Finding the Cheap Flights to Greece
- Book early, 60-90 days in advance.
- Have nerves of steel? Book late, for last minute deals.
- Concentrate on getting a great price to London, Paris, Rome, or Munich; then find a flight to Greece on a smaller European airline.
- Be willing to travel any day of the week. If your schedule permits, check a day or two before your optimal arrival and departure dates.
- Check who is flying to Athens International Airport near your departure date; you may notice a "new" airline which will be offering promotional fares. You may also find a European regional airline that you never thought of taking before.
- If you're thinking of taking a tour or cruise, see what airfare deals they offer and find out if you can extend your trip to allow time for independent travel.
- Consider flying directly to Kerkyra (Corfu), Thessaloniki, Rhodes, or through Chania or Heraklion on the island of Crete. Airlines flying out of Britain and Germany have many direct flights to these locations.
- Try an open-jaw flight - go into Athens but fly home out of Heraklion, Rhodes, Thessaloniki or Kerkyra.
- Check 3-5 different resources before clicking that "Pay" button anywhere. Recent test searches on a half-dozen sites brought me "lowest" price listings from $953 to $1842 - for a trip being booked four months in advance. Results constantly change, but for my test trip departing from San Diego to Heraklion, Crete, done within minutes of each other, these were the results:
Expedia - $1832
Priceline - $1842
Kayak - $1430 (quoting Cheaptickets)
Orbitz - $1035
Smartfares - $1004
Cheaptickets - $953 (accessed directly)
Other services, not searched at that time, include Travelocity.
Important Warning about Searching for Flights to Greece
Many of the search engines may give you the option of searching for flights to an alternate airport "near" Athens or other locations. There aren't any! I've seen a search for Athens suggest I look for flights to the island of Mykonos - it's only 94 miles away from Athens, but that's all water, requiring either a slow ferry, a more-expensive hydrofoil, or another flight over to Athens. I've also had searches suggest flying to the island of Santorini in order to get to the island of Crete, "only" 70 miles away.
- Find a great price on a particular airline using a travel search? Call the airline directly and ask if there are any other special promotions to that destination. Most of the time, the price posted on the internet will be the lowest - but not always. But if the airline charges you a fee to talk with a reservations agent, it's probably not worth it.
- Similarly, if you've searched out a good price, and talked to the airline, compare both results to a direct search on the airline's own website. You may be surprised.
- Search in the middle of the night. Supposedly, many new prices go into effect at midnight or thereabouts - though time differences may make this magic moment a little obscure.
Some Resources for Finding Cheap Flights to GreeceBook Direct: Travelocity provides flights and vacation packages to Europe, including many Greece options.
This page specializes in finding deals on less-known regional airlines. It's a great place to locate cheap flights that just won't be shown on the "big" comparison engines.
Bootsnall Travel Athens Flight Deals
This page shows consistently low fares on flights to Greece.
This website, also affiliated with Bootsnall, allows you to check most of the "big name" travel providers with just one entry of your flight information. Still don't like what you find? Run another search at the individual providers and you may get additional results.
Aegean operates only in Europe but has codeshares with other airlines. It has overtaken the old Olympic Airways in the number of passengers it flies annually. Aegean also has a codeshare agreement with Continental Airlines for flights to Greece.
Olympic Air. Check their Bargain Page. Greece's newly reborn former flagship carrier sometimes offers discounts, and these can be very good deals. They've also streamlined their online booking system. International flights are mostly codeshares.
This airline frequently promotes flights to Athens.
Another airline often offering low fares to Athens.
This website within Lufthansa offers special rates for flights to Greece. Lufthansa is actively trying to tie up more of the Athens' flight marketplace, so their prices are often very good. But a recent test in did not impress me with their flights - they were identical to what showed up in the standard search box, and were matched or beat by other sources.
Cheap Flights from Traditional Travel AgentsAlmost forgotten in the Internet shuffle are traditional travel agents. Often, they will have access to flight deals from consolidators that can meet or beat posted prices elsewhere, and sometimes it's nice to have a real human to help with your trip details. Most of them charge a ticketing fee in addition to the ticket price, usually $10 - $35 per ticket. After comparing my U.S. travel agent to the search services, I now check with her first and then see what's offered online. So far, she hasn't lost my business.
More Advice on Cheap Flights
- Have to save those last few dollars? Give it up - and instead of taking a taxi from Athens Airport to your hotel for 45 Euro, take the 4 Euro (or so) Airport Bus or the Metro into Athens instead. Then take a taxi if you must to your exact destination. You'll haul your luggage a little more, but you'll save $40-$70 dollars over taking a cab.