To have a different weekend I decided to go to Barcelona and add another new route for me, this time TAP Portugal non-stop flight BCN-FNC, which is a seasonal route, operating between July and September, every year, on Sundays.
Those flights are being operated by TAP, every summer, since 2012, although they had an experience in the past, about 20 years ago. This seasonal flight, as long as the Madrid-Funchal flights (also operating between July and September, twice a week, Mondays and Saturdays) are contracted by spanish tour operators. For this reason, although having a regular TAP flight number, those flights are only released for direct booking through TAP website a few days before departure, because it’s when the tours operators know if they had sold, or not, the flights to their clients. According to this I booked the ticket FNC-LIS-BCN-FNC only 3 days before departure.
I took the aerobus into T1 at BCN El Prat airport in the morning, arriving the airport 2h00 before departure. With only hand luggage I proceeded to security being denied to pass through the fast lane, although my boarding pass was showing the “fast” track symbol, as I’m Star Alliance Gold. The lady there said I would need to get a stamp from the TAP desk in order to use that lane. I forgot about it and went thorugh the normal lane which took me another 10 min or so. Then I went to Pau Casals lounge which is a large and comfortable lounge, but should get some improvement in terms of catering.
The inbound flight of my aircraft, the A320 CS-TNX named “Malangatana” was time, arriving at the gate at 9h35. This A320 was delivered to TAP in June 2014 and was manufactured in 2006 having been operated by Jazeera Airways since then.
The load of TP1053 flight to Funchal would be only 98 pax in a full economy cabin, that is around 60%. Most of the passenger were Spanish tourists going on Summer holidays to Madeira.
Boarding was on time but the departure of the gate was delayed due to traffic reason, so the aircraft was airborne only 25 min after departure time.
The flight would take 2h35, 25 min less than scheduled, so the arrival would be on time. The flight path took us very close to Madrid (it was possible to see Barajas airport to the north) and then into the portuguese coast overflying Tróia, south of the city of Setúbal. At that point a small sandwich was served as long as non-alcoholic drinks, with 1h15 remaining flight time over the Atlantic Ocean.
The descend to Madeira and final approach was impressive!! With sky clear it was possible to see all the north coast of the island, from the west to the east point and also the highest mountains of the island at 1862 meters, named Pico Ruivo. Having landed hundreds of times at FNC this was one of the best approaches ever enabling to make some nice pictures. Landing would be through the 06 runway so we had the traditional right turn over the ocean before landing FNC. The winds were calm so the landing was smooth.
It was a nice and very convenient non-stop flight linking Barcelona and Madeira.
TAP Air Portugal
Sala VIP Pau Casals - 1
Barcelona - BCN
Funchal - FNC
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