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-   -   Aegean Airline's domestic flights in between Athen and Greek Island (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/aegean-airlines-domestic-flights-in-between-athen-and-greek-island-1684584/)

NewHere Jul 27th, 2020 05:41 PM

Aegean Airline's domestic flights in between Athen and Greek Island
 
Hi,
I'm writing seeking help or ideas of what I can do for my domestic flights between Athen and Greek islands that my family and I were not to take due to the lock down in the United States.
Our tickets were non-refundable tickets with the traveling dates in mid-June 2020. We have tried contacting the Aegean customer service since April when our international flights were canceled. But we kept receiving standard email response which did not address our questions, until 4 hours before the departure a personal email was sent but still did not answer my questions about what I can do with my tickets.

I'm deeply disappointed with their customer service. It felt like they intention let my tickets expire so that I had no option and just suck up the costs of those tickets that I paid. I purchased the flight before the COVID broke out. I'm really surprised how Aegean Airline handle the situation for American tourists. How can I take the flight if the country won't let me in? They should at least give travel the option to rebook their flight within 18 months like most airlines are doing.

Is there any way that I still get the money back or at least get flight credit for future use? Is there consumer protection agencies in Greece or Europe where I can file complaints.

Thanks in advance if you can offer any advise.

whitehall Jul 27th, 2020 07:32 PM

EU Regulation 261 clearly states that if European airlines cancel your flight, you are entitled to a refund within 7 days. If THEY cancelled your flight, they owe you a full refund. Having said that, Aegean is reportedly not providing refunds to any passengers, and reportedly still has little cash on hand (i.e. they may go bankrupt). The only viable solution at this point is to dispute the charges with your credit card company. We filed such disputes against three European airlines (not Aegean); two paid up before AMEX made a decision, and VISA provided a refund for the third one. In each case, we waited for the airlines to cancel and provided evidence to the credit card issuers. Once you file a dispute, the funds are temporarily withdrawn from the airline's account, and this places some pressure on them. If you booked through a third party, rather than the airline itself, it might be more difficult to get a successful chargeback. For what it is worth, earlier this month the EU initiated legal actions against some member countries that have not supported Regulation 261 (Greece and Italy among them). Best of luck. ◊

Heimdall Jul 28th, 2020 06:32 AM

Aegean Airlines currently has domestic flights on its website scheduled through July 2021. If you originally booked directly with Aegean Airlines, suggest you try rescheduling online for a date next summer. At least that will keep your booking open so you donít end up being a no-show and lose your money. You may be able to reschedule again at a later date or even cancel your booking.

Iíve travelled with Aegean Airlines and its sister company Olympic Air for many years, and have been very happy with the customer service, but like most other European airlines and ferry companies they have been inundated with cancellation requests during the pandemic.

NewHere Jul 28th, 2020 09:16 AM

Hi whitehall,
Thank you for sharing your experiences w me.
Unfortunately, it is my international flights into Europe that was cancelled and also Greece still not allowing American tourist entering that's why we couldn't take the flights in between the islands and Athen. It is the Greek domestic flight that I'm trying to get refund or at least travel voucher for. But the representatives that I spoke to (when I was able to get a hold of them after many many calls) refuse to do so.
I filed with the credit card company but was told that Airline rules overwrites the government rules. My purchase was prior to the breakout of COVID. Sound like it is fair for Aegean to treat my case as if there is no pandemic and I'm a Greek national who is able to make the travel. Fingers cross that Aegean will provide a better solution to my case after the credit card company hold money from them.

NewHere Jul 28th, 2020 09:33 AM

Hi Heimdall,
Thank you for your advice on changing the dates just to keep the tickets active, but our travel dates have already passed. I did tell the airline back in June that i'm waiting response from them and will not be traveling on those dates before the original flight dates.

I have thought about changing dates before our travel dates just to keep the tickets active. However, I realized that that Aegean is very sneaky. I can't switch to the cheapest fare that is showing up the cheapest online, and pay for the fare difference. It needs to match the class (i.e. Q, V) of the ticket that I'm purchasing. I thought that the tickets that I purchased were on the lower class. But turns out that I would have to pay a lot more to change to another date of the same class ticket as what I purchase. Even though at one point, they say you can change as many times as you can, but that is not true at all. I was glad that I didn't that route. Caz the following week, Aegean stated on the website that you can change GoLight ticket for very last time by penalty of EUR40/45 (i forgot the exact amount). The dates that will worked for us were not available at that time. If i were to choose a date just to keep the ticket active then move later, I would be paying for that fare difference, and then another fare difference with EUR40/45 penalty for Golight tickets, and I might not even get the date I want.

I heard from my Greek friend that Aegean has good customer service. But it is not what I have experienced during this incidence. I know they are busy with ticket changes for other customers. But 2-3 months response rate seems too long. Many info are not posted on the website. Customer services don't give you all the options available unless you really dig into them. And sometimes, they are not accurate.

Based on this experience, I would recommend people to book with them until you are sure you are able to travel (like all the travel ban are lifted) Otherwise, it is really hard to get your money back.

Heimdall Jul 28th, 2020 10:42 AM

Sorry to hear of your problems. For future reference there is no point in booking GoLight with Aegean unless you are travelling carry-on only, as the additional fee for GoLight + 1 bag is only a few euros less than Flex, which includes one free bag and has additional benefits when changing or cancelling tickets.

Had you booked Flex you would have been entitled to “Free unlimited ticket changes” instead of €40 per change. Scroll down past the GoLight rules to find the rules for Flex:
https://en.aegeanair.com/plan/bookin...economy-class/

Sassafrass Jul 28th, 2020 03:33 PM

Heimdall, Good information, hope we can also use it someday.

Heimdall Jul 29th, 2020 01:02 AM

Additional information from Aegean Airlines for travel during Covid-19:
https://en.aegeanair.com/aegean-announcement/


BarbaraJoan Aug 12th, 2020 09:42 AM

More Info on Greek Voucher regulation?
 
I have a problem similar to NewHere, but my Greek domestic flights are booked for October 2020 so I may have a little more wiggle room. My husband and I are booked on a total of 4 domestic flights in Greece in October (Athens-Corfu/RT and Athens-Rhodes RT). I know there is a Greek governmental regulation requiring travel business to give equal value vouchers to travelers affected by the pandemic. Aegean/Olympic tells me this only applies if the flight is CANCELLED, which these flights, because they are domestic, are unlikely to be. But, as a residents of the USA, we are barred from Greece by EU regulation, so it is impossible for us to make these flights. It seems to me the spirit, if not the letter of the Greek regulation probably calls for us to get a voucher from Aegean so we can rebook these flights in the future. Does anyone know more about this regulation, or even a link where I could read it myself (In English)? Thanks!

Heimdall Aug 12th, 2020 10:45 AM

BarbaraJoan, did you book the Aegean/Olympic flights Flex? If you did, as I wrote in reply #6, under the T&Cs you are entitled to “Free unlimited ticket changes”. If, as seems likely, you are unable to travel in October, suggest you get on the Aegean website and change your bookings to flights next spring, or as far out as flights are showing. Then when you’ve made plans for next year you can change the booking again for free. You will have to pay the difference if the new flights are more expensive, but you won’t lose your money or have to deal with vouchers.

Use the link I provided in #6.

progol Aug 12th, 2020 12:08 PM

BarbaraJoan,
I’m in a similar situation regarding October flights on Aegean (flight between France and Greece). But, as I understand it, we in the US are not yet officially banned from Greece (or other European countries) in October. Although we may yet be banned, right now, the ban doesn’t extend that far out so, technically, we are potentially able to travel. Are your international flights cancelled? As of now, my international flights are still scheduled, so I’m patiently waiting for those flights to be cancelled. Then I’ll see what my options are for my flights

BarbaraJoan Aug 12th, 2020 01:28 PM

Thanks, Heimdall and Progol. Our Aegean flights are "flex", so we do have the ability to reschedule, but that option is not truly free. Aegean charges 20 euros pp per flight, so for us, 180 euros. Not catastrophic, but worth it to me to find out whether Aegean is in compliance with Greek regulations in claiming there is a difference between the carrier cancelling the flight because of the pandemic and the passengers being unable to board because of the pandemic. Progol, you're right, there is a tiny chance our trip may go forward, but we are scheduled to fly 10/1, so it's time to start exploring our options.

So, how about it, are there any Greek lawyers out there reading this?

progol Aug 12th, 2020 02:47 PM

<<Progol, you're right, there is a tiny chance our trip may go forward, but we are scheduled to fly 10/1, so it's time to start exploring our options.>>

BarbaraJoan, I didn’t actually mean that we will necessarily be traveling at that time, but simply that it’s too early to know whether the ban will be in effect at that time. I’m guessing it will be in effect in September when I’m scheduled to leave, though even if the restrictions are minimal, I will most likely cancel our trip. Since my international flight is still scheduled, however, I’m not going to deal with the Aegean flight yet.

BarbaraJoan Aug 13th, 2020 04:52 AM

Progol; you may already be checking this, but if not, it's a useful link. The US embassy in Greece periodically updates the information to reflect the latest from the EU. https://gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/. Fingers crossed for both of us!

progol Aug 13th, 2020 05:13 AM

BarbaraJoan,
Thank you for the link. I do check it regularly - as well as a million other sites! As I’m also flying internationally into France, I’m also following their status. At this point, I’m not planning to travel - just waiting till the international flight is formally canceled.

Heimdall Aug 13th, 2020 11:50 AM

Progol, as I understand it third country nationals who are long term residents in a country on the green list can travel to EU/Schengen, but itís not clear to me what ďlong term residentsĒ mean. If you are in France you are already in EU/Schengen, so what would prevent you from travelling within Schengen to Greece? I have tried to find the answers to these questions, but so far nothing is clear. Iíve even sent an email to Aegean Airlines, but just got a canned response that didnít answer the question.

BarbaraJoan, where did you get that Ä20 pp per flight? The link I provided in #6 says that with Flex you get ďFree unlimited ticket changesĒ. They canít be both free and at the same time cost Ä20.

FTR, I am a long time user of Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air both for flights from the UK and domestic flights in Greece, but so far have never had to change or cancel a ticket. I always book Flex for the extra benefits in case I need to make a change.

crazyh Aug 13th, 2020 03:02 PM

Considering the dramatic increase of infections and deaths in the US I doubt the EU will allow Americans to travel to any EU countries including Greece.

After holding out for weeks if not months about whether to cancel my Sept. 30 flight to Greece, the final straw was the continued EU ban on Americans. In addition my airlines completely altered and canceled one leg of my flight and offered an alternative that was not workable for me. I was able to get a complete refund from the airlines.

I wouldn't hold my breath for the EU to open up to Americans.

It's unfortunate for many Americans who followed the rules about the virus only to have others ruin it for them mostly for political reasons resulting in the EU banning flights from America.

The only way out of this is for a reliable and safe vaccine. Until then it doesn't look good for most international flights from the US.

progol Aug 13th, 2020 05:16 PM

<<If you are in France you are already in EU/Schengen, so what would prevent you from travelling within Schengen to Greece? I have tried to find the answers to these questions, but so far nothing is clear. Iíve even sent an email to Aegean Airlines, but just got a canned response that didnít answer the question. >>

Heimdall, the likelihood of us getting to France is even slimmer than us getting to Greece! But to answer your question, from everything Iíve read, it has to do with oneís place of origin, not where youíre coming from, so even if we did arrive in France, we wouldnít then be allowed to travel to Greece. I donít have a specific link stating this right now, but Iím pretty sure Iíve seen it written on various sites.

progol Aug 13th, 2020 05:18 PM

crazyh, I’m sorry you’ve decided to cancel, I know how much you were looking forward to this trip. I’m glad for you that you were able to get a complete refund! At least that’s not adding to the pain of disappointment - and you can save it for the trip next year!

Heimdall Aug 14th, 2020 12:53 AM

Progol, that really is confusing. My place of origin is Wisconsin in the USA, but I’ve lived in the UK non-stop since 1977. Everything I’ve read speaks of the origin of your trip, not your nationality. Therefore as far as I know I would be treated as a UK resident for Covid-19 measures. Nevertheless, I would worry about booking a trip with my US passport right now even if it is allowed.


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