Mina Agnos has built a successful career on her passion: travel. In 2001, she co-founded Travelive, a company in which personalized travel experiences are created based on guest preferences and expectations. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, hand selecting hotels, meeting local representatives, and amassing the top local guides; assembling exceptional lifetime experiences for Travelive guests.
Travelive offers a high level of bespoke service to clients traveling to Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Egypt. The company’s Greece and Mediterranean specialists pride themselves on their professional attention to detail, and tailoring their services for every client.
Travelive has offices in Bloomfield, New Jersey and Boca Raton, Florida as well as on-site offices in Athens, Rome, Madrid, Cairo and Istanbul. Agnos is based in the Athens, Greece office. She recently sat down with All About Aviation.gr to discuss the latest trends in the luxury travel market, some tips for travel as the Greek financial crisis continues and why her clients love traveling by private jet and helicopter.
All About Aviation.gr: What is the most popular destination in Greece this year?
Greece has historically been a “dream destination” in the North American Market, where we specialize. We tend to see guests visiting for a once in a lifetime trip. That typically includes a short stay in Athens visiting all of the famous sites, along with a jet set visit to Mykonos and relaxation in Santorini. Guests looking for a bit more culture tend to also continue to Crete. These have been our top selling destinations since our inception in 2001. These remain hands down, the most popular destinations for our clientele.
However, I am pleased to see that the Greek culture and more off-the-beaten-track destinations have also become more and more appealing to visitors – and that we are seeing guests come back for second and third visits. These tend to include touring the classical sites of the Peloponnese and Northern Greece as well as visits to lesser known islands like Naxos, Folegandros, Milos, Ios, Zakynthos and more.
This new demand has led us to create new itineraries, which really bring the air charters into play as some of the connections are not logistically convenient.
All About Aviation.gr: What advice do you give to your high-end clients who are travelling to Greece during these challenging times?
The most important piece of advice that I can offer is to use a reputable company that is going to accommodate you 24/7. In the event of any unforeseen question or concern, you should have access to someone in country who can speak your language and assist you.
This could be for anything from making a dinner reservation, to rebooking a ticket on a cancelled ferry or flight, to changing hotels to avoid crowds or protests, to locating an ATM that has cash to dispense.
There is quite a bit of uncertainty in Greece right now, for the Greek people. There does not need to be for travelers visiting Greece. Working with the right company can ensure that this is not going to be the case.
All About Aviation.gr: What do you look for in a private jet charter?
Service and value are always a priority when looking for a private jet or helicopter charter, along with a stellar track record. The quality of the jets and their crew play an important role in the overall satisfaction of the client.
Our guests tend to seek a high level of service, comfort and convenience. In addition to the charter itself, the ground support service tend to play an important role. We use in-airport VIP assistance to expedite passport lines and ensure that clients do not need to handle their own luggage when connecting to or from scheduled international flights to private domestic charters.
All About Aviation.gr: How does chartering a jet or a helicopter add to the whole Greece experience?
Greece is a beautiful country. Seeing it from the air really adds another dimension to the islands and the classical sites. Getting a bird’s eye view of the Parthenon and Acropolis along with the coast of Athens is truly stunning. Flying over the caldera and the Volcano of Santorini truly adds to an already “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
Chartering also offers an additional level of convenience. Private jet and helicopter transfers are fast and easy, they do not have the limitation of scheduled air (early check in times, lack of service, connecting in Athens) or travel by ferry (bumpy sea conditions, long ferry lines, delays, lack of luggage porterage).
All About Aviation.gr: What do your high-end clients enjoy most when seeing Greece from the sky?
I often find that our client’s book air charters for convenience – to get from island to island quickly and easily without the ferry experience.
In doing so, I regularly hear these guests comment on the additional reward of experiencing Greece from the sky.
The helicopter in particular offers a unique vantage point that most planes windows don’t offer. The images we receive are often stunning and the experience for the guests – in addition to being a convenient transfer – is surprisingly gorgeous and quite exciting.
All About Aviation.gr: Which is the best-selling helicopter tour or what do your clients like the most and why?
The Mykonos to Santorini (or vice versa) helicopter charter is our top selling private air charter service. This is a transfer, often combined with a 20-50 minute aerial tour of Santorini and the Volcano.
Again, this is normally booked for convenience and comfort then enjoyed for the scenery of the islands. The colors of the Greek islands and the Aegean Sea are remarkably vivid and the natural landscapes and white and blue buildings stunning.
While the transfers are typically booked as transport, they often become an unexpectedly meaningful, one-of-a-kind experience.