Tried & Tested

Lounge review: Aegean Airlines non Schengen Lounge, Athens Airport

26 Mar 2018 by BusinessTraveller
Aegean Airlines non Schengen Lounge, Athens Airport

BACKGROUND

Greek carrier Aegean Airlines’ main hub is Athens International Airport where the carrier operates two lounges. Until recently, Aegean only operated a lounge in Terminal B which caters for intra-Schengen flights. In late December 2017, a second lounge in Terminal A was opened which caters for eligible passengers travelling outside Schengen, including the UK.

Eligible passengers include Aegean Business Class and Aegean Miles and Bonus Gold members as well as all Star Alliance Gold Card holders. Only Miles and Bonus Gold members have access to the lounges when travelling on the subsidiary Olympic Air as the airline is not a member of Star Alliance. Olympic operates some regional flights and all of Aegean’s domestic services, including to the islands, so it’s worth keeping in mind.

WHERE IS IT?

Both the Terminal A and B lounges are located in the far end of each concourse after the retail area near gates A13 and B13 respectively. On this trip I was travelling to New York so I visited the newly opened lounge in Terminal A, located about a five to eight minute walk from the security check. The entrance is at the end of a corridor which comes off the main concourse. While there is signage directing passengers towards the corridor, the large lit Aegean sign above the entrance isn’t visible from the main concourse, so it can be a little hard to find.

Aegean Airlines non Schengen Lounge, Athens Airport

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The space reflects the updated design concept used in Aegean’s other lounges in Thessaloniki and Larnaca. The colour palette includes light grey, silver and splashes of red. After passing reception, there is a lounge section consisting of rows of grey leather armchairs. These are mostly in pairs and there are tables in between with shared power and USB plugs built in. The space is light and airy with plenty of natural light entering from large floor to ceiling windows overlooking the tarmac. The armchairs are big and comfortable but firm enough to work on. I found it easy to sit up and use my laptop. Free wifi was available and reasonably fast.

For those preferring a desk, there is a long communal table with several power and USB plugs along a centre console. There are no individual work cubicles though. Washrooms are located within the lounge but with only one cubicle each for males and females. This resulted in a queue forming while I was there. No showers are offered.

Aegean Airlines non Schengen Lounge, Athens Airport

FOOD AND DRINK

Adjoining the lounge area is a buffet and dining section with tables and chairs. Aegean like to promote local Greek produce both in the air and on the ground. Being there at breakfast time, there was a selection of warm cheese and spinach pies together with other sweet and savoury Greek pastries, including baklava, on offer. These were joined by gourmet sandwiches, cheeses, various cakes, sweets and a bread selection was accompanied by Greek jams and honey. Other breakfast items include cereal, a selection of yogurts, muesli and fruit as well as pre-made smoothies and juices.

I tried the spinach pie, apricot and muesli yogurt and a strawberry banana smoothie which were all delicious and fresh. There is also a large multi-user Nespresso machine, various teas and other hot drinks offered.

My only disappointment was the absence of hot food items both at breakfast and, I understand, also during the rest of the day. A soup and warm dish might be appreciated by those wanting to work rather than eat on the flight. This might also be a good way to further showcase Greece’s produce and cuisine.

The bar is a self-serve and cutely presented on a shiny new aircraft bar trolley, which had a nice selection of Greek wines, aperitifs and a decent variety of spirits.

Aegean Airlines non Schengen Lounge, Athens Airport

VERDICT

It’s great that Aegean has finally opened its own lounge in the Non-Schengen Terminal A of Athens International Airport. It’s a comfortable and very inviting space where I could easily work and relax.

My only concern is that, given it serves all Star Alliance airlines operating outside Schengen from Athens including Air Canada, Air China, Turkish Airways and United as well as Aegean, its smallish size risks it getting crowded, especially during the peak summer season. Nevertheless, I’ll happily return to fight the crowds, spinach pie and baklava in hand.

CONTACT aegeanair.com

Alex Freeman

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BTUK September 2018
BTUK September 2018
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