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“Azores stop confusing”
Review of SATA - Azores Airlines


Reviewed 4 November 2018 via mobile

We left Boston Logan airport about 930 at night and at 3:30 Boston time we landed in the Azores Portugal. We had to take our hand luggage plus carry-ons off the plane down the steps into the terminal & wait while they cleaned the plane and then reload again about 45 minutes later. When we left Lisbon to return to Boston, we also stopped in the Azores. This time they checked our passports three times within about 12 feet. Again we had to remove all of our personal belongings from the plane but this time we had to wait about an hour and a half in the terminal before we are allowed to reboard. I don’t understand why this has to be done. It is an inconvenience. It’s also difficult to take carry-on suitcases down the steps and back up again. And nobody could explain why they do it. Other than that it was a typical overseas flight.

Date of travel: November 2018
Thank MaryEllenBertkau
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 2 November 2018 via mobile

Read reviews before we flew and was concerned. Our flights were uneventful, on time and staff was very professional. Plus it was cool to stop in the azores.

Date of travel: October 2018
Thank Paradise49942782402
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 November 2018

The level of disrespect by the airline for us as paying customers and complete absence of information was appalling. Despite multiple follow-ups to customer care, the airline has NEVER responded substantively in the seven weeks since we complained.

No notification of cancellation. At approximately 8am on 16 September 2018, my travelling companion and I arrived in Lisbon on a different airline from Porto. My travelling companion and I immediately checked our bags at the Sata counter and were issued boarding passes for Flight S40235 to Boston via Terceira. As we checked in, we weren’t informed of even the possibility of a cancellation. We proceeded through security to the gate area and remained waiting in the airport for many hours before the flight, which was scheduled 14:20. Throughout this time, we repeatedly checked the monitors for the flight status at all times. When the monitor indicated that Gate 47 was the correct gate for Flight s40235, we proceeded to Gate 47. When no Sata personnel showed up at Gate 47 by 14:00, we went to another gate with a Sata flight to Boston via Punta Delgado. The gate agent there said he could provide me no information whatsoever about my flight, that nothing was available in his computer system, and that he didn’t have time to look further because he had to deal with the boarding flight. We returned to Gate 47, only to find the monitors had switched the gate to 44B. We went to Gate 44B. Still no Sata personnel. I attempted to call the 508-677-0555 telephone number for customer service and a recorded greeting said the office was closed for the weekend. I attempted to call one of the two Portuguese numbers for Sata main ((+351) 296 209 700) listed on the Azores Airlines website. I got a voice recording in Portuguese only. I then called the other customer care number ((+351) 296 209 720) and finally reached an agent. She told me that I could not possibly be at the gate because she had no record of checking in under my Etkt number. I told her I was indeed at the gate along with a dozen other passengers and had my boarding pass in my hand (see attached copy of boarding pass). She put me on hold and then came back after five minutes and told me she had just learned Flight S40235 had been canceled. This was approximately 15h00. This was the first time ANY of the waiting passengers were told the flight was canceled. The monitor still showed 44B as the correct gate and did not indicate a cancellation under status. I asked the customer care person to re-book me. She said I had to go to the Sata customer care desk. I asked her to have a Sata person sent to the gate to assist the passengers. She again put me on hold for ten minutes. When she came back, she said she had tried to reach the Sata desk in Lisbon and had been unable. She again directed me to the Sata desk. Please note that the Sata desk in in the departures lobby. We were at the gate, which is beyond three secure checkpoints.

Poor and Slow Customer Service. At the Sata desk, numerous people were waiting. We joined the queue. Even though many people were waiting, one of the two people at the desk got up and announced her position was closed and disappeared. I could see other persons in the back office, including a male who came out once to talk to the remaining customer service person, but never acknowledged the long queue. The remaining customer service person took at least 20 minutes per passenger to address their issues. When the disappearing agent finally returned (approximately an hour), she informed me the plane for Flight S40235 was still in the US. This means by definition that Sata must have known for HOURS that the flight was to be canceled, but never indicated that information on the monitors and never made any attempt to contact the passengers like me who had already checked in. We later learned from other passengers who attempted to check in later that they were not permitted to check in on account of the cancellation; these conversations took place well before 14:20, again indicating that the airline was clearly aware of the cancellation well in advance of my discovering it on my own initiative at 13h00. I asked the agent to book me and my companion on another flight through another carrier. She said the only accommodation she could make was the next day at 1055am, but only for one of us. The other would have to fly later through Newark and then connect to Boston. Notwithstanding what she said, when we looked on the TAP website, the 1055am flight showed available seats; this was also confirmed by TAP via telephone. She insisted there was only one, meaning that—contrary to your cancellation policy (see attached)—the agent insisted on booking one of us on a flight other than the next available flight. The whole experience with the agent took at least 25 minutes – far too long.

No Help With Previously Checked Baggage. The agent then told us we would have to go to the lost and found to retrieve our checked bags. I asked why Sata had not retrieved them for us, since it was their cancelled flight. The agent shrugged. (She also failed to explain that there are two lost property locations in Lisbon airport—one that is the Groundforce lost and found and a separate “lost property” location with a sign leading toward the police station. Thus, we wasted time going to the wrong location and had to hunt around and go to the police to find the right place.) Then we waited 30 more minutes for the bags to be retrieved (see attached form from Groundforce). It is inconceivable that Sata wouldn’t make its own efforts to return the bags to us. Also note that we had purchased items in Duty Free, which we could not keep in carry-on baggage to re-enter security checkpoints.

Incomplete Instructions Regarding the Taxi Voucher. The agent then gave us a voucher (see attached), but did not explain properly how it was to be used. Again, she failed to explain the existence of two separate lines for taxis – the normal taxi queue and also a “taxi voucher” queue. She never explained the difference or which we should use. In addition, when we gave the voucher to the taxi driver, it had neither the address nor the phone number of the hotel on it. Accordingly, our taxi driver became lost in Estoril.

Incomplete Instructions Regarding Return Transportation. When we finally got to the Palacio Hotel in Estoril, we found Sata had provided no information to the hotel about how we were to return to Lisbon airport. The hotel didn’t know and could answer no questions, because Sata had not provided it any information. I called Sata customer care and they said I could have the hotel pay for a taxi back. I told customer care the hotel had refused saying it had no instructions to do so. The agent then told me to get my own taxi, pay for it and get reimbursed. I said ok. Five minutes later, the hotel said they finally had information that a bus would come for me at 7am. Again, customer care was wrong or had bad information.

Conclusion. The casual disregard for our welfare and inconvenience and the value of our time suggests Azores Airlines does not value us at all. The lack of information indicates either mass confusion or very bad recordkeeping or both. The slowness of the customer service queue (which we experienced the following morning on September 17, when we tried to get the second one of us on the earlier flight on which there were available seats) shows either incompetence, poor information systems, or lack of knowledge on the part of the customer service agents.

Date of travel: September 2018
    • Customer service
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
5  Thank scott p
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 31 October 2018

This was our 7th transatlantic return flight with Sata. Our personal experience has been generally positive. In-flight meals for trans-Atlantic flights have been fair to quite good although choice is very limited. Flight personnel have been respectful and friendly with passenger comfort in mind once on the plane. Older Boeing aircraft are gradually being updated or replaced with newer models for international and transatlantic flights. SATA doesn't charge for carry-on or checked baggage, within defined weight and size limits. The biggest complaint we had was with Sata’s boarding protocol from Ponta Delgada for transatlantic flights. Essentially it’s a free-for-all! Large groups of people with their carry on baggage jockeyed for position to get through a one girl ticket / passport check. Why would they not use a more orderly process so that people of all ages would not have to stand, waiting for long periods of time and then be forced to compete for available overhead storage once on the plane? The inter-island flights in the Azores, using Bombardier Q200 & Q400 prop planes, run like clockwork. Sata is a safe and lower cost carrier that will hopefully continue to raise the service bar.

Date of travel: October 2018
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
Thank CruisersRus
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 27 October 2018

The flight was on time both ways, Company needs to return to ancient standards of service. Perhaps having new aircrafts will be part of the solution.

Date of travel: October 2018
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
Thank lesmanone
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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