Before I start writing about my flight, I have to mention the enormous common sense shown by Steve. Using his initiative and experience in the car industry he had managed to acquire Bev a stick at Lisbon Airport. This seemed a good idea at the time, although we heard Bev stomping around with the stick clacking about for the entire weekend. We were very tolerant though of course.
That was my flight, the Wizz Air W4493 18:30 to Lisbon. I was slightly nervous here as it was 17:44 and it was saying that the gate would be shown at 17:40 and my experience from BA is that when the time is reached it means there’s some kind of problem. Fortunately, a few minutes later the gate was announced.
We were departing from Gate 26 and the airport has a lot of these gates downstairs to give them extra space. Some of the gates are a bit of a walk from the main terminal, this one was only around five minutes.
I managed to be third in the non-priority queue which gave me no benefits at all.
Well, other than I got a seat in the non-priority section after they had checked my passport.
The whole arrangement was efficient and well thought through, I liked the professionalism of Wizz Air here. It’s not glamorous, but I like knowing where I’m supposed to wait and they do make it clear. Wizz Air work their planes hard, this was the fifth of six sectors that the A320 was making that day. It’s aircraft G-WUKF which they’ve been operating since March 2018, their fleet is generally all modern and I feel they’re a very safe operator. Their customer service reputation is somewhat all over the place, but that is true for many budget airlines and I’ve never experienced any negative issues with them.
I didn’t get fortunate with the seat Gods insomuch as I got randomly allocated a middle seat, but all was well and there was sufficient space. The crew are much more ruthless in terms of timing than with BA, they want backpacks under the seats and larger cabin bags in the overheads as quickly as possible. I appreciated that efficiency, it meant that we landed in Lisbon on time with the flight taking just over two hours and thirty minutes.
The flight wasn’t too bad in terms of being sold stuff, as Ryanair traditionally go a little over the top. There were a couple of food and drink runs with the trolley and I think a call for duty free, but for much of the time they dimmed the lights perhaps in the hope of sedating the passengers. The aircraft was clean, the pilot making the announcements sounded competent and the crew were all friendly. Bearing in mind that this flight cost me £11, I can say that I received decent value for money.
One thing that I’ve never really understood about so many passengers is their rush to leave the aircraft. They’ll get up before the seatbelt lights are off, they’ll barge others and then push their way onto the coach that took us to the terminal in Lisbon. I don’t mean every passenger of course, but a good number and that’s been on every flight I’ve ever been on. I have no idea why some people seem so much in a rush at this point of their journey.
The reason I don’t understand it is that everyone then just meanders around so slowly to get to the border control desks. If you want to rush, my aviation top tip is just dither about on the aircraft and then walk quickly when in the terminal as you can just walk around everyone or use the stairs when others use the escalators. I know that not everyone can walk quickly, but for those that can it means getting to the border control desk ahead of everyone else and that’s what happened to me. I’ve digressed again though in my airport observations, but passengers so often seem stressed and hurried when disembarking. As an aside, after I navigated the extensive queueing system the border guard had a smile and it was good to be back in Portugal, my second time in the country and my first in Lisbon.
Here’s Lisbon airport terminal and all I had to do for the evening was walk thirty minutes to the hotel as I wasn’t going to pay €5 for the shuttle bus. I’m not made of money and I was conscious that the train from London had cost £2.90 (£1.45 after delay repay), the flight was £11 and so paying nearly £5 for a five minute shuttle was not good value.
Finally, all four of our little brigade were safely in Lisbon, but we were missing Gordon already who couldn’t come for reasons unknown, mostly ones we made up.