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Santorini airport experience

Level Contributor
10 posts
53 reviews
Santorini airport experience

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.

114 replies to this topic
Sandbach, United...
Destination Expert
for Perissa
Level Contributor
7,020 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Santorini airport experience

Sadly, your experience of Santorini Airport isn't that uncommon. It's barely fit for purpose now and is far to small and chaotic to cater for the vast numbers of people now using it.


Believe it or not, it used to be much worse!

Newmarket, United...
Destination Expert
for Antiparos
Level Contributor
8,879 posts
2. Re: Santorini airport experience

There have been several debates on this forum about direct flights to Santorini or Mykonos vs flights to Athens. I am in the Athens camp, connecting with a domestic flight or ferry to the islands. I have flown in and out of Santorini a couple of times on domestic flights with none of the above problems.

No doubt flying directly to/from Santorini is more convenient if you don't want to spend some time in Athens, but the tradeoff is using an airport not designed for the recent increase in summer budget/charter flights.

Your warning is good advice to come to the airport with a bottle of water, and arrive earlier than one would have thought necessary.

Edited: 5:47 am, May 26, 2015
Sandbach, United...
Destination Expert
for Perissa
Level Contributor
7,020 posts
27 reviews
3. Re: Santorini airport experience

From what the OP describes, I'd guess that they were on a Thomas Cook or Thomson cattle class charter, classic "Brits Tuesday" flight, hell on earth #firstworldproblems

4. Re: Santorini airport experience

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Linlithgow, United...
Level Contributor
1,075 posts
120 reviews
5. Re: Santorini airport experience

When we flew home on Sunday there was one security guy watching both the bag AND body scanner...

Level Contributor
41 posts
6. Re: Santorini airport experience

Yikes! I hope arriving there is not so bad. We are flying on a regular BA flight from LHR (not a charter) arriving next Thursday in the afternoon (4 June). I am glad we did not plan to arrive on Tuesday! Should we expect a chaotic scene to get out of there? Maybe it is worth booking the private transfer that is double the cost of a taxi so we won't have to join in a scrum.

Luckily, we leave the island by ferry to Naxos so we won't have to experience what you went through.

Sandbach, United...
Destination Expert
for Perissa
Level Contributor
7,020 posts
27 reviews
7. Re: Santorini airport experience

Flying in to Santorini isn't too bad actually.

You're bussed off the tarmac, go into passport "control" (a bored teenager gives your passport a cursory glance) and straight into the one-belt baggage reclaim area. Once you've got your baggage, go through the double doors and you're almost outside. The taxi rank is directly across the road.

The only time you'll get problems going in is if there are 2 couple of flights landing at the same time - the one and only baggage claim belt means that there can be bit of a scrum but that's usually as bad as it gets.

Departing from Santorini airport though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..................................

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
209 posts
49 reviews
8. Re: Santorini airport experience

Well although this experience sounds pretty horrendous, I am glad I have been fore warned. We can arrive at the airport to fly home with water/snacks expecting the worse and anything better than that will be a bonus. Arriving for first time in Santorini on Saturday 13 June and departing 10 days later on a Tuesday. Not going to let this ruin my holiday. Thanks for the heads up. X

Level Contributor
440 posts
77 reviews
9. Re: Santorini airport experience

On the way in it's ok - sunshine and relaxation are the other side. Passport control tend to look at the first few closely and then give up. On the way back it's hard to go from relaxed to carnage - but as long as you are mentally prepared it's do-able. I've done it several times now with my baby / toddler - now that's a challenge!

Level Contributor
602 posts
54 reviews
10. Re: Santorini airport experience

We arrived on an Easyjet flight on Friday 22nd, we had retrieved our bags, collected our hire car and were on our way within 30 minutes, hoping that leaving on Friday is almost as easy but not holding my breath! Will update after the event!!

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