Getting Cozy In The Airport
For our first day of travel we knew it would be long. Although we were leaving on Saturday we wouldn’t arrive in Athens until Sunday around noon, we caught the 7:45 National Express to the airport and flew from London to Milan for our long, overnight layover. Interestingly we walked straight off of the plane and hopped on a bus that took us to the baggage claim and arrivals area. At first, we pondered over how to get back into the airport to the departures area. We designated a metal bench to be our home for the night and swapped sleeping shifts every few hours. This probably wasn’t necessary because of how many people were alone and sleeping, but we both felt a little more comfortable with someone keeping an eye out. In all honesty I thought we were at the departure gate area, but found out in the morning when crowds streamed in that it was more of a “drop off” area and that we would need to go through customs again.
Unlike our first flight, which literally didn’t show us our gate of departure until 20 minutes before the original departure time (turns out our incoming plane was running late) our gate of departure was immediately posted -sweet! Except we weren’t as in the clear as we thought. Next to our departure time was another time that had exp. next to it- I figured it meant expected but hoped that it didn’t mean what I thought it meant-delayed, which would translate to more time in the airport.
Upon arriving at the gate we were soon informed that our 7:35 flight would now be departing at 11:40 instead. Thankfully the airline gave us vouchers for food due to the inconvenience. Basically we had another four hours to catch up on some z’s which we were both in need of. However, before nap time ensued, a gentleman who was also on the flight came over to ask me if I knew any information of the flight and if it was delayed. His English was extremely understandable and proper, so naturally I had to ask where he was from. Turns out he is a Greece native who studied both in the UK and the US to later find out he worked for the World Health Organization. As we continued to talk to him about our travel plans he wrote down his recommendations of things to eat, places to go and sites to see during our time in Greece. To say the least, he was our travel agent angel in disguise!
After some food, sleep, conversation and the passing of the four hour wait we finally boarded the plane. Although the delay meant spending more time in an airport than the actual air, it worked in our favor and I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way. We even received information about getting a refund for our ticket because of the delay (they can delay me anytime, that is as long as it meets the refund requirements, haha!). In all honesty, I believe that everything happens for a reason and, although undesired at first, the four hour wait in the airport was more than worth the information we were able to receive from our new friend!