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Charter Flights to Greece

The Hidden Bargain Way to Fly to Greece

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Athens Airport

Athens Airport

Picture of Athens Airport copyright by deTraci Regula, licensed to About.com
Is a charter flight to Greece or a trip package from one of the charter operators a good option for your trip to Greece? They can be great ways to save money, as it is hard to beat the price on a combined flight and accommodation package from a charter company, but pay attention to the details.

  • Baggage allowances are usually much slimmer. Be careful or you'll end up paying hefty fees on a bag that even dollar-hungry U.S.-based airlines would have allowed on more cheaply.
  • You're usually stuck with the flight you booked - charters have fewer flight options available.
  • You won't be earning frequent-flyer miles unless that specific charter company has a special program.
  • On many Greek islands, the charter flights are clustered on one or two days a week, making for jammed airports on those days, and, again, less or no flexibility if your plans change. This "jamming" affect may also be perceived the next day at the major sightseeing spots.
  • Many of the accommodations used by charter operators may be either self-catering (no meals provided, you may pay for stocking the kitchen) or less than ideal hotels. Choose carefully.
  • Charter accommodations tend to be in less-major tourist areas and some accommodations may really cry out for a rental car to enjoy the area thoroughly. Sometimes cars are provided or available at a package price.
  • Read the descriptions carefully. One that caught my eye on a major charter operator's site noted the accommodations were 'just 200 metres up on a steep incline' - with no car provided, that could be a challenging location for many, the cheerful "just" not withstanding.
  • Since the accommodations are most often self-catering, they may not be close to a taverna or restaurant. While European travelers seem willing to do most or all of their cooking for meals, U.S. travelers usually want to dine out on vacation.
  • Travel insurance offered by charter companies may not be available for customers outside of the country where the charter operator is based; you may need to get separate travel insurance.
  • Don't see the location in Greece that you want to visit? Some charter companies list spots separately, or, like Thomas Cook, break things down into "Greek Mainland" and "Greek Islands", or may use alternate spellings.
  • There may be an additional fee for using a credit card, though other payment options may be unavailable.
  • There is often a fee for booking via telephone rather than over the internet, something that is true of many traditional airlines as well.
First Choice UK
This charter operator is affiliated with Thomson Holidays. When looking for flights or vacation packages, you need to indicate what island you are flying to. Some of the names they use are the UK versions - for example, Zante for Zakynthos, Lefkas for Lefkada, and so on, while omitting "Greece" or the "Greek Islands" entirely from the list. Thomas Cook is an airline and travel company specializing in charter flights. Based in the UK, they also sometimes rent out their planes to other charter outfits. They cater to the UK-based traveler but anyone can book their trips. As of this writing, they were offering 84 different week-long trips to Greece which include flights and a place to stay. The prices are listed in British pounds, not Euros, so be careful to check the current conversion rate to get an idea of the pricing - pounds are more expensive.

Thomson
One of the better known providers of charter flights to Greece, Thomson also offers vacation packages, car rentals, hotel rooms and more. They operate from about 20 UK airports, and fly into Corfu, to Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete, and to Zante (Zakynthos). Like their sister company First Choice, they omit "Greece" or the "Greek Islands" from their destination list, so look at the entries carefully. This alternate list of Greek vacations from Thomson may give you a better idea of their potential offerings. Don't confuse Thomson with Thomas Cook, which is a different company.

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