I'm not one to complain, but I thought it would be useful to alert those who are visiting Santorini for the first time regarding the airport experience.
First and foremost, I would recommend that anyone with health conditions (physical and otherwise) be prepared for what my husband and I would classify as a chaotic and uncomfortable situation.
Upon arrival (3 hours before departure) via Thomas Cook transfer, we were dropped off at the adjoining pub/cafe to wait until we were called, in order to allow other earlier flight passengers get through and join their plane. (fair enough, as this is a very small airport) This was fine and relaxing.
An hour later, we were given the go ahead to join the VERY long queue number 1 of other passengers waiting to depart for our flight and several others. Queue number 2-check-in desk (collection of boarding passes and weigh in of checked bags) we were then instructed to join queue number 3 with our luggage (checked bags security scan, where we lifted bags again) By this time, the small room where all of this was happening was filling up and all queues were blending into 1 and no one knew which queue they should be in. We found queue number number 4 (security hand luggage check) and made our way through. By this time, we had been queuing and standing for 2 hours, squashed amongst hundreds of departing passengers. (no sign of Thomas Cook or airport reps to advise next steps) It was hot and everyone was tired and agitated.
Before we made it to the departing area (queue number 5) we heard an announcement that our flight had started boarding. We couldn't believe our ears, as most passengers were still coming through security, due to no fault of our own. We panicked but realised that they couldn't take off without us if everyone was still queuing.
The departing area (passport check) consisted of 1 police security staff member. We were at a standstill for at least another 40 minutes with no communication. This was due to the fact that if there were any police incidents in the airport, the passport check (police) had to attend to them and LEAVE the passport check-in queue. All of us who were due to leave were left to our own devices and had no idea what was happening. My husband and I were dehydrated and I had to climb over people and chairs to get a bottle of water from the kiosk.
An airport rep finally decided to shout for passengers due to depart on our flight and asked only us to come forward. (so we did) As this was happening, they announced final call for our flight..... (bear in mind we still needed to queue for the bus to take us to the plane!)-Queue number 6
When we reached the passport check, the police staff member couldn't let me through with my husband, because I had a US passport. He stated that the guy with the "stamp" was in arrivals and we had to wait until he finished his shift in order for me to go through. WHAT? 10 minutes later he arrived and I finally got through (after an announcement of "the plane is about to leave" and passengers need to make there way to the plane immediately)
After 3 hours on our feet and this experience, you can imagine how we felt. I can't imagine how those with health problems would survive that ordeal.
Many people who we spoke with whilst there said that this would put them off visiting Santorini again. It is such a beautiful and relaxing Island and this experience had almost erased all of that.
I would recommend that you notify your holiday rep before departing if you have health issues so that they can assist you. This was also off peak season, so I cannot imagine how it will be in July and August when it's 30-40 degrees.