TAP Air Portugal’s Snazzy New A321LR Business Class

Filed Under: TAP Portugal

TAP Air Portugal is known for their great fares (both on short-haul and longhaul flights), and the airline is about to undergo a significant expansion and refresh.

That’s because TAP Air Portugal has 20 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft on order (the first of which was just delivered), as well as 14 Airbus A321LR aircraft on order (the first of which will be delivered early next year). This is great news for their product on longer flights.


TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo

The airline will presumably use the A330-900neo for their most important markets, like Lisbon to Sao Paulo, Lisbon to New York, etc.

It will also be interesting to see how the airline uses the A321LR. The plane is capable of completing some of the shorter transatlantic flights, so I’ll be curious to see if they use the A321LR to operate routes currently scheduled to be served by the A330 (Boston, Newark, Washington, etc.), or if they expand into new markets with the plane. Presumably they may also use them to expand to some other markets, or perhaps for some of their existing routes to Africa.

Anyway, since we’ve known that TAP will use their A321LRs for longer flights, I think most of us assumed they’d offer flat beds on these planes. However, they hadn’t officially unveiled a seatmap or product details until recently.

TAP has now scheduled their first A321LR route — from from Lisbon to Tel Aviv as of March 31, 2019 — and it gives us some hints of what we can expect from the onboard product.

TAP Air Portugal will have 16 business class seats on their A321LRs, in a staggered configuration. They’ll have three rows in a 2-2 configuration, and two rows in a 1-1 configuration.

This leads me to believe they’ll have the same staggered configuration they currently have on many of their A330s.


TAP Air Portugal A330 business class


TAP Air Portugal A330 business class

For that matter, their layout on the A321LR seems identical to what JetBlue has in their A321 Mint cabins, as they also have 16 seats in the same layout. This is more or less the same product, except JetBlue has doors at the single seats, which is a cool innovation.


JetBlue A321 Mint cabin


JetBlue A321 Mint seat

It’s interesting that TAP Air Portugal has “only” 152 seats in economy on the A321LR.

As a point of comparison, Aer Lingus will also start flying A321LRs across the pond next year, and those planes have the same number of business class seats, and an extra 10 economy seats. I’m not sure if TAP will just have a more spacious cabin, or if they intend to offer an extra legroom economy section (which isn’t really reflected on the seatmap).

Bottom line

It’s an exciting time for TAP Air Portugal between their A330-900neos and A321LRs, and also an exciting time for narrowbody planes in general, as we increasingly see them feature flat beds.

In 2019 we should see both Aer Lingus and TAP launch transatlantic flights with A321LRs featuring flat beds, and I look forward to trying them out.

I’ll be curious to see exactly what finishes TAP chooses for their A321LR business class, and what routes they use these planes for.

Comments

  1. This seat map shows that all of the economy seats are listed as extra legroom premium economy seats though.

  2. I can confirm seeing this configuration on my LIS-TLV flight on a A321 in May. However, how do I know that it’s not an older A321? are we sure that it’s an LR? Are we sure that they’re not just playing around with those “European-style” economy seats and just block seats in a staggered way? Kind of out of this world, but I don’t know what to believe European carriers anymore.

    Also, comparing to Mint, what’s the best option out of those four single seats?

  3. Where (between which cities) do you typically see great business class fares on TAP? I looked at JFK-LIS-BUD, and the round trip fare is not very good.

  4. I’m not sure if the A330 running LIS-BOS will be replace by A321LR, but their services to West Sub-Saharan African destinations and longer European routes like LIS-DME/CPH/ARN/HEL/OSL should definitely receive this upgrade. A 5-6 hour flight to any of their Guinea Gulf destinations using their intra-Europe fleet is ridiculous, especially when they charge over 2000USD for business class on these routes.

  5. Most of the market for the A321LR will be cities in Notheast Brazil such as FOR, NAT, REC, SSA. As for the A330-900 neos, TAP’s current biggest markets are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Recife also receives more capacity from TAP as compared to JFK and should be another candidate destination.

    Finally, as far as Brazil is concerned, TAP has never offered great fares as yields are sky high. TAP does offer great fares to North America though.

  6. UGH.
    I long for the days when transatlantic meant wide body. Probably because I fly in economy.
    It’s tiring hearing about all the “great” innovation in aircraft interiors. But alas, that is just for Business. Economy gets nothing. Just like the world in general….the wealth is being transferred to the rich. The poor saps in economy get screwed again.

  7. @Lucky
    The seat map looks different now – could it be that TAP decided to not do the staggered seats? I am going to try to email you a photo of the seat map in my reservation.

  8. @Lucky
    I don’t know if I’m talking to myself here, keep replying to myself 🙂
    Anyway, I have a photo of the business seat on the 321neo. It’s not a lie flat. It’s just a good old recliner seat, kinda like what Turkish has, or like a typical north American business/first seat. Not even an IFE. I guess the lie flat is only on the LR version of this aircraft.
    Email me if you’d like a copy of the photo – it’s impossible to find one online.

  9. james P whats ur email.. i want to see it.. because i looked at my seat and it is now not staggered 🙁 … dam i was looking forward to this. Plus i lost my seat confirmation and now its a regular seat.. also what should I use for a lounge in JFK .. because the lounge i would have used is now closed..

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