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Athens Airport Plane Changing

I am flying out of Athens to return home on American Airlines at 11:45 AM. I will be coming in from Crete on Aegean Airlines to catch my American Airlines flight. If my plane from Chania Crete to Athens arrives at 10:00 AM, will I have enough time to catch my international flight at 11:45 AM. My understanding is that American Airlines and Aegean Airlines are not "partners" so my luggage will not be be checked through from Aegean to American Airlines.

Posted by
91 posts

That's a bit tight, tighter than I would want to risk a potentially expensive to re-book flight to the US. If the flights were booked separately you have no recourse to re-arranging your onward flight should there be an issue with the previous one.

I would be inclined to book the earlier Aegean flight that leaves Chania around 06:25 daily

Posted by
2794 posts

It's always a risk to schedule a flight out of the country on the same day as you are returning to Athens, especially if your flights aren't "partnered". If you have plans to explore Athens it's best if you save all your time on the mainland for the end of your time in Greece so you are not scrambling back to the mainland at the last minute for that flight home. Worry about making that flight home will be on your mind the whole time you are in Greece.

Posted by
20624 posts

OK, if checking luggage it is too tight. It is not uncommon in Europe for the check-in gate, especially for international flights, to close 45 mins prior to departure. So you need to be through check-in by 11 am. And then you will need to go through exit immigration. There is a reason for the 3 hr check-in for international flights. Often you can cut it to two hours but less than an hour is not going to work. You need to look at your downside risk.

Posted by
1178 posts

I agree with everyone else. It’s too tight.

In September we flew into Athens from Thessaloniki with Aegean and had a 3 hour window for a London flight. Our check in was two hours before the flight so we had a bit of leeway. In the event the Thessaloniki flight was 45 minutes late and we had a real scramble through the airport to make the flight (which we did!)

Admittedly there was a lot of building work going on at the time so our route through the airport was longer than usual, and not one we knew, but even so in retrospect we were taking a risk which I wouldn’t recommend and wouldn’t take again.

Alan

Posted by
6210 posts

The AA website shows a recommendation to be at airport at least 2hrs prior to an international flight.

No idea how many in your party but at ~$3k per coach seat to buy a replacement ticket, I would not cut it that close. Your risk tolerance ( or bank account) may be different than mine.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you. This all very helpful. Sounds like it is possible (and maybe probable) to make an 11:45 international flight if my flight into Athens lands at 10:00 but probably not worth the risk and stress. I am staying near Chania Crete and would prefer to leave from that airport instead of Heraklion. My options are a 6:25 AM flight from Chania that arrives in Athens at 7:15 AM (4 1/2 hours before my flight) that is a 30 minute drive from where we are staying or an 8:15 AM flight from Heraklion that arrives in Athens at 9:05 AM that is a 3 hour drive from where we are staying. Either option results in us leaving our place for the respective Crete airports at the same time.

In hindsight, it seems like it would have been better to schedule our time in Athens at the back end of the trip instead of the front end of our trip.

Posted by
2416 posts

To do athens at the end is always always the advice of "old hands" on this and other forums, if you have been browsing before booking. You might also consider coming in the night before and staying at one of several modestly-priced lodgings 10-15 minutes away from the airport. Peris Hotel provides a free shuttle to/from, and is about 1 K from a beach ... St. Thomas B & B is in its own olive grove & has a pool. you might look at options like these, and be able to have breakfast and leave about 9:30 for the airport.

Posted by
6210 posts

In hindsight, it seems like it would have been better to schedule our time in Athens at the back end of the trip instead of the front end of our trip.

Many of the postings here make that very suggestion. Not just Greece, but anywhere, to facilitate an easy, stress free departure for home.

Posted by
20624 posts

Anytime you have to take a connection flight on a separate tickets the day of travel is very risky. What happens if the first doesn't go or is very late. While it is rare, cancelled flight do occur. While I am the first to recommended against it, I have scheduled such flights and was burned last year. With a six hour window I thought I have given myself sufficient time. Didn't plan on the original flight being canceled with no back up. I did buy the second airline's insurance for cancellation without reading the fine print. That didn't work very well either.