Delta adds 2 Athens routes as Greece reopens to vaccinated Americans
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Delta just became the latest carrier to boost flights to Greece.
The Atlanta-based airline announced that it’ll add daily service from its mega-hub in Atlanta (ATL) to Athens (ATH) beginning on July 2, which will follow shortly after Delta’s New York-JFK flight resumes on May 28.
Both routes will be operated by a 293-seat Airbus A330-300, outfitted with 34 reverse-herringbone Delta One pods, 40 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 219 standard coach seats.
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Delta last flew the 5,700-mile seasonal Atlanta-Athens route in July 2011, per Cirium schedules, so the announcement technically represents a service resumption for the carrier.
The carrier also reaffirmed its commitment to restarting daily New York-JFK to ATH flights on May 28, as previously scheduled, which would make Delta the first airline to resume flights from the U.S. to Athens. Emirates’ fifth-freedom route from Newark (EWR) to ATH is slated to resume just days later on June 1.
Delta touts that in addition to nonstop service from two of its largest hubs, the carrier can sell one-stop connections from 187 domestic cities.
Boosting service to Greece comes just days after the country formally reopened to tourists from the European Union and five other countries, including the U.S., who can present a vaccination certificate or recent negative COVID-19 test.
Airlines are expecting lots of pent-up demand for international travel, so these opportunistic route additions make sense. Delta says that Greece is “one of the highest demand leisure markets in Europe open to travelers.”
Despite the increased demand, Delta should expect some fierce competition on its Athens routes. Cirium schedules show that American Airlines plans summer service to the Greek capital from Chicago (ORD), Philadelphia (PHL) and New York-JFK.
United recently unveiled its first-ever daily nonstop flights to ATH from Washington/Dulles (IAD), with that route launching on July 1. The new Washington flight will join the carrier’s existing daily summer seasonal service from EWR, which resumes on June 3 and runs through Oct. 29, operated by a 214-seat Boeing 767-300.
And then there’s Emirates, which operates a fifth-freedom service from Newark to ATH, which then continues onto Dubai (DXB).
With over 2,000 daily seats during the peak summer period, airlines are bullish on the return of travel to Greece.
Other countries that have, or are in the process of, reopening to vaccinated Americans are also seeing significant increases in airline routes, including Iceland and Croatia.
Delta recently announced three new Iceland routes, from Boston (BOS), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and New York-JFK in time for the busy summer season. United will launch daily flights between its Chicago (ORD) hub and Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF), beginning on July 1 and running through Oct. 3. The ORD flight joins United’s existing EWR service which will resume on June 3 and run through Oct. 29.
The country’s flag carrier, Icelandair, will also resume many of its U.S. routes in May, per Cirium schedules.
Croatia has once again reopened to select American tourists. In addition to providing proof of accommodation paid in full in advance of arrival, tourists must also present either a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 48 hours before arrival, a vaccination certificate showing fully vaccinated status or a certificate confirming recovery from a COVID-19 infection.
United will become the only airline offering nonstop service from the U.S. to Croatia, when three-weekly flights from Newark (EWR) launch on July 8 and run through Oct. 3,
Despite the aforementioned countries’ reopening plans, note that you’ll still need to complete a pre-travel COVID-19 test before returning to the U.S., regardless of vaccination status.
As of Jan. 26, 2021, all passengers 2 years of age and older traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country must show a negative viral COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days of departure before being allowed to board their flights; documented proof from a licensed healthcare provider of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days will also be accepted.
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