Aegean Airlines, Business Class – Airbus A 321: Athens to Berlin

Getting to the airport

In Athens I stay at the Sofitel Athens Airport, which is literally just across the road and one floor down from the terminal. Journey time: 2 minutes. If you’re coming from the city though, there is a train and a metro that run out to the airport. The journey time from Syntagma square is about 45 minutes and the trains only run every thirty minutes. A oneway ticket will cost you EUR9.90.


I enter the terminal building just after 12h00 and it’s crawling with people. Currently, the terminal is a bit of a construction site, because expansion works are underway. And about time too, by the looks of it.

Athens attracts quite some unexpected traffic. American, United, Delta and Air Canada all operated two flights a day from their respective hubs. In addition, all the middle eastern carriers, like Gulf Air, Saudia and Emirates, also operate a regular schedule to the Greek capital.

There is a fast track for security, with no queue at all. It’s a bit misleading though that there’s a sign asking passengers to remove nail clippers and scissors from their bags – because most passengers interpret that to mean that they won’t need to remove liquids or laptops (which are not mentioned explicitly) – only to be barked at by the dragon at the security checkpoint.

The Aegean Airlines lounge

The Aegean lounge is located at the far end of the terminal, near gates 11 and 12. The young lady at reception informs me that the lounge is full up. She hands me a voucher of EUR10 to buy food and drinks at any one of the concessions outside and asks me to come back later to check if there’s any space in the lounge.

Let’s face it, the view is much better outside the lounge anyway, which just overlooks the car park…


Our boarding gate changes twice, and actually I don’t know what the original gate should have been. I just keep receiving notifications from Aegean in the app. First we are redirected to gate B20, only to be informed when we get there that we should all go to gate B27 instead. The boarding announcement is in the style of “I’ll just yell something incomprehensible in my thick Greek accent and wait for passengers to start moving”. And then the scrum begins. Their only saving grace is that we’ll be boarding from a bus gate.

The cabin

There are four rows of Business Class for a total of 16 seats. And the cabin is full. On a row of three the middle seat is kept empty, and there is a little table that folds out of the seatback of the middle seat to provide some extra storage space. Other than that though, there are no video screens, no electricity plugs and no wifi.

The leg space on row three is excellent.

Alas, the cleanliness of the cabin leaves much to be desired. There’s a snotty hankerchief in my seat pocket, and the others don’t look much better either…

The service

While boarding is underway, the cabin crew pass through the cabin offering champagne, orange juice or still water.

There are five crew on this flight. It is noticeable that all of them are very young. There is only one male in the crew and the four females are heavily, but at least professionally, made up. They’re quite friendly and interact with passengers with ease.

The meal

While we’re still on the ground we’re also handed the menus. However, I already booked my meal online at the time of booking. Preodering is not just available for special meals.

The meal service begins very soon after take off. First, a cover is placed on the tray table.

The meal is quite extensive.

For the main course I go with the fish and the celeriac and potato mash, which is very nice. The fish is juicy and the mash is quite unusual.

There’s also a salad. And if I ever meet the creep who though adding pomegranate to every blood thing was a good idea, I’m seriously going to give him a piece of my mind. I mean, why?

On the tray is also a small bottle of olive oil with balsamico and crackers…

… some tasty greek cheese…

… and dessert. Bread rolls are also offered from the bread basket.

The dessert is very good, but also very rich. It’s basically pieces of biscuits with milk chocolate.

After the meal, the crew don’t offer coffee or tea. However, they do offer small boxes of dark and milk chocolate.

For the rest of the flight, I busy myself reading and wondering if the American sitting in front of me was raised on a farm, of if perhaps she just thinks it’ll look better on her Insta profile to post picture after picture of her duck face, while she dirties the seat with her shoes. Some people…


The flight time to Berlin is two hours and forty minutes.

It’s very bumpy on the approach, which probably accounts for the very positive landing we experience… We taxi to our stand and then I make the long schlepp to arrivals and then the railway station.

Getting into Berlin

From the airport I first catch an intercity train going to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which takes about thirty minutes. And then from there I catch the S Bahn for three stops to Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten in what used to be West Berlin.

Aegean Airlines, Business Class – A 321: London Heathrow to Athens

Date: 22 July 2011
From: London Heathrow
To: Athens
Airline: Aegean Airlines
Aircraft: A 321
Class: Business Class
Seat: 1D


At around 09h00 in the morning I check out of the Sofitel and make my way across to Terminal 5 to catch the Heathrow Express to Terminal 1, from where my flight will be leaving at 11h00. Aegean Airlines allows passengers to check in online 48 hours before departure, so I already checked in the previous day before leaving Zurich.

The train journey itself is short, but from Heathrow Central it’s a trek of another ten minutes to Terminal 1 departures.

The Lounge

In Terminal 1 I have two lounges to pick from: the Star Alliance lounge or the BMI lounge. The Star Alliance lounge is rather gloomy, boring and offers no views at all. The BMI lounge in contrast, is spacious, has a good selection of food and drinks and, more importantly, offers some fantastic views of the ramp and runway 9L/27R. As luck would have it, runway 9L is in use for landings during my visit.


The gate area is rather crowded when I arrive, it looks like it’s going to be a full flight today. Boarding starts on time.  But once everybody is seated, the captain makes an announcement to welcome us all aboard and inform us that we haven’t got a slot for departure until one hour after our scheduled departure time, despite the fact that we’re ready to leave on time. Apparently no reason is given for the delay by atc.

The Cabin

My first impression of Aegean is somewhat mixed. Despite the fact that the aircraft looks rather new, the carpets and the curtains are in a sad and shabby state. The red colour on the curtains is faded in some places and covered in grease stains in others.

The Crew

The cabin crew come through the cabin offering pre departure drinks, with a choice of either still water or orange juice. I chose the latter and it tastes more like orange squash and not at all like juice. Furthermore, the pre departure drinks are served in plastic ‘glasses’, which is rather cheap in Business Class. On a positive note, the cabin crew are very friendly and competent. Moreover, it is quite apparent that Aegean Airlines selects its female cabin crew based on their good looks and their ability to fit into – or rather to fill – the rather tight, body-hugging dress they have as a uniform.Aegean Airlines also provides menus, which are also distributed while we’re still on the ground. The menus are followed by cold towels, earphones and pre meal drinks.After about an hour of sitting around and wondering how on earth anyone can possibly fit into one of those charmingly tight looking little blue uniforms, we push back. No need to get overly excited at this point though, we’re number 28 in the queue for departure from runway 09R.

The Meal

But eventually we do get airborne. Service begins just as we make landfall somewhere over France with a first drinks round. I have a Coke Zero with salty almonds.

The menu for the flight

  1. Appetizer
  2. Rocket and spinach leaf with chic peas, anthotiro cheese and gruyere rusks
  3. Hot Entrée choice of Chicken in a barley & herb crust, oven potatoes ad grilled vegetables (my choice)
    Veal strips with capers, mushrooms and Cretan ‘Striftoudi’ pasta with dry ‘Mizithra’ cheese
  4. Cheese Anthotiro cheese ‘Dodoni’ and Graviera ‘Naxou’ with dried fruits
  5. Dessert Traditional Greek desserts

For sure the quantity of the meal is more than sufficient, in fact both the salad and the hot meal are huge. The quality is okay I guess, but not as good as on Swiss. In particular, I find the hot meal a bit too oily. It gives you heartburn just from looking at it.

Once the meal is over, the crew clears everything away. The menu explicitly states that they have Cappuccino available, which I decide to try more out of curiosity than anything else. Very often when there is Cappuccino available on a plane it’s one of those horrible instant concoctions you just add water to. In this case though, I am very pleasantly surprised to find that the Cappuccino is made with coffee and real warmed milk. So well done Aegean for that!

At this point I start to wonder what’s happened to dessert, seeing as the crew have already removed the trays. And then it comes: this is without a doubt the best and most spectacular part of the meal. See for yourself: strawberries with mint and Greek sweet pastries made with nuts.

It is outstanding, delicious and, like the rest of the meal, way too large!


The rest of the flight passes quickly.

Upon arrival in Athens we park at a remote stand. In such cases Aegean provides a separate bus for Business Class passengers. On arrival we have a delay of more than one hour. There is a family with a very tight connection to Mykonos, so I refrain from taking any pictures so as not to keep them and the bus waiting.


At a glance the Aegean Airlines product is sound and most of their flight attendants look quite as though they could be models. However, at a closer inspection there are a few flaws: the cabin is dirty and the food is just very oily and not much else. The dessert however, is divine! Would I fly them again? Yes, I think I would.


As was to be expected, Athens is hot, very hot. I don’t really know what it is about this city: it’s not exactly pretty and it sprawls on seemingly for ever. But still I like it and always look forward to returning. I leave you with some impressions of the Greek capital.