Molyvos Life

Molivos Events

Trouble finding flights to Lesvos for 2012

You might be interested in reading this email that i was sent
Melinda

Hi Melinda,
I don’t know whether you are aware of the dire situation facing Lesvos for next year.
While you and your colleagues are working away to attract more people to Molivos, we are finding it almost impossible to get there.
Our travel agent Lisa Murray, who works for a wonderful company called Travel Counsellors, has been checking out for us today and has found that not only have Thomson and First Choice pulled out of Lesvos for 2012 but have NO plans to return in the near future.
That leaves just Thomas Cook/Manos with just one Saturday flight a week out of Manchester and no-one at this stage planning to fill the void.
Liisa has checked with other companies such as Olympic to see whether they have plans to fill the hole left by Thomson, but none are plannng to do that.
We are now desperately trying to find somewhere else as superb as the Eriphilli where we can book a package two or three weeks next May, before the few available planes are filled by bird watchers heading for Skala Kalloni.
I’m sure the Thomson move will have a devastating effect on the restaurants and other businesses in Molivos.
Problems are even cropping up with Thomas Cook, the one operator still taking bookings from Britain. For instance, the Molivos Queen (below the castle) was being offered at the beginning of this week and a friend of ours booked the first two weeks next May.
When I tried today, the accommoadtion had been pulled from website for what Thomas Cook say are “contractual problems”.
 Slowly but surely, the places we like are disappearing and, more frighteningly, the planes to get us there.
Best wishes,
FRANK and SHEILA

25 Comments»

  molyvosevents wrote @

This is old news, I’m afraid. First Choice announced on 8 April that all their holidays would be all-inclusive from 2012, which was a pretty clear indication that they wouldn’t be in Lesvos next year (and even if they were, it would be fairly grim news for people like you). A quick check last month for holidays and flights on their and Thomson’s websites confirmed that nothing would be coming here. I rather belatedly put a note on our website on Wednesday after checking out Thomas Cook (whose first flights next year are on 5 May). It gives added urgency to Rebecca’s campaign to persuade one of the budget airlines to fly here – easyJet or Monarch (who apparently are giving up their charter business to concentrate on scheduled), seem to me to be the best bets – easyJet already flies to several islands during the summer, and has a very flourishing schedule to Athens.
Mike Maunder

  Frank Wood wrote @

Rather surprised by Mike’s “old news I’m afraid” comment.
When we mentioned to him at Elleni’s Workshop, Eftalou on May 31 that Thomson was completely pulling out of Lesvos, he appeared surprised and said he would check it out.
So I’m not sure the entire pull-out is such old news. In fact, most of the people we spoke to during our two weeks in Molivos from May 19 had heard nothing about it, other than the news that the first Choice arm of the Tui (Thomson) empire was going all-inclusive for 2012.
Even accommodation providers such as the Eriphilli, which has loyally been with First Choice for many years, were unaware the rug was being pulled from beneath their feet.
Frank Wood

  molyvosevents wrote @

What can we do to help Rebecca with her campaign??
Melinda

  molyvosevents wrote @

The best way would be to ask her Rebecca (nirvanat@otenet.gr or 22530 41991). She was lobbying Jet2 (based in Manchester), but I still think we ought to aim for easyJet – they have strong Greek connections through their founder and major shareholder Stelios, and are already easing their way in to Greek island routes, I suspect with the long-term aim of replacing charters as the package market winds down. But see what she says.

Mike

  gaymum wrote @

Just stumbled across this post – was news to me 😦 Here’s hoping Easyjet take up the mantle, might mean cheaper flights too!

  Frank Wood wrote @

The sequel to my original post on this subject, (early June, 2011) is that everything I found out has, unfortunately, now come true.
Already I know people in the northern part of Britain struggling to find an easy way of getting a package holiday in Lesvos.
The likes of Easyjet have not so far come to the rescue, biut the one glimmer of hope is that Olympic Holidays was planning, last week at least, to offer some accommodation in Molivos. I know the location, but don’t want to reveal it until everything is signed and sealed.
The drawback to that, however, is that Olympic rely on the aircraft of companies like Thomas Cook to get people to the island. With just one T.C flight planned each Saturday next year from Manchester, even Olympic’s involvement will not ease the siuation for northern Brits who love Molivos more than anywhere on earth.
I just hope many people will do as I have done and write to companies like Thomson and its offshoot First Choice to tell them they are making a monumental mistake by deserting this wonderful island.
My fervent hope is that an Easyjet or Jet2.com type of company steps in to ram their mistake down their throats.
Frank Wood

  Frank Wood wrote @

MORE developments on the Thomson pull-out saga, in case anyone in Molivos hasn’t heard.
Thanks to the efforts of a British guy called Steve Dudley, author of a wonderful book on the island and its birdwatching opportunities, Thomas Cook is to operate two special flights from London Gatwick to Lesvos on the last two Saturdays in April.
Their normal package holiday flights only start on the first Saturday in May.
Thomas Cook say they are “testing the water” to gauge whether there is a demand for even more early flights from airports such as Manchester for 2013.
At long last, it seems, a major carrier is waking up to the fact that birdwatching, more than any other holiday pastime, is the attraction which can draw people in their thousands to Lesvos each spring and autumn.
The bad news, unfortunately, is that Thomas Cook’s April, 2012 trial is aimed particularly at getting birdwatchers to the hotspot of Skala Kalloni.
At least, that was the original plan. But in the latest update on Steve Dudley’s Toadsnatcher website, the Amfrititi Hotel and the Sunrise Hotel, both in Molivos, had been added to the shortlist of early packages of one or two week holidays being offered.
Frank Wood

  Andy Barraclough wrote @

Hi Frank & Sheila,
Is Costa aware of the situation ?
Andy & Anita Barraclough

  Frank Wood wrote @

Kostas and Eriphilli are aware of the situation, Andy, but they don’t seem to grasp how badly it is affecting us. For instance, they are now with Olympic travel company, but Olympic have no flights of their own and rely entirely on planes operated by Thomas Cook (who often use Monarch as a carrier). But TC’s planes for the best birdwatching season in late April and early May are already fully booked up, so it’s a waste of time Kostas thinking he’s going to get lots of Brits travelling to his apartments through Olympic. They’ve no way of getting there, except by the scheduled routes via Athens.

  Learn More About Commercial Window Film wrote @

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  Frank Wood wrote @

My web postings would be “magnificent” if it were not the fact that it is all so sad for the hard working people in Molivos. I just hope that, in future years, people remember how companies like First Choice have treated this island when the package companies decide to rejoin the gravy train.

  dave g wrote @

Why can’t monarch just put a thursday flight on like f/choice used to do. but don’t for anaxos and petra they are suffering to

  molyvosevents wrote @

We have started a petition and are in the process of collecting signatures to ask if Easy jet or whoever will put a direct flight from Great Britain to Mytilene. We will put the petition on internet soon so please stay connected to this site to stay informed. nothing might happen but we are going to try anyway.

  Frank Wood wrote @

Just as annoying, Dave, is that Monarch, who are the carriers for Thomas Cook from Manchester to Lesvos and many flights from Gatwick to Lesvos, have a standard baggage allowance of 20kgs per passenger. But Thomas Cook charge extra for anything above their own 15kgs limit. It means TC are creaming off an extra £20 per passenger for the additional 5kgs — even though TC don’t pay that to Monarch.
When you queue at check out in Manchester, large Monarch illuminated signs pronounce the fact that “We give you 20kgs luggage allowance”. Yet TC, who are using Monarch as contractor don’t.
It’s a total rip off.
TC say they have “no plans” to revive the Thursday flights which were operated by First Choice until 2010.

  Nina wrote @

Any news for 2013?

  Frank Wood wrote @

Nothing has changed Nina, except that it has got even more difficult to fly to Lesvos on a package holiday.
For example, Sheila and I were scared of hanging on before we booked our annual spring holiday to Molyvos this year (2013) because we feared the one plane from Manchester on Thursday, May 4, would soon be filled by birders heading for Skala Kalloni and other mid-island spots,
We have booked three weeks at the wonderful Seahorse Hotel on Molyvos harbour.
But we also love the Eriphilli apartments on the Eftalou road and thought we would try to book for there in September, 2013. Unfortunately, two years ago, the Eriphilli owners switched to Olympic Holidays, who rely solely on seats on Thomas Cook planes to get their clients to the island.
Because of the demand for the few seats available on the TC planes, we tried to book for the Eriphilli almost a year in advance.
Imagine our shock when Olympic Holidays asked us for the full £1,097 IN ADVANCE. Olympic claimed they had to have all the money a year early because they needed to secure the plane seats with TC. On top of that, we would also have had to pay for our own £100 each way transfer from the airport to Molyvos.
It would have meant that Olympic would have been earning interest for a whole year on our £1,097.
As much as we wanted to go to the Eriphilli, we told Olympic where to shove their holiday!
Our next step will probably be to try and do our own thing and fly via Athens on scheduled services. But that involves much more hassle than a direct flight to Lesvos and, in our reckoning, works out much more expensive than a package holiday.
The frightening rumour we have now heard (from a travel agent friend) is that Thomas Cook is also considering pulling out of Lesvos in 2014.
I have tried to check the accuracy of that with Thomas Cook but all they will say is that they are “constantly reviewing their destinations” and will not say whether they will still be offering Lesvos holidays next year.
Read into that what you will.

  Regina wrote @

This is crazy. We need another airline. I am taking my yoga group there and the flights are so expensive! Any news on new flights?

  Frank Wood wrote @

The only recent news on new flights is that Thomas Cook has added Wednesday flights from Manchester to Mytilene for 2014, in addition to the Saturday flights they have run for a long time. But the prices are no cheaper for flight-only and the departure times from Manchester are hopeless, meaning that travellers will arrive in places like Molyvos in the north of the island, around midnight. In a nutshell, Thomas Cook still has a monopoly when it comes to UK direct flights to Lesvos. And that, as we all know, is bad news.

  molyvosevents wrote @

There was a whisper during the summer that Ryan air would be comming to Lesvos but so far this has not happened

  Frank Wood wrote @

We heard the same news about Ryanair, Melinda, but then we were told it had all fallen through because the company wanted Lesvos’s tourism industry to stump up cash in advance to pay for landing fees etc. Could all be a rumour, but sounds typical Ryanair. The very funny song “Cheap Flights” by the Irish vocal group Fascinating Aida (often played in Molly’s Bar) was apparently based on people’s experiences with Ryanair.

  molyvosevents wrote @

Yes Ryan air wanted 50,000 to bring a plane to Lesvos and we are all prepared to pay it. The foreaus was going to arrange it all but so far they have not yet come to collect any money.lets hope it will happen

  Frank Wood wrote @

It sounds a very strange precedent to be set. I have never before heard of a holiday destination being asked by an airline to put up the money to fly people there.

  Regina wrote @

You know what this is all sickening…The whole flight thing; cheap and the next minute double the price and then if there are spaces left cheap again?????! If you buy a bread the price stays the same, they don’t charge you more because there are less on the racks!
I will find a flight via Athens and advice all my yogis to do that and that will loose Thomas Cook 20 clients! They normally treat their flyers like cattle anyway and you still have to pay for there horrible food. Apparently Aegean Airlines are really nice.

  Nina wrote @

I agree, I did that last spring, it was fine!
I had a quit city break in Athens, not bad at all!
Good luck with your yogis

  molyvosevents wrote @

there is a special deal on at the moment with Aegean airlines so hurry up and book


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