Voice actor, author, sound engineer Ant Richards is also an avid traveler, and music geek who loves sharing his travel & music experiences.
I booked the flight online through EasyJet’s website (www.easyjet.com ) about five months prior the trip. Due to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, I feared an onslaught of people booking travel, so I wanted to get a good fare as we were three adults travelling.
For this trip, I checked not only EasyJet, but British Airways and Aegean, but EasyJet came up with the best fares besides times that suited our needs to maximise time there.
Like all low-costs, EasyJet bombards you with all types of ancillary add-ons. You add what you require for an additional fee. In our case, we added one (1) checked bag in the hold weighing no more than 23kg. In addition, we paid £5.99 for (standard) seat selection each (£5.99 x6) at the time of booking.
In the end, the whole fare came up to GBP471.00 for the three of us.
A fairly straightforward booking process once you are able to dodge those sneaky unwanted additional costs.
Let's fly away
EasyJet opens its online check-in around 30 days before the outbound flight.
I did our check-in via their website, and printed our boarding passes – yes, I know, awfully old-school. Having already BA, SQ & TAP apps on my phone, I can’t bear the sight of one more airline app, unless of course, I plan to travel EasyJet on a regular basis.
Before being able to check-in, I had to complete the API for all the travelling party. Again, a straightforward process.
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At the airport
EasyJet operates out of Gatwick’s North Terminal.
On this occasion, because of the early departure of the flight, and my reluctance to drive long distances in the dark due to a condition I have in my left eye, I decided to Uber it to the airport.
Scheduled departure time was 05.55.
Because of all the horror stories of delays, queues, human sacrifices and gruesome carnage that had been circulating in the news, we decided to arrive 3 hours before departure. That meant being picked up from home at the ungodly hour of 2am. Which also meant not sleeping in almost 24 hours.
We arrived at Gatwick at close to 2.45am, and there was already a respectable crowd of passengers.
As expected, we had to queue at check-in, but despite the crowd, we completed that process fairly quick.
Security was also busy, but we snaked through without much drama.
In total, from drop-off to airside we took just under 40 minutes, and no loss of limbs, blood or dignity.
Gate number appeared on schedule, and we proceeded to boarding area.
On this occasion we had to be bussed to the aircraft as this was parked in a remote stand.
That said, boarding was rather orderly.
Presently, Greece do not require proof of Covid-19 vaccine or tests.
Up, up, and away...
Upon entering the aircraft, we were greeted and welcomed by the friendly staff.
This flight was probably 80% full, with my luck that the row next to ours was completely empy, allowing me to take residency of it after take-off, where I spread out for some much needed sleep, not to mention having the window all to myself.
This Airbus A320 had quite a clean and welcoming look.
in line with the current trend, seats are very slim with leather[like] upholstery, and non-reclinable. Pitch is fairly comfortable for someone my height (5’7 – 173cm), which makes for a passable and comfortable short-haul flight. The seats' black (or is it dark grey) with EasyJet’s distinctive orange stripes contrast with the white cabin panels, giving a bright feel to the cabin.
In addition, seats, floor and areas under seats were clean.
We got liftoff!
A very small delay for push-back due to queues for take-off meant we left 20-25 minutes behind schedule. This however was made up for during the flight, which took around 2h50m.
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Food glorious food!
Being a low-cost carrier, you pay for everything on EasyJet bar the air you breathe.
This said, despite the offers in their in-flight menu, we were told no hot meals would be served on board with no reasonable (or credible) reason given. To add to this, many of the snack advertised in the menu were not even available, so a very basic offering meant that landing could not come any sooner.
Let me entertain you
Being an aircraft tailored for short flights, you won’t find back-seat TV screens on board. Bar the menu (on this occasion, as useful as a chocolate tea-pot) and the security card, there was nothing else in terms of reading material to while away the hours. Not sure if this is still a COVID-19 legacy, or simple cost-cutting measures.
Bring your own book, or tablet or make sure your smartphone is well juiced up.
Are you well served?
Despite all the above, service was courteous, and friendly, and efficient. There was a mix of English and Greek speaking staff. Greeting upon boarding and farewell on disembarkation was warm and friendly too.
We landed at 11.30, just 15 minutes behind schedule.
Thessaloniki Makedonia airport, although quite modern looking does not have air-bridges that plug to the aircraft, therefore boarding and deplaning are via staircase. However, because most aircraft park in front of the terminal building there is no need for bus, instead a short and balmy walk to the terminal welcomes you to this city.
In all honesty, I personally enjoy experiencing this old-school experience once in a while provided it is not scorching hot or hosing down in rain.
Immigration was swift, and by the time we reached the baggage collection area, most of the flight’s bags were already getting dizzy going round the conveyor belt.
So from disembarking to taxi rank it must have taking no more than 30 minutes.
Welcome to Thessaloniki
City Hotel - A good and centrally located option for your stay
- City Hotel | 4-Star Hotel in the Center of Thessaloniki
City Hotel offers modern 4-star accommodation with an urban nature design and eco-friendly atmosphere. Situated in the centre of Thessaloniki, City Hotel allows you to tap into the energy of the city with Tsimiski Street and Aristotelous Square close
I checked-in for the return flight a month prior to first departure as explained in the outbound review.
At the airport
Thessaloniki Makedonia airport has only one main terminal so pretty much everything is concentrated in one building. A spacious building for that matter, so there was no feeling of large crowds even though the airport was fairly busy by the time we arrived.
Check-in for low-cost airlines are at one end of the departure area.
With only a small handful of passengers in front of us in the queue, we arrived at the desp fairly quick.
All went well until the over-zealous agent noticed out cabin bags looked slightly larger than the minimum requirements. Measured against the apparatus used to check dimensions, we sadly did not pass the test by mere centimetres meaning having to pay €29 per bag and have them checked-into go in the hold.
In the grand scheme of things it was fortunate for us, maybe carelessly for EasyJet that that detail was ignored at Gatwick.
At first I was livid and clearly made my views known, until I got home and realised in retrospect, we had been lucky and actually saved around £60 had that been picked up on our outbound flight.
Passport control too was swift.
Airside is basic, functional with its usual array of over-priced eateries and duty-free shops, etc. All this however, in airy and uncluttered surroundings.
As the incoming flight from LGW arrived on schedule, we expected an on-time departure.
Indeed, gate was displayed at the scheduled time and we proceeded to the boarding area.
Like on arrival, we boarded via outdoor staircase following a short walk from the terminal building.
Greeted by cabin crew we proceeded to our seats. Unlike the outbound, this flight was almost full.
Like on out outbound flight, this A320 was clean, bright, and welcoming, especially considering it had only arrived 40 minutes before we boarded.
On this occasion, the flight left on time. Again, clear and friendly safety and general announcement in both Greek and English.
Efaristo polis Thessaloniki
Are you well served?
Again, a reasonably good service, yet still the issue with the choice of food and drink.
Following our timely departure, we arrived over English airspace within schedule. We actually landed 10 minutes ahead of our original ETA.
This time we did disembark via an airbridge. A 10 or so-minute walk from our satellite saw us arriving to a busy passport control however, going through the e-passport machines got us to baggage collection just as our cases were starting to arrive on the belts.
This was my second time flying with EasyJet, and despite the confusion with the cabin bags in SKG, I must admit is was overall, a pleasant experience.
Being a low-cost carrier, it would be interesting to see however, how they weigh up when things go wrong; that in my view is how one measures how good or not an airline is.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Ant Richards