The in-flight magazine is placed in the literature holder. For Ipad. electronic devices or larger items, you can place them at the seat pocket.
USB port socket is available for every passenger, unfortunately Universal port socket is not available on this aircraft.
This is the mobile device holder, you can place on it to watch your show/movie.
The Economy Class seat
The curtain is used during flight.
This is my seat, I chose this row so that I can have a good view of the engine and wing.
My In-flight Experience
I like the boarding process as we are boarded by zone, window seat passengers get to board ahead of other Economy Class passengers so it was nice to get to my window seat before my seat mates turned up. That's a good idea! Once on board, I noticed a cabin crew was serving champagne on a plastic cup and was pleasantly surprised I was given one, I suppose because of the occasion (New Year's Day). With a cup in my hand, I found it difficulty to place my luggage into the overhead compartment but somehow I managed to do so. Announcement was made by the Captain about our flight which we would to expect some turbulence especially along the way but no mention about the flight delay.
Once we were on our way, we flew through a bit of turbulence but once the weather was better, the seat belt sign was turned off. WiFi Connection was available and I took advantage of it. Even though the connection wasn't as good as SQ's, I was able to surf the net and use the social media without difficulty. In-flight service was not bad and for our in-flight meal, we were given a snack instead of a hot meal, I was surprised. Anyway, on our approach to Athens, we were greeted with a spectacular view of the landscape but there was quite a bit of crosswind which made the ride slightly uncomfortable but not long after we landed smoothly on runway 21L.
What's provided for each passenger ?
If you are not a member of the airline's mileage programme, Comfortflex or Business Clasas passenger, you have to pay to use the WiFi at 12 Euro dollars.
Good enough to do web surfing or checking your social media accounts.
The in-flight map
Nothing beats Flightradar24!
There is a small selection of movies and TV programmes.
There is only one choice, toasted bread with egg and ham.
I chose water as my beverage.
A muffin was included with the Happy 2024 message on it.
Window shot photos
After pushed back, we took about 15 minutes to reach the runway. These GE Leap-1A engines took a while longer than the older generation engine to stabilize and once they were good, we were on our way.
It was nice visiting this airport. I hope to be back soon hopefully on Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8I.
Lufthansa Cargo's Boeing 777F replaced the fleet of MD-11F and now operating just this aircraft type. The last MD-11F left the fleet in October 2021.
I find it weird not to see Lufthansa's 3-holers (MD-11F) at this airport, I certainly miss them.
Another Condor's Blue livery (Sea livery) was spotted, this is an Airbus A321CEO.
DHL and Aerologic are also big names in the cargo airline business.
Besides the Lufthansa aircraft are 2 Air Dolomiti ERJ-195.
Finally we reached the threshold and we were on our way.
The weather wasn't good but at least it wasn't bumpy.
Flying through the clouds sometimes give you good amount of turbulence but for case, it was not too bad.
At this point, the bad weather left us and we were greeted with good weather.
At this point we started our descent and we can feel the wind shaking our plane quite a bit especially at a lower altitude.
The view is excellent but it was quite bumpy during our descent.
We arrived into ATH Airport, landing on runway 21L.
Thanks to the pilots for the great landing.
As the airport wasn't big, we reached our gate within 10 minutes.
The weather is fantastic with the temperature at around 12 degrees celcius.
Are you a fan of Aegean's new livery? I certainly am.
We reached our gate 5 minuts behind schedule, so that was not too bad. For me, I was on my way to my accommodation. While for SX-NEC, she rested for an hour plus before headed for her next destination, Milan (Italy).
My Flight Summary
We arrived at the same terminal as the domestic flights, it feels strange though as usually international flights have to go through passport/immigration control but not for countries in the European Union.
You can either make a flight connection or go straight to the baggage claim. One advantage of this EU system for air travel is that there is no need to go through another round of security and immigration to connect to another EU country or domestic flight within the country you are in.
Travelling in January is considered low peak season in Greece.
After exploring the airside for a short while, I made my way out.
To take the train system, take the escalator up to the departure hall.
Follow the signboard leading to an overhead bridge which connects to the train station below.
You can take either the Suburban rail or metro train from the Airport station.
This is the map of Athen train system
This is how one of the stations look like in the city area.
Airline mobile app/website: 3.5/5
Airport Experience (FRA Terminal 1): 3/5
In-Flight Service: 4/5
In-Flight Entertainment System (Online Wifi and Streaming): 4/5
Seat Comfort: 3.5/5
Cabin Ambiance: 3.5/5
Cabin Condition: 5/5
Punctuality: 4.5/5 (Slightly late)
In-Flight Meal: 3/5
Overall rating: 39/50
Aegean Airlines, like a lot of European premium airlines, offers standard seats for the 2-class cabin. The business class and economy class products are similar except for the vacant middle seat in the business class and also slightly more legroom space for the business class passengers. It is understandable if someone laments about the product especially if they pay a lot for it but fortunately it has it's own perks such as lounge access, priority boarding and security screening and better in-flight meal.
About my flight experience on this flight, I find the seats to be relatively comfortable with the tight legroom space bearable for the flight duration. The in-flight service was ok and for the in-flight meal, I was hoping for a nice hot meal instead of the sandwich option so that was disappointing. However the complimentary wifi makes up for it and it was my entertainment for the duration of the flight. Wifi streaming on the airline's entertainment system was available but one has to use his/her own electronic devices and I am not a fan of that. Most flights out of Athen isn't that long anyway so I don't think it is a big deal, at least there is a usb port to charge your device while enjoying your show.
Anyway, I recommend a trip to Athens at least once to enjoy some beautiful views of the country (shown in my photos) and of course enjoy the tour around the city with lots of tourist attraction and delicious Greek food out there. For nervous flyers, windy condition at Athens is common but the pilots are experienced enough to handle the approach and landing, so don't worry about it. Although my flight was bumpy during arrival, the view was worth the uncomfortable ride.
Hope you enjoyed this trip report!
For my previous trip report (Singapore Airlines A350-900 SIN-FRA), click here
For my Sky Express A320NEO trip report from ATH-SKG, click here
Have a good one!