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AIRPORT: departures

On your last day the normal vacation time of accommodation is 10:00, regardless of the time of your flight. This is standard practice on Kefalonia due to early flight arrivals: the next people staying in the room may be on an early flight and, even if they aren’t, the maid needs to clean the rooms and in some sort of order. The international hoteliers’ convention may state that the international room check-out time is by 12:00 but that is by  12:00 mid-day, not at 12:00, i.e. that is the latest time; it may be earlier. Some accommodation may provide a courtesy room – unless it’s stated in the brochure as part of the holiday provision then, as the term says, this is a courtesy, not a right. Generally, only the larger hotels may be able to provide this courtesy.

If you’re travelling with a package tour company you will normally be informed of your pick-up time, and place, the day before departure. The time may vary week-to-week depending on the stops the coach has to make. If there’s anything that isn’t clear to you check with the rep or contact the local office of the tour company (’phone number normally on an information board at your accommodation).

If you’re travelling independently you’ll normally need to contact the airline representative between 48-24 hours prior to departure to confirm flight and check-in times and to confirm you'll be taking the flight, otherwise your seat may be sold.

Due to security arrangements, the size of Kefalonia airport and the volume of passengers using it, check-in is commonly three hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight. While it’s quite possible for planes to take off within a few minutes of each other it isn’t possible to get that number of passengers, and their luggage, processed so quickly. Flight times are determined by the airlines and airports, check-in times by the airports: i.e. not by the tour companies, nor by the reps.

Transfers to the airport are invariably quicker than arrival transfers: passengers should be waiting, with their luggage, and simply need to see their luggage loaded on to the coach and get on, i.e. the rep doesn’t have to show them out of their rooms. Coaches will normally wait five minutes after the scheduled pick-up time, any missing passengers are declared ‘no shows’.

On arrival at the airport it’s quite likely there will be a queue. This is a queue for the check-in, irrespective of whether you’re travelling with a package company or independently: being an ‘independent traveller’ doesn’t confer queue-jumping rights.

Flight delays aren’t common at Kefalonia but do occur, although the cause is invariably at the other end. Believe what you like but reps don’t know about flight delays in advance. Almost invariably they stay in basic tourist accommodation without internet access, television, etc. They may have a mobile telephone but, if they do, it will almost invariably be their own, not supplied by the company. They only know what they are told and that will be when they reach the airport. Bearing in mind that they may have to leave their accommodation thirty minutes before a two-hour transfer to get you there three hours before the flight… the problem probably hasn’t even occurred by the time they start the transfer.

When a delay occurs the airport and tour companies will pass on reliable information. Invariably someone will get on their mobile phone to their mate in the UK who will look on the internet… the information you hear third hand may or may not be accurate and up-to-date. The airport will only give an estimated arrival time once the inbound aircraft has taken off and been in the air for around thirty minutes. Until the flight has taken off there is no way of knowing when it will actually be able to take-off, i.e. when it will be declared fit to fly and when it will get a usable ‘slot’. When it’s been in the air for thirty minutes it’s usually a good sign that all is OK and that it won’t be diverting back to where it’s just departed from. While some people like to know the reason for the delay it’s actually pretty immaterial, whether the pilot’s forgotten the keys or the wing’s fallen off, a delay is a delay and there’s nothing you, or your rep, can do about it. Where there is going to be a substantial delay most airlines will issue snack vouchers. If it turns out to be an overnight delay the airline/tour co. will arrange meals and accommodation as near the airport as possible, probably not in your holiday accommodation. There's more information here from the Civil Aviation Authority.

There are three check-in desks at the airport and, depending upon the number of passengers, usually all three will be open but not necessarily for the same flight. Have your passports and tickets ready for when you reach the check-in desk and make sure you’ve removed all old baggage tickets from your luggage. Your hold baggage will be scanned once you have checked-in.

When you have completed the check-in process you can either wait in the air-conditioned check-in lounge (a no smoking area) or sit in the garden area outside. There’s a couple of kiosks and a small snack bar in the check-in area where you can buy sandwiches and refreshments. There’s also a couple of tavernas nearby but it’s advisable not to leave the airport, even if your flight is delayed. Between sixty to thirty minutes before departure you’ll normally be called to passport control, once you’ve passed through you’ll find a small duty-paid shop selling popular brands of cigarettes,
wines & spirits and perfumes, etc.
Kalo taxidi!

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