Cheaper flights to Athens from 4th June
Athens Airways will commence their flights between Zakythos and Athens on 4th June, offering tickets from 66€.
The airline had originally announced that seats would cost as little as 19€ creating a wave of excitement. Athens Airways Public Relations Director, Margie Anifantaki, told us, “The original idea was to sell tickets for just 1€ plus tax, however, due to additions to the schedule, such as Zakynthos, the company decided that new routes would be at a cost of 44€ plus tax”. This brings the total cost of a flight from Zakynthos to Athens to 66€.
A flight from Athens to Zakythos is slightly more expensive due to higher airport fees at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, with these figures a return ticket can cost as little as 140€.
Athens Airways offer three options when booking flights, the current options from Zakynthos to Athens are:
Saver or Non Flexible – cost 44€ + 22€ tax – Total 66€
This option does not allow for changes and does not offer refunds in the case of cancellation
Semi Flexible – cost 88€ + 22€ tax – Total 110€
There is a 20€ fee for ticket changes with this option and in the case of no available seat in the same fare type, the difference between the existing ticket and the available fare type has to be paid. Refunds can only be given in the form of a voucher to be redeemed against a new ticket. Cancellation fee - 20€ before flight departure and 40€ after flight departure.
Premium – Flexible – cost 136€ + 22€ tax – Total 158€
No fee for ticket changes. Full money refund or voucher by Athens Airways, which is only redeemable against a new ticket. No fee for before flight cancellation, 20€ if after flight departure. This option also includes priority booking and priority luggage pick up.
Athens Airways is an on-line booking company, however those who do not have internet access or a credit card can book at local travel agents for a small fee. Penny Draper from Zakyta Travel told us, “We are very excited as this will provide better connections for those wanting to travel internationally, and will make the island more accessible for locals and tourists. The island needs more availability of flight companies, as so many people want to travel and do their own things”. Penny is also the agent for newcomer Kiss Flights formed by ex Commercial Director at the former Freedom Flights, Michael Smith. He was joined at Kiss by Freedom Flights Director Paul Moss 3 days after the XL Leisure Group collapse. Penny told us, “Kiss are a flight only company, but you cannot book one ways from here to of from UK only return from the UK. However, if there are available seats from Zakynthos tot he UK one way (either Manchester or London Gatwick) then we have the allotment and we can sell them as the 'ticketing sales agent' for KISS/VIKING flights.” Regarding prices, Penny said that they will probably be around 80€ in May, going up as the season goes on.
Kiss provides ATOL protected flights from Manchester and Gatwick to eleven different destinations world-wide including 7 Greek Islands, Canary Islands, Dalaman, Sham el Sheikh and Hurghada.
Kiss Flights states the following on its website:
“Our aim is to deliver outstanding service, competitive prices and commission to the independent travel agent. We’ve chosen the most popular destinations including Egypt, Greece, Turkey and the Canary Islands specifically for the independent travel trade and with the dynamic packaging market firmly in mind”.
We spoke to Operations Manager at Kiss, William Phillips who told us the company will be using seats on Monarch and Thomson flights. Unlike the 'bucket seating' option used by companies such as EasyJet, where it is cheaper the earlier you book, Kiss can offer cheap last minute flights. Limited allocation seats began from 3rd May with the company's Viking Programme kicking in on the 5th July, offering more choice. Mr Phillips gave us an indication of costs, with a return flight to the UK on 5th July at 271€, and at present one of the cheapest deals available was a return from Manchester or London Gatwick in September for 191€.
With the news of Athens Airways commencing their summer flight schedule to Zakynthos, we called Olympic Airlines central offices in Athens to get their reaction.
The company's Public Relations Department said that at the moment they have no plans to reduce their prices. They stressed that the airline offers flights from 178€ for a round trip between Zakynthos and Athens. Their spokesperson told the Zante News, “The earlier passengers book the better, the price of 178€ includes all taxes and is what we offer on our website. Booking through agents or at the airport can add a further 10€ to the price.”
Comparing Olympic's service with other similar airlines he said, “Olympic also offer a wider choice, with links from Zakynthos to Athens, Kefalonia, Corfu and Thessaloníki.”
Asked if he considers Olympic a competitive airline in today's market he said, “Yes, we cannot judge what each company chooses to offer, and this offer from Athens Airways could be a promo, but Olympic Airlines provide a good service”. On future changes he added, “We have no plans to make any changes in May, from then on, we'll see”.