✅ Trip Verified
Built for the Olympic games some 15 years ago, the Athens aiport authority hasn't been exactly eager to upgrade and improve what is now starting to look a little down at the heels for a national capital airport. There is no transit lounge, there are no moving walkways, there are only two ATMs in the airport, the abundant seating is horrifically uncomfortable and prices are outrageously high. There is only one on-site hotel with very high rates, there is no alternative such as other modern airports offer for more budget-conscious travelers. The entire airport is constantly being assaulted aurally by non-stop security and other announcements punctuated by obnoxious and loud music, and this until 2 am and again from 4 am (having spent a horrible night there yesterday). Options for lowcost transportation to the distant city of Athens are either poor (bus), stop service way too early (metro), or outrageously expensive (taxi, €48 one way!). There is an isufficient number of jetways and their allocation is a mystery, most flights are still serviced by the dreaded bus-a,d-stairs routine, which is not really worthy of a 'global player' type airport, even though Athens thinks of itself and bills itself as one. Customer service is poor, as is the signage in the airport. Except for the toilets (plentiful, clean and well signed), there are almost no pictograms directing passengers traversing one of the longest airports sans peoplemovers in the world. The fact that there are very few ATMs, that signs showing the airport layout and what is where are nonexistant is also mystifying. The information booth was not staffed after 22:00 yesterday (ridiculous) and the provided red telephone gave out faulty information. Security was not a problem, however I was travelling at non-peak hours, so may have dodged a bullet there. Airport restaurant facilities are all very expensive and offer very little choice in food. True, this is Greece and Greek cuisine is lovely, but there are no real fast food alternatives, there is no food court as at other airports of this caliber, and every single food outlet at the airport also caters to the obnoxious barista-loving crowd, leading to long lines and hot tempers.Prices for beverages are also outrageous - if I can buy a Coke Zero or other such choice for €2 in Frankfurt, why should I pay €3,50 for the same choice in Athens? (Okay, so it was even worsein Heraklion - €4,50!) It seems Greece loves to moan about how mean the EU (especially Germany) has been to it in asking it to repay its debts, but the idea that possibly providing better customer service and pracitcing less price-gouging hasn't dawned here yet. If Athens wishes to remain a relevant airport in the future, much work, investment, planning and better control is required. If not, Athens will soon become an unimportant transportation backwater, which would be a pity.