I’m So Tempted To Fly Azores Airlines To Cape Verde!!!

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

Obviously not all OMAAT posts are going to appeal to everyone, and that’s totally fine. I know a good number of you love my random posts about airline routes that fascinate me, while others are bored as could be by them. This is one of those posts, so if you’re not interested, click to a different story now. 😉

I have an unhealthy obsession with looking up airline routes for no good reason. How unhealthy is my obsession? I’m trying to figure out how to position to Frankfurt to fly Condor to Whitehorse, and in the process I’ve somehow decided that it makes sense to stop in Praia, Cape Verde. Or something.

A couple of days ago I shared the 14 first & business class products I want to review next, and this particular airline wasn’t even on that list.

Last year I flew Azores Airlines from Boston to Ponta Delgada to Lisbon, which was nothing short of fascinating — Boston to Ponta Delgada was operated by an A310, while Ponta Delgada to Lisbon was operated by a leased ex-Emirates A340. What a cool experience that was, despite how awful the airline was otherwise.

The airline recently took delivery of some A321neos, and their paid business class fares are low (which makes sense, since it’s more like domestic first class within the US), so I thought that might be a good way to get to Europe.

Boston to Ponta Delgada to Lisbon for $800 on the A321neo the entire way? Deal.

But the real destination is Frankfurt, so I looked at options there. There actually is an Azores Airlines flight to Frankfurt, but the catch is that it’s operated by an A320 that doesn’t even have business class, so basically half of our journey is in economy. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, but if I can avoid it I will.

So I started looking at where else Azores Airlines flies. One destination stuck out — Praia, Cape Verde!

Okay, for the same fare how could I not fly from Boston to Ponta Delgada to Cape Verde? Can we just take a moment to admire what a cool route that is?!

That Ponta Delgada to Praia flight is 1,600 beautiful miles of open ocean that’s nearly due South. So, so, so, so cool!

The problem is that I have the attention span of a goldfish, and at this point I’m no closer to Frankfurt than when I started. So perhaps this is best for a different trip, and the most logical way to get back from Cape Verde to the US would be to fly their national airline on their single 757 (which doesn’t even have business class). They used to operate a flight from Praia to Providence, but it looks like they now instead fly once weekly to Boston.

Now we just need Icelandair to invest in Azores Airlines, and maybe it’ll be possible to fly from Reykjavik to Ponta Delgada to Praia. How cool would that be?!?

Oh, and I officially need a new hobby.

So in all honesty, maybe this isn’t ideal for positioning to Frankfurt, but this is now on my list. The last time I asked you guys about how Cape Verde is, there weren’t many responses. Can anyone specifically chime in on how Cape Verde is in terms of things to do and general safety? Based on what I’m reading online it seems to be pretty safe but not too exciting, but I always trust you guys more.

Actually, the more I think about it, maybe this is ideal for someone positioning to Frankfurt. How many people can say they’ve been to Whitehorse and Cape Verde on the same trip?! If only there were a comfortable way to get from Cape Verde back to Europe, as the best option I see is a redeye on a TAP Air Portugal A320… yuck!

  1. Why not??? I don’t see the harm in going somewhere new. There’s even a Hilton!!!

  2. Also lucky you may want to know that Cabo Verde is well known for female sex tourism. 😉

  3. Cam back from Cape Verde about a month ago and aslong as you stay inside the hotel or go on the hotel excursion then your safe. A new Hilton has also recently opened on the island of Sal and TUI sometimes fly their dream liners from Europe to there so you could maybe try out their premium economy.

  4. I went to Cape Verde several years ago- it was nice- reminded me of Europe in the 1980s, i.e. not impacted much by globalization. Stayed at a local resort- there were security guards on the property, and I didn’t feel unsafe- not super safe but not bad. It was very laid back- which I enjoy. We took a drive around the island, and saw local sights-food was good – it would be a nice weekend or long weekend.

  5. Maybe you could try Cape Verde to FOR on TACV and then Joon or KLM back to Europe.
    I know it’s crazy, but nothing crazier than flying to Whitehorse, for that matter.

  6. Love that routing, do it! To get from Cape Verde to FRA, consider flying out of Sal (SID) instead of Praia, which is the main tourist airport. Seems to have some more options such as TP to LIS, Binter to LPA, TACV to LIS, CDG, MXP etc. Or with TUIfly nonstop to FRA every Wednesday!

  7. WTF is that QR code livery? Can you even scan it with the curvature of the fuselage and the windows?

  8. Omg I love this haha! Well if you’re already in Cape Verde might as well take the Royal Air Maroc fifth freedom flight from Praia to Bissau, Guinea-Bissau as well

  9. Was there way back in 90s. A very nice place. Pria have a strong Portuguese influence with a lot of cobble stone streets.
    I was told there are more Capeverdean in the US – Mostly in New England area – than there are in Cape Verde!
    South AfricAn Airlines used to stop over at SAL on the way to and back from the US

  10. I’m here for all the love Lucky is showing to Portuguese speaking destinations. TAAG, Azores, now Cabo Verde. Pretty soon I’ll be running into you on the beaches of Algarve!

  11. Oh right (my goldfish attention span forgot the rest of this) – Cabo Verde is perfectly fine these days. Several of my Portuguese friends have gone and one is there right now as a single female traveler making me jealous on her insta-story. They’ve all commented there isn’t much to do in Praia though, and general consensus is Sal is better and provides a more African feel to it. There is however plenty of nature around, and people are quite friendly. Keep practicing that Portuguese.

  12. Lucky, as you prefer a decent business class experience I would consider flying Royal Air Maroc B738 (2-2 seating) on their daily Praia – Casablanca – Frankfurt connection.
    Regards, Simon

  13. One very “random” destination that you haven’t covered is the brand new route between Johannesburg to St Helena Island in the South Atlantic. The route started in Oct 2017, operated by SA Airlink with an Embraer 190. And they have business class on the flight. Until last year, St Helena was only accessible by boat. The UK government spent 250 million pounds to build the airport on an with island with only 5,000 people. Once the airport was finished, they realised they built it in the wrong place and the runway is subject to wind shear. After many delays and many tests, they concluded that they cannot land 737’s, which was the original plan. But they can fly Embraer 190s. Commercial service has now started. The island itself has lots of history. It’s where the British exiled Napolean after his defeat at Waterloo.

  14. Great idea for a review. However, I would be very disappointed if @Lucky did not stay for at least one day and do an island review.

  15. The flight from RAI-PVD switched back to BOS after TACV retired their own 757. The flights are now operated by a wetleased Icelandair 757.

  16. From Cape Verde you can take Binter Canarias to Gran Canaria and then you can connect to everywhere in Europe or take Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca.

  17. Never been to Cape Verde, but as a huge Lusophile, I’d say Cape Verde is the second most fascinating African Lusophone country for me, after Moçambique and on tie with São Tomé and Príncipe. I’d love to pay CV a visit anytime soon. Heard they are quite safe and rich in West Africa standards and have very good surfing spots.

  18. Hey Ben, daily I always wake up and check out your site first, amongst the other blogs that are out there working hard to help others out. This post is a great reminder of why I tune in here first. I have nothing to add, simply wanted to add some positive feedback amongst the numerous comments you receive daily.
    Just to add as a result of your inspiration that I have booked from March 2018 to April 2019:
    LAX-SIN in SQ F
    SIN-REP in Silkair J
    BKK-HKG in TG J
    HKG-LAX in CX F
    LAX-MLE in EK F
    MLE-CDG in both SQ J and SQ Suites
    FRA-DFW in LH F
    The vast majority of mileage earned with credit card signup bonuses, though a fair amount with credit card utilization based on spend.

    Keep on keeping on Lucky

  19. Back to the Western Hemisphere via Brazil on TACV! They fly to some smaller airports in the Northeast.

  20. Didn’t the South African 747s, always used to stop at Sal; during the apartheid era. Wonder if there are any remnants of this at Sal airport, nowadays.

    Also..You should check out Cesaria Evora, for Cabo Verde’s hypnotic, home-grown music. Her album ‘Cesaria’ was nominated for a Grammy, back in 1996.

  21. Just be careful. We had three separate tickets with Azores in the middle (and plenty of buffer time) and Azores moves our flight by a day since they canceled the original. $750 later I have the same vacation I originally booked…

  22. DO IT!!!!!!!!!!! but see how much cheaper economy is on TAP as if heaps cheaper just fly economy as its much easier (as intra Europe business class is economy which shouldn’t be supported by paying a cash ticket with no flights on a long haul plane) plus then you can say how an economy flight was with in the past 5 years

  23. Cape Verde is a sun destination for most people. They have good weather year round and that makes it a good beach destination. They have some good resorts there but nothing too fancy as far as I know. The 2 most popular islands for sun seekers, Sal and Boa Vista, don’t have that much to see really. They are mostly desert. Boa Vista is prettier, with some nice dunes. The most interesting island, in my opinion, is Santo Antão….but it’s not the easiest place to get to, since they closed the small airport there.

  24. What wonderful routes! Just need to get from Praia to Sao Tome, then Saint Helena, then Tristan De Cunha, then South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (ok maybe I’m getting a bit crazy here too :p)

  25. Love the blog, but please stop using the whole first paragraph to apologize for what you are about to write. Fans are going to fangirl, and haters are gonna hate. Do what you love, own it and let it go!

  26. I visited Cape Verde a few years ago and loved it. As other commenters have said, there isn’t much to do in Praia, but the old section of town has some great colonial architecture and is worth strolling around. Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, has more to do and see as a city, with decent restaurants and cool nightlife. Santo Antão is known for its beautiful and unique hiking trails.

    Besides Sal and Boa Vista (which I didn’t visit), much of the accommodation is locally-owned bed and breakfast style, so not many opportunities to use/earn points at a chain resort/hotel.

    Safety was never an issue for us, and Cape Verdeans were friendly and hospitable. Just a note that English isn’t widely spoken (at least in our experience), so basic Portuguese skills are extremely helpful. French can also be more helpful than English.

  27. My god friend is a US Diplomat serving in Cape Verde. Happy to make a connection. She says there isn’t a ton to do, but the locals are great people and you can find fun local things pretty easily.

  28. Cape Verde is an archipelago where the islands are very different from each other. The major airport is located on Sal (SID). That island is very small and almost exclusively consists of resorts and restaurants. It’s more akin to the Canaries than the Seychelles or Mauritius etc. No reason to go there.

    Santiago is the main island, and that’s where the capital Praia and its minuscule airport RAI are located. I visited Praia last year. There are few big hotels. Pestana Tropico is reasonable (think three stars) and within walking distance of Praia old town. The old town will keep you busy for half a day and Cidade Velha is a nice enough place for a half-day excursion. Otherwise, there weren’t too many activities or sights but the island and town are by no means unpleasant. Cape Verde is a lot more calm, secure and peaceful than continental West Africa. I’ll give you an example: you can freely photograph the presidential palace. Try that in most African countries, and you’ll be in trouble!

    The city seemed perfectly safe during daylight hours. The population are descendants of the Portuguese and Sub-Saharan Africans and they lack the sometimes extreme traits of your average Sub-Saharan Africans. No tricksters around, either. Few people speak English, but everyone speaks Portuguese. I got by without problems using a mixture of a handful of Portuguese words, Spanish and English. The locals won’t bother you in the streets, and even in Praia Market you can walk around without being bothered too much. The market was the closest thing to continental Africa that you could find in the city, with many of the salesmen from Nigeria and Senegal.

    Even though the standard of living is definitely lower than in Europe, looking at the reasonably well-kept city streets and modern housing, you could imagine yourself being in Las Palmas rather than an African capital city. Food was unremarkable, and I didn’t get food poisoning.

    It’s not Europe, but it’s not really Africa, either. I’d say that there’s no reason to avoid Cape Verde if your flying patterns take you there. You’ll be fine.

  29. The Azores Airlines / SATA situation is SOoooo sad (and pathetic) : they are SELDOM on time– and my last two flights ? One delayed by TWO DAYS, and the other was rescheduled FOUR times, FINALLY leaving BOS for TER (Azores) at 2am… OMG. This was a huge cost in time and money having to book hotel, eat in restaurants, and travel (3 times! ) to Logan (BOS), not to mention lost revenue from work. Pray that Icelandic or Norwegian or SOMEONE buys them and runs them like a real airline. I am “on the ropes” because I bought a beautiful little house overlooking the sea on Terceira Island, but have no choice but to fly Azores Airlines which has a virtual monopoly. The personel / FA’s are fabulous, and the service very caring and attentive. It is the management (I suppose) that is messing the whole thing up. All I can say is– “good luck, and have god-like patience” when booking with Azores.

  30. You could also take a short flight to Dakar and then head back from there. Dakar is worth visiting.

  31. Now I’ve been looking, you’ve got to do SA Airlink’s new E190 from Johannesburg, to Windhoek, to Saint Helena, to Wideawake military airfield on Ascension Island… https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/zs-yad#1109f1f4

    It seems to fly once a week to Saint Helena, but only monthly to Ascension. The plane seems to be leased from either ECC or NAC, and has business! https://www.flyairlink.com/news/11

    You could spend a week on Saint Helena, and at least overnight on Ascension…

  32. I have been to Cape Verde (PRAIA) and I flew TACV on there 737 from LIS – RAI. Praia airport is relatively underdeveloped and basic. Cape Verde is very safe and the people are lovely. It is a bit sad to see children walking around begging but that’s Africa for you. I stayed at the Pestana Tropico in Praia. Taxis and everything are good in Cape Verde, the food is delicious and the people are friendly. At the time I went I saw a TAAG 737 going from Quatro de Fevrio- Praia – Sao Tome and Quatro de Fevereiro. Seafood and everything is great in Cape Verde and they look after you really well.

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