At some airports, all those sun soaked, happy memories of a perfect vacation slip away before you even make it onto the plane. In Greece, that was all but guaranteed for the last few decades, and it didn’t take long to feel like you needed a vacation from your vacation.
Old, airless facilities were standard, and any positive vibes from the trip were quashed as low ceilings gave way to assuredly overheated busses and almost guaranteed chaos upon boarding. It didn’t matter whether you arrived or departed in Mykonos, Santorini, Thessaloniki or any other gateway.
In perhaps the only ‘thanks’ covid-19 should ever get, the wretched virus did manage to speed up significant airport construction across 14 Greek airports, and passengers arriving by summer should begin to feel the new digs, and hopefully less dread.
Greece Upgrades Airports
Greece and Fraport, a leading global airport operator, teamed up for a series of massive infrastructure and airport projects which bring significant improvements to just about everything in the Greek airport experience.
From larger ceilings and airy’er terminals to modern baggage systems and better busses, just about everything should be noticeably better. There’s even more check in desks, not that airlines may choose to utilize them during hard times.
Crete Chania Airport received a brand new terminal, with more security checkpoints and gates too. Corfu got a shiny new terminal as well, with over 100,000 square feet of space including new dining and more security checkpoints. Kos received a huge new terminal, creating one of the more advanced airport facilities in the islands. Santorini underwent a complete overhaul of facilities as did Mykonos, Skiathos, Zakynthos and more.
Airports Matter More Now
For decades, demand outstripped supply in summer travel. Greece, always a perennial favorite never “needed” to upgrade airport infrastructure to attract visitors, and that’s just as well, given the financial situation 2008 left the country in.
But as travel begins to rebound, health, safety and ease of experience play more and more into the destination decision process, and being thrown ear to ear with sweaty strangers hardly fits the new mold.
The arrival and departure experience should be just as positive as the vacation itself. GSTP was incredibly impressed with the arrival experience into Santorini last summer, but has always dreaded each departure from the Greek island. That’ll change.
Closures of regional travel within Greece and blanket travel restrictions made it easier for the country to ramp up airport renovations and passengers should begin to see the fruits of the meaningful billion plus project shape better experiences on their next trip, allowing the good vibes to remain until the boarding door closes.