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OA260
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:27 am

Ok so I was lucky enough to be invited on the first ever SATA flight between Ireland and the Azores. Aboard were 150 journalists,travel professionals and the head of SATA and Azores tourist board.

DATE: 4TH MARCH 2007
FLIGHT : S4 9545
A/C : A320
ROUTE : DUB-PDL
SEAT : 3C


I checked in at 9am and met up with some other travel professionals that were also on the trip. I was glad that I knew a few people for the 4 day trip arranged by SATA/Azores Tourism/Sunway Holidays Ireland.

SATA are handled by servisair and the staff at the check in were very efficient and friendly.



After a coffee at Butlers it was time to board in the C gates area.



http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4473.jpg


A very nice and clean cabin.









After take off time for meal service .



The meal was very nice and plenty of drinks including Champagne. The crew were so nice and friendly.



After 4 hours and 20 mins were finally landed into PDL. Amazing views of the island as we came in. The island was so green even by Irish standards.

As we taxied to the stand two fire engines formed an arch of water to christen us !!! Never had that before only seen it in newspapers. I am trying to get hold of a photo of it to post on here . As we got off the TV and Press were on the tarmac waiting for us . I took the opportunity to take some pics myself.







http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4503.jpg

Our stay was to be 3 nights including some tours. Here is what the Azores looks like.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4540.jpg

The hot springs ''Furnas''
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4569.jpg



Botanic gardens




Pilgrims who every year fast and walk around the Island as a offering during lent!! Amazing. They leave their families and walk for around a week with just bread and water.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4601.jpg

Amazing coastline, you could be in Donegal Ireland!!!


Ive seen fire warnings before but not Earthquake ones!!


The time came to fly back to Ireland.

DATE: 7TH MARCH 2007
FLIGHT : S4 9544
A/C : A320
ROUTE : PDL-DUB
SEAT : 3C

Ponta Delgada airport is very modern considering its a small Island in the middle of the atlantic ocean. The runway is amazing, right on the cliff. The city center is only 5 minutes in a taxi!!

I checked in and then went to take some more photos.






The SATA Plus lounge, small but comfortable.













At about 1pm I noticed that the fog was getting worse. The weather here can change within 20 mintues!!!




The flight was due to take off at 1530 and it was now 1530. A few annoucements were made advising that the flights to neighbouring Islands were delayed and new information would be given in an hour. Then the same was announced for our flight. You couldnt see the AC out of the window at that point!! Anyway an hour later another announcement was made that more information would be made in another hour. At this stage I was starting to get worried because the fog was the worst I have seen in my life. I thought we would all be stranded. An hour later the two other fights were cancelled and the airport had been closed. The head of SATA was frantically calling the head of aviation and the airport operators to try to stop them from cancelling our flight. 150 journalists and travel professionals stuck in a airport terminal for hours is not great publicity even though theres nothing that can be done due to weather.

Lucky that a break in the fog came , it didnt clear much but enough to safely take off. They got the airport re opened just to allow our flight to depart. We all rushed onto the AC and pushed back. As we took off we could see the fog comming in again. After we left they shut the airport again !!! We were lucky . Had it have been a normal flight I dont think it would have taken off.

Anyway once safely in the air we all were quite tired so many slept. The meal service was good and this time plenty of Moet!!! Also the head of SATA made a good bye speech and gave us a goody bag with information on SATA and a model plane!!!


Some other SATA things::

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dellas1000/CIMG4740.jpg

The best bit inside the bag apart from the model was this lovely momento::


We were even on the front page of the local newspaper!!!

All in all it was a great trip. The service on SATA was very good and very professional.The aircraft are very comfortable and new. The Azores and its people are so friendly and welcoming. They are modern but yet retain their culture and traditions. I think the new shceduled flights from Ireland will do very well. The Portugese and the Irish are very similar in many ways. I hope to go back one day.

[Edited 2007-03-08 21:32:01]
 
767747
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:34 am

Really good report and pictures!!!

767747
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Contact Air
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:43 am

Great report and pictures, thanks for sharing your impressions!

Really interesting to read a report about SATA, an airline that is hardly covered by trip reports. I also liked your pics of the Azores - the landscape looks bililliant and completely different from what I would have expected.

Christoph
 
rineanna
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:09 am

One of the most Interesting TRs yet! Didn't know much about the Azores before this, it looks amazing. It really does.
Thanks for sharing it!
 
Ryanair!!!
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Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:24 am



Am I the only one that thinks that if and when Garuda decides to buy the A320s to replace their 737s, they would look something like this?

An awesome report. Lucky you to have been able to go on a trip like this all fully paid for. I am sure you guys were pampered to the max to ensure good publicity. Somehow with that fog reminded me a lot of Tenerife. No matter what, it is not safe to take off if the viz is below minima. Journalist or otherwise, it is still human lives that we are talking about. We all know what happened to the KLM and Pan Am 747 when the pressure was built up at a fog shrouded airfield.

But what do I know? I am just another armchair CEO..  Smile
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
EK20
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:56 pm

Interesting report. The Azores look really beautiful - somewhere I always fancied going. Just a pity you didn't have better weather at both ends.
 
infodesk
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:26 pm

What an interesting report and an exciting opportunity! Great to see a lesser known airline and destination here on airliners. I agree the airport and the plane both looked spotless.  spin 
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
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OA260
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Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:17 pm

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 4):
Am I the only one that thinks that if and when Garuda decides to buy the A320s to replace their 737s, they would look something like this?

Yeah funny enough I was thinking that when the Garuda crash was on TV . But I can assure you SATA are nothing like Garuda....lol

I wouldnt fly Garuda if you paid me. I know that SATA were pulling out all the stops but the meal service was the same that clients would get because I made a point of asking. They also fly A310's from PDL to YYZ and BOS !!! J class return is only Eur845 return all in !!! I feel a trip comming on LOL....
 
Toulouse
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:43 pm

Excellent report OA260.
Long live Aer Lingus!
 
SunCEO
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:34 am

I'm SO jealous! Your trip looks amazing! And what a nice touch with the gift pack! Was on HLX first flight to STR from DUB before and they had champagne at the gate and pretzels on arrival which i thought was great for a low cost company!
 
Ryanair!!!
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Sat Mar 10, 2007 1:32 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
I wouldnt fly Garuda if you paid me.

Truth be told... Garuda is actually one of the better run and more reliable airline in Indonesia. I am sad that this incident had to happen to them because I feel they do not deserve it. I have had nothing but good flights with them. I feel sad that the scrutiny that is inevitable, will lump them together with the Lions and Adams.

Garuda is better than that!  Smile
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OA260
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Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:58 pm

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 10):
Garuda is better than that!

I used to work for their GSA in London . They were not bad but they were not that great either!!! They always changed flights and re routed flights at very short notice. Long delays and bad customer service!! I had many complaints with them. I got one free ticket a year with them but never used them. I did consider the LGW-AUH route one time but never did it.
 
FLIEGER67
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:50 am

Hello, OA260,
great story.
Real interesting to read about such a special flight.
I was neither with SATA nor on the Acores, but both sounds recommendable.
Thanx for posting,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
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OA260
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:42 am

Thanks Markus , I was very lucky to be on that trip , it really was amazing. I know you like the Registration's of the aircraft so I hope you were pleased the photo of the wing with the Registration in BIG letters!!!!

I really do appreciate all comments on my trip reports. If you read this and you like it then post a comment so I know im doing the right thing. Also if you would like to make any suggetions for future TR then please let me know.
 
MCOflyer
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:06 am

Very Good TR. At least you got a free model airplane.

MCOflyer
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Avianca
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:31 pm

really nice report!!!!

I think I should change my job... we at the cargo business get very very limited flights like this....
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DALCE
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Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:09 pm

Very nice report of a lesser known airline!
The airbus looked spotless indeed! Thanks for sharing!
flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,77W,788,319,320,321,333,AB6.
 
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OA260
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Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:10 pm

Woops , exceeded my photo limit again!!! Check back 31st March to view photos again!!!!
 
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OA260
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:58 pm

Sorry for the gap in being able to view the photos , I exceeded bandwidth and to combat this in future Im going to use another account.
 
ba319-131
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Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:24 am

Great report, really interesting, don't recall a Sata report for ages (if ever!).

Thanks to this report, I've also learn't more about the Azores, I used to think it was just beaches - I know, wrong!.

Rgds

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
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OA260
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:17 am

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 19):
I used to think it was just beaches

Yeah me too until I went there , the beaches are few and far between and the ones they do have are black volcanic sand . Not a beach lovers paradise but if youre into nature/scenery and culture then its amazing. I will go back again one day. SATA are a brilliant airline and great service. They have great J class fares from PDL to USA and Canada on their A310 by the way. I was thinking some one could do a DUB-PDL-YYZ if they wanted to experience them. I dont see any UK routes which is a bit weird.
 
B747forever
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Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:41 pm

Brilliant TR !!!!

A really interesting TR.

Do SATA still operate PDL-DUB-PDL???

SATA seems to be a really nice carrier.

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
As we taxied to the stand two fire engines formed an arch of water to christen us !!!

That has to be great memories.

Ponta Delgada seems to be a really nice place. Worth a visit.


Wow, from your pics the fog seems really thick.

Good that you could get home at least. Wasn't it little scary to take off in so thick fog?? ?

Thank you for sharing.

B747forever
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Door5Right
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RE: Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/PICS

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:52 pm

Excellent report - looks like SATA must be about one of the only airlines left still flying the BAe ATP too!
My soul is in the sky...
 
UairFokker
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RE: Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:11 pm

Excellent report. Enjoyed every part of it.

I noticed in the Air Show shot the strange route flown by the aircraft: It looks like what a Great Circle route on an intercontinental flight would look. But this is not the case. Anyone knows he reasons of such a strange routing?
 
B747forever
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RE: Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:31 pm

Quoting UairFokker (Reply 23):
Anyone knows he reasons of such a strange routing?

Noticed that also. Seems really strange. I think it is something wrong with that map. Otherwise it seems really strange to fly like that.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Inaugural Sata Dublin To Ponta Delgada W/Pics

Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:27 pm



Quoting B747forever (Reply 24):
Noticed that also. Seems really strange. I think it is something wrong with that map. Otherwise it seems really strange to fly like that.

I would expect it to have something to do with the jet stream and headwinds encountered on the route, as (depending on the time of year) you are flying directly into them from DUB, so it may in fact be quicker to fly south through the strongest winds and then head west again.

Excellent report OA260, the meal you were served looks miles better than the one which I received when I flew them! The weather can certainly change very quickly, but I'd say the goody bag and model made up for it - not to mention the champers on board!

Thanks for sharing with us.


Dan Smile
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