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Flight/Baggage Question-

We are traveling from Atlanta to Crete in June.
We have 2 options for flights:
1) ATL-ATH then buy a separate ticket for ATH-HER
2) ATL-CDG (13 hr layover in CDG) then CDG-HER

We will have a 5yo and 9mo and the 13-hr layover is NOT ideal.

1) If we do Option 1, will we have to leave the terminal/go through customs to get our checked bags and go back through security for our ATH-HER flight? Is it better to just spend the night in Athens and fly to Crete the following day?
2) If we don't check bags and utilize carry-ons, will we still have to leave the airport through customs before checking in for our Crete leg?

Posted by
15264 posts

First of all, it's not customs that will be the issue. It's immigration. If you do option 1, you will have to go through immigration, collect your checked bags, recheck them in and then go through security. With a separate ticket, you run the risk of your arriving flight being late and then missing your second flight. Missing the flight would mean buying new tickets.

But more importantly, you will be coming of a long flight with a 5 year old and a 9 month old. Will you need a break? Perhaps some rest? I'd get a hotel room near the airport, and crash until the next day.

Question number still need to go through immigration and get your passports stamped.

You can't get a through ticket from Atlanta to Crete? If you could, you baggage would automatically be forwarded to Crete. You would still go through immigration but it would be a transfer rather than leaving airside and coming back in.

Posted by
3123 posts

First of all, avoid CDG if at all possible. It's not somewhere you want to spend 13 hours with kids in tow. You will have to go through customs and passport control at ATH if you're on a direct, non-stop flight from the US. Depending on your arrival time and how long a layover you'd have for your flight to HER it might be a good idea to spend the night near the airport. Carry-on bags make the process faster and easier. You won't have to leave the airport, just find your next departure gate, and if you print out your ATH-HER boarding passes before you leave home it makes it even easier.

Posted by
1376 posts

You will be better off flying through Athens
There are two airlines Aegean/Olympic and Sky express.
Here is what you need to do to make the connection in Athens. 2 hours is the amount of time you need for the connecting flight.

On arrival pick up your luggage, go to Passport Control. If you are arriving mid day that likely will take no more than 20 minutes.

Proceed to the exit door. You will pass through the door that has a sign nothing to declare. That was customs.

Go up one floor (elevator, escalator or stairs) You are now at departures level. Both Aegean and Sky express allow you to check in 48 hours before your connecting flight so all you have to do now is drop off luggage either at the airline counter or print your luggage tags at a machine and drop off the bags on the nearby carousel.

Now proceed to Security. Athens airport is very efficient. On our last trip there were hundreds of people ahead of us in the security line but we were processed in 20 minutes.

You are now in departures. Walk to your gate and wait until loading begins. Athens airport uses shuttle buses to take you from departures gate to the airplane.

Most of the time you will have sufficient time to stop for your fist Mythos beer before loading onto the connecting flight.

Posted by
3323 posts

Two things (1) People sometimes fret about possible delayed arrival at ATH eating into layover time. You should know that all those transatlantic nonstops to ATH are on time 99.9%, even if take-off is delayed an hour or +... why? because there's all that time over the Atlantic to make up time! (2) The Crete airport you mention is Heraklion... is there a reason for this rather than Chania? Where are you going after Crete? If you plan to take a ferry to other islands, almost all leave from Heraklion... thus if you visit western Crete, you'd have to backtrack to connect to ferry. Think about itinerary & choose flights to avoid backtracking (there are also a number of daily flights ATH-CHania).

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much for your replies! It is so appreciated.

It looks like flying ATL-ATH then using a different airline carrier for the ATH-Chania leg is our only option. You see, we have to fly Delta and the only through ticket is ATL-CDG-HER, but we are staying in Chania which, as Janet points out, is far and away and as Frank II points out, we'd rather avoid CDG.

If we do not spend the night in Athens and we have checked bags, how long should the process of changing airline carriers in ATH take? There seem to be two conflicting responses in the answers.

Would the return Chania-ATH-ATL also be a lengthy processes in ATH?

Posted by
1376 posts

As I stated, you need a window of 2 hours to Make a connection to a domestic flight. We have made that connection on 15 transatlantic flights. The fastest time was 45 minutes the longest was an hour and a half. On each of these connections we always had time to have a beer between landing and taking off on the connecting flight.

Posted by
4 posts

I see you said the only through flight from Atl on Delta goes through CDG. I’m flying direct on Delta Atl to Athens next week on Apr 3

Posted by
3323 posts

Kathy I belileve what she said -- or meant to say -- was there was only one flight that skipped ATH airport, & had Crete as the first stop in Greece

Frankly, am not sure why a change in Athens would be bad -- like stanbr, I did it many many times, with ease. By Contrast, the Dread Vista of Visit to ChasDeG Hell ... anyone who's gone from N America to Greece that way will shudder at the experience ... and vow never to repeat it.

Posted by
1376 posts

I just realized I made a mistake in my description of arrival in Athens. After getting off the aircraft you go to passport control then pick up your bags and then check them for your connecting flight.

Posted by
11250 posts

DL222 , GQ252
14h 35m ( travel time)
5:00PM ( depart ATL)
2:30PM ( arrive Chania)

ATL-ATH 2h 50m (layover time)
GQ 252 is operated by Sky Express S.a.. You will not earn miles, credit toward Medallion Status or receive Medallion Benefits on this flight.

Picked a random date and found DL has a ATL-ATH-CHQ ticket

No clue when you are flying so perhaps not an every day thing