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Old Nov 29, 11, 12:09 am   #1
 
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A3 Lounge - Athens

I flew A3 a couple of weeks ago in Business Class on a short domestic hop from Athens to Thessaloniki. Here's a small report on the Lounge at Athens.

After check-in at Athens, there is a central area to transfer (walk) from the landside (ticket counters) to airside (departure areas). From there, you turn left to the "B" side or right to the "A" side. My flight (all A3 flights within "Schengan" ??) was in B.

After clearing an ID check to get into the B concourse, there were several shops. More like a mall than an airport.
The A3 lounge is a good ways towards the end of the concourse. It is just past the Lufthansa lounge (the LH lounge does have a *G sign and lists A3). As *G, I probably could've visited the LH lounge but didn't. Both LH and A3 lounges are prior to security.

The check-in Agent stopped her conversation with another employee as soon as I stepped in. I habded all my credentials over. She scanned my boarding pass, which as a Biz Class was enough for entry, even on this domestic flight (it's different in Europe). She smiled an welcomed me, but as she was handing my credentials back, noticed my CO OnePass Platinum (*G) card so swiped it also. I don't know what that was about. Maybe "double dipping" by letting me in as an A3 premium passenger while still dinging CO for a *G visit ???

The lounge looked new and clean. The decor itself was a little spartan and featured a lot of glass, chrome and red & black leather. I actually like the "IKEA look" so it didn't phase me, but still not what I'd expect in a lounge. The side wall (left side in the picture) was a solid window, but was of a parking lot. There was a separate glassed-in room at the far end which I assumed was the smoking area.


What did impress me was the food and wine spread. I'm surprised I forgot to take pics of the offerings. This was late afternoon. They had several varieties of "finger" sandwiches, cheese, and full selection of pastries ... from typical sweet danish to several varieties of the meat/spinach/cheese filled pastries. I seem to recall some chip and fruit selections as well, but don't remember for sure.

I also don't remember the full beverage selection, other than there were quite a few selections in the area with the food. I'm a wino, and what did catch my eye was a side table with several wine bottles ... multiple bottles of each of about 4 varieties. On the table, they did have a brochure on the wines served by A3. I didn't map the brochure to each selection available here, but 2 were definitely there. Here are 2 pics of this brochure...
Covers (unfolded, so the front cover is to the right, the back cover is on the left)

Inside (unfolded)


Hmmm ... I guess I need to learn how to create links to "expandable" pics of FT

Overall, I enjoyed the visit.
There were a couple of security checkpoints as I walked down the hall towards the lounge. Each checkpoint serving several gates. My gate was towards the end of the concourse so my checkpoint was the only one farther down the hall from the lounge. There was a "fast track" but wasn't needed as there was no line.

From the A3 website, I beleive they have 3 lounges total. One of the others was in Thessaloniki (SKG), but I departed that city on Turkish Airlines, check-in was a zoo and I forgot all about visiting a lounge prior to passport control.

Steve
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Old Dec 1, 11, 3:03 am   #2
 
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Can't agree more to your report. However, one thing I noted when I had a LX flight out of ATH was that while the A3 lounge is like 100 times superior the the LH hole (it's really not more than a hole!) they apparently only stamp your BP with a "FAST TRACK" at the LH hole.. so, should it be a very busy day in ATH, like at school holidays or something like that, and security having long queues, just drop into the LH hole to get your BP stamped after you've enjoyed the A3 lounge
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Old Dec 1, 11, 12:13 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Can't agree more to your report. However, one thing I noted when I had a LX flight out of ATH was that while the A3 lounge is like 100 times superior the the LH hole (it's really not more than a hole!) they apparently only stamp your BP with a "FAST TRACK" at the LH hole.. so, should it be a very busy day in ATH, like at school holidays or something like that, and security having long queues, just drop into the LH hole to get your BP stamped after you've enjoyed the A3 lounge
This isn't true. They put a sticker on your BP at the A3 lounge, same one they use when checking-in as a Gold M&B member or business class traveller. This wasn't the case once during this year (~30 times in their lounge) when they... run out of stickers one week ago!
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Old Dec 1, 11, 12:27 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
This isn't true. They put a sticker on your BP at the A3 lounge, same one they use when checking-in as a Gold M&B member or business class traveller. This wasn't the case once during this year (~30 times in their lounge) when they... run out of stickers one week ago!
Which was EXACTLY the time I've been there. Thanks for correcting me
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Old Dec 4, 11, 4:41 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
This isn't true. They put a sticker on your BP at the A3 lounge, same one they use when checking-in as a Gold M&B member or business class traveller. This wasn't the case once during this year (~30 times in their lounge) when they... run out of stickers one week ago!
Is this a relatively new thing? I've been in the A3 lounge 4 times and the LH lounge twice and have never gotten a stamp or sticker for the Fast Track. Not that ATH security takes long, but it would be nice to have.
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Old Dec 5, 11, 1:54 pm   #6
 
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Is this a relatively new thing? I've been in the A3 lounge 4 times and the LH lounge twice and have never gotten a stamp or sticker for the Fast Track. Not that ATH security takes long, but it would be nice to have.
If I remember well, they started putting the stickers on M&B Gold members' BCs around one year ago, give or take a couple of months. Business class passengers could always use the fast track, even before the stickers arrived, this is perhaps why you didn't get one.
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Old Dec 9, 11, 12:33 am   #7
 
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If I remember well, they started putting the stickers on M&B Gold members' BCs around one year ago, give or take a couple of months. Business class passengers could always use the fast track, even before the stickers arrived, this is perhaps why you didn't get one.
Last time I flew A3 was in August. No sticker. Star Gold (but not M&B). I was in Y.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 10:45 am   #8
 
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I never got a sticker when flying and I always use Fast Track.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 10:01 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by steve64 View Post
From there, you turn left to the "B" side or right to the "A" side. My flight (all A3 flights within "Schengan" ??) was in B.

After clearing an ID check to get into the B concourse, there were several shops.

Steve
Steve just to confirm: B gates are for all Schengen flights A3 and all other carriers. A is for non Schengen and in fact some gates interchange Ethernet the 2 areas depending on traffic ( from memory A1-3 also have B numbers.

They normally only check for a valid bp To enter the shops not for ID. Nothing stopping you from going in and coming back out. In fact I'm not even sure why they do it but hey!
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Old Dec 18, 11, 11:57 am   #10
 
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...They normally only check for a valid bp To enter the shops not for ID. Nothing stopping you from going in and coming back out. In fact I'm not even sure why they do it but hey!
There's even weirder than that: If after arrival you go up the escalators to a connecting flight, rather than going through the baggage delivery area, you are asked for the BC of your next flight. But surprise: you then find yourself outside the area for which you need a BC to enter (the one you mean in your post). Why? I've asked but nobody seems to know. The standard answer is "it's always been like that"
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Old Dec 18, 11, 8:42 pm   #11
 
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They normally only check for a valid bp To enter the shops not for ID. Nothing stopping you from going in and coming back out. In fact I'm not even sure why they do it but hey!
I asked about this once.. the security guy told me that there is a law, that only departing passengers should be let to buy from those stores.

This kind of thing looks weird because the security check is after those stores. Bad design if you want my opinion. Would have been much easier if the stores were after the security check.
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Old Dec 19, 11, 3:20 am   #12
 
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Indeed, this is the answer you used to get several years ago. And, also true, you were always asked, years ago, to show your BC when paying at any of those stores. But since you could (and still can) access several stores without showing your VB to anybody and the stores were anything but duty-free, this remains as one of the big mysteries of life!
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Old Dec 19, 11, 11:28 am   #13
 
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Particularly as there is nothing stopping you from buying something and coming back out of that zone (indeed you have to if flying out of Schengen) and handing goods to a non passenger.

See what happens when you let Germans make the rules? (ok that's a bit tongue in cheek but hey )
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Old Dec 20, 11, 3:00 am   #14
 
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...See what happens when you let Germans make the rules? (ok that's a bit tongue in cheek but hey )
No comment but huge smile!
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