TAP Portugal » Business (long-haul) » User reviews
Class rating 6.9
- Boarding 6.3
- Seat for sitting 8.3
- Seat for sleeping 3.3
- Service 6.3
- Entertainment 6.0
- Food & drink 7.0
- Punctuality 8.3
- Baggage 9.7
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
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I have travelled TAP many times, both in Business and Economy, from and to Brasilia. Frankly, if TAP were to install "flat-bed" seats on the long-haul flights would not think twice about going Business everytime. What do other passengers think?
TAP have an extensive network to South America and as business is booming there it was inevitable that I'd end up heading there. I've been twice this year. Once with Iberia and once with TAP.
I got a great deal with them out of LHR via LIS to Sao Paulo. It was substantially less than either BA or TAM and even with a little layover in Lisbon it still worked out as a considerable saving.
For this bit of my review I'm just going to concentrate on the long haul part of the flight from LIS and back via Porto.
Lisbon airport has terrible signposting. If TAP are serious about trying to have connecting traffic they really need to address this at both Lisbon and Porto. At Lisbon, coming off the flight from Heathrow I followed the signs for where the gate was.
After a considerable walk and having gone through security I found there was no lounge (there was nothing on the map and I had to ask staff who were extremely dismissive of me) near the gate. So walked all the way back, asked where the lounge was to find out that I had to go through security again (don't you just love that when the second lot of security inspect your bag like you are a terrorist whereas their colleagues 5 minutes beforehand didn't give it a second look....how does that work?)
At least the lounge is nice, albeit relatively small. Good selection of food, drinks and free wifi. Wouldn't have wanted to be there on my pc too long as I couldn't see many power sockets (an issue BA have in their new lounges at T5).
Then had to walk all the way back to the other end of the terminal. At least I was spared security for the third time, but I did have to go through passport control.
Well, the gate.....absolute chaos. You would think everything time an airline boarded a flight it was the first time they had ever done it. A few people seem to have made some progress (a few of my United flights domestically have been good) but it was a zoo at the gate. There was no Business Class boarding and it was unbelievably warm at the gate when the scrum got going.
Onboard the crew (unlike their counterparts at Iberia or Lufthansa) weren't overly comfortable speaking English but I suppose it might be my Scots accent!
Seat is angled flat so you end up in the footwell as you dooze off.
IFE was terrible on the way out (think BA on the old 777's that haven't been upgraded). Food and drink were reasonable. I do have to compliment them on the baggage. I was third or fourth through immigration (which this time was a bit more efficient than in Rio where it was terrible!) and when I got to the carousel my bag was already coming round. Fantastic!
On the way back (same problems with boarding) it was a different A330 which had IFE with VOD and a much better selection. Got a reasonable sleep in the footwell of the seat.
We arrived at Porto on time. Again, if you can avoid changing/transfering here I would. The airport is not geared up for business class transfer traffic.
I followed the flight connection signs and this time there is no lounge at all. So I had 3 hours to wait with no power socket to do any work and it was at least 90 minutes before the cafe opened.
Rest of the flight back to London was uneventful. Luggage took for ever to come off at Gatwick.
London Heathrow – Sao Paulo Guarulhos (via Lisbon)
Heathrow Check-in: There are better places to be at four o’clock in the morning than Heathrow’s Terminal 1. Sadly, TAP’s cramped check-in area (shared with Star Alliance partner, Lufthansa) isn’t one of them. TAP’s business class signage wasn’t clearly displayed and I spent a good ten minutes at the back of a queue before eventually spotting it. After jostling my way there, the check-in process was swift and I was checked through to Sao Paulo within minutes. The wait for departure at 06:00 didn’t pass so quickly, though. Most of Terminal 1’s retail units don’t open until 06:00. The Star Alliance Lounge, itself, remains closed until 05:00. There was little time, therefore, to enjoy the benefits of TAP’s premium service in London.
TP351 Heathrow – Lisbon Airbus A320: TAP’s first flight of the day from Heathrow is operated by an Airbus A320 that arrives the night before. This means that passengers have to be bussed to a remote parking stand. However, my flight was trouble-free and operated according to schedule.
Connection in Lisbon: Lisbon’s Terminal 1 is just like Heathrow’s; rather old and jaded. During my ten minute walk from arrival to departure gate, I counted just three shops and one cafe. More troublingly, I couldn’t locate TAP’s lounge. I was eventually informed that it was situated beyond a border control post that was not available to connecting passengers. There was no way for me to enjoy TAP’s executive offerings in Lisbon, either! TP199 Lisbon – Sao Paulo Airbus A340: On the outside, TAP’s fleet of aircraft look shiny and new. Internally, the A340 due to fly me to Sao Paulo had seen better days, though.
Initially, I found my business class seat to be comfortable, if somewhat tatty around the edges. The in-flight entertainment screen (built into the seat in front) was small and difficult to view; and the controller basic in its layout. From the lack of buttons, I guessed the movies weren’t ‘on-demand’. I was right. It was one of those frustrating flights where I would miss the start of several movies.
It’s apparent that TAP’s cabin crew policy is to roster highly-experienced staff on long-haul flights. This all makes perfect sense. I got the impression, however, that the two females serving my side of the aircraft had experienced far too many passengers. Okay, so they weren’t rude or obnoxious; but neither were they hospitable. They served me like Rafael Nadal would a tennis ball; hard and fast. Despite almost having to catch my meal, I was pleasantly surprised. The main course of salmon was one of the tastiest I’ve eaten, and the Argentinean Merlot I chose to accompany it; perfect.
TAP have a very strict alcohol policy, to the extent that passengers “attaining an alcoholic level of, or superior to, 0.8 g/litre” can find themselves punishable under Portuguese law. There was no danger of me contravening this regulation as I was too scared to bother the crew. I slept instead. Unfortunately, what had been a comfortable seat turned out to be a lousy bed. Like a lot of basic business class seats, TAP’s merely extend and tilt forward. For the next few hours, I slid down and clawed myself back up. Summary:
Typically, I’d fly British Airways, but on this occasion there was good reason for not doing so: the cost. Choosing TAP, I’d been able to book a return business class ticket for almost £3,400 less than BA. And while its business class may seem less ‘refined’ than BA’s; TAP’s punctuality and cost-effective pricing is way beyond reproach.