Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 1–Envoy Class on US Airways Philadelphia to Athens

This post is the first in my Do-It-Yourself Greek Islands Cruise series.  This series will be in 7 parts.

  1. Envoy Class on US Airways Philadelphia to Athens.
  2. A Day in Athens
  3. Chios
  4. Lesbos
  5. Lemnos
  6. Samothrace
  7. Thessaloniki
  8. Flying Economy on Star Alliance— Thessaloniki–Frankfurt–Atlanta.

I had originally planned to post via email while I was on the trip.  But I discovered that the posts were showing only my images but leaving out the text!  Also doing a full-length post using my IPhone was just too arduous for me.  If I decide to blog during my trips I will have to take a small laptop and use it to post to the blog.

Back in January, I had snagged two first-class seats US Airways from Atlanta to Athens for 50K AA miles per person.  This was a coup, since when you use AA miles to get to Europe, they usually want to route you through London, where you will be paying hundreds of dollars in fees flying on British Airways. For details see Catalyst to trip planning–1st Class Award Availability on AA .

The first segment of the trip was flying 1st class on US Airways from Atlanta to Philadelphia, then from Philadelphia to Athens.  The domestic segment from ATL to PHL was on an Airbus 319, with only 6 seats in first class.  We got a slightly bigger seat than economy and a couple of passes at the snack basket.  Not worth the miles if we were flying only this segment, but it was a nice add-on to our international 1st class segment. We had a 3 hour layover in PHL, and because we had first-class tickets we were able to spend the time in the Admirals Lounge.  (We would have had access in any case since I have the AA Executive Card.)

The PHL-ATH segment was on a larger Airbus 330.  This is a 2 class plane where the entire 1st class area has been retrofitted with Envoy business class pods.  These are very similar to the business-class pods on American’s 77W’s.  They are in a reverse herringbone configuration, and are completely lie-flat.  There are two major flaws with these seats, however.  The footrests only come out when you have the seat in full lie-flat mode, so you can’t put your feet up while you watch your AVOD.  These seats were retrofitted into the place, and the pods don’t lie flush with the bulkhead, so there is a sizable slit between the bulkhead and the pod.  The flight attendant came around and told us not to drop anything down this crack because there would be no way to retrieve it!

On board service was excellent and the food was good.  We started with warm nuts and Prosecco.  The next course was roasted beet and quinoa salad with a balsamic vinegar reduction.  I switched from Prosecco to Shiraz.  For our entree we chose halibut in lemon sauce, which we were pretty sure was grouper, not halibut.  The sauce was somewhat brash, but the fish was tasty.  I watched “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon, and part of “Cake”  with Jennifer Anniston in an uncharacteristically unglamorous role. Breakfast was quiche and fruit, and I was too full from dinner to even drink my coffee.

As per usual, I didn’t get enough sleep or drink enough water, and also drank too much wine, so I arrived in Athens characteristically jetlagged, dehydrated, and slightly hung over.  The next installment will be about our 18-hour stay in Athens.

Next up–Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 2–A Day in Athens





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