Star Alliance member TAP Air Portugal offers a great sale for flights to Ponta Delgada on the Azorean Islands. With a layover in Lisbon or Porto, you can reach the archipelago with departure from seven European countries for as cheap as €88, and even fly nonstop from Lisbon for only €65. These fares include just a cabin bag. Adding checked luggage increases the price by roughly €35 on TAP’s website. You can even book a free stopover in Lisbon!
There’s availability from September onward (always depending a bit on where you’re departing from):
You may find these low fares from the following origin cities:
- Lisbon: €65
- London: €88 (~£75)
- Frankfurt: €99
- Vienna: €99
- Madrid: €99
- Brussels: €99
- Paris: €99
- Amsterdam: €99
The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal and therefore part of the Schengen agreement. EU citizens won’t need a passport or visa to get there.
Most flights will be operated by TAP’s Airbus A320 or A320NEO airplanes. They feature a standard 3-3 seating, but an infamously narrow 71 cm seat pitch.
Search & Book
The fare rules for these flights aren’t very restrictive. They merely state that you can fly from September onward. The best way to find travel dates is using Google Flights (instructions). It is best the book via TAP’s website.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
The tickets are issued in booking class O, meaning that you’ll roughly get (based on an example routing from London):
- 500 Miles on Miles&More
- 372 Miles on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 372 Miles on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 372 Miles on EgyptAir Plus
- 372 Miles on Asiana Club
- 186 Miles on Azul TudoAzul
As you can see, the number of miles is laughable.
Adding a Stopover in Lisbon or Porto
If you book directly on TAP’s website, a pop-up window will automatically open. Its user-friendly interface asks you if and how long you’d like to stay in Portugal. This is by far the easiest way to make the most out of a trip with TAP to any destination of your choice. A stopover in Porto can be added the same way. The best thing – the price of your flight remains the same!