Why is it so expensive to get to Athens?

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by pnoeric, Jan 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. pnoeric

    pnoeric Silver Member

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    Hey, this is just a general question-- I'm working on a trip to Greece in August and in doing a quick search on ITA for the lowest economy RT fare LAX-ATH that month, I'm finding ~$1400 on Star Alliance (TK)... ~$1700 on Oneworld (MA, IB, BA and AA). That seems expensive, but I don't have a frame of reference... maybe it's like this every summer, or maybe Athens is an especially difficult destination.

    I see it drops to ~$1200 in May... so I guess I'm just paying a premium for summer travel. Does anyone know if AA/Oneworld has fare sales to Greece?
     
  2. DCA1K

    DCA1K Silver Member

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    It is hard to predict what fares to Greece will do, since the Greek economy/strikes is making tourists question whether it is a wise choice for 2012. Airlines, like UA, http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/ewr-ath-gone-next-summer.22019/page-2#post-950027 seem to be cutting back on seat inventory and that drives up prices. OTOH, fewer travelers means less demand which should drop prices some. IME, prices have historically tended to drop in late (last week of) August. This may be a good destination to burn some miles this year.

    Let us know what you find.
     
  3. pnoeric

    pnoeric Silver Member

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    Interesting! Ok, thanks... I'll keep an eye on things and report back if/when fares move. I am hoping that the uncertainty in Greece translates to better airfares, definitely.
     
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  4. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    July and August are Greece's peak tourist season so prices tend to get crazy. I remember price increases when I was there on July 1st - not horrible at the time, but relatively speaking it can be a big jump.

    When I went in June 2002, I took KLM and booked SFO-AMS-ATH ten weeks out and it was something like $1300 ai RT, so maybe $1400 isn't entirely out of the question?
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    August is high season in Greece, while May is shoulder season in general. Even if airfares do not drop, due to capacity cuts, I would expect hotel prices to fall since brick and mortar hotel inventory cannot be cut so suddenly. Airplanes are "capital with wings."
     
  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    That strikes me as a reasonable fare. Look at lax/lhr, lax/cdg or lax/fco. It's just about all the same. I don't see Athens getting singled out.

    If anything, there may be some cuts in ath service as their economy slows...
     
  7. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    It's too bad as it seems like Greece pulling out of the EU is less likely these days. I was hoping to go afterwards to be able to get a decent exchange rate and enjoy Europe without spending an arm and a leg. Alas, I'll be in Rome and Paris instead spending a retarded amount of money.
     
  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    you are
    exactly!!

    pnoeric, are you trying to visit Athens only or are you attempting to visit any of the Greek islands?
     
  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I don't think the situation for Greece has necessarily improved in any material sense. Their issues will take a decade to work out, but we may yet have the drachma to kick around again.
     
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  10. Robin
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    Robin Silver Member

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    I've been going to Greece during the summer (usually July) for the past 8 years. Prices have definitely gone up. Used to be around $900. Once in a while I've seen $1,200, but most fares start at $1,400. I've searched alternative stop over routes and using mixed carriers to no avail. So for me redeeming FF miles is the way to go. Good luck on your search.
     
  11. pnoeric

    pnoeric Silver Member

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    I think my final itinerary will include Athens, Santorini, Crete and Mykonos. I don't have to fly into ATH... heck, I don't even have to fly into Greece; if it makes more sense to fly somewhere near and take an LCC, a car or a train in, I'm fine with that. About the only "hard and fast" on this trip is that it needs to be in August, and I'd like to get there with a rev ticket on AA since I need the miles. ;-)
     
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  12. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Robin, are you going to the islands or staying on the mainland? I've both heard (from Greeks) & read that July & Aug are just hell as things are packed on the islands. (I use the word hell as high season travel has very little appeal personally)
     
  13. The Juiceman
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    The Juiceman Silver Member

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    Remember that since 2/11 it is no longer possible to take a train from another country to Greece. You can take a bus from Istanbul to the border and train it from there. Plenty of LCCs fly into Thessaloniki. Book well in advance though. Try skyscanner.net for fares. Maybe visit Budapest first. Also don't rule out ferries from Italy, Croatia, Turkey etc. Be adventurous and have a great time.
     
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  14. pnoeric

    pnoeric Silver Member

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    I'm a little late to the game here, clearly-- what happened in February last year with the trains?

    Love the rest of your advice: ferries, LCCs etc are all great options. I'll be exploring every possible way to get there. Thanks!!
     
  15. The Juiceman
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    The Juiceman Silver Member

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    Greece stopped allowing international trains to enter the country because of budgetary reasons. Stupid move in my opinion. I was just in Thessaloniki in November. Took train from Budapest to Belgrade to Sophia and a bus from there. Not for the faint of heart. The train from Bud to Bel was only 15 euro and in Belgrade you can purchase a really cheap Balkan Flexi-Pass for travel everywhere in the area besides Greece. One of my favorite destinations during my 5 month excursion was Kas, Turkey., on the coast. Small, quaint and unspoiled by tourism. Beer is really expensive in Turkey though; like $2 minimum in the store for a 500 ml.
     
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  16. Get yourself a cheap flight to anywhere in Europe and book a separate roundtrip from your hub airport to Athens. I booked nyc-bru for 696 ai (no tricks) and then booked a $159 roundtrip ai on aegean.... $855 altogether roundtrip to athens.
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you do this, using separate tickets, but sure to allow LOTS of time in case something goes wrong with a flight.
     
  18. flights to IST from JFK $500 or LAX $700 are cheaper . maybee you get from IST cheap to ATH
     
  19. Robin
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    Robin Silver Member

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    I go to the islands in July when it's crowded but not too bad. It gets more crowded as you get to August when it's packed. If you go to one of the less popular islands it isn't too bad. Usually the harder the island (or part of the island) is to get to, the less popular it is.
     
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  20. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    I went to BCN first then BCN-ATH-RHO. Return was RHO-ATH-JFK. For less than $1200 a/i.

    I also took a ro-ro Rodos to Ios. Super cheap.

    That was July of 2010. But I can see coming from LAX that you may have problems getting your price down.

    I definitely recommend breaking out a Multi-Trip itinerary for getting to ATH and Greek Isles.
     
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