abrelosojos
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Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:45 am

Feedback always appreciated.




I > Background:
Our company has a big office in NYC and I periodically make visits to check things out there. After a fruitful work week, I had the option of spending a weekend in NYC … or, take the opportunity to visit the Azores … a group of island that I had never been to, and one that had a lot of appeal to me. SATA had some attractive fares in JCL from BOS and I decided to bite the bait. I would go to the Azores, fly the 313, and sample SATA (which I had never done before)! Does one need more excuses? Anyways, took the Amtrak Acela (seriously, the U.S. NEEDS to invest in its railways) Thu afternoon, and was in BOS for my flight.

While I believe there have been a couple of reports on SATA, I believe this would be the first coverage of their trans-Atlantic operation and of their JCL product.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
SATA International is an airline based in Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, Portugal. It operates scheduled flights to the Madeira Islands, mainland Portugal and other destinations in Europe and North America including Oakland! It recently rebranded its operations and is increasingly focused on its strategic location to build a “hub” of the Atlantic …the way I see it, sort of the Icelandair … just southern and in an island whose people I adore significantly more  .

SATA’s website at www.sata.pt has improved tremendously over the years and I was quickly able to make my purchase. More importantly, I even got the option to choose my own seat, and later view my e-ticket. Only thing is that you are not able to modify online … either the reservation or the seat assignment.

b) At Airport:
SATA (like all other foreign carriers) use the international Terminal E @ Logan Airport. While I find Boston’s Logan airport to be pleasant, facilities in the international terminal E is limited. My check-in agent was a charming chatty Italian woman who insisted on telling me how much she hated Boston and wants to go back … unprofessional maybe, but hilarious! Anyways, she was quickly able to print my boarding pass and issue me my lounge invitation. I was the last person to check-in for the flight and the agent was “shocked” that I turned up only an hour before the flight. Apparently, people start queuing over 5 hours before the flight and carry their kitchen sink … no wonder the 313 is such a perfect fit. The agent was more “shocked” when I told her I had no carry-on!

After a quick security check, I was in the small sterile area that is still stuck in 1970. SATA’s departure is the last international flight out of Boston and the terminal is pretty dead by now. Given the dearth of F&B/Retail options, I made myself down to the “dungeon” (aka, basement) of Logan airport where the lounges are located. SATA uses the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club which is another window-less lounge that looks like it needs a major revamp. Actually, it is probably one of the better lounges in Boston (sadly). It is also MILES ahead of the one-room crappy lounge that Lufthansa has (and, which I consider the worst in the world)!

Boarding was called 45 minutes prior, and was amazingly chaotic. It was interesting to be pushed back from gate 8A as the neighboring gate featured TACV’s flight to RAI and the entire area was one Portuguese speaking love fest. It was actually cute and I really would like to do a sociological study on the fascination Portuguese speakers have with the Boston/Providence corridor. Anyways, the crazy boarding included everyone rushing to the gate, no special call for J class or “status” holders, and more importantly amusing scenes of people pushing and shoving. I hate to say it ... but it was kinda quaint. Upon boarding, the crew seemed indifferent towards the passengers and no one came to take my jacket until the very end. J load of 7%; Y load was 75%. Stepping into the 313 was being suddenly transported to the mid 1980s to mid 1990s period. The yellowish lighting, the seats, the entire cabin ... just felt like I had stepped back to taking a PANAM 310 across the water.

My favorite part of the entire boarding process was when a man in YCL walked up to the lead crew member and offered USD 250,00 for an upgrade to JCL. Frantic calls between the crew member and ground staff ensured and the man was able to buy-up last minute a seat in JCL! All very old-school … and definitely fitting the overall décor of the 313.

>Airport - External:

(Boston Airport, Terminal E)

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Check-in:

(I was the last one to check-in)


Airport - Internal:


(FIDS)


(Post Security @ BOS)

*

Scenes of the tarmac:

NONE



Lounge

(Aer Lingus “Gold Circle”)

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*
Boarding:

(Boarding gate area – after TACV flight just left)


(“ILBST” should probably be changed to include “ILPBST” where P = Portuguese)


III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
One of my pet peeves is slow service on a late-evening flight … especially one that is short. Service was tremendously slow. Prior to take off, only drinks were offered. After take-off, the skimpiest JCL blankets and pillows were distributed, followed by an amenity kit (not too shabby), and probably the worst set of headphones I have ever been offered in Business Class anywhere in the world. Finally, we were offered meal choices and orders taken. Full meal service ensured. Nothing offered prior to landing.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
SATA’s Airbus A-310/300 have served numerous operators and I believe my bird was originally delivered to Air Afrique. They definitely showed their age – the yellow lighting and the dim interiors reminded me of a time 20-or so years back. While the aircraft was relatively well maintained, the entire feeling was a little too gloomy for my taste.

The seat itself was like any other U.S. domestic JCL seat. The clothed seat was very comfortable during seat position … but anything beyond that was not fun. Legroom was OK … but recline was abysmal. The worst was definitely the awkward leg-rest which did not add anything to the seat and made it weird to sit comfortably.

Aircraft:
(313 @ PDL)


Views from Aircraft:

NONE



General Seat Views + Seat Legroom
(Seat)

(Seat controls)


(Legroom)

*
(Someone please tell me how to use these leg rests comfortably)

*


(Blanket – very much like what UAL gives in YCL)

Seat Recline + Angle View:

(Not much of a view)

*

*


Cabin:


*

*
(Old School)

*
(Bathroom Amenities)

*


c) Meal + Beverage:
Dinner took forever to be served – on a late evening flight of such length, there really is no excuse for the entire service to take 3 hours. Meal choices included fish or chicken (no menu) and a choice of drink. Orders were taken just after take-off, but took forever to arrive. They consisted of a snack with a drink, followed by the entire meal service. The meal consisted of an average salad, the coldest bread I have found in JCL, an interesting medley of fish, potatoes, and carrots as my main (it was OK), and a nasty dessert which was pretending to masquerade as a chocolate soufflé.

All in all, an extremely disappointing affair made worse by the fact that there were no water runs or anything of that sort during the duration of the flight.

(Dinner)

*


d) Inflight Entertainment:
IFE on SATA consisted of a movie shown on flickering screens after the meal service was completed. Again, very much like it used to be in the 1970s/1980s. They showed “Willy Wonka” – and to complement the screen and the overall feeling, the earphones provided were hands-down the worst I’ve ever encountered in an intercontinental JCL. The in-flight magazine was above average and had a lot of coverage on topics such as SATA’s past, and the aspirations for the future. However, given the state of the product, I feel that these cosmetic changes would do nothing if the service approach and mindset does not change … otherwise, it is like a pig with makeup. Sort of what I feel about Avianca … but at least, they have good IFE options!

(IFE Screen)


(Abysmal Headphones)


(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)


e) Crew:
One day when I have the time and money, I would commission a study to understand why Portuguese customer service culture is so weak … especially when it is hands-down (for me, at least), the friendliest country in all of Europe. The SATA crew lived up to this stereotype by being completely detached from their job, and thus the customer experience. I don’t think I saw that infectious smile that is such a hallmark of their fellow country-folk. They were barely there during boarding when my coat lied next to me until the very end. Pre-take off drinks came well after we had pushed back, and the entire meal service was abysmal. For a load of 10% in JCL, there just is no excuse for taking as long as they did. More so because I counted and they seemed to have an abnormally high number of staff assigned to take care of JCL … actually, I think like a staff per pax! Upon arrival in PDL, they just merely stood at the gate without any desire to thank their passengers, or say goodbye. Overall, an extremely disappointing experience.

IV> Post-Flight:
Arrival into Punta Delgada is beautiful as the approach calls for the airline to fly along the coastline giving a great glimpse of the island before arriving in. Disembarkation was through stairs and I was quickly through Immigration and to the rental car place. The Islands are breathtaking and I have a special place for the Portuguese so it ended up being a wonderful trip.

(Approaching PDL and PDL Airport)

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*

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*

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V> Impressions + Scores:
SATA is a mediocre airline that should look within before launching a rebranded effort to become something that it is not. To be fair, it serves a rather unique niche market and provides connectivity to the Azores. Beyond that, there are few redeeming features about the airline. The personnel are uninterested at their jobs; there is no real IFE; the seats belong to a different era (and, what’s with those legrests?); and, the meal service and the meal leave much to be desired. Personally, I just do not see the value of their J class. Even when priced significantly below the other carriers, it is still a poor experience. In fact, if I were them, I would re-brand their JCL product as Premium Economy.

Unless I was flying to the Azores and had no option, I probably would never fly them again … irrespective of how much I was saving. Ok, maybe I would fly them in YCL … the upgrade to JCL is just not worth it. Two thumps way down.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.66: Brussels Airlines (93): FIH-BRU: 01/2010
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.63: Jet Airways (88): JFK-BRU: 10/2009
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.36: Kingfisher (98): BOM-HKG: 01/2010
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.64: Royal Jordanian (91): AMM-YUL: 12/2009
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.25: Iran Air (88): BOM-IKA: 12/2009
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.07: Privatair (84): BOM-FRA: 08/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.52: Emirates (99): LHR-DXB: 02/2010
6.39: South African (97): EZE-JNB: 01/2010
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.29: TAM Brasil (96): POA-EZE: 02/2010
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.21: Iberia (87): BOS-MAD: 10/2009
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.88: African Express (89): DXB-NBO: 11/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: SATA Azores (101): BOS-PDL: 04/2010
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.54: Ethiopian Airlines (95): ADD-BOM: 01/2010
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
7.00: LAN (94): IPC-SCL: 01/2010
6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.39: Condor (85): SEZ-FRA: 09/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.52: Aerolineas (86): USH-AEP: 10/2009
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.98: Air Koryo (100): PEK-FNJ: 04/2010
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.37: Felix Airways (92): SCT-SAH: 12/2009
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:
(Probably the best part – a rather nice amenity kit)


(Some pictures of beautiful Punta Delgada)

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Live, and let live.
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:57 am

Hi Alex,

thanks for this well documented view on SATA's Atlantic offerings. It's not good at all,

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
My favorite part of the entire boarding process was when a man in YCL walked up to the lead crew member and offered USD 250,00 for an upgrade to JCL.

You were not happy in J, can you imagine how bad YCL would've been, when this guy noticed his seat. Probably it motivated him to spend another 250 dollars 

Maybe SATA is ok for shorter runs, to the mainland, and maybe the product on the newer A320's is better also. Still you got on an A310, which would already be a big part of the overall experience for me, at least.

Regards
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
lychemsa
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:26 am

I always wanted to visit the Azores. Isit worth it? The weather seems a bit iffy even in the summer. I never found Portugal to be the friendliest country in Europe. Maybe because I do not speak the language.
 
abrelosojos
Topic Author
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:28 pm

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 1):
You were not happy in J, can you imagine how bad YCL would've been, when this guy noticed his seat. Probably it motivated him to spend another 250 dollars

= JAJA. Probably true Eric. Though I think I would have been OK in YCL given the fare difference.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 1):
Maybe SATA is ok for shorter runs, to the mainland, and maybe the product on the newer A320's is better also. Still you got on an A310, which would already be a big part of the overall experience for me, at least.

= Absolutely right. Flights n the 313 are far between increasingly.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2):
I always wanted to visit the Azores. Isit worth it? The weather seems a bit iffy even in the summer. I never found Portugal to be the friendliest country in Europe. Maybe because I do not speak the language.

= You MUST go to Azores. The landcape is interesting ... though, the weather is definitely iffy. I am surprised you don't find Portugal friendly ... because for me, it is probably THE (or at least, one of the three) most friendliest countries in Europe. Their charm is their humility which is sadly missing in many other parts of the Continent.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
globalflyer
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:53 pm

Thanks for sharing...you should write a book one day of all of your experiences. As always a wonderful report!
Cheers,
Liam
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
 
MHTripple7
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:35 pm

Wow, S4 just looks like a horrible airline, which is a shame because their new branding is fantastic. I would HATE to be stuck on that plane from OAK to TER!

PDL looks really nice, it's a shame the weather wasn't really cooperating.

Another great TR, thanks for sharing.
 
debonair
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:25 pm

Hi! Always a great pleasure to read such exotic trip-reports...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
uses the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club which is another window-less lounge that looks like it needs a major revamp.



SATA changed the lounge at Boston. The new Lounge will be the "Skyteam Lounge" by AirFrance. AerLingus is gone.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In fact, if I were them, I would re-brand their JCL product as Premium Economy.



Well I think, SATA is going a good way... SATA is selling their YCL product as "CLASSIC" and their JCL product as "PLUS". This I think, is showing passengers that they can only expect a plus in service, comfort etc. (on top of Classic)and not a real "BusinessClass".

BTW: Your trip report reminded me somehow on Air Transat's ClubClass. Never flown TS, but this is what I would expect on their A310's up-front...
 
767747
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:13 am

Thanks for sharing a report on an airline you don't here much about! I didn't even know that there was a direct flight to the Azores from Boston! How interesting!

I definitely agree with the view that their J class should be re-named a "plus" class, as it did look rather basic. But, it certainly looks better than flying Y!

767747
I love to fly!
 
LH4116
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:56 pm

Hello, Alex nice report!

It seems like SATA offers a pretty poor J product, I could only imagine how Y class must've been like. The A310 look pretty shabby and worn out, do they have any plans of replacing them or at least update the products?
The food looked pretty nice though...
'
Thanks for sharing!
//Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
flymia
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:12 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
, facilities in the international terminal E is limited

I flew BOS-LHR last January and I was shocked how small and limited the International Terminal felt. I was only planning on having a short 50min layover in BOS coming from MIA but this was January 6th so LHR was delayed beyond belief. However I was impressed that all the stores (not restaurants) stayed opened until everyone was abroad 5 hours late at 1am.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After a quick security check, I was in the small sterile area that is still stuck in 1970. SATA’s departure is the last international flight out of Boston and the terminal is pretty dead by now.

Funny you mention that because the time I flew out my flight was delayed so I saw the SATA flight leave and I still have another 2 hours in the empty terminal. Interesting group of people with A LOT of bags going on those flights.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
faucett
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:22 am

Alex

As always, your TR's are spot on. SATA seems depressing, but the Azores look wild! They should match the carrier to the destination.

THX

Dan
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akhmad
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:31 pm

Hi Alex,

I was wondering how SATA transatlantic offering would look like. Pity about the poor service. It reminds me at your experience with Icelandair somehow. I think you cannot expect much in Business Class for that price.

Ponta Delgada looks nice with the interesting bicoloured buildings.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
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airportugal310
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:41 am

Very good report thank you! I am flying J class in August BOS-LIS and this is a good heads up on what to expect

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 1):
You were not happy in J, can you imagine how bad YCL would've been, when this guy noticed his seat. Probably it motivated him to spend another 250 dollars 

It's a funny thing, really. My parents fly them often and have no complaints at all. They just view it as a way to get from A to B. Other Portuguese from this area say the same thing...for the price, its good enough.

I suppose when you are like the some of us, having flown CO BusinessFirst numerous times, this is just lousy.

Quoting debonair (Reply 6):
SATA changed the lounge at Boston. The new Lounge will be the "Skyteam Lounge" by AirFrance. AerLingus is gone.

Awesome. Has that already happened?
I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
 
abrelosojos
Topic Author
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:03 pm

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 4):
Thanks for sharing...you should write a book one day of all of your experiences. As always a wonderful report!
Cheers,
Liam

= Liam, thanks a lot. I am going to give you the responsibility of finding me a publisher  .

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 5):
Wow, S4 just looks like a horrible airline, which is a shame because their new branding is fantastic. I would HATE to be stuck on that plane from OAK to TER!

= Ya - I guess you're right. Did you not like their old branding? I thought that was nice as well.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 5):

PDL looks really nice, it's a shame the weather wasn't really cooperating.

= Ya. And, the people were very warm and friendly.

Quoting debonair (Reply 6):



SATA changed the lounge at Boston. The new Lounge will be the "Skyteam Lounge" by AirFrance. AerLingus is gone.

= Do you know if this is the old AF lounge now re-branded as Skyteam?

Quoting debonair (Reply 6):

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In fact, if I were them, I would re-brand their JCL product as Premium Economy.



Well I think, SATA is going a good way... SATA is selling their YCL product as "CLASSIC" and their JCL product as "PLUS". This I think, is showing passengers that

= WOW. Has this already happened? Are they selling JCL space as Y+ or still using JCL codes?

Quoting debonair (Reply 6):

BTW: Your trip report reminded me somehow on Air Transat's ClubClass. Never flown TS, but this is what I would expect on their A310's up-front...

= Haha ... you know, I can see that ... it kinda also reminded me of OK's JCL product on their 310.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Thanks for sharing a report on an airline you don't here much about! I didn't even know that there was a direct flight to the Azores from Boston! How interesting!

= Huge Potuguese/Azores immigrant community in Boston/RI area apparently.

Quoting flymia (Reply 9):
I flew BOS-LHR last January and I was shocked how small and limited the International Terminal felt. I was only planning on having a short 50min layover in BOS coming from MIA but this was January 6th so LHR was delayed beyond belief. However I was impressed that all the stores (not restaurants) stayed opened until everyone was abroad 5 hours late at 1am.

= Agreed. Though, I give BOS points because it is very painless usually.

Quoting flymia (Reply 9):
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After a quick security check, I was in the small sterile area that is still stuck in 1970. SATA’s departure is the last international flight out of Boston and the terminal is pretty dead by now.

Funny you mention that because the time I flew out my flight was delayed so I saw the SATA flight leave and I still have another 2 hours in the empty terminal. Interesting group of people with A LOT of bags going on those flights.

= Yup. Check-in agent was stunned that I had no check-in bags.

Quoting faucett (Reply 10):
Alex

As always, your TR's are spot on. SATA seems depressing, but the Azores look wild! They should match the carrier to the destination.

THX

Dan

= Dan, thank you. BTW, why is your handle Faucett? Curious.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Hi Alex,

I was wondering how SATA transatlantic offering would look like. Pity about the poor service. It reminds me at your experience with Icelandair somehow. I think you cannot expect much in Business Class for that price.

Ponta Delgada looks nice with the interesting bicoloured buildings.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo

= Suryo, I think this is a fair comparison!

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 12):
Very good report thank you! I am flying J class in August BOS-LIS and this is a good heads up on what to expect

= Curious. Did they sell this to you as J or Y+?

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 12):

It's a funny thing, really. My parents fly them often and have no complaints at all. They just view it as a way to get from A to B. Other Portuguese from this area say the same thing...for the price, its good enough.

I suppose when you are like the some of us, having flown CO BusinessFirst numerous times, this is just lousy.

= Yup.

Thanks for reading.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
faucett
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:43 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Dan, thank you. BTW, why is your handle Faucett? Curious.

Faucett was for many years a respected domestic carrier in Peru. As a child, I used to like going to the Jorge Chavez old airport ramp just to watch the planes. The orange Faucett planes used to stand out. I use the handle in the name of sweet memories....I've gone off topic   
faucett
 
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:21 am

Quoting faucett (Reply 14):
Faucett was for many years a respected domestic carrier in Peru. As a child, I used to like going to the Jorge Chavez old airport ramp just to watch the planes. The orange Faucett planes used to stand out. I use the handle in the name of sweet memories....I've gone off topic

= Cool! Of course, I know what Faucett is ... had good memories on them as well. Didn't know if you worked for them. I miss the old LIM with its tarmac parking.

Saludos,
A.
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:23 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Quoting debonair (Reply 6):

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In fact, if I were them, I would re-brand their JCL product as Premium Economy.



Well I think, SATA is going a good way... SATA is selling their YCL product as "CLASSIC" and their JCL product as "PLUS". This I think, is showing passengers that

= WOW. Has this already happened? Are they selling JCL space as Y+ or still using JCL codes?

No, on their web-page, SATA is still speaking about Business Class. But the official brand name (as shown on your pictures) is "PLUS".
 
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Curious. Did they sell this to you as J or Y+?

It is simply listed as Business, which leads me to believe its J.

Y+ would make far more sense!
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:51 pm

Quoting debonair (Reply 16):
No, on their web-page, SATA is still speaking about Business Class. But the official brand name (as shown on your pictures) is "PLUS".
Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 17):
It is simply listed as Business, which leads me to believe its J.

Y+ would make far more sense!

= Yes. Y+ would definitely make more sense ... but then again, they can get away with cheap J branding for trans-Atlantic flights.

Airportugal310 - have a curious question. Does your family/diaspora in Boston usually buy online or through a ethnic agent?

Saludos,
A.
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The777Man
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:58 pm

Nice report Alex!

Too bad their J class is so bad even the seat is very poor. They have a great opurtunity to provide a unique and excellent service being a niche carrier but fail miserably.

The777Man
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:40 pm

Hi Alex,

great report about SATA's A310 - however, it's very disappointing to see that the carrier offers such a bad product. I have just seen all their A310s at LIS, including one in the new colorscheme. I would have preferred getting one of them over the TAP A319/320s on my itinerary.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
J load of 7%; Y load was 75%.

Wow, very bad load in J Class.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
SATA’s Airbus A-310/300 have served numerous operators and I believe my bird was originally delivered to Air Afrique.

It seems you had CS-TKM which is the youngest frame. Former operators were SAETA, LAB and Royal Jordanian.


PH
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:31 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 18):
Airportugal310 - have a curious question. Does your family/diaspora in Boston usually buy online or through a ethnic agent?

I think you already know the answer, but they always buy through a travel agent. For a few reasons: 1) they can book car at the same time so thats one less step for them and 2) they don't trust the internet or know how to work it properly

I booked mine online.
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Contact Air
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:09 pm

Hi Alex,

Fantastic report and pictures once again. I'm always a fan of exotic airlines which often offer a surprisingly good and personal service. A pity that this is not the case at SATA. From your descriptions, it is really not an airline I want to try soon.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Stepping into the 313 was being suddenly transported to the mid 1980s to mid 1990s period. The yellowish lighting, the seats, the entire cabin ... just felt like I had stepped back to taking a PANAM 310 across the water.

Sounds great - from an enthusiast's point of view. But for the ordinary passengers, it is probably not too attractive...

Punta Delgada looks very nice indeed - seems to be worth a visit.

Regards
Christoph
 
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:33 pm

Quoting The777Man (Reply 19):
Nice report Alex!

Too bad their J class is so bad even the seat is very poor. They have a great opurtunity to provide a unique and excellent service being a niche carrier but fail miserably.

The777Man

= Yup. The thing is though ... they don't have to. They serve an extremely niche market and I am sure are comfortable with that. Sadly, they have been losing money for the past couple of years and I think a re-think of their strategy might just do wonders.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
great report about SATA's A310 - however, it's very disappointing to see that the carrier offers such a bad product. I have just seen all their A310s at LIS, including one in the new colorscheme. I would have preferred getting one of them over the TAP A319/320s on my itinerary.

= Ya. It was a trip down memory lane for sure.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Wow, very bad load in J Class.

= And keep in mind that one of them was a last minute cabin upgrade.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
It seems you had CS-TKM which is the youngest frame. Former operators were SAETA, LAB and Royal Jordanian.

= I should always defer to you before claiming to know the airline history. Isn't it sad that this was the youngest frame? Btw, PH, isn't some of their frames ex-Air Afrique?

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 21):
I think you already know the answer, but they always buy through a travel agent. For a few reasons: 1) they can book car at the same time so thats one less step for them and 2) they don't trust the internet or know how to work it properly

I booked mine online.

= Interesting because I am giving a speech on distribution at a Terrapin conference. Curious here - where are these agents based in Boston?

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 22):
Fantastic report and pictures once again. I'm always a fan of exotic airlines which often offer a surprisingly good and personal service. A pity that this is not the case at SATA. From your descriptions, it is really not an airline I want to try soon.

= Sadly so Christoph.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 22):
Sounds great - from an enthusiast's point of view. But for the ordinary passengers, it is probably not too attractive...

= Yup.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 22):
Punta Delgada looks very nice indeed - seems to be worth a visit.

= It is an incredible place with super warm people. Visit soon!

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:36 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 23):
= I should always defer to you before claiming to know the airline history.

No problem.  

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 23):
Btw, PH, isn't some of their frames ex-Air Afrique?

Yes, CS-TGU and CS-TGV are ex-Air Afrique.


PH
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:15 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 23):
= Interesting because I am giving a speech on distribution at a Terrapin conference. Curious here - where are these agents based in Boston?

They use a travel agent in Rhode Island (Woonsocket perhaps?), where of course, there is the larger of the Portuguese popluations around here.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 24):
Yes, CS-TGU

That was my first trip on a SATA A310, maybe in 2000?

In 2004, I flew a TAP A310, CS-TEX. Prior to that, in 1996, I flew BOS-LIS on an ATA L1011...now that was a ride!
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ba319-131
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:43 pm

Hi Alex,

Another great read, thanks for sharing the experience.

Load in J is terrible, amazing!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I would go to the Azores, fly the 313, and sample SATA (which I had never done before)! Does one need more excuses?

- Nope, worth flying just to add anotehr A310 to the log book, somethin I need to do, only got a few under my belt.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Stepping into the 313 was being suddenly transported to the mid 1980s to mid 1990s period. The yellowish lighting, the seats, the entire cabin ... just felt like I had stepped back to taking a PANAM 310 across the water.

- Ah, sounds great, similar to the ancient Euro Atlantic 757 I flew a few weeks back when operating for BA. Re Pan Am, I never flew them, sure wish I had had  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
why Portuguese customer service culture is so weak … especially when it is hands-down (for me, at least), the friendliest country in all of Europe

- Indeed, may last g/f before getting married was Portuguese so I spent quite some time in Portugal, great country and people, not sure why they lack customer service skills, should be so easy for them.

Cheers

Mark
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:45 pm

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 25):

They use a travel agent in Rhode Island (Woonsocket perhaps?), where of course, there is the larger of the Portuguese popluations around here.

= Cool. Thanks for the info!

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 25):

That was my first trip on a SATA A310, maybe in 2000?

In 2004, I flew a TAP A310, CS-TEX. Prior to that, in 1996, I flew BOS-LIS on an ATA L1011...now that was a ride!

= Aren't you supposed to go back soon?

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 26):

Load in J is terrible, amazing!

= Do you really blame the people for being sensible and not wanting to upgrade?

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 26):

- Nope, worth flying just to add anotehr A310 to the log book, somethin I need to do, only got a few under my belt.

= Ya - I am gonna miss the 310 when they totally retire.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 26):
- Ah, sounds great, similar to the ancient Euro Atlantic 757 I flew a few weeks back when operating for BA. Re Pan Am, I never flew them, sure wish I had had

= Funny. I just flew them on a charter operation to an exotic land ... bonus points for guessing where ... wait for the TR  .

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 26):
- Indeed, may last g/f before getting married was Portuguese so I spent quite some time in Portugal, great country and people, not sure why they lack customer service skills, should be so easy for them.


= Exactly Mark. I have no idea why!

Anyways, did you already do your Brasil/Colombia trip?

Thanks all for reading.

Saludos,
A.
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ba319-131
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:34 pm

Hi Alex,

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 27):
Anyways, did you already do your Brasil/Colombia trip?

- Nope, set for Feb/Mar next year, got the flight to Mexico sorted, BA & MX, and the return from Brazil, TP, just need to fill the gaps, looks like a mix of Lasca , Avianca & Tam.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 27):
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 26):
- Ah, sounds great, similar to the ancient Euro Atlantic 757 I flew a few weeks back when operating for BA. Re Pan Am, I never flew them, sure wish I had had

= Funny. I just flew them on a charter operation to an exotic land ... bonus points for guessing where ... wait for the TR

- I'll just have to wait, not too farmiliar with their ops, hurry up and post it Alex!!  

Cheers

Mark
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RE: Sata Azores S4 220: 22/APR/10: BOS-PDL: J Cabin

Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:11 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 27):
Aren't you supposed to go back soon?

Yup...been 6 years now which is unusual. Flying the same flight you took to LIS, via PDL at the end of August. On the way home in Sept, flying nonstop LIS-BOS (which I prefer, of course). Flying Y on the way home though...so Ill get both tastes this time   I chose the back, where the middle seats start to taper to 3 wide...
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