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Funchal Madeira Plane Connections

Has anyone returned to the US from Funchal via Lisbon? If we book round trip tickets from San Francisco to Funchal we have to leave Funchal at 5:30am and have a 5.5 hour layover in Lisbon. We could book multiple city tickets and book Funchal to Lisbon separately leaving Funchal at 9:30am, arriving in Lisbon at 11:05am on TAP. We would then have a 1.5 hour layover leaving Lisbon at 12:30pm on SATA to Boston. Our concern is that we'll not have enough time to make our SATA flight. I should mention that we will have an elderly person with us who will be in a wheelchair so we can move faster but that will make us the last people off the plane. Does anyone have any experience with landing in Lisbon from Funchal for another flight which is booked independent of the first? Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Posted by
409 posts

Hi Carol,

I did not do exactly as you are asking on one specific occasion, but I hope I can help with my combined experiences on separate trips, including travelling with someone in a wheelchair through Lisbon on more than one occasion..

I highly recommend purchasing your roundtrip tickets at the same time so if there are any missed connections, they will cover you with no out-of-pocket expenses, i.e. get you on the next flight available, hotel, food, etc. SATA and TAP codeshare so that will not be an issue. Buying tickets seperatly could possibly cause you unneeded headaches. Missed connections also happened to us and they took care of everything! Of course all our flights were booked at the same time with one ticket code/number for all our flights.

A 1.5 hour transfer in Lisbon is way too short with someone in a wheelchair, nevermind coming in from Funchal. The weather in Madeira can be quite interesting at times with many arriving airplanes having to do multiple landing attempts, thus delaying departures. We were delayed getting to Funchal and departing because of high winds; our connections for both flights were in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Azores.

I hope this helps alleviate any concerns. Good Luck!

Posted by
1154 posts

Thanks, Carl. We decided to book our tickets together and will just get up early. We have also been through Lisbon to Funchal with someone in a wheelchair but it was 9 yrs ago. At that time we had booked a round trip SATA flight from LIS to FNC. I think we had 2 hrs between flights but can't really remember. We made the connection with a bit of time to spare. When you're on the way to a destination it might not matter if you miss a flight but on the way home when someone has to get to work, missing a flight is a big deal. We'll just get up early and nap in Lisbon.

Thanks again for your info.