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Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Scotland, United...
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Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Things I wish I'd Known...

Arrival: I wish I had known what to expect on arrival at Heraklion on a Sunday at the beginning of June. We had to wait on the tarmac in full 30 degree sun for half an hour on arrival with nothing to drink and no access to shade or sunscreen. I felt sorry for the young families struggling to keep their kids cool and calm. The arrivals hall isn't really big enough to fit a planeload of visitors.

Next time I;ll bring a bottle of water from the plane to drink in the queue, and I'll know that the quickest moving queue is on the left of the arrivals hall, or at least its for EU citizens. Of course when you're queueing outside there's no way of knowing which line you're in unless you've been before.

Departure: When departing we had to queue for ages outside in the heat of the day, coralled by our tour reps until our check-in desk was open. I later read someone on Tripadvisor advising not to be herded by reps. There is no reason why you can't go inside in the cooler airconditioned airport and use the facilities/rehydrate/wait for the check-in to open. Independent travellers had the upper hand at this point.

I was more than a little surprised at the facilities or lack of them at the airport. In the airside waiting area the flights were displayed on a couple of really ancient tv screens, one of which we could barely read, the screen was so useless.

Everest Catering was responsible for fleecing customers of their last few euros for takeaway fodder - no dining tables to sit eat your food at, and no trays to carry your purchases back to the family. What a shambles and very awkward when trying to juggle drinks, food and snacks for everyone. I'm pretty laid back when travelling but Everest Catering and their dour looking counter staff got me somewhere close to angry for charging me 17 euros for 4 bottles of iced tea and an equally stupid amount of money for an inedible feta pastry, a couple of spinach and cheese triangles and an aging baquette and a 4 euro bag of crisps. The food and drink on our plane looked cheap by comparison!

I loved Crete and its people so very much, but the airport experience seemed designed to ensure that visitors don't return. I wish I had known what to expect on departure, as I would most definitely have brought a picnic, and ensured we had enough drink for standing in the queue. On the plus side, there were free samples of raki in the duty free, just a shame we didn't have time to avail of it.

I hate to think what transitting through Heraklion airport will be like in the busy months, but perhaps it helps if people know what to expect so they can be prepared.

Has anyone got any tips on how to make this part of the journey go more smoothly, or perhaps had a more positive experience than us?

124 replies to this topic
Sale, United Kingdom
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for Crete
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71. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Maybe it's the surprise of, having checked in, you then have to join another queue with your bags??

I'm speaking personally now, but when you check in at a UK airport, there's a kind of feeling that your bags have set off and you are free to go as well. Only if you are coming home from Greece with luggage you have to cope with the extra step of joining a queue for Xray as well. To me, it's not a problem, I know what I will have to do it, but I guess a first-timer wouldn't, and it could be a big and nasty surprise.

Surrey, United...
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72. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Hi there

I took some photos at Herkalion Airport a few days ago which I have posted on TA Photos, once they are published I will put a link.....not a queue in sight, and lots of seats.....as it has been for every flight that I have done this year :-)

London, United...
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73. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Hi MG

That's exactly what I mean! I don't understand why conditions vary so widely, and why people have such very different experiences. Of course I believe you, and am glad for you; but I also believe the bad experiences that others report; and as I've said, I've had bad experiences myself. I'm still puzzling about the cause of these enormous variations in conditions in the airport, and experiences in the airport.

It doesn't seem to be entirely due to the big changeover days, as GB suggests: as you've said that you have had no problems on Tuesdays. There may be something in Steve's suggestion that it's to do with the extra queue for Xray - but Chania airport has an Xray queue too, but it's well managed and has never taken me more than a couple of minutes to get through.

I'm still wondering. :-)

Edited: 4:33 pm, October 05, 2013
Surrey, United...
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74. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

I'm not sure either ... And I have travelled on a Tuesday too.. And different easyjet flights throughout the year, as I have said before I think a lot of the problems was the Russians as they have to have their passports stamped and don't tend to understand or adhere to the no liquid regulations which can impact on the queues for passport control and security... But the airport are trying to address these problems and when arriving on our last trip we arrived to a huge queue for passport control but within 2 mins another emigration guy arrived and fast tracked all the uk passport holders....so from landing to getting outside the airport was 15 mins ..

With regards to the additional queue for the x ray machine I have also experienced this in both Rhodes and Corfu airport this year where you have too queue in an additional queue to have your cases x rayed , so it's not just Crete .!!

London, United...
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75. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Now that sounds a reasonable explanation. Thanks MG! I hope you continue to have trouble-free passages through Heraklion airport. I hope I do too, when I next brave it.

Kalinichta. :0)

Devizes, United...
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76. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

There were quite a lot of Russians on our EJ flight to Iraklion in September, one family group of 7 or 8 and others. They took a long time to get through immigration as apparently there were forms they should have completed prior to arriving which they hadn't done, plus as MG says, they require stamps in their passports and they didn't even have the gumption to have retrieved those from their bags prior to the passport control booths.

And they push in, and they shout....;0)

Athens, Greece
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77. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

it is true that russians are just discovering greece...the process to enter the country is still not easy enough (a main reason why they have chosen turkey untill now,along with the low cost i guess)..

the greek government is supposed to be targetting more and more to them ..apparently they spend a lot of money ( i have read here that those in AI hotels spend nothing,but those who go SC seem to spend more than anyone else)..

ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/…2013_514302

.from what i see here i can only guess that since their income has recently risen they are not the most experienced travelers and they don't realize how strict the flying rules are..in my opinion these rules are too strict after 9/11 and should be loosened..no terrorist is targetiing greece anyway..it is a shame that people can't take back home as much olive oil or ouzo as they want..it would be an extra source of income from the tourism

Devizes, United...
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78. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

I think it's easy to see the ever-increasing influence Russian visitors are having on Greece. In Crete last month, some excursion agencies were specifically for Russians, as were some car rental companies. Many restaurants and bars now have menus in Russian, those with A-boards outside often had Russian on them and nothing else. As you walk down the hill from Anissaras to Hersonissos, there are a dozen large fur shops, all aimed at the Russian visitors and more in Hersonissos selling smaller stuff like bags and casual wear.

From our experience, the Russians were invariably impeccably dressed, a show of wealth no doubt, but a shirt and suit in 35 degrees?

Blackburn, United...
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79. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

A nightmare - totally disorganised and unable to cope with large volumes of travelers. Limited information re outgoing flights and no organised queues for passport control. We were there more than 2 hours before flight home but almost missed it due to crowds of people and no proper information. (September, so not even peak time) On the plus side, Crete is beautiful and people friendly, just be prepared for stressful airport experience.

ibrox glasgow
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80. Re: Iraklion/Heraklion Airport - What to expect

Oh well , im back off again in June last year's scrum didn't put me off my elbows can be as sharp as anyone else's when it comes to people pushing in

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