Flying time to Athens is 3½ hours from London, 10½ hours from New York, 12 hours from Chicago, 16½ hours from Los Angeles, and 19 hours from Sydney.
There are only two nonstop flights from the United States to Athens, on Delta (from New York–JFK) and US Airways (from Philadelphia). Therefore, most U.S. travelers will need to connect in an airport in Europe; further, most travelers originating in the United States will need to transfer in Athens to reach any other destination in Greece. There are a large number of charter flights, especially from northern Europe, that fly directly to resort destinations in Greece during the high season, but since most of these must be booked through travel agents in Europe, they will be irrelevant to the vast number of U.S. travelers. Nevertheless, many discount carriers fly from (mostly) secondary airports in Europe nonstop to Greece, and these flights may be relevant, particularly for those travelers who plan to visit another country in addition to Greece.
Strikes, either for several hours or days, can be a sporadic problem in Greece, so it's always a good idea to keep your eyes on the local headlines while traveling. Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) posts real-time flight information on its website. You can contact the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority at the main Athens airport if you have complaints or concerns about flight cancellations, flight delays, or denied boarding.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration. www.tsa.gov.
Air Travel Resources in Greece
Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. Athens International Airport–Eleftherios Venizelos, Level 3, Room 607, main terminal bldg., Spata, Attica, 19019. 210/353–4158; 210/353-4147; 210/353-4148; www.hcaa.gr.
Athens International Airport at Spata, 33 km (20 miles) southeast of the city center, opened in 2001 as the country's main airport. Officially named Eleftherios Venizelos, after Greece's first prime minister, the airport is modern and quite user-friendly (there's also a very nice Sofitel if you need to stay over). The main terminal building has two levels: upper for departures, ground level for arrivals. Unless you are flying directly to one of the islands, you'll likely pass through the Athens airport during your trip to Greece. It's quite easy to switch from international to domestic flights or get to Greece's main harbor, Piraeus, about a one-hour train ride south of the airport. Greece's second-largest city has another busy international airport: Thessaloniki Makedonia airport, which handles both international and domestic flights. So does the airport on Rhodes (in the Dodecanese islands). Two other airports, in Heraklion and Corfu, also have a large number of international flights. Airports on many smaller islands (Santorini, Syros, Mykonos, Karpathos, Kos, and Paros among them) receive international charter flights during the busier summer months.
Athens International Airport–Eleftherios Venizelos. Spata, Attica, 19019. 210/353–0000; 210/353–0515; www.aia.gr.
Heraklion International Airport–Nikos Kazantzakis. Heraklion, Crete, 70601. 2810/397800.
Kerkyra Airport–Ioannis Kapodistrias. Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100. 26610/89600.
Rhodes International Airport Diagoras. Rhodes, 85106. 22410/88700.
Thessaloniki International Airport–Makedonia. Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, 55103. 2310/985000; www.thessalonikiairport.com.
While both Athens and Thessaloniki have public transportation, other places in Greece, especially the islands, do not.
In addition to Delta and US Airways, many carriers offer one-stop connections to major destinations in Greece (but particularly Athens) from the United States. And most of the larger airlines, including Air France, British Airways, KLM, and Lufthansa, also offer codeshare flights with their U.S. partners. Some European budget carriers, including EasyJet and Ryanair offer flights to a wide range of destinations throughout Greece.
Flights Within Greece
In Greece, when faced with a boat journey of six hours or more, consider flying since domestic flights have good prices for many destinations. The frequency of flights varies according to the time of year (with an increase between Greek Easter and November), and it is essential to book well in advance for summer or for festivals and holidays, especially on three-day weekends. There is usually a fee to check bags; only hand luggage (with strictly enforced limits) is free.
Scheduled domestic air travel in Greece is provided by Aegean Airlines and its subsidiary Olympic Air (both of which operate out of Athens International Airport in Spata), Astra Airlines (which flies from Thessaloniki), and Sky Express (which has a more diffuse network of flights around Greece). Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air have the largest route network around Greece, with flights to virtually every destination you might need, with the best connections through Athens. If you fly into Athens, you'll be able to transfer quite easily to a domestic flight.
Aegean Airlines. Viltanioti 31, Kifissia, Athens, Attica, 14564. 801/112–0000; 210/353–0101; 210/626-1000; www.aegeanair.com.
Air Canada. Flights from Montreal and Toronto to Athens. 888/247–2262; www.aircanada.com.
Air France. Flights from Paris (CDG), Toulouse, Nice, and Marseille to Athens. 800/992–3932; www.airfrance.us.
Air One. Flights from Rome and Naples to Athens (39) 091/255–1047; www.flyairone.com.
Air Transat. Flights from Montreal and Toronto to Athens 866/847–1112; www.airtransat.ca.
Alitalia. Flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Heraklion from Rome (FCO). Flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, and Heraklion from Milan (LIN). Flights to Rhodes from Milan (MXP). 800/223–5730; www.alitalia.com.
Astra Airlines. 23104/89390; www.astra-airlines.gr.
British Airways. Flights to Athens, Mykonos, Heraklion, Rhodes, Santorini, and Salonica (summer only). 800/247–9297; www.britishairways.com.
Delta Airlines. Flights to Athens from JFK. 1–800/241-4141; 14654; 210/353-0116; www.delta.com.
easyJet. Flights to Athens, Chania, Corfu, Heraklion, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Salonica, Santorini, and Zakynthos. 0870/600–0000; 210/353–0300; www.easyjet.com.
Iberia Airlines. Flights to Athens. 800/772–4642; 210/353—3441; www.iberia.com.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Flights to Athens. 800/618–0104; 210/353–3436; www.klm.com.
LOT. Flights from Warsaw to Athens. 210/327–4920; 212/789–0970; www.lot.com.
Lufthansa. Flights to Athens, Chania, Heraklion, Rhodes, and Thessaloniki. 800/645–3880; 210/617–5200; www.lufthansa.com.
Monarch Airlines. Flights from the UK to Chania, Corfu, Heraklion, Kefalonia, Rhodes, Skiathos, Volos, and Zakynthos. 0333/003–0700; www.monarch.co.uk.
Norwegian. Flights from Oslo to Athens. 800/357–4159; www.norwegian.com.
Olympic Air. 210/355–0500; 801/80110101; 855/359–6200; www.olympicair.com.
Qatar Airways. Flights from Doha, Qatar, to Athens. 210/950–8700; www.qatarairways.com.
Royal Jordanian. Flights from Amman, Jordan to Athens. 210/924–2600; www.rj.com.
Ryanair. Flights to Athens, Chania, Corfu, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Patras, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Volos, and Zakynthos. (44) 871/246–0002; www.ryanair.com.
SAS Scandanavian Airlines. Flights from Oslo to Athens. 210/961–8411; www.flysas.com.
Sky Express. 28102/23800; www.skyexpress.gr.
Swiss International Airlines. Flights from Zurich to Athens, Corfu, Heraklion, and Thessaloniki. 877/359–7947; 210/617–5320; 210/353–0382; www.swiss.com.
Tarom. Flights from Bucharest to Athens (40) 21/204–6464; www.tarom.ro.