✅ Trip Verified
| I was supposed to fly on 1 August from Lisbon to Sao Tome and back on 8 August. TAP Portugal had announced with great fanfare the resumption of flights to Sao Tome (STP Airways is already flying the route each Friday morning at 0600 am since early July). On 24 July I was informed by SMS that my return flight on 8 August was moved to 6 August. This not being acceptable, I was able to change this to a return on 13 August. On Thursday 30 July I traveled from Amsterdam to Lisbon (after having done my PCR test for entering Sao Tome) and upon arrival I received an email that for Corona-related reasons, my return flight on 13 August had been cancelled. In fact all flights to and from Sao Tome in August (other than my flight to Sao Tome on 1 August) had been cancelled. Finding this situation very strange, I contacted TAP by Phone (I have Gold FF status so a dedicated line where people pick up the phone) and asked for a conformation that the fight on 1 August was indeed going ahead because if not, I could still take the STP flight on the next morning. I was assured that the flight was still going ahead that it, as well as the return flight of 2 August, were still open for booking, so nothing to worry about. When I tried to check in on Thursday night through the TAP App, it mentioned that also my 1 August flight had been cancelled. I had not received a message by SMS or email. When I called, the cancellation was explained as a result of the fact that the Ghana borders are still closed for international travel (they have ben for months, and I do not believe that there had been any expectation recently that they would be opened any time soon). In fact, TAP Portugal had already cancelled the flight in the afternoon (before the time that I spoke to the person who told me that you could still book the flight). Due to the timing of this information, I was unable to take the STP Airways flight on Friday morning. What made the situation however even more surreal is that when I asked TAP to refund my ticket (which was around EUR 1100 and which I had partly paid with a voucher of around EUR 110 I had received in connection with another cancellation the rest being paid the credit card), they informed me that they could not refund the cash element and could only issue a voucher for the full amount of the ticket due to the applicable conditions. They are however unable to point out where in the conditions it says so. An interesting way of having the clients fund their business by selling tickets for non-existing flights for cash and then providing vouchers in return. A kind of ponzi scheme. They do of course also argue that the cancellation of the flights is COVID 19-related and has nothing to do with operational issues.