Spending the second weekend of October 2018, I was very curious on my first flight with Aegean and also with Thessaloniki “Makedonia” Airport (SKG). The reviews of Greece third largest airport are comparably mixed, so I was interested whether I share the view of the masses or would give it a rather more positive or negative rating, based on my Aegean A320 flights between Dusseldorf and the Northern Greece metropole.
Thessaloniki Airport – Connections
The airport is quite well connected in Europe. Apart from Mediterranean connections like Beirut or Cyprus, there are no intercontinental flights, though. Of course, Thessaloniki serves as hub to reach the Greek islands – however, Athens Airport is much stronger in that.
Thessaloniki Airport – Location & Transport
Makedonia International Airport is located some 15kms South of Thessaloniki, close to the Eastbound motorways 16 and 24.
There is no rail connection or similar to the city. The public connection from Thessaloniki to the airport is bus 01X, which is taking some 45 minute to city center. The one-way fare is 2 EUR. However, it has been extremely difficult to find out the exact route of the bus via google maps or the local provider homepage. Thus, I rather went for a pre-paid and pre-ordered private service to my hotel – the taxi rides were 23 EUR each direction and took some 25 minutes each way. Of course, you end up / are picked up right at your final destination. I would recommend that option.
Arriving in Thessaloniki Airport
The arrival in Thessaloniki has been very effective. The approach felt a bit unusual as there has been a late curve, but it went very smooth. There are no passenger bridges, so that all departure and arrival boarding is done via buses. Business Class gets a separate bus here. The delivery of luggage has been comparably quick. Luggage and arrivals area are very functional. Outside the airport building, the travel agencies have their desk to assign the passengers to the right transfer bus.
Flying from Thessaloniki Airport
On departure landside level, there are some stores around, so that you can grab something before you check-in to your flights. My check-in experience was disappointing, as I wrote in the Aegean A320 flight review. At the tourist flyers, especially at Eurowings, it has been very crowded on a Sunday morning, as several flights departed right after another.
The security control confused me as they let me wait quite some time after I reached the end of the priority queue and merged with the ordinary passengers. However, the control was quite efficient. Right after security, you reach the massive duty free / travel value merchandise, which is definitely the most posh and blinking place in the whole airport. There are also some massively priced articles like rare Metaxa or other spirit editions. The boarding area is quite functional again. In fact, not charming at all. There are some additional stores and bars around. The bus boarding gates are elevated above the runway level so that you have to take stairs down to the buses.
Aegean Lounge Thessaloniki
Despite the airport is maybe not too much of a memorable place, the Aegean Lounge at the end of the terminal definitely is a gem. It is very modern, having a mixture of different areas from relaxed sitting, a cantina-like seating near the food or nice working desks. There are some warm pastries, as they were also served in my hotel and a nice selection of cold snacks. Drinks include some spirits. A very nice bonus is that, if you fly Aegean or Olympic, boarding is done right from the lounge. A separate bus will bring you to the plane, which is a very comfortable service.
Food and drink was quite nice. Juice came in small bottles. Especially the range of different hot and cold drinks was very nice. I also felt that the dining area is quite cozy.
Boarding for Aegean flights is through the lounge, i.e. a separate bus brings you to your flight directly from the lounge – very nice and posh service, which rounds up a nice stay.
Thessaloniki Airport – My View
Athens airport is quite nice – but I guess, there is really no overwhelming airport in all Greece. Thus, it is not too surprising that I would not rate SKG too high. It is a solid place in my point of view. Some obvious organisational lacks and a bit of boring on the one hand. On the other hand, a nice (but not that cheap) duty free store and the beautiful Aegean Lounge. Of course, to be honest, most of the travelers will not see this tiny paradise in a dull (not all black) travel hub in Nortthern Greece. It is not the joy of your life to travel Makedonia airport – but there are worse experiences in life as well. Finally, it ends up with a quite low rating like the Thessaloniki Olympic Museum. This beautiful city just has some much better places!
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