• 5/23/2021 1:45 PM
  • João

Azores Inter-Island flight transfer: How to book free connecting flights to an island of your choice!

Did you know that it is possible to fly from mainland Portugal or Madeira to any Azores island of your choice, with the connecting flight – usually from Terceira or São Miguel – fully supported by SATA?

Inter-island flight transfer

Due to the the model of the air transport in the Archipelago, SATA Air Azores “is required to provide a routing service, free of charge, for passengers traveling within Azores, to or from Mainland Portugal or Funchal, intending to use any gateway in the Azores.”

What does this mean? Well, first of all, good news for you. Why? We’ll explain:

Imagine that you really want to visit Flores or Graciosa Islands. You will check Ryanair, TAP or SATA website, and you’ll immediately notice that there no direct flights available. Furthermore, it’s more expensive to fly there than, for example, to São Miguel. This creates a certain inequality not only for the island’s tourist industry – because no direct flights from the mainland – but mainly for its inhabitants. When it comes to connections with the mainland their only option would be to fly with SATA. As we know, the lack of competition is never good for the consumer and this would imply that the inhabitants of Corvo, for example, would have to pay much more to travel to Porto, Funchal, Faro or Lisbon than those who live in São Miguel or Terceira and can buy a Ryanair flight for a fraction of the price.

With this requirement, this problem does not arise. In a nutshell, you only need to buy the first flight between mainland Portugal / Madeira and an island in the Azores with a direct connection (São Miguel and Terceira for example) and SATA, the flag carrier of the archipelago, takes care of sending you to your final destination at no extra cost:

The biggest caveat: You’ll need to depart and return to mainland Portugal or Madeira. Although, considering the number of people that fly Ryanair / Wizz / Easyjet from all over Europe to mainland Portugal and then take advantage of the cheap Ryanair flights to Terceira or São Miguel, this is can be very useful.

How to request the free connecting flight: Example for Porto – Flores Island:

1- For this example you are departing from Porto. You have two options for direct connections: São Miguel or Terceira. Let’s imagine you snatch a €20 Ryanair return ticket to Terceira.

2 – After getting the confirmation, go to the SATA website up to 5 days before your Porto – Terceira flight and chose the option to request your inbound connection flight If you bought your mainland Portugal / Madeira – Azores flight with less than 5 days until the departure you can still request the free connection flight using SATA Contact Centre: +351296209730 up to 24h before your original flight. 

3 – Just add the data of your flights and your final destination airport and your personal data.

4- SATA will contact you with the confirmation and and your ticket to Flores. Your maximum connection time in Terceira will be 24h, except on flights to Corvo, which can be slightly longer.

Final price for a return trip to Flores: Just the €20 you paid for Porto-Terceira return flight. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is this for Portuguese citizens or residents only?
    • No, this works regardless of your nationality or place of residence. However your departure must be from mainland Portugal or Madeira. Same logic applies for the return flight.
  • What if I want to do a multiple day stopover in Terceira before going to Flores?
    • Not possible. The maximum connection time is 24h (except to Corvo) and the minimum 90 minutes. During that period you can get out of the airport and explore the island, but you can’t stay more than 24h if you want take advantage of the free connecting flight.
  • Do I automatically get a seat booked when I request the connecting flight?
    • No. That’s why we advise you to ask for the connecting flight as soon as you are able. You can even get in touch with SATA before you buy your original ticket to make sure that there are still free seats in the connection flight. Please notice that a SATA uses very small planes for some of these flights. Like this one (we were in the last row):

  • Can I chose the schedule of the connecting flight?
    • No. SATA choses the most convenient schedule and it’s not possible to change it.
  • I had a schedule change in my mainland Portugal / Madeira – Azores flight. Can I ask for a change of the connecting flight?
    • Yes. Of course you are limited by the time remaining for the connecting flight and seat availability. Get in touch with SATA as soon as you are informed about you flight change.
  • My flight got delayed and I lost my connecting flight. Can I ask for another one?
    • Sadly no.
  • My mainland Portugal / Madeira – Azores flight is on a low cost carrier. Can I still ask for the connecting flight?
    • Yes. No difference whatsoever between TAP, SATA or Ryanair.
  • What is the baggage policy of the connecting flight?
    • A cabin bag and a checked bag up to 23kg per passenger.
  • I checked a bag in the mainland Portugal / Madeira – Azores flight. Do I need to retrieve it and re-check it for the connecting flight?
    • Yes. Remember that you are taking two separate flights. The second happens to be free 🙂
  • Can I ask for an inbound connecting flight to Flores and an outbound connecting flight from Corvo?
    • Yes. You just need to get from one island to the other by yourself.

In São Miguel Island we advise you to stay at, 5* Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa

In Pico we advise you to stay at Pico Dreams 

In Terceira we advise you to stay at 4* Terceira Mar Hotel

In flores we advise you to stay at INATEL Flores. 


Main photo: Fly4free
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