Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to Lisbon was delayed from 6:00 to 7:30. Seven of us still had to go to the airport at 3:45am. Carlos was ready to load our bags in the mini bus. As we drove through Funchal we saw many young people just leaving the clubs.
At the Air Portugal, TAP, counter we were able to check our bags all the way to Denver. The flight did not board until almost 7:15, and due to issues with the air traffic control, the aircraft did not take off until 7:48. We were cutting more and more time off our 2 hour and 45-minute original layover margin for our 10:25 flight to Newark.
Henrique had told us that the Lisbon staff would help us get through immigration. Gennie had talked the flight attendant who also confirmed that she would call ahead to find out our connecting gate information.
As the minutes ticked away, we finally landed in Lisbon, with 45 minutes to spare. We taxied to an outlying tarmac and the flight attendants opened the door. To their surprise, there was not a shuttle bus. Waiting about 10 more minutes, a bus arrived and we drove to the terminal entrance.
We were on the same flight as Beth from Houston so we stuck together. Running up to the departure terrace and looking for a TAP service representative, we found one who was supposed to guide us through passport control. Instead, he motioned the way to the All Passports counters and long lines. No assistance there!
Relying on the understanding and human kindness of others, we asked if we could cut in line as our flight was leaving. Everyone was very helpful and a young lady even opened the rope line and we went straight to an available agent. After answering a few brief questions, he directed us to the departure gates.
As luck would have it, our gate was at the far end of the concourse. As we got closer, we saw a long line of waiting passengers. A young man told us not to worry, the aircraft had just arrived. He checked to make sure all of our bags had been loaded on the flight.
He asked us a few more security questions and we were directed to the front of the line. Although Priority Boarding had already begun, the flight crew welcomed us and reassured us that we were safely onboard and that we could finally relax.
Once in the aircraft, the pilot explained that there were additional air traffic control problems and that it would be another 30 minutes before takeoff. Finally, at 11:35, we were once again in the air for our 7-hour flight to Newark.
The remainder of our flight was uneventful. We were offered lunch, but declined and took a deep breath, relaxed, and got a little rest.
When we arrived in Newark, it was rainy and foggy. Our flight was delayed, but as this was our last leg of this journey, we had no connecting flights to worry about. Others were very upset and after a few more delays due to weather issues, we were able to taxi from the jet-way and out to the tarmac.
After another 20 minutes sitting, the pilot announced that we would have to go back to the gate to get more fuel. We loaded another 5000 pounds of jet fuel so that we could fly north to Canada and then west avoiding the storms to the south.
We finally were in the air and arrived in Denver just after 9 pm. We were able to get right on the Pikes Peak Shuttle and found our car waiting for us. The traffic wasn’t bad that late and we were home by 10:00.
This was an excellent adventure and we appreciate our OAT Tour Leader, Henrique for all of his knowledge and guidance on this trip to the Azores and to Madeira.
Thank you for following our journey and for all of you that made comments on GarciaTrips.
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Mr. Victor Garcia Customer #673062
Wow, what a trip. I'm familiar with the roller-coaster of emotions that occur when you're air-traveling, just hoping all will go well, but thrown a curve at different times, & just having to deal with it. One can get a little cranky towards the end of a journey when it keeps happening. But you made it, & as my brother Roger says, the trip will only get better in hindsight, now that you're safely home with all the wonderful memories.
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The flower photos are magnificent!