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Review: Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A340 Ponta Delgada To Lisbon
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Our flight from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon was departing at 9:45AM, though we got to the airport plenty early, at around 7AM. That’s because we had to get gas, return our rental car, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to review the airport, etc.
Ponta Delgada Airport is quite small, with just a single terminal.
Once inside the terminal we first went to the rental car counter, and then walked to the far end of the terminal, where check-in was located.
There was a business class check-in counter, where there was just one person ahead of us, so we were checked in pretty quickly.
I knew that our flight to Lisbon would be operated by a leased HiFly A340, which features economy, business, and first class seats. They don’t sell first class, so I asked about the possibility of assigning seats in the first class cabin, which they gladly did. Sweet! As it turned out, all but two business class passengers were actually in first class.
Right next to the check-in desk was security, which was an easy process. We were through in about a minute. The airport’s airside area is pretty small. Gates 1-5 were to the left, gates 6-10 were to the right, and then there were a couple of duty free shops and coffee stands.
Azores Airlines operates a lounge at the airport, which is located past security and to the right. SATA rebranded as Azores Airlines several years ago, but the airline can’t seem to update their branding, as just about everything still says SATA.
Inside the lounge was a reception desk, where the agent took forever to get us checked in. It took her a couple of minutes as she wrote down every single detail from our boarding pass onto a sheet of paper. For what it’s worth, Priority Pass members also have access to this lounge.
This lounge was plain depressing. While the rest of the airport had lots of natural light and felt fairly modern, the lounge felt like a log cabin, and not in a charming way. The only light came from the frosted glass windows.
The lounge consisted of just one small room, which is fair enough, because Azores Airlines doesn’t seem to have many premium passengers.
On the plus side, I appreciated their use of vertical wood beams to make the lounge feel a bit more private.
Towards the back of the lounge were the two larger seating areas.
The area in the back left of the lounge had a TV.
The food & drink selection was back near the entrance to the lounge, and was pretty bad.
To drink there was a selection of liquor, soft drinks, and water.
Then there was also a fridge with drinks.
Then there was a coffee machine and a kettle.
The food selection was limited to a few types of small packaged snacks (crackers, cookies, and nuts).
Then there was an area with magazines and newspapers.
While the lounge had a wifi network, the airport’s wifi network was stronger. The issue was that the airport’s wifi didn’t work well in the lounge, so connectivity was better outside the lounge.
The lounge also had no bathroom, so you had to go into the terminal to use the bathroom.
The lounge was so bad that we decided to go to a coffee shop to get a coffee and snack. There were no healthy options, just a selection of carbs.
Then we headed to the gate area, because that was more comfortable than the lounge.
Even though the Azores is part of Portugal, you have to go through passport control when flying from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon. Our flight was departing from gate 3 — passport control let out near gate 1, and then we had to walk past two sets of gates to get to our departure gate.
Boarding was scheduled for 9:05AM, though that didn’t happen. Instead we began boarding the bus to the remote stand at 9:35AM, with no explanation of the delay.
Then at 9:40AM the bus left to the plane.
Our gorgeously simple HiFly A340 was parked at the far end of the tarmac. When the bus pulled up the cleaners weren’t done yet, so we had to wait another five minutes in the bus before we were allowed to board.
Finally at around 9:50AM we were able to board.
Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada
On the plus side, Ponta Delgada Airport is easy to use, and fairly nice for a small airport. Unfortunately the fact that we had lounge access and decided it was more comfortable to sit in the gate area should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of the lounge.