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Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO)
Located 11 km from the historic center of Porto, this international airport is the second in the country in terms of air traffic.
It was inaugurated in 1945 under the name of Pedras Rubras (“red rocks”) airport, recalling its location in agricultural land with rich red soil. In 1990, the airport was renamed in honor of the former Portuguese Prime Minister Francisco Sá Carneiro. This change of name was not done without clashes as the latter died on December 4, 1980, in a plane crash on the way to this airport.
OPO is administered by the airport operator Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA), which has been owned by the French group Vinci since 2012.
Originally designed by Portuguese architect João Caros Leal, it presents a contemporary architecture. In order to accommodate the growing number of people transiting through its facilities, ANA undertook an extensive project to redevelop the terminal building between 2003 and 2006. It was at this point that the new glass and concrete structure emerged from the ground.
This allowed for the integration of five skylights in the center of the main terminal roof (WS Atkins), bringing maximum natural light into the terminal. A huge glass wall facing the runways allows passengers to admire the planes.
The lounge is located in the main departure area, after the security checkpoint, near departure gate 32 on level 3.
As a result, holders of the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, the Platinum CardMD from American Express and the CIBC AventuraMD Visa Infinite* Card in particular can enjoy free access to the lounge.
People travelling with one of the member airlines can also access it for free or with a special discount. Check with the following airlines for details of their agreements with the lounge:
Finally, it is also possible to buy walk-in access (36 € per person in September 2022). Note that access is free for children under 2 years old.
In order to allow as many travelers as possible to access the lounge, the maximum stay time has been set at 3 hours. In the case of a delayed flight, it is recommended to contact the reception desk.
The lounge is open daily from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm.
However, it seems that it may close on December 24th and 25th. So I recommend that you ask before if you are traveling during the holiday season.
Services and amenities
The premises are accessible to people with reduced mobility.
You will have access to a good wifi connection, as well as a few charging stations for your electronics.
To help you wait before boarding, you can browse the (few) magazines at your disposal or watch the televisions scattered around the lounge.
The lounge is non-smoking and, unlike the Lisbon lounge, there is no designated smoking area.
The buffet is summarily stocked with sandwiches, samossa, soup and the inevitable Portuguese pastries, such as Pasteis de Nata.
However, while it is convenient to stop by the lounge before your flight, especially when traveling with children, the quality of the products is somewhat disappointing. In fact, it suggests that the food is not cooked on site, but rather delivered frozen and then reheated when necessary.
So be sure to help yourself as soon as the staff passes by.
Although many mention that the offer is often limited, when we visited the fridge was well stocked. You will find water, juice, some sodas and beer (with and without alcohol).
As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, Portuguese products are in the spotlight (wine and port).
General impression of the lounge
At first glance, we had mixed feelings about this lounge, where the fornt desk is located in the hallway. There is also the fact that the toilets are located outside the lounge, facing reception, requiring us to continually show our credentials.
Although functional and in good condition, the aesthetics of the lounge is somewhat dated, if not a bit stuffy when in the central part. However, this feeling is mitigated if you manage to find a place on the terrace overlooking the airport, which is very pleasant.
Short-haul travelers will find this an ideal place to relax before boarding.
However, business and/or international travelers may be disappointed, as there is no area set up to meet their needs. You won’t find a shower, a resting area, a “real” space to work in or a quiet area.
People traveling with children will also be disappointed, as there are no areas for them to play.
Because it is the only airport lounge open to the general public, and because the clientele that has access to it is quite large, the area is often busy. This is one of the reasons why we cut our visit short, as soon as the children had finished their snack.
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