TAP Air Portugal’s New Boston To Azores Flight (And More)

Filed Under: TAP Portugal

TAP Air Portugal has grown an incredible amount in North America in the past few years. Last week I wrote about how the airline is adding two new routes to North America in 2020, and these flights are now on sale, so I wanted to update that post to reflect that, since there are some interesting things to note.

Both of these new routes will be flown by TAP Air Portugal’s fuel efficient new A321LR aircraft, which have a total of 171 seats, including 16 business class seats and 155 economy seats. You can read a review of TAP’s A321LR business class between Porto and Newark here. The airline has a total of 14 of these planes on order.

TAP Air Portugal’s A321LR business class

So, what are the new routes?

TAP Air Portugal Launching Boston to Azores Route

I’m really excited about this one. In the summer of 2020, TAP Air Portugal will launch a new route between Boston and Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The route will operate 5x weekly as of June 4, 2020, with the following schedule:

TP219 Ponta Delgada to Boston departing 3:40PM arriving 5:20PM
TP220 Boston to Ponta Delgada departing 10:30PM arriving 7:20AM (+1 day)

What’s odd is that as of now I don’t see that plane in the schedule flying between Lisbon and Ponta Delgada. I would assume the plane will fly the route given that it’s presumably flying more than four roundtrip weekly frequencies between Ponta Delgada and Lisbon, and the airline otherwise doesn’t fly A321LRs to Boston.

There are a few things that make this especially interesting:

  • This follows Delta recently announcing they’d end their seasonal New York to Ponta Delgada route in the summer of 2020
  • This will complement TAP’s Boston to Lisbon route
  • I’m a bit surprised to see this, given that TAP codeshares with Azores Airlines, and they also operate the route

Azores Airlines A321neo

This is such a nice development for anyone looking to fly to the Azores, since it means you can fly year-round in a flat bed between the US and the Azores.


TAP Air Portugal’s A321LR business class

While Azores Airlines also has A321s, their premium seats are more similar to domestic first class seats than real business class seats.

TAP Air Portugal Launching Montreal To Lisbon Route

In the summer of 2020 TAP Air Portugal will launch a new 6x weekly service between Lisbon and Montreal. This will represent TAP’s second destination in Canada, after Toronto. The route will launch on May 23, 2020, and will operate with the following schedule:

TP253 Lisbon to Montreal departing 2:55PM arriving 5:40PM
TP254 Montreal to Lisbon departing 7:10PM arriving 6:50AM (+1 day)

TAP Has Great Business Class Fares

TAP is known for having incredibly low fares in both economy and business class, even when booking one-way (which otherwise typically isn’t the case in transatlantic markets).

For example, looking at the new Montreal route, there are ~$750 one-way fares from Dublin to Montreal, and there may even be other better fares out there.

One-way fares on TAP’s new Boston to Ponta Delgada fares are ~$1,000. Unfortunately I’m not seeing any good fares from continental Europe to the US that allow stopovers in Ponta Delgada (which would be awesome), though it’s possible those fares may still be coming.

TAP’s Impressive North America Growth

It really is amazing the extent to which TAP has grown in North America in recent years. For example, this past summer alone, TAP added flights to Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington.

The airline has gone from operating three routes to North America in 2015, to operating 11 in 2020. That means they’ll have as many routes to North America as to Brazil.

TAP will operate 82 weekly frequencies in the North American market next year, compared to 16 weekly frequencies in 2015.

This spring the airline indicated that they’d add flights to Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and Montreal in 2020, so I’m curious if those other three routes still come to fruition (which is a possibility, I’d say).

Bottom Line

TAP Air Portugal is known for their very attractive transatlantic fares (including in business class), so I love to see them expand. These two new routes are great — the Montreal route will bring more low cost options to Canada, like the Boston to Ponta Delgada route will provide a year-round way to fly between Boston and the Azores in a flat bed.

What do you make of TAP’s new 2020 transatlantic routes?

Comments
  1. I recently flew from AMS to LIS to SP (GRU) in Economy . The longer leg was on A330 Neo, and I totally enjoyed the flight despite it being a red-eye.
    Granted I was super tired so that helped in getting sleep, but the service and staff were great.
    My special meal (AVML) was excellent, the mini-amenity kit provided was useful (socks and eye mask) and the entertainment selection fairly expansive.

    I was hesitant initially with the numerous stories of cabin crew not working or lack of service in short haul, but all my fears were for nothing (at least on this flight)

    Will fly them again, especially for NA flights 🙂

    Wish they flew longer in the eastward direction as well

  2. Do you know if they are operating it as a BOS – PDL ‘shuttle’ or is it a BOS-PDL-LIS service with pax wanting LIS (or BOS depending on the routing) staying on board?

    Will they be selling LIS-PDL and vice versa?

    Could be an interesting route and TAP do offer some good prices from Europe – I grabbed the £750 J return LON-LIS-BOS last February and thought they were pretty good but realise that was exceptional and as a leisure traveller I’m more into price than timings when booking

  3. It will be a blessing to have a carrier competing with Azores Air..
    They have had many problems on most routes and are in fact an embarrassement to us Portugues.
    Because of the competition it won’t surprise me if they ( Azores Air )in turn go out of business..

  4. One of my friends is Portuguese (and more specifically, from the Azores). He told me that there is a huge population just south of Boston, where he’s from, so that route makes even more sense to me now.

  5. @Jeff. You are 100% correct. I live south of Boston and that’s a major demographic.

    When I was a kid back in the 70’s and 80’s. my parents used to vacation in Madeira every Fall too. I didn’t get it as I was all about Florida, but now I do. That would be a fun trip.

  6. There’s a massive Portuguese population in MA, especially in the south (Fall River etc.) so I think TAP will do quite well here. Azores Airlines is pretty terrible, and TAP has the scale to be able to beat them on price.

  7. @RNS:

    I flew the LIS-SFO route a few months ago, also on the A330-neo. I thought the seat was a little firm for my liking and didn’t sleep terrible well, but I figure that’s part me being princess-and-the-pea and part the newness of the plane. But like yours, our crew were great. Completely contradictory to the stories I’d heard. I’ve since put several friends or family members on that same flight (large Portuguese population in the SF East Bay) and am looking at it again next year as a viable return from London and Paris given how cheap the fares are and how inexpensive it is to position to Lisbon. Absolutely would recommend it to others.

  8. Highly recommend this airline, have flown TAP form Boston and New York to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to Stuttgart Germany, and Tel Aviv Israel. Never had any issues, staff always friendly, all new planes.

  9. The best thing about TAP is that is not part of the transatlantic cartel of three oligopoly groups: BA/AA/IB/AY, LH/UA/AC/LX/OZ and AF/KL/DL/VS/AZ) and sets its prices independently, and like JetBlue on a one-way trip basis.

    They often provide great value, much better than the cartels, especially in business class — and their lower business class fares are changeable vs. the cartel ones who no longer are (they now mostly are “use it or lose it”)

  10. Flew TAP very recently IAD to LIS, and back LIS to IAD. The price for the biz fare was 1k cheaper then their competitors. The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds true. The equipment was brand new, but the service was horrendous. Its amazing that you can have a 1040pm departure and not get an offering of water or a drink until 2 hours into the flight and not finish the dinner service until 3 hours in for a 6 hour flight. Even worse on the return and the attendants wouldn’t even make eye contact or acknowledge anyone and we didn’t a drink or water until 3 hours into the flight. We were a group of 6, so we made up more than a 3rd of the cabin and none of us would fly TAP again. We all would spend more money and more time to avoid TAP. I hope they re-train their attendants on service and find new caterers.

  11. I agree with Kenneth B. It will be nice to have a carrier competing with Azores Airlines also known as Sata.

    Azores Airlines (Sata) month of October 2019, were on strike it took 3 days for my husband to return to Boston. Azores airline knowing was on strike they let passengers check-in pass security and wait for a plane that never came. The passengers collect luggage and back to check-in to reschedule flights for next day knowing that if strike was not over a flight to nowhere.
    Since I was leaving a week later I witness the worst of this airline, it add 5 days in the airport out of 3 weeks vacation. Nothing was reported on this issue on the news. Also, I saw rudeness from staff on land. I will not be surprise if they go out of business with the terrible service they are providing. It is an embarrassement to the Portuguese.
    As I was traveling back to Boston via Ponta Delgada a week later. I was at airport 1.30 before flight and the main Azores airlines check-in was closed I went to the other counter where they reschedule or sell tickets and explained I would like to get in the flight… I was not helped even though flights were being delayed due to fog and still time. The attendant asked if had luggage yes one piece. Then you have to buy another ticket and go next day. What about send the luggage separate no. Then I had to buy a new ticket and because my round trip ticket ($1,230.) it was not very expensive I was going to pay a bigger penalty it cost me 533€ for one way back.
    This trip was an eye opening and I saw many problems in Lisbon airport like mine. Overlays and people forced to buy new tickets. By staying in hotels within 7 km of airport I notice buses taking people from airlines to hotels. It is a common problem with other airlines but I heard Azores airline one of the worse.
    I find it is very common travel problems in Portugal due to increase of tourism as well business conferences as many countries are choosing Portugal for vacation and business. Also, residents in some cases are loosing house to lodge tourists. I didn’t expect to witness so many problems…

  12. @ Josh. That’s ridiculous and hard to believe. They always offer pre drinks in business and unless they expected turbulence and had orders not to start the service there is just no way they would leave pax without drinks for two hours. Did you think about asking for one?? I do confirm however from my experience they take a while with service.

  13. We flew them business class MIA-LIS-FLR and they were great – getting straight into FLR not Pisa or Rome is a huge advantage if that’s your target – they have numerous other connections out of Lisbon and free stopovers. The food was excellent too.

  14. Thank you Ben for this great post! Great news…. Azores Air is horrible. Massive Azorean population throughout MA and RI – Provincetown was all Portuguese (Azoreans) at one time – and Bristol, RI, East Providence, RI, New Bedford, MA, Fall River, MA all have Large Azorean populations. This is great news! Important note: People from the Azores are Azorean, part of Portugal – yes technically Portuguese and speak Portuguese, but correctly Azorean. I have Azorean ancestry on both sides and Sicilian and it’s an important notation about the islands – Just as Sicilians prefer that term over Italian – Azorean’s prefer that noted over Portuguese.

  15. I have flown TAP from Toronto in Business several times since 2017, including to FRA, MUC, AMS and DUB. Very low Business fares: my flight from DUB to YYZ via LIS this October was only US$730! My only complaint is the terrible food. Which is so surprising, given how delicious Portuguese food is.

  16. Nice! Good to see an upgrade on that route. Any ideas if Azores will continue their PVD – PDL flights next summer? Not as good of a product, but BOS will get traffic that otherwise would have gone from PVD, which is probably good for the hopes of longevity for this route.

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