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?
We are flying SFO-FCO on TAP next week through an Aeroplan redemption, as that was the only TATL option ex-SFO. Now, with many cancellations, I can easily switch my flight to Swiss 77W, which I think I’ll do based on your review and other feedback. It will be my wife’s and my first J TATL experience, and I think that Swiss is worth the 55K Aeroplan miles more than TAP. Plus, I can always pay cash for a TAP flight ex-SFO in the future.
Honestly, I thought the service and seat was better than on SWISS, though the food lacked on both carriers. If SAS opens for you, I would grab that.
I would never pick Swiss.
If you can get the mini cabin at the front and two seats together you will have a comparably fine seat but better food from the look of it by some margin.
If TAP would just warn up the food, it would have been better than on SWISS, where the beef was a huge disappointment.
Agreed on the beef on LX. I have had better experiences with some of their other, in particular the regional, dishes.
Matthew… Nice detailed review of TAP. I considered flying them to Budapest for a flight later this year but their schedule from SFO just doesn’t work for me. And their website – especially for booking a stopover trip – is a hot mess.
I think you have a typo in the article. You show the flight from FRA to LIS taking 7 hours 35 minutes. I think you meant LIS to BOS.
The ground experience was typical of LIS, it’s over crowded, out of date and totally inadequate for the number of people using it. A bus ride is the norm and just count yourself lucky you were not in time for priority boarding, that means boarding the bus first and being on it a very long time often with no aircon and in extreme heat.
Phil – I couldn’t agree more. Lisbon airport is a huge mess and completely inadequate for the number of people that transfer through it. Everyone needs to add 40 minutes for bus transfer to/from planes. It is the norm. Not the exception.
I just booked my wife and I in this for our ride home from Oslo for 650 each in July. I have a couple questions. I’m trying to choose seats. Did you notice if the bulkhead honeymoon seats had any extra footwell room?
Also where did you credit the miles? My fare is J fare code and gets 200% to avianca so I’m leaning toward that but I feel like I’m missing something.
DEP, because of my late arrival onboard I did not notice if the bulkhead seats had extra foot room.
I credited the miles to United because I am trying to make 1K again, but Avianca is a good option if you are just looking to maximize RDMs.
Is there any possible way for you to please make it so that your entire articles open in feedly, instead of having to click multiple times to get to the website to read? Other blogs I follow all are able to do this, I was wondering if you can please try to do this as well as it makes it a lot more readable.
No. It is not gong to happen.
I flew TAP Newark/Lisbon/London. The airport & rush to bus to board was so stressful. The food onboard was decent, & the flight crew pleasant.
The flight was full, not as comfortable as this new aircraft. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I flew Swiss business yul to zrh in January and returned TAP business lis to yyz two weeks later and much to my surprise TAP was the superior product both by service and especially the hard product. The Swiss 330 was old and getting threadbare while service and food were adequate but not great. The brand new 330 on TAP was beautiful and the service was great . The food was very good. ( All portions were hot when they were supposed to be). I had a cod over mashed potato dish that was actually quite spectacular! The flight attendants could not be faulted.
I actually was expecting it to be the other way around.
Not surprised. Since 2015, I’ve travelled between the US and Europe in biz class on quite a few times on Sas, Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, LOT, TAP, Turkish and United (and Air Canada if you include Canada), and Swiss is – by far – the worst. Turkish the best.
Tap never refunded my money for cancellation of two business class tickets due to Covid 19 we know of many other people they can’t be communication PLEASE HELP
I had a client that had no issues once he got through to them, it just involved sitting on hold with them for 20 minutes before getting a human being to answer the phone: 1 (800) 221-7370
Thank you for such an extensive review of TAP 330-300neo. We will be flying the A330-300neo business class in 2022. As a couple, we chose the center 2 seats, but which rows put our heads closer together. Looks like the odd rows from your pictures and from the TAP web site.
Thank you for a great review, it was very informative. Do you know if TAP have any sales and when?
TAP does runs sales…not at set times, though. Just keep an eye on fares.
I’d just like to echo other people’s opinions of Lisbon airport. The shambolic boarding process via remote stands would put many African airports to shame and the lounge can best be described as ‘uninspiring’!