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Olympic Airlines Complaint - Truly awful airline, deserves to go bust. Fly with anyone else instead.

Review by marcush on 2007-07-28
LONDON -- I strongly urge everyone to avoid this airline. Businesses that are this badly run with such a complete disregard for their customers do not deserve to exist.

I am a very frequent flyer and have experienced many travel delays and many airlines. Without question this is the worst airline I’ve flown with.

I paid over £500 for 2 returns to fly from Gatwick to Athens because I live near to Gatwick and wanted early flights. Outbound flight was “changed” 2 days before departure with no explanation, leaving us no time to change to another airline. We were put on a Heathrow flight which was 3 hours later leaving, but actually left a further 4 hours late.

Communication on delays was poor / almost non-existent. Because we had to change our tickets we had to queue up twice, and it took about 2 hours to check in. Check in staff weren’t too bad but they didn’t open the desks until the last minute – thus the long wait.

Plane was full, service was below average. Small uncomfortable seats, but that is normal for Europe.

Arrived at Athens 9pm on a Sunday night. Plane was full but only about 10 people received their bags. We queued for about an hour to report lost bags.

Olympic said the bags were loaded on another plane by mistake and there wasn’t enough time to reload them. Staff assured us the bags would be on the next flight arriving at Athens at 11pm. We were staying in Athens (many other people weren’t of course) but they told us our bags would be delivered to our hotel by about 1am. Woke up next morning, bags hadn’t arrived. Made several expensive calls to the Customer service desk and when I eventually got through I was told the bags would be with us within 30 minutes. Over the next 7 hours we were told the following:

• 3 times: Our bags had already been delivered to the hotel (as we were staying there, this was an amazing thing to say, but when you push them they put you on hold, then come back to say they’ve spoken to the driver and he is 5 minutes away)
• Many times: we’re next on the delivery list, the driver is round the corner

In summary, the customer service staff would tell you any lie at all to end your phone call. They had no more information on our bags than we did. Customer service? Appalling.

Athens was 40 degrees centigrade when we arrived, and because we had no idea whether we’d get our things we had to spend money on extra clothes and toiletries. Add this to your holiday budget if you fly with them.

Bags arrived about 5pm on the Monday, with us having arrived 9pm the previous night.

Return flight – again “changed” 2 days before departure, 3 hours later leaving and then add on another 1 hour delay, and of course our flight went to Heathrow, not Gatwick. More expensive phone calls to arrange taxi, tell relatives etc.

We learned our lesson this time – I queued for check in while my wife queued to change the tickets. Only took an hour this time. My wife said that the ticket desk queue was very close to people fighting with each other – lots of very frustrated and annoyed people.

The flights we were put on (both times) weren’t Olympic flights – both were some unheard of airline “operating on behalf of Olympic”. Planes were tatty and old, seats crammed in as far as possible, cabin crews surly and unhelpful. I was lucky on the flight out but had a drink poured over me on the way back – I didn’t get an apology but I did get some paper towels to dry myself off.

If you want to fly from Gatwick, then don’t choose Olympic because I don’t think they ever actually run the Gatwick flights, they just bump you onto the Heathrow one. In our case it cost us £150 in taxis instead of £20 in train fares. If Heathrow isn’t convenient for you either, heed my warning.

Olympic seems to running some kind of huge con on the London route. It seems that Gatwick flight was never planned to run, Olympic didn’t operate the flights yet they still charge a very full fare under their own company name.
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