Advantages Regular flights to/from UK, links to many Greek islands
Disadvantages Some planes small & cramped, outrageous excess baggage charges
Having previously lived in Greece for a total of 11 years, I have used Olympic Airlines many times to fly to and from the UK, as well as on to the islands of Crete, Corfu and Samos. Planes servicing the long distance routes are reasonably comfortable, but those serving smaller islands can be very small and cramped.A little background - The airline was originally started by Aristotle Onassis and later taken over by the Greek government. It has been losing money hand over fist for many years, but as it was the only major Greek airline, the government continued to support it.
Since joining the EU, Greece has been told by Brusselles that the government gave illegal loans to the airline amounting to millions of euro and declared that the airline had to pay it back! Since then the government has been trying to sell off the airline, but as the purchaser not only has to pay hundreds of millions for the airline itself, but must also pay back the 50+million in "illegal" loans - they haven't exactly been standing in line to buy!So - the airline continues to operate, and as there are now several other airlines servicing the UK/Athens routes (including easyjet and British Airways) they try to keep their ticket prices down to compete.
BUT - they will absolutely sting you for ANY admin charges!I had been travelling around Greece for 2 years and had accumulated a lot of stuff along the way - so I was well aware that I was going to have excess baggage when I returned to the UK in February. But I was not prepared for the excessive charges they would make!
My one way ticket Athens to Manchester had cost 129.00. When I put my 2 bags on the scales, the check in lady turned very pale and muttered "oh dear, oh dear, it's so expensive". I explained that I had been in Greece for 2 years and therefore had a lot to take back with me. She called over a supervisor and asked for advice. He declared that she could just charge me for SOME of my excess baggage, not all of it. She stated that I would have to pay for 15kg and gave me a slip to take over to the cashier to pay.The cashier turned a whiter shade of pale when she saw that she was to charge me for 15kg. "It's expensive" she said.
20 Euro PER KILO - which amounted to 300 Euro - that's over 200quid!I cannot understand how 15kg excess baggage charge can be more than buying another ticket (which would have given me an extra 20kg allowance) but, as I could hardly leave my bag at the airport, I had to charge the cost to my credit card in order to get on the flight.
The flight itself was as average as most Olympic flights are but a word of warning:-If you have to make ANY chages to your reservation or have ANY excess baggage, you will be charged maximum admin fees. I do not know of any airline that charges more than 10 euro per kilo for excess baggage.
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