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Greece: How Flexible are Aegean Air Super-Saver Fares?

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Mar 21st, 2011, 09:32 PM
  #1
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Greece: How Flexible are Aegean Air Super-Saver Fares?

We are planning a trip to Crete (Chania) and Athens from California this June/July. Our time in Greece starts in Chania and ends in Athens. We already have confirmed round-trip flights from the US to Amsterdam. We are having a tough time finding reasonable flights from Amsterdam to Chania, from Chania to Athens, and then back to Amsterdam -- ideally want it all on one ticket /airline because of the vagaries of travel such as delays, baggage changes etc. Wondering if we should go through a travel agent in the US or elsewhere who specializes in Greece? We have found one potentially feasible route: from amsterdam to athens round trip on a major European airline; and then a separate super-saver fare on Aegean Airlines for the Athens-Chania-Athens segment. However, we are concerned that if our incoming flight to Athens is delayed, and we miss the Aegean Airlines flight to Chania, we fully forfeit our money as it seems the super-saver fares offer zero flexibility. Is this right? Would Aegean not put us on a later flight if our incoming flight (different airline) is late? Thanks for any input -- we are tearing our hair out, as it is proving surprisingly difficult to figure out the intra-European travel for this trip.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 09:37 PM
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You're correct to assume that you would forfeit your money but if there is space on the next flight they might not charge you since it was an airline delay. Since you're transiting through AMS you will have already processed through Passport Control and Customs, so all you'll have to do once you get to Athens is collect your bags and go upstairs to check in for your flight ot Chania. Even if your flight from AMS is delayed you should have enough time unless the Aegean flight departs less than 1.5 hours after your scheduled arrival.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 09:54 PM
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Thanks brother -- very good to have some input, though not very happy news. Re. super-saver tickets, does Aegean just charge some extra percentage if passengers miss their Aegean flight on account of a delayed prior flight (different airline), or, barring some kind gesture on the part of Aegean staff, would one have to purchase an entirely new ticket, at whatever (probably astronomical)fare is on offer at that time? Thanks again for any info!
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Mar 21st, 2011, 11:16 PM
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From the Aegean website: "Ticket changes are permitted – relevant charges depend on fare category." A few years ago I missed an Aegean flight because of a delay and they didn't charge me anything to put me on the next flight, and I had a saver ticket. I don't know for sure but as I said, if there's space on the next flight they might not charge you anything.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 12:02 AM
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Thanks much for your helpful response. We are buying several tickets -- there are 5 in the family and more in the extended group -- hence the possibility of a forfeit is more troubling than if we were buying just a couple of saver tickets. But I think we'll just get the saver fares for Athens-Chania-Athens on Aegean. Olympic has a saver option for Athens-Heraklion-Athens (much more expensive to go Athens-Chania_Athens on Olympic) that's not much more than Aegean's round-trip ticket b/t Athens and Chania. Heraklion would be appreciably less convenient for us than Chania, but if Olympic is a safer bet than Aegean in terms of general flexibiltiy, might be worth going Olympic to Heraklion. If you have any further thoughts, it would be great to get your two cents. Else, we'll just go with Aegean to Chania. Thanks again!
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 01:17 AM
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You will go through passport control in Amsterdam but will go through customs in Greece, not Amsterdam.
Is there a reason for going through Amsterdam?
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 01:25 AM
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A couple of points:

Two domestic flights booked singly cost the same as one round-trip ticket. Sometimes there is an advantage to booking flights separately, as you can grab a good deal when it comes along, then look for another cheap ticket later. You can also fly into one airport and out another, like with open-jaw tickets.

When there is a possibility of delay causing me to miss a flight, I book semi-flex. It's great to get a cheap fare, but I don't like the idea of forfeiting a ticket if my connecting flight were late. A semi-flex ticket allows you to rebook after no show for a fee of €30:
http://en.aegeanair.com/e-services/t...ing-and-fares/
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the tips everyone -- all extremely helpful. We are going through AMS because frequent flyer miles could get us till there; also have a friend there we can look up. We are breaking journey for a day in AMS before continuing to Athens. That probably means we go through passport control and customs in AMS. Or on an internal EU flight from AMS to Athens, would we again go through customs at Athens? I like the suggestion of buying each leg of the Athens-Chania-Athens route separately based on when a cheaper is fare is available. Might even consider taking the ferry from Chania to Athens on the way out of Crete if there's any scenic reason to do so. Any info re. the ferry would be appreciated -- if it's uncomfortable, tedious and interminable we will avoid it. Just have no info about it. Thanks much for sharing your knowledge of the area and its logistics!
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 09:29 AM
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I don't remember the last time I was stopped for a Customs search at ATH after first passing through either Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 11:56 AM
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If you are taking a break in Amsterdam, then you will go through customs and passport control at Schiphol. Your flight from Amsterdam to Athens will be from one Schengen country to another, so you shouldn't have to go through either at Athens Airport.

Re buying the air tickets separately, another point which I was reminded of when doing the research is that if you miss the outgoing flight on a round-trip ticket, the return flight is also cancelled, so you would have to rebook it as well.

As far as ferries from Chania to Athens are concerned, it may be worthwhile if you choose an overnight ferry. The morning ferries take all day. Leave Chania around 9-11 pm and you will arrive in Piraeus early the next morning, saving yourself one night's hotel bill. Book a cabin and you can sleep in comfort during the voyage.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 02:17 PM
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Great idea to book cabins on overnight ferry from Chania to Athens (Piraeus) and save a night's hotel bill! Also, very good to know that missing the outbound flight of a return saver ticket would also lead to cancellation of the return flight. Makes total sense to buy one-way tickets. Thanks for the other info too -- glad to hear that no customs check in Athens given that we're flying in from another Schengen country. Lastly, are these overnight ferries reasonably comfortable? We have an older person in our group, who requires a modicum of comfort. Many thanks again for any input.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 02:40 PM
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You'll want to book a whole cabin or cabins, otherwise you will be sharing with strangers of the same sex. I've only ever used a cabin on a North Sea ferry, so can't vouch for those in the Greek fleet. My Greek ferry trips tend to be shorter, and I just get a seat in Business Class. A lot depends on the age of the ferry — some have been sailing since the 70s, and are nearing the end of their life span. Others are newish, and would be very comfortable. It's useful to have a copy of Thomas Cook's Greek Island Hopping, which gives you the lowdown on each ferry, listing those to avoid.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 03:18 PM
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Thanks for your detailed answer Heimdall -- I will act on your suggestions.
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