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Lisbon Airport - is there a worse airport? Avoid LIS

Just got back from a flight from GVA to PHL. The return was through LIS, so we had an overnight stay in Lisbon. The logistics of arrival were fine. Quick luggage and short taxi ride to airport. The next morning was a horror show. I have NEVER seen such a screwed up mess of an airport. Even the ticket agents advised that the time to get from check-in to the gate could be 90 minutes. The setup was so bad that it was comical (to a point) Advice: unless you are visiting Portugal, avoid LIS like the plague.

Posted by
37 posts

Funny, I thought the Lisbon airport was great! 2 years ago we were flying from Newark to Venice via Lisbon on TAP airlines. Our flight was late leaving Newark. When we arrived at Lisbon, we parked on the tarmac away from the terminal. Those of us with connections were taken by bus to a special building where we went through Customs and Immagration. That took about 10 minutes. They then had individual busses lines up to take us to the right planes. The whole thing took about 30 minutes. We made our very close connection with time to spare. BTW, I'd fly TAP again, the food was good and you get a glass of wine with your meal. On the return, we had plenty of time to change planes in the terminal.

Posted by
23428 posts

It must be bad because Philly is on my list as the worse airport ever. I have vowed never ever, regardless of price, to fly through Philly or use US Air.

Posted by
44 posts

Philly is DREAMLAND in comparison...really.

Posted by
3258 posts

We were at the Lisbon Airport about 4 years. I was in the security line and the guy in front of me asked me if I'd check a box (as my own) because he was afraid he was over the weight limit. I said "no" and reported it to the airport security staff. They said not to worry and showed no concern at all! Don't we hear over and over again not to accept packages from strangers? That experience made me a bit concerned about security at the Lisbon airport.

Posted by
1567 posts

Sharon - the key point is that the guy was boarding the same plane as you and the bag was going to be on your flight. He was just trying to save some money. Happens lots of times in a lot of 3rd world airports. You could always tell the gate agent it is ok with you if it is ok with the airline for someone else to make use of your unused baggage allowance.

Posted by
3258 posts

Arnold makes a good point. My experience doesn't mean that Lisbon's airport is less than secure. We also had a problem with our tickets that took a long time to resolve and nearly missed our flight. Ours was an early morning flight and a series of events that made our experience in Lisbon less than pleasant, probably not the airport's fault. For the future, I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid Lisbon's Airport.

Posted by
1175 posts

Apparently none of you have experienced the hell that is Charles DeGalling Airport in Paris....

Posted by
990 posts

If at all possible, print your boarding pass before you get to the airport. That's one less line to stand in. And if you are traveling lightly enough not to have a bag to check, that saves another bottleneck.

Frankly, those tips are the only thing that makes Charles de Gaulle bearable.

Now LAX...not much you can do to make that airport reasonable for overseas flights. That's one I avoid, even over Philly!

Posted by
2788 posts

Passed thru CDG in May and June, 2010. Terrible. But, not as bad as two separate trips thru Heathrow.

Posted by
6788 posts

I'm with Frank. I had the absolute worst travel-related experience in my entire long life at the hands of US Air in Philly. If the only alternatives were to walk or not go, I'd take those over going through Philly or flying on US Airways. They could offer to give me a free ticket and I'd tell them to stuff it.

I thought the Lisbon airport was easy and convenient.


Posted by
1878 posts

Funny how experiences differ from person to person, and from trip to trip. We flew out of Lisbon in 2008 and it was fine. Close to town and not busy.

One time I flew home from Heathrow and the security line was half a mile long, no kidding. Just a couple of weeks ago I made a one hour connection there on the way back from Cork, after having to exit airport to get connecting boarding pass and go through security again from the outside. So quite a good experience this time.

Switching planes in Frankfurt I have had a number of close calls. Seems like you always have to walk forever. And it's really easy to make a wrong turn. The line at the transfer counter can be an hour or more -- if so then go to the gate for your connecting flight for the boarding pass.

One time arrived 3 hours early for a flight out of Tokyo, made my flight by 15 minutes due to crazy long security line and long distance to walk to terminal.

Worst ever was Bangkok, ten separate check in lines instead of one to feed all the counters. Some of the lines ended up merging together chaotically; the one that I chose ended up merging with two others so it was slow, slow, slow. And hour and a half later I reached the counter and they told me I had to go to the Northwest desk for something or other .. in the next terminal.

The comment about someone wanting you to check a box for them -- not in a million years. Imagine if they have something illegal in there, do you want to have to explain to the authorities that it really was not your box? Because when you get caught with contraband the guy is sure not going to agree that it was his all along.

Posted by
545 posts

I agree with Vernon: everyone's experiences are unique. I've had no problems with Lisbon or PHL. I think the issue at PHL is USAir.

I hope novice travelers don't limit their trip-planning because of someone's random (and hopefully unique) bad experiences. Everyone who travels frequently can tell individual horror stories but please don't take those experiences as typical. I guess if we read enough consistent negatives about the same airport (or airline, hotel, restaurant, etc.) we should take it seriously, but otherwise let's just assume that sometimes random bad things happen.

Posted by
1 posts

I would add the security performed by USAir Israeli contract security company. They don't limit themselves to check for security on the flught, they want to know your final destination. They probably think they are in Israel and everyone else is a palestinian. Twice this year I was abused. I pointed it out that I don't need papers to travel in the US, they should do whatever fight security they have to and that's all. Had to go to Portugal twice this year, both time they put all of the content of my computer bag for anyone to see. I should mention that I carry a US passport. AVOID USAIR in Lisbon, their security company is the NWO at it's best. I heard in Madrid is the same thing

Posted by
207 posts

Our experience with Lisbon was similar...endless lines and delays...We had arrived extra early so Audrey could seek some items in the airport shops. By the time we finished with security et al, she was on line for purchase for a half hour and then told it was too late to buy because she had less than 45 minutes to Boarding. As for Philly, we made the decision never to fly through there to Europe again...though I must admit that the new terminal a few years ago improved some of the worst features. That said, we loved Lisbon and would brave the airport again in a heartbeat...

Posted by
1178 posts

CDG in Paris is the absolute worst in the world. I vow never to return to that city again!!!

Posted by
18 posts

I liked Lisbon airport a lot. It is smaller and very clean.

Posted by
1501 posts

International travel is cumbersome! 90 minutes is nothing to change flights, especially if your destination is the U.S.! Increased security since 9/11, in Rome, you have to go to a separate terminal (5) for any flight to the U.S. or Israel. It is what it is, and 90 minutes is nothing compared to CDG connections.

Posted by
638 posts

Another post that is over 2 years old dredged up from the achives. What I found interesing is the post by Sharon who said someone in front of her asked her to say a box was hers because he may be over the weight limit. Arnold stated the man was just trying to "save some money". Only a fool would think that, sorry if that is harsh but to be willing to check a bag, box or whatever that you have no idea what is in it is just asking for trouble. There are people sitting in jails around the world that took things through that had drugs or other illegal items in them.