ATH: Athens Olympic Airlines Aristotle Onassis Lounge
This is the flagship Olympic Airways lounge, and is a very pleasant place to wait for your flight, with views over the car park at the new Athens airport. Food is much better than on the Schengen side, although the bar remains so-so.
To find the lounge after passport control (on the A gates (right) side of the terminal) walk all the way to the end of the terminal past the Star Bar, but before the British Airways lounge, and crucially before security checks. The lounge entrance is on the right, and a small reception desk where you can find an occasionally working Olympic Airways staff member.
There are deep leather Armchairs & strange waist high dividers, all under a curved roof, with curved walls contain plane models. There is a bar and a food area right in the middle, a smoking area at the far end, TVs on the wall, and a magazine rack with lots of Greek and American papers. It also has a semi- useful business centre and a rarely-used meeting room.
The lounge is names after Onassis, who was the founder of Olympic, and in the lounge there is what only can be described as a shrine to him, with pictures of the man posing by his planes in the 1960s and 70s, beside pictures of doves swooping over a blue background. It's all rather tacky.
As you enter, you will be either side of the main bar which has a food fridge opposite, and a few dining tables. At one side there is a small vertical drinking bar, with ipads screwed to the top. These never work.
To the left of this, there are groups of four deep leather chairs around cheap Formica tables. These look like something out of 1980s IKEA, and are deeply impractical: you have to lean so far forward on the chairs to put anything on the table it's a pain, and while groups of chairs look great, for single or pairs of travellers, you'll always end up in a family group of 'someone else'.
There are huge floor to ceiling windows. Alas they look out over nothing more inspiring than the car park.
FoodThere is a Food area with half a dozen trays with sandwiches, and one hot cabinet, although food is now to be limited to mostly sweets and fruits for most of the day following the abandonment of long haul since Olympic changed to the latest 'Olympic air'.
On days when there is hot food, it's all Greek to you, with lots of Greek specialities, intermingles with hamburgers and frankfurters, hot meat pies, and slight less hot veggie pies. Alas there isn't a single label, in either Greek or English , to tell you what anything is, except on the 'Western' hot tub of Chinese Spring Rolls and Hong Kong chicken nuggets.
The pastries are however always there, and always delicious, so long as you like the cream donut type of diabetes inducing sugar rush.
BarThere is a pretty decent bar with a couple of bar stools on the right.
There are seven bottles of spirits on the bar top - free pour; indeed there are rarely any working staff in the lounge, so there certainly isn't a barman to pour! There is Gordon's Gin, Red label, Smirnoff red, Bacardi, Martini, and the two Greek specialities of Ouzo and Metaxai.
Beer is Amstel, and there are cans of V8 juice if you want to mix up a bloody mary.
BathroomsIn lounge. And rather poor, quite frankly, looking like a 1970s motorways service station.
Business FacilitiesBusiness area with two ancient PCs (IE6! Yes, really!) but with free internet access, a printer and a shiny new fax.
There are all the local newspapers, but the only English newspapers are from the US - odd, as OIympic no longer flies there.
There are also some magazines, but again oddly these are mostly Spanish and Turkish.
If you want to charge your laptop or phone, there appear to be no power sockets in the main areas: in fact, if you lift up the metal flaps in the floor, you'll find the Euro-style power outlets.
AccessNote that there are two Olympic Air lounges at Athens.
One is on the Schengen side (the Melina Merkouri, for domestic and short haul flights) and one on the non-Schengen side (the Aristotle Onassis, for US, Canadian, African, and UK flights). Both are identical, although the Melina Merkouri is open 24 hours a day. They are after boarding card checks, but before security checks, so don't wander through the X-ray in the hunt for the lounge.
You can pay for a daypass for access to the Olympic Air lounges at Athens for 30euro, or $50USD. If you speak English the staff will always try to charge your credit card in US dollars for an Athens Lounge daypass; hence, pay cash if you can.
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