Hello from the Azores! Last night I flew from Boston to Ponta Delgada on Azores Airlines, which I was so excited about. Azores Airlines fascinates me, especially since they fly the A310, which is a treat as an aviation geek. Azores Airlines has good business class fares between the US and mainland Europe, and they allow free stopovers in the Azores, which is a fun opportunity to explore a new place for a few days.
Before I share my thoughts, let me say that I knew full well going in that the flight would be operated by an outdated A310, and it’s something I was looking forward to. I won’t hold the seats (as such) against the airline. However, the service and state of upkeep of the cabin surprised me, and really was unacceptable. Just about all the reports I’ve read of Azores Airlines have been negative, and I’m afraid I have to echo that.
The business class cabin consisted of a total of 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The seats had maybe 50″ of pitch, and I had a huge smile on my face when I saw them. It was like flying 30 years ago, and felt like something special.
It was especially cool to look into the economy cabin, which was just one huge cabin.
What shocked me, however, was the horrible condition in which the cabin was kept. There were no power ports and no entertainment, which is fair enough. However, the seat was quite literally falling apart. The seat had no padding, and there was a huge gap in the bottom seat cushion that made it uncomfortable to sit in. Ford’s legrest didn’t work, and his footrest didn’t work either.
My tray table was crooked. There was a single TV screen at the front of the cabin where the safety video was screened, though the screen was “green” and fuzzy the entire time, to the point that you couldn’t really see what was on the screen. That didn’t seem to be of much concern to the crew when it came to safety.
In terms of amenities, the only amenities were a small pillow and blanket, which are similar to what you’d get in economy on many airlines.
The crew was just freaking awful, though. The only time they smiled was when they said goodbye to passengers, because clearly the end of their shift was the only part of their job that they enjoyed. The second the plane took off they closed the curtains between the galley and business class. They made their first appearance 75 minutes after takeoff to serve dinner.
“Chicken or fish” is all they said. I chose the fish, while Ford chose the chicken. Oddly the chicken came with fruit for dessert, while the fish came with cake. Hmmm…
There was no glassware, but rather plastic cups.
I asked the flight attendant if they had any champagne to drink. “Yes, but we don’t have enough crew today, so we also have to serve economy. Do you need me to put it in the chiller?” I said that would be great if she didn’t mind, though after serving business class for five minutes, the crew was nowhere to be seen for the next hour, as they had to serve economy. So even though this was a 4hr30min flight, it was 2hr30min into the flight before trays were cleared. And of course I was never offered any champagne.
No drink refills were ever offered, and the only time we saw the flight attendants again was once the landing gear came out, at which point they had to pull back the curtain between the galley and the cabin.
What an awful, awful airline. Like I said, I’m not complaining about the seat itself — I actually found that part of the experience charming, and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to fly Azores Airlines. However, the horrible condition of the cabin along with the terrible service were among the worst I’ve had on another airline.
I think this might just be the most disappointing business class product I’ve ever flown… which is saying a lot.