20. IST-ATH-JTR on A3 in J/Y

20. IST-ATH-JTR on A3 in J/Y

We arrived to Istanbul’s airport by Taxi, and came to am empty Aegean Airlines counter to receive our boarding pass.  Since we were business class, we were given a “Fast Track” yard to use the expedited immigration lines in Istanbul airport.

We made our way over to immigration, and the area was a massive zoo, with a long line extending way past the rows of belted gates.  Even the “Fast Track” line had a long line.  It took us about 40 minutes to clear immigration.

After immigration, we made our way to the Turkish Airlines Business Class lounge.  Boy, were we impressed!  This is one of the nicest business class lounges I have ever seen.  Right away, there is a pool table and a massive bookshelf.  The place with huge, and it seems like at every corner was a food or beverage station.  They had fresh pide (turkish mini-pizzas) cooking.  Baklava and Burek everywhere.  We went for some Turkish Coffee, pide, and some fresh mint lemonade to refresh ourselves while we waited for our flight.

 

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The empty Aegean Airlines check-in area at Istanbul Airport.
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“Fast Track” cards to get through immigration quickly
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Long lines at Istanbul Immigration
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The fabulous Turkish Airways lounge in Istanbul
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A pool table?  Maybe I get excited easily, but that’s what’s up!

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We had to enjoy some freshly brewed Turkish coffee while we were there.

Our flight from Istanbul to Athens on Aegean Airlines was in Business Class.  It gave us a 1 hour, 50 minute connection in Athens to catch our flight to Santorini.  About 15 minutes before boarding, we made the ten minute walk to the gate.  Already the flight was showing a 20 minute delay, and regrettably that quickly escalated to a 1 hour delay.  1 hour had passed, and there was still no incoming aircraft, and with nervous exchanges we had a feeling we would not make our connection in Athens to Santorini.  I knew we were on the last Aegean flight of the day from Athens to Santorini.  We asked the ground staff if there were later flights, or other accommodations that could be made.  They noted nothing could be done for now, however Olympic Airlines had later flights that we could be rebooked on should we miss our connection.  It was somewhat comforting to know there was that as insurance, because we definitley did not want to spend the night in Athens.

Finally the plane arrived, and after a decently quick turn, we were boarded onto the flight to Athens.

Istanbul – Athens

A3 993

Departure Time: 4:00PM (Actual Time: 5:25PM)

Airbus A320

Business Class Seat 2C

Duration 1.8 hours

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Gate 207 in Istanbul Airport.

When they called for boarding, it was a big bum rush, although we were amongst the first to board.  We quickly got to our seats and got our bags up in the overhead.
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View from our seats, Business class had only 3 other passengers on it.  This row next to us was empty.
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Leg room was pretty good compared to Economy, my knees had 2-3 inches of space when my butt was pushed all the way back into my seat.
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Sparkling wine was brought out shortly after boarding.
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A menu was passed out, which was great for such a short flight.  We both went for the “Chicken Thighs” for our entree.
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Our entree.  For an Intra-Europe short-haul flight, I felt pretty good about the taste and the freshness of the meal, particularly the salad.

Well after a 1 hour and 50 minute flight, we landed in Athens.  This left us with 20 minutes to make our flight to Santorini.  This included going through European Union Immigration, exiting into the main terminal, and then coming back into the terminal, and going through security.  This was to be a real skills challenge.

Athens – Santorini

A3 358

Departure Time: 7:10PM

Airbus A320

Economy Class Seat 5F

Duration 35 minutes

But guess what?  We made it!  Luckily the airport was empty, we were amongst the first off the plane, immigration had no line, security had no line (although they did scrutinize my 80ml bottle of Gillette Shaving Cream for 1-2 precious minutes).  And we didn’t even fun, because I don’t run for flights.  We just walked really fast.  There were about 6-7 others who were making the same connection as us, and so they held the plane for us for about 10 minutes.  Had they pushed back on-time, we probably would have missed the flight with 2-3 minutes to spare.  But as soon as we deplaned from the Istanbul flight, an Aegean agent was there to tell us they were waiting and to hurry.  So I knew we would make it.

This flight was economy only, and was very short and full.  The seat pitch was tight, and my knees were firmly pressed up against the seat in front of us.  Being on a Sunday, the flight was loaded with honeymooners, fresh from their Saturday weddings all over Europe.  It kind of made us feel like we were on our honeymoon all over again.
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A view from our seats on the Economy Only Aegean A320.

We arrived in Santorini about 20-30 minutes late due to waiting for us, and some air traffic control delays.  We arrived at a remote parking stall and were unceremoniously bussed into the main terminal.  We were excited to be there where we would be spending five days at the Starwood Vedema Luxury Resort.  After hustling to make the flight, and me being exhausted from watching American Football all night, we were excited to be there!

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