There has always been a limited number of ways of travelling to the Azores if you were in Europe or North America unless you flew with one of the few airlines that had access to fly in the Azores skies prior to the opening of the airspace to other airlines in 2014. In North America there are only a few cities that operate direct flights to the Azores islands, which if you book in advance can be quite affordable. Some of the cities that have direct flights to the Azores are Boston to Ponta Delgada, which is the capital of the largest island Sao Miguel. This is around a 4 hour flight with food, wine and all the extras included (even if you are flying coach) and I must say the food and wines are not bad. This is offered through Azores airlines which was formerly Sata Airlines which began the re-branding of its airline to Azores airlines in 2016. In the spring and summer months they offer flights out of San Jose, California to the Azores with a stop in Boston or direct depending on the flight but most have a small layover where you just pick up passengers and go so you don’t even leave the plane.
If you want to fly to the Azores from North America, Azores Airlines (Sata) really is the only smart way to travel without going to mainland Europe first and then going back to Azores. As of 2017 there are not any other airlines that fly direct out of North America to the Azores, so you could take a flight to Boston or Toronto and fly direct or take a regular carrier from your destination and just connect in Boston or Toronto for the remainder of your journey which is up to you and where you are located. In Canada you can fly direct out of Toronto’s Pearson international airport via Azores airlines with a flight time of just over 5 hours. The lines for checking in sometimes take a little longer then expected, however they have added mobile features on the web app that allows for pre-check in and the availability of printing your boarding pass prior to departure. Also the benefits of the food, wine, movie service, snack service and even a hot towel while in coach makes this a very pleasant airline to travel with. The Azores airlines have expanded in recent years to start including locations throughout Europe with direct flights to and from the Azores. By doing so this has added the Azores to the travel list of many tourists who now have a gateway to Europe by flying into the Azores first and discovering these unique treasures in the Atlantic and then flying affordably to Portugal or other European countries with the same airline, which is a benefit if you are a member of their rewards program!
Direct Flights out of North America: Toronto, Boston, Montreal (Seasonal) and Starting in 2018 direct flights out of New York City with Delta Airlines into Ponta Delgada Airport in Sao Miguel Azores!