Greetings from Venizelos airport, Athens

Interim greetings from the transit area of Venizelos airport in Athens, where I encountered some positive developments that I would like to share with you.

Mindful of the best in class global Airport review that we covered as a Perpetual Traveller feature article last week, it comes to me as a pleasant surprise to see some welcome pro-traveller changes at the airport that serves Athens, which was built at the beginning of the new millennium.

At last free WiFi has been organized to compliment the free Internet stand alone computer podiums. This makes Athens (ATH) one of the few significant and proactive airports in the whole of Europe that provides comprehensive free Internet access. May the rest of Europe follow this lead?

Moreover, a large area of e-checkin desks has been provided for in the departures hall, which permits any passenger to check-in online with a host of participating airlines that permit and enable an online check-in service. The same facility allows online reservations and bookings through the Internet connections also. This is a leap forward in passenger facilities and a convenient common marketing tool for cooperating airlines.

I think it is also appropriate to compliment the Athens Venizelos airport on their passenger friendly information services. First and fore-most, despite being a modern airport the lovable rotating flaps of the mega display boards (like a train station) grace the departures area and provide a nostalgic element for passengers blended with the new design. This is complimented by numerous clear to view trendy flat screens dotted all over the airport. The Information Desk has brightened up too with an interesting Power Message "Don't Guess - Be our Guest!”. This service seemed to be better manned than before and some service training must have taken place. There are also numerous information boards with leaflets providing for free maps of Athens city and the airport itself, promotions of the Shopping Price Guarantee and encouragement to give your view.

There is a lot to like about Athens Airport these days which includes...

• Quality train connection to the city.

• The level of cleanliness.

• Free Airport Archaeological museum.

• An environmental information centre.

• 24 hour Pharmacy.

• A quality Hair Salon / Beauty Centre.

• Enhanced variety of Shopping.

• A quality Business centre.

• Local Shops and brands blended with international Duty Free.

• Improved Restaurant facilities.

• Plenty of places to take an excellent coffee.

• A host of VIP Lounges, some with bed facilities (catering for Priority Pass too).

• Free Airport quality travel Magazine called 2board.

So keep up the good work Athens Venizelos and try to stop the strikes this year and have a word with the remaining unfriendly security staff.

Grant Holmes
Perpetual Traveller