Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 8–Flying Economy on Star Alliance— Thessaloniki–Frankfurt–Atlanta

I had booked our award tickets for the return flight home back in January on the United website.  At the time, I only had enough miles in my United account for economy class tickets, so we used 60,000 miles for two one-way economy tickets.  Details of how I booked the flights can be found on this blog entry from April.  We were to fly Aegean Air from Thessaloniki to Athens in the afternoon, and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Atlanta the next morning.

Our Route home from Greece
Our Route home from Greece

As I mentioned in my post about our last day in Greece, we spent some time at the wonderful little Aegean Lounge at the Thessaloniki (SKG) airport, imbibing some (probably too much) Greek wine and beer.  I love this little lounge for its nice alcoholic drink selection, comfort, and great customer service. All boarding at SKG is done via shuttle buses.  If you are a client of the lounge, you are picked up in a separate bus and board the plane after regular boarding.  The lounge attendants announce the flight and act as gate agents for boarding.

Aegean Lounge Thessaloniki
Aegean Lounge Thessaloniki

We got lounge access from the United Club Card that I had applied for last year. It gives you 1.5 United miles per dollar spent, and lounge access for Star Alliance lounges.  The lounge access is not worth much to me for access to United lounges here in the US. It is wonderful, though, in the much nicer lounges internationally.  We had made good use of the card on our last trip to Greece when we had four stop-overs in each direction (the result of waiting too long to book award tickets.)  The only downside is that the annual fee on the card is $395. When I found an application link with the first year fee waived, I immediately jumped on it. I doubt I will keep the card after the first year, but I am enjoying it in the meantime.

United Club Lounge Card for Star Allliance  Access
United Club Lounge Card for Star Alliance Access

Aegean served a meal on the two- hour flight to Frankfurt (FRA), and between the drinks and snacks at the lounge and the in-flight meal, we were stuffed when we reached FRA.

Since our flight from FRA to Atlanta didn’t leave until the next morning, we arranged an overnight at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport using Starwood points. Our room rate of 10,000 StarPoints was not a good use of points for a room that costs 100E, but the points were getting ready to expire, and with no foreseeable redemption in the near future, I used them.  When we went to check in at the Sheraton, they did not have our reservation.  They said that my reservation was for March 31, and they had me down as a no-show.  Fortunately I had a paper copy of my reservation, and since it was so obviously a mistake on their part, we were able to get our room.

We were able to do without the 9E in-room wifi for one night, and just used the free internet in the lobby.  There was no need to use the hotel restaurant with its 40E meals, as the Sheraton is attached to the airport, and you can get your sausages and beer there.  There is also a GROCERY STORE! at the airport, where you could get drinks and snacks to bring back to your room.  We had breakfast in the Lufthansa Business Lounge the next morning before our flight.

One thing I love about the Frankfurt airport is the old-fashioned flight board.  It still makes that wonderful clickety-click sound as letters and numbers change.

Old Fashioned Flight Info Board at FRA
Old Fashioned Flight Info Board at FRA

The 9 1/2 hour flight from FRA to ATL was made tolerable by the continuous movie watching on the seatback IFE, and by the unlimited offerings of beer, wine, and aperitifs.

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