10 Nov REVIEW: AEGEAN AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS
Business class on Aegean airlines is pretty much what you’d find on most European carriers. The question therefore is always whether the extra benefits justify the additional cost. We tried business class with Aegean from Athens to Paris to give you our thoughts on this:
Overall: Business class on Aegean airlines, just like on almost any other European airline, is a totally different experience compared to a long-haul business class product. The experience on Aegean is not too different from the other European carriers but it does give you more flexibility with your ticket. As a Star Alliance Gold, we definitely wouldn’t pay a heavy premium for it (more than €60-80 one way compared to economy) but if you find a reasonably-priced ticket then it’s a good experience and a nice way to earn more miles and have flexibility.
Booking: Business class on Aegean airlines has two main advantages over most European carriers: a) the ability to change your ticket for free by just paying any difference in fare and b) the option to cancel your ticket with only a €20 charge because you have to contact the call center. Just remember that these two benefits don’t apply to any economy tickets that have been upgraded using Miles+Bonus Gold/Silver upgrade vouchers (can only be used on all Flex tickets or GoLight except for U,T and P class). In that case, your original fare rules apply and you will have to contact the call center if you need to make any changes (change or cancel the ticket) which means you’ll get charged at least €20. To find the best fares on Aegean and make a booking we recommend using their low fare calendar which you can find here.
Check–in: Check-in at Athens airport is usually pretty quick especially if you are a Business class or Star Alliance Gold passenger. There was almost no waiting time at check-in via the Business class/Star Alliance Gold line and we then got to use the Star Alliance Gold fast track at security. All in all, we were in the lounge in under 10’ after our arrival at the airport! However, these are benefits that even Star Alliance Gold economy passengers get to enjoy…
Lounge: Aegean’s business class passengers get access to its “flagship” lounge at Athens airport, which is at B gates (Aegean uses the Swissport Executive Lounge at the A gates, which are for non-Schengen flights). Aegean’s lounge is ok though nothing to write home about as you can see in our previous review (however, the lounge is due to get a makeover over the next few months). We prefer the Lufthansa lounge which is right next to it. Once again though, lounge access is obviously a benefit that you get even as an economy passenger if you are Star Alliance Gold.
Swissport lounge @ Athens airport (A gates)
Boarding and the seat: Aegean is very good at recognizing Business class/Star Alliance Gold benefits so we were the first to board the plane which is crucial if you are need to find overhead space to store your luggage. Almost all of Aegean’s European routes use an A320/1. As a business class passenger you can pre-select your seat via the call center (though we’d much prefer the ability to do this online). Ideally, you should go for a first row seat which offers more legroom. As an economy Miles+Bonus Gold passenger you can still pre-select your seat though on all Aegean/Olympic flights though this benefit does not apply to any other Star Alliance Gold passengers. Business class is in the usual 2×2 arrangement with an empty seat in between that you can use as storage. Aside from that, there is absolutely no other difference in terms of the “hard” product. Especially if you are travelling on an A321 and can “score” one of the exit row seats (see pictures below) you will have an experience that is not too far off from business class.
Food/service: Food is probably the only part of the experience that feels noticeably “upgraded” compared to economy. Aegean usually offers two options for the main course as well as a starter and a dessert. You also get two choices of red and another two choices of white wine as well as other spirits. One of the nicer touches is the ability to order Illy espresso or cappuccino which might sound like a small feat but even British airways in First class often gets it wrong! Our food was very tasty and nicely presented. Aegean offers Greek flavors on all its meals which is definitely the right thing for a Greek airline. Service is always very pleasant (it’s pretty much the same in economy too) and it’s worth mentioning that you get hot towel service at the beginning and end of your meal.