Portugal, Or Where Money Goes to Die

As part of my struggle to earn miles at the end of 2010, I wound up picking Lisbon as the second of my destinations.  I had never been to Portugal before, and I was looking forward to seeing how it compared to the rest of Europe that I knew so well.  KLM had decent flight prices, and it seemed like a good place for a weekend trip.  

lisbonairport The airport in Lisbon is small, and seemingly completely dominated by TAP Portugal.  Continental has daily service to Newark, and US Air supposedly has regional service to Philadelphia.  There are a number of smoking lounges, but the restaurants and bars are somewhat sparse.  The whole thing feels like the old Continental / Alaska pier at SFO.  The best part of the airport in the quick access to the gates - the security lines are not long - and you are no more than 50 meters from most gates, once through security.

lisbonmarriott I booked the Lisbon Marriott Hotel, which was less than five miles from the Lisbon Airport, and seemed close enough to everything else.  The staff was nice enough, there was a good club lounge (full of the standard alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and reasonable snacks, as well as a cappuccino machine), and the rooms all had balconies, which was a nice bonus.  Not the most updated place in the world - they still have CRT televisions - but otherwise, everything was in order.  It was close enough to the airport to get a cab for 10 Euro, and not far from a train station that made the short journey into town.  A breakfast was included in my rate, and I found it to be the standard European buffet, which I have found to be indispensable.

Air France has a lounge within the Lisbon airport that I used for the return flight.  As one might expect, it is of the quality of most non-hub Air France lounges.  The usual drink selection, Wi-Fi, small snacks, local and French newspapers, and a TV are present.  The more often I go to a non-hub Air France lounge, the less impressed I am.  They have a very "small Sky Club feel", and that is rarely a good thing.

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