The Portuguese TV interview of a Brazilian outraged after a series of canceled flights went viral and became a synthesis of the situation experienced by many travelers at Lisbon airport in recent days.
Described by the reporter as “a very graphic image”, the passenger’s report included lack of bathing, a consequent stench, physiological constraints and the use of the same underwear for six days.
Since Friday (1st), more than one hundred flights to or from the Portuguese capital have been cancelled. Only this Sunday (3), until the afternoon in Lisbon, there were already at least 42 cancellations. According to the airport and airlines, the situation would be motivated by strikes by workers in other countries and by an incident with a commercial jet that occurred on Friday. The aircraft had tire problems during landing, which interrupted circulation on the runway for about two hours.
Although the canceled flights are from several companies, most of the affected trips are TAP.
Protagonist of the testimony that went viral, the Pernambuco comedian Abdiás Melo is among those who had flights canceled by the Portuguese company. He has been trying, since Thursday (30), to return to Brazil, after a month working in Europe. He, who has more than 1 million followers on social networks, re-enumerated to the Sheet the problems reported in the interview for the public broadcaster RTP.
“They don’t give me hotel vouchers, nothing. A total disregard. The only reason I didn’t sleep on the floor at the airport was because a fan got in touch with several friends, who got me a house. But the apartment has a broken shower, not even bath I managed to take.” Sought to comment on the Brazilian’s report to the Portuguese broadcaster, TAP did not respond until the publication of this report.
The trip back to Recife started in Paris, and Abdiás was only supposed to make one connection in Lisbon. On Sunday afternoon, he posted a video on Instagram in which he says he would be able to board.
Public employee Patrícia Martins, who is also trying to return to Recife via TAP, has already had two flights cancelled. On Friday, he had to spend the night at the airport. “The company gave out vouchers to some people with children and to the elderly, but they ran out before my turn,” she says. The second cancellation took place on Saturday night. This time, however, she managed to take shelter at a friend’s house.
In the queue at the airport, where she had been waiting for more than three hours, she said she had not received assistance from TAP and that she could not stay longer in Portugal due to professional reasons. The lack of information and support to pay for accommodation and food is a recurring complaint among passengers. The unscheduled period in the European country, at an unfavorable exchange rate, in which each euro is equivalent to R$ 5.56, caused many travelers to face financial difficulties.
In a statement, the Portuguese company reported that, “due to constraints at several airports where TAP operates, including the incident with a private jet on Friday, many of the company’s flights were affected and, consequently, the entire operation”. The company says that despite the large number of canceled trips and the high tourist season, it is doing its “best to minimize the impact” of the situation.
The company also says that those affected should “wait for a message with a new flight schedule”.
Serial cancellations have been repeated in several European airports due to a combination of factors, starting with strikes in several countries for better pay and working conditions.
The mainland terminals also operate with reduced teams. Many of the workers were laid off during travel restrictions brought on by the Covid pandemic. Now, with the resumption of activities, there is great difficulty in rehiring employees for these posts. At Charles de Gaulle airport, the largest in Paris, around 20% of flights were canceled last Saturday (2).