More airlines are flying non-stop to Greece this summer from the United States than ever before. A result, in large part, to Greece’s formal opening to American travelers after a year of being off-limits.
Clearly, the airlines are responding to the demand— with Greece being one of the only European countries opening, it’s only obvious that more stir-crazy Americans want to go.
When making pants, however, it’s important to remember one thing.
Yes, Greece is open and is welcoming U.S. travelers with certain conditions (click here to read the government’s full list of requirements).
But the simple fact remains that the rest of Europe remains closed. And even if you’re transiting via a European country en route to Athens, you will more than likely be faced with problems by either airline officials at your departure airport, or upon arrival at the particular European airport.
Example: If you’re flying from Detroit, or Los Angeles, or Miami on a European career like Air France, KLM or Lufthansa and connecting in Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris, and then catching a flight to Athens— those countries remain closed to American travelers and Americans are not allowed to enter— even in transit.
Maria D., a reader of The Pappas Post from Los Angeles shared her experience last week, attempting to fly from LAX to Athens, with a connection in Frankfurt.
“Our tickets were booked from Los Angeles to Frankfurt to Athens on a single ticket. We were denied boarding at LAX by the Lufthansa desk agent. We argued that Greece was opened and even gave them print outs from the Greek Embassy website that outlined the new rules. Still, she explained, we were flying to Germany, a country that remained closed to U.S. travelers and the airline had instructions to deny boarding. When I explained that we were only transferring, she explained that our passports were stamped upon entry into the Schengen Zone, which remains closed to U.S. travelers and that once our passports were stamped, nothing would prevent travelers from leaving the airport and entering Germany.”
The good news is that American travelers to Greece have more options than ever before to fly non-stop from several U.S. gateway cities and even if you don’t live in one of those gateway cities, the airlines have domestic connections from your hometown to get you to Washington DC, Chicago, New York or Atlanta in time for the non-stop to Athens.
For example, American Airlines stated in their news announcement about their new non-stop service to Athens from Washington DC that the flight had been timed to depart Dulles International Airport in time to receive incoming domestic travelers from more than 95 U.S. cities.
This means that you can check your Greece-bound suitcases and catch your flight from Iowa, or Pocatello, or Dallas— none of which have their own non-stop flights to Greece— to Washington DC, and then hop seamlessly to the non-stop Athens flight.
This works with the extensive networks of American, United and Delta— three U.S. carriers with non-stop service to Athens, and also Emirates which flies non-stop between Newark and Athens.
The Emirates flight, however, can be tricky if you’re coming from outside the New York area and need a connection home. The return flight from Athens to Newark arrives after 9:00pm and most connecting flights, if required, have already departed, forcing you to spend the night in the New York area before heading home the next day.
Before you plan, however, there are a lot more details you should know. Click here to read our updated report.
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