Portugal – How We “Saved” $1,200 on Flights to Lisbon

We knew long ago that we had a wedding to attend in Portugal but we didn’t know where we’d departing from. Would we fly from Asia or Florida or Virginia or somewhere else? So we held off on buying flights. When we returned to America after our South East Asia adventures, we knew we needed to lock down a flight to Lisbon or risk missing the wedding. We were shocked to see that the $555 flights from Dulles (IAD) to Lisbon (LIS) we saw before we left for Asia were now $1200 each. Oh shit. Financially we could swing it, but mentally we could not. To pay full price knowing we missed out on an earlier deal eats away at us. It’s just how we operate and is one of the many reasons we work well together. So we kept searching. Day after day. The routine was: 

Power up laptop
Open Google Chrome
Airline websites
More flight search engines

We tried putting in different dates, different airports, a different duration, and finally a different number of passengers. Instead of searching for flights for two passengers, we performed our search for only one passenger. And then we found it! A flight for $600!

For $600 per person, we could depart from Baltimore (BWI), fly opposite the direction of our destination for a connection in Chicago (ORD), travel back to Dulles (IAD) (a mere 58 mile drive from BWI), and then finally make our way to our final stop, Lisbon (LIS). It seemed like the airline made a mistake. That exact same flight, the last leg from IAD to LIS was selling for $1200 by itself. How is it that more flights, more connections, and more fuel costs half the price? It didn’t make any sense. The catch was, we had to purchase our tickets separately. For some odd reason, if we tried searching for the exact flight with two passengers instead of one, the cost per passenger went up. We’d survive not sitting together. Especially if it saved us $1200. So we quickly purchased our tickets, scared the airline may catch on to a potential mistake. 

After we purchased the flights, Dan called the airline to see if we could just hop on at Dulles Airport for the final leg to Lisbon, but all three customer service agents said it was impossible. An 11 hour travel day turned into a 24 hour travel day. Not a huge deal for the funemployed with a surplus of free time. Plus our credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (#notanad), gets us access to airport lounges across the globe. Free alcohol, food, WiFi, and comfy chairs while we wait? Yes please. 

We were able to sit together every leg of the flight. Strangers were nice and switched seats with us. Airline employees were friendly and worked their magic. Everything went smoothly and we were in Lisbon before we knew it. Don’t you love it when it all works out in the end? Waiting too long to buy plane tickets can be a huge mistake – but in this case, we got lucky.

We only had two day in Lisbon so we tried to make it count. Here’s what we got into:

Lunch at Pandaria Portuguesa

Walked Around Praça do Comércio

Dinner at A Maria não Deixa

Tried pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard pies) from Manteigaria

Tried all the croquetes from Croqueteria (goat cheese, cod, squid ink?)

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (Viewpoint) – listened to live Fado

Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Lunch and coffee with a view at Esplanada Igreja da Graça

Enjoyed street art walking down the stairs of Caraco da Graca 

Strolled through old Lisbon in the Alfama District

Walked through Rossio Square

Hopped on Ascensor da Gloria Funicular 

Visited Igreja de São Roque

Mercado da Ribeira’s TimeOut Market 5th Anniversary Party with bride, groom, and other friends.

Pensão Amor for dancing

Palácio Chiado for more drinks

Belém Tower – Torre de Belém

Monument to the Discoveries – Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Church Santa Maria de Belém at the Jerónimos Monastery

It was an action packed 48 hours with plenty of walking and lots of views. We wish we had more time but we’re glad we got a taste of what Lisbon has to offer. It’s an easy city to navigate and surprisingly affordable. Like most of our trips, we didn’t stay in the city for too long. Next, we made our way to Estoril for our friends’ wedding and then made our way down the coast to the Algarve Region, making a few stops along the way.

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