First off, it takes about four and a half hours each way.
Second off, for some reason, most of the flights seem to go at odd times and almost always seem to involve departures, or arrivals, or both, at unsociable hours.
We’re not aware of any truly ‘scheduled’ flights that operate between the UK and Paphos. Sure both British Airways and Cyprus Airways go there, but whatever it might say on the outside of the plane, there’s no such thing as a daily, regular scheduled flight to Paphos.
The current Paphos terminal is not good – it gets overcrowded very easily. The new terminal at Paphos is due to open on 11 November 2008. We haven’t been there yet – but from the outside it looks great and we’re sure it’s going to be a big improvement. Click here for Paphos Airport website.
You could of course fly to Larnaka. Both British Airways and Cyprus Airways fly there several times a day from Heathrow. Bear in mind it’s about a two hour drive from Larnaka to Paphos. Despite that, don’t rule this option out – especially in the winter, flights can be cheap and booked at short notice.
So how do you find flights to Paphos? And what are the plusses and minuses?
In our experience, flights fall into two categories. The out and out holiday flights – Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook. Then the others - Easyjet, Monarch, British Airways and Cyprus Airways.
Considering the holiday flights first. In our experience there’s two things about these.
The first is they’re not cheap. Sure the headline price you see may be cheap, but by the time all the ‘extras’ and ‘surcharges’ and the like have been added, they’re far from cheap. And some of the websites you book them through are infuriating in that you have to give them all sorts of personal data and almost complete a booking before you get to the final price.
The second is you can pretty much guarantee they’re not going to leave you alone for the four and a half hours while they try to sell you stuff. Add that to that these are often night flights. So when you fancy forty winks – being exhorted over the PA to buy some new perfume is exactly what you don’t want. And of course they give you a very intrusive holiday questionaire to fill out on the leg back to the UK. It always amuses me to fill these out with completely fictional and outrageous information to baffle their marketing department!
Add to that the holiday airlines tend to operate bigger aircraft (757/767), so often 200+ people are trying to check in for the same flight. Yep – that means queues. Lots of them. And it can mean a longer wait for your case.
Turning now to the others, in our experience these are better value and much less hassle. Why?
One – generally, when you’re booking on the web, you get to the real price faster than you do with the holiday airlines. That doesn’t mean the headline price is what you actually pay, it just means you get to it faster.
Two – they’re not determined to sell you stuff every inch of the way. However, watch out for what you’re getting. It’s very common to be charged for earphones, food, drinks etc.
Three – they don’t give you a silly multi-page questionaire to fill out.
Four – they generally use medium sized aircraft (A320/737) which means there’s only about 150 people on the plane. Shorter queues, baggage off quicker, and so on.
On a final note, beware. All airlines are under considerable cost pressures due to increased fuel costs. That has resulted in a number of airlines ceasing trading – the most recent being XL Airways – who had been a good carrier to Cyprus.