Review: Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge Athens Airport

In this review, we will visit the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge in the Schengen terminal of Athens International Airport, Greece.

To the airport

After a fun day in Athens walking around the lovely Plaka neighbourhood and meeting up with old friends, it was again time to head to the airport the following morning.

I would fly with Sky Express from Athens to the island of Naxos to really start the holiday – and I was in a good mood.

From my hotel in downtown Athens it was a short walk to Syntagma square, from where I caught the metro for the relatively long ride to the airport.

syntagma square athens
Syntagma square was eerily empty in the early morning. ©Paliparan
athens metro
Historical artefacts on show in the Athens metro. ©Paliparan
athens airport metro
A train arriving at the Athens Airport metro station. ©Paliparan

Sky Express

Sky Express is a domestic Greek airline based at Athens Airport and serves dozens of destinations on the islands as well as on mainland Greece. I’ve flown with Sky Express many times before and always enjoyed my flights and appreciated the airline’s general reliability.

At the Sky Express check-in desks, there were no queues at all and within minutes I had my trolley bag checked in and received my boarding pass.

athens airport
Athens International Airport. ©Paliparan
check in desks terminal athens airport
The check-in desks at the departures area of Athens Airport. ©Paliparan

Lounge access

One of the greatest perks of flying Sky Express is that on most tickets you will receive complimentary lounge access (only when flying out of Athens, Thessaloniki or Heraklion).

For an all-economy class airline that is quite unique as not many carriers offer this perk to all of their passengers! As far as I’m aware, only Bangkok Airlines (Thailand) and Porter Airlines (Canada) offer lounge access to all of their passengers as well at select airports.

Unfortunately, the lounge which Sky Express uses in Athens, the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge, was temporarily closed due to corona restrictions so I had to settle for a freddo espresso in the terminal instead.

Given that I’ve visited this lounge a couple of times in the last few years, I thought I could still write a full review of the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge so you know what you can expect once local corona restrictions are lifted.

Skyserv lounge location

The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge is located at the far left end of Hall B of Athens Airport from where all domestic and Schengen-zone flights depart.

From security, it’s a five minute walk through a duty free shop and along some other airport shops and cafes. Make sure you keep walking on the pathway on your left-hand side.

The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge will be the first lounge you will encounter on your left, just before the Lufthansa Business Lounge and the Aegean Airlines Business Lounge.

duty free store
To reach the lounges in Hall B of Athens Airport, you first have to walk to a large duty free store. ©Paliparan

Lounge entry requirements

As a Sky Express passenger, you must have a ticket issued in their SKY enjoy and SKY basic+ booking classes to receive complimentary lounge access.

However, even the passengers in (cheaper) promotional booking classes can add lounge access to their booking by paying just 5 euro extra! A pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge can also be accessed with Priority Pass and a number of other lounge membership programmes. However, don’t mistake it with the Skyserv Aristotle Onassis Lounge, which is located in the non-Schengen side (Hall B) of the terminal.

Inside the lounge

With its dark wooden panels and purple seats, the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge doesn’t have the most attractive design, although there are certainly worse airport lounges around.

The lounge is rectangularly shaped, with most of the seating right at the rear of the wall behind the reception desk. On a plus side, there is lots of natural light from the large windows and the seats are comfortable. Like all the other Athens business lounge, the Skyserv lounge however looks out over a parking lot and motorway instead of the tarmac.

In the lounge, is a choice between leather sofas, couches, dining tables and high top tables to sit at. It certainly makes for a much more comfy place to wait for your flight than the communal airport areas. Especially in high summer when Athens Airport is at its busiest, the lounge is likely to be a much more relaxed place to wait.

At my three or so visits in the last few years, the lounge was never crowded and always had a calm, quiet vibe.

skyserv melina merkouri lounge
The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge. ©Paliparan
skyserv melina merkouri lounge
The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge. ©Paliparan
skyserv melina merkouri lounge
The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge. ©Paliparan

Lounge buffet

Towards the left of the lounge is a small buffet area from where you can grab a bite or drink. Don’t expect too much from it, as the food is limited to small sandwiches, pastries, cake, mini-wraps as well as crisps and nuts.

If you are seeking a full meal, you are unlikely to find a proper replacement for a full lunch or dinner in the Skyserv lounge, although it would do for a light breakfast.

lounge buffet skyserv athens
The buffet area is located in the left side of the lounge. ©Paliparan
food buffet skyserv
The buffet is quite limited in quantity. ©Paliparan

Drinks

The Skyserv lounge has a coffee machine which makes decent enough espressos and cappuccinos. Given that Greece is a country with a proper coffee culture, you can however get some much better quality coffee from one of the airport cafes.

The fridges in the lounge are well stocked with bottled water, soft drinks and cans of beer.

Apart from some bottom-shelf wines (one red, one white), no other alcoholic drinks are available in the Skyserv lounge.

coffee machines
Coffee machines in the Skyserv Lounge. ©Paliparan
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Small breakfast at the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge. ©Paliparan
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Booze in the Skyserv lounge is limited to beer and wine only. ©Paliparan

Other lounge facilities

There are no other lounge facilities as to speak off. Like the Lufthansa Business Lounge next-door, the lounge doesn’t even have it’s own toilets. You have to use the airport restrooms just outside the lounge entrance.

Although the Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge doesn’t have a dedicated business centre, I thought the lounge did certainly make for a quiet and comfortable spot to get some work done.

WiFi internet is fast and reliable and enough power sockets can be found throughout the lounge.

In short

The Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge at Athens Airport is nothing to get excited about and you should come in with the right set of expectations.

If you are a Sky Express passenger and have complimentary lounge access, it is a great perk which you should definitely use. Personally, I would even pay the five euro surcharge to use the lounge if you have one of the cheaper Sky Express tickets without complimentary access.

Especially in high season, the lounge makes for a quiet respite from the main terminal and a comfortable place to await your flight. Although the food and beverages on offer are basic, it is certainly acceptable enough for a quick snack or drink or two.

If you don’t have complimentary lounge access and have to pay full buck to enter the lounge, I would however not make the effort. If your flight is departing within one or two hours and the public areas aren’t too crowded, your money is better spent by visiting one of the cafes or restaurants at the airport.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘A Dodecanese Dream: Summer Island Hopping in Greece‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Back in the Skies – My First International Flight in the Age of Corona
2. Review: Kimon Hotel, Athens, Greece
3. Exploring Plaka: Through the Winding Streets of the Old Town of Athens
4. Climbing up the Acropolis: Visiting Athens’ Most Famous Sight
5. Review: Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge Athens Airport (current chapter)
6. Review: Sky Express Athens to Naxos (ATR 42)
7. Review: Studios Zafiri, Naxos Town, Greece
8. Naxos Town: The Gorgeous Historic Heart of the Cyclades
9. Review: Blue Star Ferries Naxos to Astypalaia
10. Review: Belvedere Studios, Astypalaia Town, Greece
11. Astypalea Town: The Unknown Crown Jewel of the Aegean Sea
12. Astypalea Island Guide: Exploring the Butterfly of the Aegean
13. On a Night Boat in Greece – Astypalea to Kastellorizo With Blue Star Ferries
14. Review: Traditional Apartments Alexandra, Kastellorizo, Greece
15. Kastellorizo: A Look Around Greece’s Easternmost Island
16. Hiking on Kastellorizo: Two Sunset Hikes Detailed
17. Review: Olympic Air Kastellorizo to Rhodes (Dash 8-100)
18. Guide: How to Travel From Rhodes to Halki by Ferry
19. Review: Dorothea Apartments, Halki, Greece
20. Halki Town: Eating, Swimming & Relaxing in Beautiful Emborios

** rest of the chapters to follow soon **

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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