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Help with Flight Itinerary

Hi gang,

This forum has been invaluable in helping me with travel plans, hotels and sightseeing.
But this is a new question for me --

We are planning on flying from Los Angeles to Greece in late May, with our first overnight being Santorini.
I would have assumed we'd take an LAX to Athens route and then fly to Santorini.
However, some have also mentioned that we could fly from LA to a European city and then fly to Santorini directly from there, w/o stopping in Athens.

Any suggestions? I'd like to be in Santorini before it gets dark that first day.
We'll spend a few days there, then on to Naxos and wind up in Athens to cap off the trip, returning to LA about 12 days later.



Posted by
7166 posts

All you have to do is go to a site like and plug in the airports that you want to consider. For example, if you are flying with Delta, then their partner airlines are KLM and Air France. Check for flights from Paris (CDG and Orly) and Amsterdam.

If you are flying United, check their partners like Lusthansa. check Frankfurt and Munich.

Also, plug in LAX flying to Santorini, it will give you options.

Posted by
25517 posts

I'd be careful about choosing a transfer point. I wouldn't want to be on the only flight or the last flight of the day to Santorini if I could avoid that. Too many things can go wrong with transatlantic flights. The advantage of using Athens as your gateway is that there's also ferry service to Santorini. That could be your if-all-else-fails back-up plan. I have no idea whether a last-minute pivot to ferry transportation would actually be practical, though.

Posted by
2673 posts

Skyscanner shows flights from LAX to London Heathrow on British Airways arriving in Santorini at 2p.

Posted by
1305 posts

Take the most efficient, cost effective flights and hope everything falls into place like it usually does. But things can happen. On our only trip to Greece we flew to Athens from the U.S. with a connection/airport/airline change in London. We arrived at Heathrow at midnight and then took a taxi to Gatwick for an early am flight to Athens. Weather caused the Athens flight to be cancelled so we were stuck in London for 2 days (not a bad thing) and then another in Milan, Italy (also good). After spending time in the Athens area, we took the ferry to Santorini with the intent of flying out several days later to London and then home. An air traffic controllers strike caused us to have to take the ferry back Athens. We had to stay an extra two nights (1 Piraeus, 1 Porto Rafti), then had to fly to Naples, Italy for a night (in Pompei - great place) before being able to fly back to London to fly home. We flew American from/to the U.S. but our flights to/from Greece were on easyJet - whose flight schedule caused us to have to do all that extra overnighting/flying around. The uncertainty was stressful at the time, especially when the Italian air traffic controllers threatened a strike, but when we look back we had some great experiences we didn't expect - and my credit card travel insurance paid for our extra travel expenses.

Posted by
3256 posts

If the main aim is to be sure to arrive on Santorini RELIAB LY in plenty of time to check in, have comfortable amount of time to orient self, stroll around, have a place for a good sundown sit, and then a dinner (elsewhere perhaps) -- then my advice from experience is -- do a flilght that goes nonstop from the Eastern US to ATH overnight. These are the only ones that reliably, day after day, month after month, land ON TIME ... anywhere from 9:15 toabout 10:30 AM depending on which airline. That's because, IF there is any delay in take-off, you have that looong flight over the Atlantic in which to make up the time. You now have more choices -- Canada Air (from Toronto) American (Philly) Delta (NYC & now Atlanta), United (Newark), also UAE from Newark I believe. With these flights, you can easily get a domestic flight on Aegean/Olympic (one airline) or Sky Express ... depending on which arrival, dep at noon or at latest, 1:30. Since u are from L.A., this does involve 3 planes, but the Europe-change option may also, with less reliability.

It's tempting to do that change in Europe, but it has its drawbacks. Sure, you can leave L.A. later & still reach your European airport by morning... but then, there may be a problem. European airports may experience traffic problems, and as others have said, the direct flights to Santorini may be on carriers like Easy Jet or Ryan, which to put it kindly, do not have the best records for equipment or on-time dep/arr. Since u only have 12 days (and is that 12 days ON the ground, or does it include flights to/from US?), you want to be prudent.

Whatever route/airline you choose for homebound trip, a final tip: Try to not book that outbound flight any earlier than 9 AM. Some are tempted by prices for 7 am deps, BUT --- You are asked to be inline at airport 2 hrs before take-off, drive to airport is 1 hr ... so it means you must leave your hotel by 4 am... so it can wreck a memorable Final Night in Athens.

Posted by
5546 posts

What KBK describes is a self transfer in London between different airlines. I would not recommend that. And flying to Athens on Delta and then to Santorini involves a self transfer in Athens. A better option is in my opinion to book Los Angeles-Santorini on one ticket. That might be Los Angeles-Toronto-Athens-Santorini on Air Canada/Aegean. But it might also be Los Angeles-Frankfurt-Santorini on Lufthansa or Los Angeles-Zürich-Santorini on Swiss. There are a number of one stop options available that do not involve a self transfer to some kind of low cost airline.

Posted by
2282 posts

We self transferred in Athens in 2018 to Santorini without any incident. We are going to Crete this coming May and just figured out that we can buy one ticket for same price as buying separate ones on United. It is still three flights but bags could be checked all the way through so a bit easier logistically.

I would go to goggle flights and see what your options are. My brother in law flew from Washington DC to Munich then to Santorini so only 2 flights, although he arrived very late (long layover in Munich). What Janet suggests is what we did (through Newark) and we were in Santorini by 2 pm which was lovely. However, there is no guarantee that you will have less trouble connecting in U.S. than in Europe. Last summer our flight to JFK was so delayed that we missed our connection to Milan. We ended up flying to Paris and then to Milan.

Posted by
946 posts

When I went to Greece, I went to Crete and not to Santorini. But the method of travel I did is about the same as what you can do.

I bought round trip tickets to Athens. From Athens I went to Nafplio (You can go to any of various towns after arriving). After Nafplio, I had ferry tickets from Piraeus to Crete and Crete back to Piraeus. Both ferry trips were at night on Minoan lines. I reserved a cabin with a bed, which took away my need for two nights in hotels. You can take a ferry to and from Santorini. Just see something on mainland Greece for at least a day after your plane arrives. By taking the ferry, I avoided having to switch planes in in Athens and/or travel back to the airport to fly to Crete.