The Bottom Line
Olympic Airlines has had a steady improvement in service over the past few years but schedules can still be iffy. Still dominating many routes despite recent competition from Aegean Air, if you travel much in Greece, chances are you'll have a flight or two on Olympic Airlines. But potential changes in 2008 may shift the Greek skies forever and turn Olympic into a Greece-only airline.
- Customer service is increasingly warm and friendly
- New planes provide individual video screens, games, multiple movie selections
- Pilots are top notch; the softest landing I've ever experienced was on Olympic Airlines
- During the transition to Olympic Airlines, strikes disrupted some flights
- Frequent-flyer paperwork can vanish
- Delays can happen on some routes
- Early afternoon Athens-Heraklion flights seem subject to an unusual number of delays.
- Rescheduled? Get a new boarding pass; your old pass may not be accepted at the gate.
- Frequent flyer? Follow up on your miles - the forms are sometimes not processed.
- Very good at tracing and delivering lost luggage, even when not their fault.
Guide Review - Olympic Airlines
Flying to Greece as much as I do, I usually find myself on Olympic Air for at least part of the trip.
On Olympic flights in 2003, my only complaint was the food coming out of New York, a problem that was absent recently. I was delayed for two hours in New York which required a later flight from Athens to Heraklion. I was informed of the delay when I checked in and given, without requesting it, a meal voucher. However, once arriving in Athens, the connecting flight was also delayed. A quick check at Aegean Airlines and with airport personnel indicated that it was a bad day to fly the Grecian skies, apparently the result of bad weather in the US causing equipment shortages which cascaded into Greek flights on several airlines. With both delays adding up, we were delayed about six hours.
I accepted the explanations, but a nearby Greek businessman did not. "This happens all the time," he insisted. "They don't intend to fly as many flights as scheduled, and they'll combine flights to save money."
Short flights from Athens to Heraklion in 2005 were on-time and problem free, though rumors of an impending sale finalizing this summer are everywhere. Most Greeks think the sale is a good thing, but one was worried that Aegean Airlines might be taking it over. "That will only reduce competition - I think we'll see prices rising."
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