07.11.2016 - 07.11.2016
So it was time for yet another trip and I must say that it has its advantages to travel abroad now during November because it can be incredibly dark, cold and rainy here in Sweden at that time.
Woke up to an abundant snowfalls and about 10 centimeters of fresh snow at the ground which is unusual this time of the year, but it immediately became much brighter outside. Took out the suitcases and started packing. After eating breakfast and finished packing the bags it was still snowing. Thought for a while if I was to wear my snow boots… but how would that look? Ha ha, arrive in the Azores with snow boots? No, I would sweat to death. So I decided to wear the snow boots until I parked the car at Arlanda, leave the snow boots in the car and change to some more summer shoes. I plodded my way to the car in the snow with my bags. Oh yeah, right. The car needed to be shoveled out. Since I nowadays only have 30 minutes to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, you might wonder why I didn’t take the train. Unfortunately you can’t rely on the train anymore, at least not if you have a plane to catch. Train delays are reported on the radio every day and most often the trains to/from Arlanda are affected. And especially now with 10 centimeters of fresh snow, there will be chaos.
So with good cheer and plenty of time, I drove off with the car. But I didn’t get far before I heard a traffic report on the radio with information about several cars slipped of the road close to Knivsta along the E4, i.e. on my way to Arlanda. Oh well, wasn’t that just my usual bad luck then. Always something! And indeed, two cars had slipped into the wire barrier and one company car was upside down in the ditch, all within a couple of kilometers. But I was lucky because the police had not blocked off the E4 yet, since they were waiting for tow trucks to arrive. Well at the long-term parking lot at Arlanda I left the snow boots in the car, took my bags and rode the transfer bus to Arlanda and Terminal 5. Smooth and easy I had already checked in online and therefore assumed you also could print out a baggage tag in the automatic check-in-machines and then drop off your luggage at the baggage drop (they even had a separate queue for only baggage drop). No. No. Why make it that easy? You now had to line up for the counter and the personal still had to check your passport/boarding card to be able to check passenger’s data and then print out a baggage tag. So tell me, what have you gained in time? The time it takes to print out a boarding card? Thus, the point of having a baggage drop (if you have a separate queue for it anyway) must be that the passenger should be able to print out a baggage tag from a machine herself and then leave the bag at baggage drop? Or am I thinking wrong?
Passed the security check and bought a Cesar Salad Wrap, they wanted SEK 83 for that. Shameless! The aircraft was fourth delayed and obviously made my flight delayed thereafter. Well, well. Nothing you can do about that. And the snow kept on falling which didn’t make work for the ground staff any easier. Runways were plowed and taxiways as well, deicing the aircrafts wings… in other words full activity on Arlanda this early afternoon. The flight was supposed to have departed at 2.25 pm but took off close to 3 pm. I have traveled once before with TAP, 3 years ago, and they then had really great service. Between Stockholm and Lisbon, we were served hot food with real flatware (in metal) in economy class. So I was almost expecting similar this time, between Stockholm and Lisbon, but not. A small mini-baguette and a tiny Fruit Shot Juice, and beverage of your choice, were the only things served. Was a bit disappointed actually. But TAP has to cut back on something as well, in these economic times saving.
The plane landed at Lisbon Portela Airport on time. The pilot must have flown in time or we had a strong tailwind. Probably the latter, because the pilot had to use both spoilers and air brakes to reduce speed before landing, and it’s usually not needed until the aircraft has touched down. We disembarked the aircraft and were transported by bus to the terminal, picked up my checked-in bag and called for my hotel shuttle.
Besides me, a couple from Brazil also went with the shuttle to the hotel. The man spoke fairly good English and asked where I came from. At first he thought I came from Switzerland, but with a little help by well-known brands like Volvo and SAAB he understood I’m from Sweden. People from outside Europe seem to have trouble distinguishing Sweden and Switzerland from each other. Checked in at Hotel Inn Express, situated only a few minutes away from Lisbon Portela Airport by car.