Although weekend anti-austerity protests in the capital city of Greece left several injured and scores of buildings damaged by fire, the demonstrations have so far not affected flights in or out of Athens International (ATH).
No Protest-Related Delays at Athens Airport
The airport, which sees more than 15 million passengers a year, is served by two U.S. carriers, Delta and US Airways. Neither airline has listed any travel notice for Athens on their websites, although Delta does mention ongoing labor disputes affecting travel to France and bad weather delays in the northeastern U.S.
What You’ll Pay to Fly to Greece
Despite unrest, airline ticket prices to Greece aren’t down dramatically. According to airfare analyst Rick Seaney, roundtrip fares from New York to Athens are about $800 through the end of March, and prices jump dramatically – as usual – at the end of May. Airfares from Chicago are running about $300 higher. As Seaney says, “It’s not much of a bargain.”
Interestingly, airfares to Athens are running about 20% cheaper on U.S. airlines than most of the flagship carriers of Europe including British Airways. Even more striking, says Seaney, is how little of the total ticket cost is actually ‘airfare’: according to the analyst, fuel surcharges alone account for $400-$500 on tickets to Europe while other taxes add about $150 – meaning passengers pay in the mid-$600’s even before airfare is added to the total ticket price.
Stay in Touch with Flights to Greece
The U.S. State Department has not listed Greece in any travel warnings or alerts either, though the website’s country-specific information section offers the following caution:
“As a result of recent austerity measures imposed by the government, labor unions, certain professions, and other groups affected by the current financial crisis hold frequent demonstrations, work-stoppages, and marches throughout the center of Athens. Strikes in the transportation sector often affect traffic and public transportation, to include taxis, ports, and airports; most are of short duration, but you should always reconfirm domestic and international flights before heading to the airport.” – U.S. State Dept.
Most Popular Tourist Destinations in Greece
This is good news for the European nation since its predominately service economy – which includes tourism – accounts for nearly 80 percent of its gross domestic product.
The bad news is that, according to the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, growth in arrivals to Athens International was negative through much of last year. Apparently many more visitors are opting for islands like Rhodes and Kos which saw double-digit increases.