Sunday, February 20, 2022

Flying to Madeira Island with the Airbus A330

January 2022

It's not very common to do very short flight with widebody equipment. But during the holiday season, every year, there is a surge in the demand for flights between Portugal mainland and Madeira island. Not only because of families and students wanting to go back home for Christmas but because Madeira NYE's fireworks is a huge attraction to tourists.

Air Luxor used to send their A330s to the island during this season and I was fortunate to land there with this type of widebody a few times between 2003 and 2005 flying with both CS-TMT and CS-TQF aircraft.

17 years later here I am again, with different colors, and with a different motivation to be on this flight.

Airbus A330-941 | CS-TUN | "D. Fuas Roupinho"

Also an unusual fact nowadays, I was one of most senior members in my category, which means I was assigned to work in business class again. Before the pandemic, with the company's growth we witnessed a fast moving seniority list and most of the times I was the most senior member in my category. These days, with the fleet reduction and with the recent dismissals, it's totally the opposite: I'm usually part of the "youngest" team.

So that was the way the new year started for me: doing a turnaround flight to Funchal. I made photos of this flight available in the following gallery:

And if you got nostalgic when I referred to Air Luxor, those photos are also online:

Let's hope 2022 is the year when we definitely get rid of this pandemic.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

First time in Cancún

July 2021

It seems quite unbelievable that during my charter period I didn't manage to visit Cancún. I did many other destinations in the Caribbean but not this one in México.

Our route to Cancún was launched very recently and it was a matter of time until it showed up in my roster. The aircraft assigned to the outbound flight was also a first for me: CS-TUK, the A330neo with the Star Alliance livery.

And how it feels good to arrive in Cancún around 10pm with a hot breeze of 30º C. The good charter vibes were totally coming back to me.

CS-TUK "D. Francisco de Almeida" after arrival

However this was the shortest layover available (there are bigger pairings). Yet I was able to enjoy a full day at the beach in Isla Mujeres.

On our ferry to Isla Mujeres. The blue is unreal!

And finally we arrived in paradise.

Isla Mujeres

At sunset we caught the ferry back to the city center and had dinner in a restaurant called "La Coyota".

La Coyota - Cocina & Mixologia

And after dinner we were totally exhausted due to the 6-hour time difference and returned to the hotel. Before going to my room I went to enjoy the amazing view of the rooftop.

We stayed in Zona Hotelera, very much american style. Next day, only time for breakfast and for a little rest before the return flight.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Closing of a route due to the pandemic

November 2020

By that time, it was a rumor often heard that the San Francisco route would end soon. So, when I saw San Francisco in my roster I immediately did a mini-list of what I wanted to see and explore in the city in that short layover. One year earlier I automatically fell in love for San Francisco when I had a bigger layover but I still left many things to do for a next visit. This time, I was not sure if I would ever return to San Francisco again after this opportunity.

When I was warned that my return flight was canceled because the route was being discontinued and that I would return back to Lisbon as a passenger on the very same aircraft I was taking to San Francisco, I admit I was totally upset.

The flight to San Francisco took 12h35. 

A330-900 CS-TUE at San Francisco Intl

Since the return flight to Lisbon would depart only six hours after we landed, we went to the hotel for a much deserved small rest.

The City by the Bay in the morning

I didn't even try to sleep because it would be worse for me waking up only three hours later. So I just stayed in a low energy mode. This was my room's view:

And then, we were back to the airport again.

San Francisco International

Flying as a passenger, I was able to fully appreciate the traffic at the airport.

Flaps set and taxi-out for departure.

The in-flight maps of the IFE system are pretty neat and after take-off I was able to enjoy the amazing sights and the diverse geographical feats along the route, over the United States.

Sierra Nevada

Mono Lake and its Paoha Island


Soon it was time for dinner to be served and to appreciate the new china celebrating the company's 75th anniversary.

And more amazing landscape views...

As we progressed eastwards, night darkness fell very quickly and the show was over.

Overflying Wyoming / Colorado border 

Main course

After the meal, it was pretty easy for me to fell asleep after so many hours awake... In the end, I didn't miss the opportunity for a photo of the passenger cabin of our A330neo.

At this point, nobody knew if the route was closed for good or if it was only temporary.