From Rome to Santorini - Flight Report

Rome - Athens

Since it was before peak season, there wasn't much choice to get from Italy to the Greek islands. easyJet would commence their services a month later, so I went for Aegean, which was quite famous among the frequent flyer circles for an easy route into Star Gold. Today, I set off early from Termini for the 40-minute bus ride to FCO. At 4 euros, it was a steal compared to other European cities.

We waited ... and waited ... and waited. Not much of an update. There was a huge line at the gate. We were going to be delayed today.

With a bad first impression due to the delay and a baggage charge just like a low-cost carrier, I wasn't expecting much for this an hour-and-half flight. The surprise came when the meal box arrived with a hot pasta!

Delay aside, the scenery was quite nice en route to Greece, although I kept worrying about the shortened transit time. I was planning to head into the city during the break.

I sat on the right side of the plane, which meant no city views. It would have been nice to see the Acropolis from the air.

Judging from the pitiful presence at the airport, I don't think Olympic is Greece's national carrier anymore. It is pretty much Aegean everywhere. We parked on the tarmac, where we descended by stairs to the bus for a short ride into the terminal.

No immigration is required since it is a "domestic" EU flight. The terminal has an exit for transfers on the right side upon entering from the bus bay, then another set of doors for the baggage claim and the exit. The terminal is fairly new and clean, perhaps the legacy of the 2000 Olympics. There is a train just next door, although with a long walk, where a waiting subway train took me into the city for the Acropolis.

I was quite surprised Aegean's service is quite good, although my first impression wasn't so good. Staff gave a genuine smile and offered a hot meal that not even the traditional carriers can do on such a short flight.

Athens - Santorini

To make the best use of the one-way plane ticket from Italy, I scheduled a long transit at Athens so I could make it out to the city for a quick stop at the Acropolis. The airport is conveniently connected to the city by subway, but frequencies are abysmal. Since I got the Athens - Santorini boarding pass in Italy already, I wasn't so pressed for time to reach the airport long before the flight.

The airport is quite cozy with lots of shops but without the big crowds to create huge backlogs in security.

Aegean is a low-cost carrier. They bus passengers to the remote gates. This isn't such a big problem in sunny Athens. Passengers descend downstairs to the lounge for the bus bay, then endure a packed sardine ride to the plane. I would never get on the first bus, but be amongst the last ones to board the far more spacious second bus. After all, the seats have already been assigned, so what's the rush?

You can board at the front or at the back, just like Ryanair.

Today's flight is on a new plane with the space-saving seats. I like the magazine rack on the back panel - a very efficient design. Leg room was also quite decent.

After checking the ferry schedules, I made sure I got on a plane to Santorini so to save half a day for sightseeing. I would embark on a few boat journeys later to enjoy the lovely Aegean seascape.

Sunset with clouds is indeed a wonderful sight. I would get a lot more beautiful sunsets in the coming days on the islands. Too bad the flight was only 45 minutes long!

I was impressed with the service on board despite the short flight. They first came by with candies, then offered a delicious cookie as well!

Santorini's airport is small and basic. We parked on the tarmac and walked away. The terminal was just a nicer-looking shack with roof featuring 2 luggage belts. A whole swarm of hotel operators were waiting outside to pick up their guests.

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