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?
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.
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.