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Trip Report Lisbon Airport - A Huge Mess

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I am a world traveler of many years. My travels have taken me through the Lisbon Portela airport many times, and it has almost always disappointed - but never, I think, in so many ways as my latest experience (17 and 25 June 2016). It seems to have been a convergence of all your usual flaws combined with a new level of disinterest for the concerns and comfort of the travelers using your facility.

I have almost never gotten through the baggage claim at Lisbon airport in less than one hour. That is ridiculous. As I stated, I am a world traveler, and I have been through (on numerous occasions) some of the largest and some of the smallest airports on the world. I have never had such consistent delays in picking up my luggage as at your airport.

This experience was no exception. I brought a group from the United States for a tour of Portugal. They arrived on the 17th of June, and in fact the delay was longer than usual (almost 1 /2 hours).

At the departure on June 25th, things were absolutely chaotic. The airlines require a 2 hour check-in lead time for international flights. We arrived at the airport 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled flight time. None of the information boards we saw indicated a check-in counter for our flight, so we asked for help from various official representatives of the airport. Three answers (and three trips back and forth between area of the airport) later, we finally arrived at the correct counter. I was informed (but did not confirm) that a board at the main entrance showed all the counters, but as we came from the parking garage (partidas), none of the signs in our path gave us the information we needed, well into the 2 hour requirement.

The personnel at our check-in point were surly and unresponsive,with two exceptions. We were told by one such that she was about to go on break, and we would have to wait for her colleague. There were nine of us in our group.. One of the counter attendants tried to make them all go to the same attendant (not him!). After our complaints, someone overruled him. He was not pleased.

At the security checkpoint, one of our tickets would not process in their new code-reading machinery. The security guard, when he could be made to give us his precious attention, passed the passenger through. The same passenger made it all the way onto the plane before an error was spotted. The attendant at the check-in counter had issued two tickets in the same name. Great security, people.

There is much more I could tell, but I already expect the same non-response as usual from entities like yours. You work for the Portuguese government (again, stolen back from a situation that brought a glimmer of hope to the traveler) so you don't have to worry about how you treat people. Your jobs are secure, even if your airport is not.

I would like to say that my experiences at the airports in Porto and Faro have been, on the whole, much better (Porto best, then Faro). As most people get their first taste of Portugal at the Lisbon airport, I say shame on you. You are as disgrace to your country.

If the incidents I cited were isolated to this trip, I would not be so harsh, but I have traveled through the airport dozens of time in the past 30 years, and it has always been a mess. Instead of getting better,it is getting worse. I will warn everyone with whom I have influence. I hope you people can get your act together and join the civilized, modern, customer-friendly world at last.

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