Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Travel chaos (Part 4)

Day 4 and another early start in which we decided to get an early cab to the airport at our own expense rather than wait for the courtesy buses with a view to beating the check-in queue.

Being first at check-in (yes!) had the disadvantage that we were the guinea pigs for the "computer says no" syndrome which in this context was due to the fact that yesterday's flights were on TAP Portugal whereas today's will be on SATA Air Acores. The earnest young man behind the counter explained it all to us in his faultless English but did he think I looked like I cared whether I was going on a blue and white plane or a green, red and white one?. Anyway, after about half an hour's hammering away on his keyboard and a sprint across the concourse to both the TAP (green, red and white) and SATA (blue and white) ticket desks, we were eventually issued with boarding passes to a blue and white plane. By this time a satisfactorily large queue from the buses from the hotel had built up behind us.

All this only got us to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel where we hot-footed it to the SATA (blue and white) desk to be told there were no more flights to Flores that day but that we were "on the waiting list" for a flight tomorrow. Uh huh - do I not like the sound of being "on a waiting list" for a flight.  However, after some chat about whether we were clients of TAP or SATA and half an hour's typing on her keyboard (probably trying to unscramble everything the earnest young man at Lisbon had done earlier), the lady behind the counter eventually produced a confirmed place on a flight the following day to Flores and a voucher for the Hotel Avenida (including lunch and dinner) and taxi thereto.

So, after lunch at SATA's expense (or was it TAP's?), we wandered up to the Parque Atlantico shopping centre in PD to hit Modelo (Portuguese equivalent of Tesco) for emergency supplies of socks and cuecas (pants) at British Airways' expense. Remember BA? The airline we handed our luggage over to in a far off land a long time ago (Glasgow, 4 days earlier. - actually, BA losing our luggage is a massive result because it means we're not paying the €100 or so excess baggage to check it in on SATA (TAP?) due to the fact we always return from the UK with a lot more than we took - vital supplies of ham stock cubes, pine nuts and other essentials not procurable on Flores.)

Will we get home to Flores tomorrow? Tune in to find out.       

1 comment:

Marisa said...

That's a winter trip my dears. Even in Azores sometimes the florentinos students took a whole week to get from PD to Flores,(you know that there was no school after the grade in small islands, so at the age of fifteen we had to go to Terceira, Faial or S.Miguel to continue our studies, and that's 25/30 years ago, before it was just until 4/ grade or)Anyway, are you still in S Miguel? I work near Hotel Avenida, On the Tribunal de Contas near the RTP Açores, if you need something, i have my contacts, eehehhe. And i would like to meet you. Good luck