REVIEW: SKY EXPRESS FLIGHT SANTORINI-ATHENS

Following our recent experiences flying domestically in Greece with Aegean and Ellinair we decided to give another newcomer a try: Sky Express. Just like Ellinair, Sky Express does not have a reward program so even though the lack of mile collection or of any benefits did “hurt” us a little, we were still excited to give it a go so we could compare it to the other two main domestic carriers.  After an unforgettable stay at the gorgeous Mystique hotel in Santorini (detailed review here) we were ready to head home on Sky Express. So let’s take a closer look at our experience:


Overall: Pleasant flight with good service and overall flight benefits. Sky Express offers a free checked bag on all fares and lounge access (in Athens and Thessaloniki only) both of which are great benefits. However, it operates small planes which are not the most comfortable, especially noise-wise, and you will almost definitely won’t be able to take a proper carry-on onboard due to the strict size/weight limits. The lack of online check-in is also a big miss. Compared to Aegean or Ellinair, we would only choose Sky Express if it was significantly cheaper or if the flight time was more convenient. 

Booking and check-in: Booking the flight was pretty easy. There are types of economy fares (business is not offered) which offer progressively more flexibility and baggage allowance. However, the allowances are fairly restrictive across all three fares: on Just Fly you can have a 3kg carry-on allowance while on the more expensive Plus and All In fares this increases to 6kg. The allowed size is quite small, measuring 35cm (H) x 45cm (W) x 20cm (D). Aegean allows an 8kg carry-on measuring up to 56x45x25 (or 55x40x23 on the DH8 and ATR aircrafts) as well as a personal item (e.g. laptop case). Ellinair allows a 8 or 5kg (on small aircrafts) carry-on measuring up to 55x40x20 as well as a personal item. It’s easy to see that Sky Express has the most restrictive policy of three main carriers which means you will likely have to check your bag. This means more time wasted at the airport (plus the possibility of having your bag lost) which is a big disadvantage. Checked baggage-wise, the cheaper fares only have a 13kg allowance which increases up to 23kg on the most expensive fares. In addition, we weren’t able to choose our seat in advance (maybe because we booked through an OTA?) or to do online check-in which again, meant we had to waste more time check-in at the airport (even if we did have a carry-on that was within the allowance). All of these might sound like small details but if you travel a lot or have a tight connection or just don’t want to spend extra time at the airport then you need to keep them in mind.

Lounge: You will not find any lounges at Santorini airport so in that regard, there is no advantage to flying any airline from Santorini. However, for flights starting in Athens or Thessaloniki, Sky Express offers free lounge access to all passengers! This is a big differentiator for the airline which softens some of the shortcomings mentioned above. In Athens, Sky Express uses Skyserv’s Melina Merkouri lounge at B gates. It’s a very basic lounge, so do not expect anything remotely similar to the Lufthansa lounge or the Aegean lounge but for a free lounge it does the trick and at least gives you a place to sit and grab a drink before your flight.

 

The seat: For now, Sky Express only operates domestic flights on small, propeller planes in a 2×2 configuration. This is great if you are travelling with someone as you can be seated together. The seats are pretty comfortable though not as comfortable as the seats on Aegean’s A320 and A321 which usually operate the flights to the popular domestic destinations, such as Santorini. You will also find noticeably less overheard space for your hand luggage. Finally, propeller planes are also significantly noisier which is not a huge deal on a short flight but just something to bear in mind.

Food/Service: Overall, the service was pleasant and the crew’s presentation, like at Ellinair, was immaculate. However, we weren’t served any drinks or a small snack like the other domestic carriers do. We only got a wet wipe and some candy. Even thought this is a short flight, the service was essentially non-existent, at least based on Sky Express’ claim of having “free in-flight service”.

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