TAP Air Portugal offers incredibly-priced business class fares, often on a one-way basis. But is the onboard product worth even that cost?
My one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Boston via Lisbon was $880.51 in business class. Prices drop even further depending upon which city you depart from. Often, you can get one-way pricing out of Scandinavia to TAP’s U.S. gateways for under $700 if booked in advance. But I booked my ticket just two days in advance and was pleased to secure the price that I did.
My first leg from Frankfurt to Lisbon was two hours late due to fog in Lisbon, which left me only 45 minutes on the ground in Lisbon to connect. Airline growth out of Lisbon has far exceeded the airport’s capacity, forcing the widespread use of remote gates. I landed in a remote gate, waited for a bus, cleared passport control, and then headed immediately to my boarding gate where boarding was almost over.
Once my boarding pass was scanned, I again was ushered onto a bus where I was driven to my aircraft. The whole ordeal took an hour.
As I finally arrived at the aircraft, my only thought was, please let the onboard experience be better than the ground experience. It was.
TAP Air Portugal 217
Lisbon (LIS) – Boston (BOS)
Monday, January 13
Depart: 10:55 AM
Arrive: 01:30 PM
Duration: 7hr, 35min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-900neo
Seat: 8H (“Executive” Business Class)
As I boarded the aircraft, I found the business class cabin was already full. A flight attendant smiled and greeted me at the door, directing me through the galley to reach my seat in 8H.
We encountered another fog delay, though this one was “only” about an hour. But we also faced strong headwinds enroute to Boston, leading to an arrival into Boston about 90 minutes late.
TAP A330neo Business Class Seat
TAP’s A330neo business class cabin features 34 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration. TAP chose the Recaro CL6710 seat, a comfortable seat that reminded me of the United Polaris seat and the seat Air France has chosen for its A350. While preserving direct aisle access for every passenger, it allows for a fairly dense cabin yet doesn’t feel tight.
These are the only picture I was able to snap prior the flight:
The rest I took when we landed in Boston:
You’ll notice the seat has a storage compartment on the side that is big enough for headphones, a water bottle, and small personal items like your passport, wallet, and mobile phone. It has a door which slides shut.
A pinhole reading light is quite effective when the cabin is darkened.
There’s also storage on the side, plenty of legroom, and a tray table which flips out from under the IFE screen. Seat controls, power plug, and USB port are easy to reach.
TAP offers comfortable bedding included a large pillow and comforter. In lie-flat mode, the bed is 78″ long.
It was only a couple years ago that TAP’s A330s did not even offer lie-flat seats, so TAP has come a long way.
TAP A330neo Business Class Service
Admittedly, my expectations were low for service on this flight. I had heard from others that TAP flight attendants usually are just going through the motions and don’t care.
But that was not at all my experience. On the contrary, the crew was gregarious, charming, and still very professional. Despite the delay, there were laughs and smiles and I appreciated how attentive the crew was between meals in monitoring the cabin.
The service stood out to me as the main positive takeaway from this flight. One member of the cabin crew saw I was taking pictures of the cabin and shared with me how proud she was of the new business class cabin. It demonstrated once again that when airlines give flight attendants a nice product to work with, customers are happier, and they deliver better service.
TAP A330neo Business Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi, including complimentary messaging, was available once the aircraft reached 10,000 feet. It came in quite handy, allowing me to stay in touch during the flight. But if you want internet, be prepared to pay up. TAP offers data-capped plans that are quite a bit more expensive than the competition. A 500MB pass is 49,99EUR. Thankfully, during our ground delay I was able to tether off my mobile phone and complete my essential work.
Seatback IFE included a generous selection of movies, TV shows, games, and music. There was even a large selection of Portuguese wines. When I fly on a flag carrier, I always try to watch a local movie, however I could not find an interesting Portuguese movie that had English or German subtitles. Any recommendations?
My boarding pass had a five digit numeric code that I was invited to enter on the screen to “personalize” the inflight experience. It did bring up my name to the seat, but other than allowing for saved favorites did not offer any additional benefits.
Noise-cancelling headphones were provided and worked well.
TAP A330neo Business Class Amenity Kit
The Castelbel-branded amenity kit onboard included local artwork and a TAP A330neo on the bag. Contents inside included:
- Castelbel body lotion
- Lip balm
- Ear plugs
- Glasses/screen wipe
TAP A330neo Business Class Meals
A choice of beverage was offered during the ground delay. I just requested a glass of water.
Meal service began after takeoff. Today’s menu included lunch after takeoff then a snack before landing:
Lunch began 30 minutes after takeoff with a hot towel followed by choice of beverage and almonds.
Since I ordered fish for my main course, I also ordered a glass of white wine. The cork had clearly broken and I found pieces floating in my glass. When I mentioned this to a flight attendant she was quite apologetic and brought me another glass.
That was followed by an appetizer of tuna escabeche and a bowl of cream of cauliflower soup. Unfortunately, the soup was cold (not just lukewarm, but cold). Cream of cauliflower soup is not meant to be served cold…
One hour into the flight, the main course arrived. The codfish au gratin was really not what I was expecting (and also not warm enough), but a fairly tasty main course.
That left dessert as the highlight, including Portuguese ice cream, fruit, cheese, and coffee (also cold…amazing).
Meal service concluded with a selection of chocolates.
Prior to landing, a light snack of cold cuts, cheese, and fruit were served. This time I stuck to tea and at least the hot water was hot. I think this snack was perfect for a flight of this length…it was light and tasty.
TAP A330neo Business Class Lavatory
The lavatory featured mood lighting, but did not feature any additional amenities. It was clean but not any more spacious than an economy class lavatory.
The annoying ground experience, delayed flight, and cold food were not ideal, but I appreciated the comfortable seat, warm service onboard, and excellent fare. I would not hesitate to fly TAP Air Portugal again. The food issue is so easy to fix…hopefully it was just a one-off on my flight. Overall, I walked away impressed.
Have you flown the TAP Air Portugal A330neo in business class?