I was scheduled to fly from New York/Newark International Airport to Athens on May 21 on a non-stop United Airlines flight. The Coronavirus changed those plans, as the airline industry (as well as the entire world, except maybe Amazon) is in a tailspin.
Although no official communique has come from the company, United Airlines has cancelled each of its daily flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport for the entire 2020 season.
I received an email letting me know that my 5/21 flight had been cancelled and to call the company to discuss alternative flights.
Chicago-based United Airlines first launched daily, seasonal service from Newark to Athens in 2016 with much fanfare.
The flight operated successfully with airplanes packed with holiday makers and Greek Americans returning to their ancestral villages and islands between May and October. They even hired Greek-speaking flight attendants, one of whom I befriended after seeing her on the flight so many times since I was a frequent traveler on the route (Hi Maria– I’ll miss seeing your smiling face this summer!).
When I called United, the agent offered me alternative flights from New York to Athens, connecting in cities across Europe. My options were limited to flights on other Star Alliance airline partners that United sells through their ticketing system.
I asked the agent to look for the EWR-ATH non-stop flight on a different date. She clicked through three months of dates– through the end of October when the seasonal service ends, with each daily flight coming up as cancelled.
I asked her if there had been an official memo about the flight being suspended and she responded that all she knew was what the computer was showing her– that every single flight between Newark and Athens in 2020 had been cancelled.
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