TRIP REPORT: Flying two Greek carriers from/to Belgrade

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Written by Veljko Marinković

Ellinair, Belgrade - Heraklion
Aegean Airlines, Heraklion via Athens-Belgrade

Flight: EL 751, Belgrade - Heraklion
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200, SX-EMJ, named "Athens"
Age: 18 years

Once again I flew on Ellinair flight from Belgrade to Heraklion, on the last, one-way flight of the season. Since I have already written a trip report for this company on this route, I will only highlight changes and differences from the flight two years ago. Unfortunately, Ellinair this year downgraded its number of flights, from the previous two-weekly operations, to flights every 11/12 days. From what I can gather, this was done to adjust flights to the demand for package holydays which are sold by the Mouzenidis travel agency, but it is still possible to buy tickets separately. I say unfortunately because in previous years there were much more options to visit Crete. This year, Ellinair upgrade its equipment from the Boeing 737-300 to the Airbus A320-200, with a capacity of 180 passengers.


Generally, the service was pretty good, and it was a comfortable flight. There were only 28 passengers on board, and what surprised me most is that the passengers were Greek and Russian. The Airbus was in good condition with nice and comfortable leather seats. The seat pitch is not so good, but since I had half of the aircraft to myself, that wasn’t such a big problem. The service consists of a sandwich, sweet and hot and cold beverages.



Flight: OA 301, Heraklion - Athens
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200, SX-DGR
Age: 11 years

On the return flight from Heraklion to Belgrade, I was flying with Aegean Airlines, with transfer at Athens airport. The flight from Heraklion to Athens was an early morning flight, scheduled on the Airbus A321, but the day before Aegean changed the type to the A320. So, once again, I missed an opportunity to fly on an A321. On this flight, there were no empty seats. There were 174 passengers on board. The flight was operated by Olympic Airways, but with Aegean equipment.

Aegean allows online check-in and also the possibility to reserve seats in front rows for a fee of 5 euros on the flight from HER to ATH, and 10 euros on the flight from ATH to BEG. The interesting and great option is that you can change your automatically reserved seats for free, in rows which are free of charge (couple of last rows), so I chose the window seats as I generally prefer these.


My transfer time at Athens was 1 hour and 30 minutes and I thought that I would have enough time, but I arrived at the gate a few minutes after boarding started. That was because were parked on a remote stand, then waited for about 15 minutes inside the aircraft, another 15-20 minutes in the bus waiting for the last passenger to disembark and then we got a free tour around the airport. Since this flight was domestic and I was transferring on a flight outside of the EU, I had to practically leave the airport and then again enter the airport. It was kind of like I was arriving for my first flight, not on transferring.

Flight: A3 976, Athens - Belgrade
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200, SX-DVS
Age: 11 years

Once again, I was surprised when I saw that about 10 Greek passengers from my first leg, HER-ATH, also transferred on the flight to BEG. Then I realised that a lot of the passengers were fans of football club Olympiakos and that they were travelling to the football match with Red Star Belgrade, and that was the reason why the ticket price for flights around these date was more expensive than I expected. This flight was again full, maybe just a few empty seats, and I can say that there were couple of business passenger or Gold Aegean Miles+Bonus club members.


The flight on route from ATH to BEG was performed by the ten-year old Airbus A320, which was in better condition than the first one which operated the flight to ATH. It had much more comfortable seats and enough space between rows. Also, this “bird“ had an In-flight entertainment system which consists of overhead TVs, where, prior to the flight, the safety demonstration video was played. In my opinion, this safety video is well done, so I am sharing it below.


During the flight, these overhead TVs were showing the position of the aircraft on the map, distance and time to destination, speed, altitude, speed relative to the ground, outside temperature and other basic characteristics of the flight. The other part of the in-flight entertainment system is the Aegean Stream service, which you can access through the AegeanApp, if you have downloaded it before the flight. The service is available on international flights from/to Athens. After you access it via the application, you can track the flight on your phone or choose up to 20 games, stream music, read international and local newspapers available in Greek, English, German, French and Italian languages and also some magazines. I did not try any of these features, except for flight tracking, but it seems as an interesting option for some longer flights.

Cabin service on the flight from ATH to BEG included a sandwich, sweets and hot and cold beverages. The sandwich was really tasty (or I was really hungry), with famous Greek cheese and mirođija 😀 The flight from HER to ATH only included sweets and hot and cold beverages. This was my first flight with Aegean and I am pretty satisfied with the service and you don’t need to pay for everything on board.



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Comments

  1. Nice report. Interesting about the passenger structure.

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  2. Nice report. It nice to hear that there is hybrid airlines where you can choose seat or get some free drinks in lowest fare. That is what pretty make me angry me on flying with Air serbia.

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    Replies
    1. Don't you get some snacks with them now?

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    2. Yes, 25g Chips or Noblice and 0.25 bottle of water. For 2 hour flight and 250 euro for lowest fare is pretty annoying

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    3. It can get even worse, I flew with W6 to BVA for €250! There you don't get anything, anything at all.

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    4. Yeah, but there are so many examples where people pay 40-60€ for return flight with W6. Try to do that with JU ;)

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    5. They had 5.600 RSD one way fares for LCA this November. ;) Same with other destinations. For example in September I bought a return flight to Berlin for 11.000 RSD which is not even €100.

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    6. Those are destinations where they have competition, wherever they don't, their prices are ridiculous.
      Prague is an example what has happened after Hainan left.

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    7. Don't forget that Prague as an airport is extremely expensive on top of that they operate a small aircraft so CASM must be pretty high. This forces them to charge more than some other destinations. Like I said, it's an urban legend that Wizz Air is cheap from Belgrade, especially in summer. Actually this past summer they were regularly more expensive than JU.

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  3. Very good report, Veljko! Hvala.

    A3 is a very good airline. Paid an OW ticket for only 60€ BCN-SOF via ATH and flights were impeccable, punctual and very good service.
    Their safety video is brilliant too.
    Hoping to try their A32N in the near future. They will be deploying them next spring on selected routes such as BRU, BCN, SVO, etc.

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  4. 28 passengers on that flight, no wonder it had to be upgraded ...

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    1. Umm on the last flight of the holiday season it's completely normal. You have TUI flying some routes from UK to Greek airports on their last flight of the season with 1 passenger on board.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/Jet2-passenger-has-plane-to-herself/

      Also you might have missed that these passengers would not have had a return service since it was the last flight of the season. That's why the person that wrote this report had to return with Aegean.

      What an ignorant comment.

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  5. Also, very interesting safety video. Thanks for sharing

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  6. I flew i summer RHO-ATH, ATH-BEG with Agean, very nice crew, service and both A320 in a new shape, not to compare with ASL!

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    Replies
    1. ASL Airbuses are in good shape, crew is excellent, service is modest...

      Do you have Wi-fi on A3?

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