Travel

Review: Aegean Airlines Business Class Airbus A321

After three nights at the spectacular Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, it was time to fly to Athens, the last stop on our five country European adventure. While I had visited Greece earlier this summer, in this case we were just briefly returning for a wedding.

How I redeemed miles for Aegean Airlines business class

We needed to fly from Amsterdam to Athens, and fortunately Aegean Airlines had plenty of award availability on the following flight:

07/22 A3625 Amsterdam to Athens departing 12:05PM arriving 4:20PM

Aegean Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, so we were able to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan points (transfered from Amex Membership Rewards) for this reservation. The ticket cost 25,000 Aeroplan points plus $73 in taxes & fees per person. While not my best award redemption ever, it was convenient, and an economy ticket would have cost over $300 per person.

Aegean Airlines check-in & boarding

We arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at around 10:30AM, just over 90 minutes before departure. The airport was pretty busy, but we quickly found Aegean Airlines’ check-in desk. There was no queue in the business class and Star Alliance Gold line, so we were helped within a moment.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport check-in hall
Aegean Airlines check-in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

We were issued boarding passes for an 11:25AM boarding. Our flight was departing from gate B23, and we were also invited to use the Aspire Lounge, though we didn’t end up using it, but rather decided to head straight to the gate and get some work done on our laptops.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport departure hall

Our Aegean Airlines A321 was already parked at the gate, and the gate area was extremely crowded.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A321

Boarding ended up starting at 11:10AM — 15 minutes ahead of schedule — and was a mess. Group 1 and Group 4 were invited to board first. The biggest problem was that there was no way to actually get up to the gate. There were barriers along the side of the gate, so there was maybe an area a few feet wide where you could walk towards the gate agent, but basically everyone for the flight was lined up, even though they weren’t called to board yet.

Aegean Airlines departure gate

I tend to think that boarding in the United States is a mess, but sometimes Europe takes it to a whole different level.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A321 business class cabin & seats

As is the standard on intra-Europe flights, business class simply consisted of economy seats with a blocked middle. On this particular flight there were three rows of business class, and then a red curtain separated that from the economy cabin.

Aegean Airlines business class cabin Airbus A321

On the plus side, there were some things that made this better than your typical intra-Europe business class product. While the seats were very thin, the legroom was much better than usual, and didn’t at all feel restrictive.

Aegean Airlines business class seats Airbus A321
Aegean Airlines business class seats Airbus A321
Aegean Airlines business class legroom Airbus A321

Furthermore, there was a center console where you could place drinks or other items during the flight. Nowadays many airlines have gotten rid of this feature, so I was happy to see this.

Aegean Airlines business class center tray table Airbus A321

As usual, the tray table folded out from the seat in front.

Aegean Airlines business class tray table Airbus A321

The overhead consoles were modern, and had individual air nozzles, reading lights, and there were even television screens that popped down.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A321 overhead console & TV

Unfortunately Aegean Airlines doesn’t have power ports or Wi-Fi on its Airbus A321s.

Our flight was packed — 10 of the 12 business class seats were occupied, and best I could tell, just about every economy class seat was full as well. I was grateful to have some extra room to stretch out, compared to economy.

Aegean Airlines business class cabin Airbus A321

Departing Amsterdam

At 11:55AM the main cabin door closed, at which point the safety video was screened. 15 minutes later we began our pushback. Parked next to us was a Sky Express Airbus A320 — it’s funny that they put the two Greek planes next to one another.

Sky Express Airbus A320

There was quite a bit of traffic at Schiphol Airport, so the plane spotting opportunities were good.

TUI Boeing 737
Transavia Boeing 737

We ended up taxiing to runway 36L, which was quite a distance away. We were cleared for takeoff around 12:30PM, for our roughly 2hr50min flight to Athens. It was a beautiful afternoon in the Netherlands as we took off, and I enjoyed the views.

View after takeoff from Amsterdam
View after takeoff from Amsterdam

Aegean Airlines business class food & drink service

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff, and shortly thereafter the service began. Passengers were first offered sanitizing wipes.

Aegean Airlines sanitizing towels

Menus and drink lists were then distributed. I like how Aegean Airlines offers menus, since many airlines don’t offer that within Europe. The menu and drink list read as follows:

Aegean Airlines business class menu
Aegean Airlines business class drink list

After menus were distributed, tray liners were brought out. While minor, this is also a nice touch that you don’t find on many airlines on similar routes.

Aegean Airlines business class tray liner

We were then offered drinks, and I requested a Diet Coke, which was served in proper glassware.

Aegean Airlines business class drink service

The entire meal was served on one tray, and most of the dishes came covered, as many airlines do because of the pandemic.

Aegean Airlines business class lunch service

All things considered Aegean Airlines serves quite hearty meals. All business class passengers were served an appetizer of quinoa salad with smoked chicken and rocket leaves, a cheese course with crackers, two rolls, and a Greek pudding with raisins and nuts.

Aegean Airlines business class lunch service

Then there was the choice of two main courses. The first main course choice was chicken thigh in lemon sauce served with greek pasta. This is what I ordered, and I’ve gotta be honest, it didn’t taste great.

Aegean Airlines business class lunch

The other option was a veal fillet in tomato sauce served with potato mash. Ford ordered this and said it was okay, but not amazing.

Aegean Airlines business class lunch

Aegean Airlines has a pretty good coffee selection, including cappuccinos. I ordered a cappuccino, which was surprisingly decent, and served with two chocolates.

Aegean Airlines business class cappuccino & chocolate

Later on in the flight, about an hour before landing, I ordered a glass of still water and a Greek coffee. The Greek coffee didn’t taste very good, as it was instant. Admittedly that’s totally on me, because it was advertised as such on the menu.

The bigger issue was that the center tray table that I placed the coffee on collapsed mid-flight, so the coffee spilled all over the place, including on my laptop and Ford’s pants and shoes. Oops.

Aegean Airlines business class coffee & water

Aegean Airlines business class service

I’ve consistently had great service on Aegean Airlines, and have found flight attendants to be friendly and attentive, and this flight was no exception. The two flight attendants working business class were excellent, and constantly checked on passengers.

Greece can be a mixed bag when it comes to service, with some great and some not-so-great service, but I find that Aegean Airlines is pretty consistently good.

Aegean Airlines business class lavatory

There was a lavatory at the front of the cabin. While it was pretty no frills, it was clean and was exclusively reserved for business class passengers, so there wasn’t typically a line to use it.

Aegean Airlines business class lavatory

Arriving in Athens

We ended up touching down in Athens at 4:20PM, and then had a five minute taxi to our remote stand. We parked next to an Aegean Airbus A320neo in the new livery. While not a particularly imaginative livery, I do think it’s an improvement over the old one, and I quite like it.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A320 in new livery

In this case arriving at a remote stand worked in our favor. Of course as an avgeek it’s fun to get such a cool view of a plane from the outside.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A321
Aegean Airlines Airbus A321
Aegean Airlines Airbus A321

The other nice thing, though, was that there was a private bus for business class passengers, so we were on our way almost immediately. Not only was the bus spacious, but arriving at a remote stand meant we’d be dropped off right at baggage claim. We also got a pretty cool view of an Aeroflot 777 on our drive.

Aeroflot Boeing 777

Getting out of the airport was quick, and within minutes we were on our way to our destination.

Bottom line

Aegean Airlines offers an above average intra-Europe business class product. Legroom is good, flight attendants are friendly, and the food is usually better than what you’ll find on most airlines (though in this case I personally didn’t love the food).

I do wish Aegean offered power ports and Wi-Fi. Aegean’s new A320neos at least have USB outlets, though that’s it.

If you’ve flown Aegean business class, what was your experience like?

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