TAP for what I want you

It is not possible to maintain routes, flights, people circulating, airports in normal condition, but tariffs that are not modest continue to be charged

Accumulated passengers, bags in droves at Lisbon airport – Photo: Sandra Moreira

I returned to Portugal, after a period in Barcelona, ​​on the 1st of July. I had a flight booked with TAP, leaving for Lisbon and from Lisbon to Faro.

I arrived punctually and in good time at the Spanish airport, having made the check-in and checked in hold luggage (which I usually avoid, but on this occasion, for health reasons, which forced me not to carry pesos, I did so).

I waited a while for the flight time and, when I was getting ready to approach the boarding gate, I see the confusion installed: the flight had disappeared from the warning panels and, at the door that was previously intended for it, passengers were boarding for a flight from another airline, bound for Paris.

There was no clarification, no word with the passengers who were piling up, not understanding what was happening. Half an hour after the scheduled departure time, the delay notice appears.

We all had, of course, internet connection, social networks, means of communication and we realized that Lisbon airport had been temporarily closed due to an accident with a plane, but it had already reopened a long time ago…

More than an hour later, a TAP employee appears who, without attracting much attention, gives a few vouchers food for those who, by chance, are approaching… At this hour, there were few places to eat at the airport, because everything was closed…

Three hours late, we boarded there. I ask the Head of Cabin if I can arrive on time for my flight to Faro… Do not know…. I travel without resting, restless, guessing, without knowing it, the following hours….

When preparing for landing, the same Commissioner tells me that the flight door to Faro it's the 25th and that, on the way out, there would be ground personnel to help…. I go out, like many others, to run. There is no one, the ones who should provide support...

At gate 25, an employee tells me: "The flight to Faro it was canceled". When I look for the TAP counter to resolve the situation, I realize the length of the queue: elderly people, children, young people, people of all nationalities and origins were piling up throughout the terminal, looking lost, tired, angry . More than five hours of waiting at the very least, I calculated.

The head started to work, as it always happens in these situations, looking for all possible solutions, because the return home, more than a mere wish, was a necessity of someone who had been awake since 5:00 am in Spain. It was past midnight in Portugal.

Between various adventures, the passengers of the canceled flight to Faro are diverted to another area of ​​the terminal (however, the aforementioned TAP branch has closed!), mixed with those in Porto and Brussels.

We only hear about “protections” and “absence of opening of protections”, the voices sounding like arrogance, lack of consideration, bad manners, even. There is no solution for us: no flight, no bus, no accommodation, nor any prospect of help from TAP! give a voucher to eat something and that's it.

At that time, amid the hubbub and people calling the police, the media, family, etc., I try to see if there is transport to the Algarve: there is only a train at 14:02 pm on the 2nd of July… those in the same situation. –

"Oh, you have to go get your luggage, because we don't send it to Faro and if you stay here, this is where you have to pick it up”. The baggage information desk only opens at 6:00 am. There we are, a group of people who share the situation. We ended up talking, sharing the hours and the anguish of not being sure how to get home.

At the collection terminal for the objects that are transported, I am stunned: suitcases piled up to be collected and unpacked, some with tags from June 22nd. The smell that came from some of them and the liquids that dripped fouled the air.

The few available chairs were always full. The floor, which had not been cleaned since God knows when, was an alternative for some. I sat down for a while in a transport cart, the kind where we put our bags and tarecos, truly feeling like a piece of junk that had to be there, with no clear destination.



After identifying my belongings and knowing that there was no expected delivery time, I stayed there, with the group that had formed. One of the ladies was already feeling the effect of the lack of medication that was in the bag (she would end up, in the following days, having to spend a few hours in the hospital, precisely as a result of that).

Nine o'clock, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, nothing! I go back to the window and already with a hard and impatient conversation, I end up feeling sorry for the young Groundforce employees who were walking around, giving evasive and visibly compromised answers…. 12:30 and my companions' bags show up! Screams and cheers were heard in the terminal with each recognition of something that rug nine threw out. My suitcase didn't come.

In order not to miss the train, I fill out the complaint, already hopeless, and leave, with the group, to Gare do Oriente, where we ate something (which was not paid for by TAP, of course) and got on the train (whose ticket was also not funded by TAP!).

At 18:00 I left for Tunis and finally saw the loving faces of my parents, maximum comfort for someone who hadn't slept for 48 hours and felt as tired as the blessed plane that must have brought me to Faro and never took off!

What saddens us in the midst of all this chaos, which we experience these days in airports, is the way we are treated, the lame excuses we are given to explain the inexplicable: when you don't have employees (crews, ground personnel, handling), tickets are not sold.

It's like a dear friend said: "there are no arms, there are no cookies!"

To say that it is recovering from the COVID 19 crisis, with big headlines and, after all, it is not possible to maintain routes, flights, people circulating, airports in normal condition, but they continue to charge tariffs that are not modest, you are truly to deceive...

And if TAP needs my money and that of all taxpayers so much to continue operating, it would be good if it acted differently and much more respectfully. I don't plan on traveling in the Portuguese company anytime soon. In fact, I constantly think: “TAP for what I want you”!

PS – My suitcase arrived 6 days later at my house, around 23 pm… And the poor driver still had a few more to deliver in Monchique and Sagres, after having started the service at 00 pm at the airport of Faro...
I already complained. I expect that they will take at least six months to respond and, in the meantime, the money I paid for the ticket is in the accounts of the Portuguese Air Carrier.


Author: Sandra Côrtes Moreira has a degree in Social Communication from the FCSH of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, a Master's in Educational Communication from the Faculties of Arts and Human and Social Sciences of the Un. from Lisbon and Algarve and Master in La Educación en la Sociedad Multicultural by the Universidad de Huelva. She is a doctoral candidate in Educomunicación y Alfabetización Mediática at the Universidad de Huelva.
Superior Language and Communication Technician at the Municipality of Faro, is also Advisor to the Information Office of the Diocese of Algarve, member of the Pastoral do Turismo and ONPT team.