TAP Portugal A330 Business Class Miami To Lisbon

Filed Under: Other Airlines, TAP Portugal

Bom dia from Lisbon! I just flew TAP Portugal business class from Miami to Lisbon, which was operated by one of their A330-200 aircraft. This was a last minute trip for me, and I probably wouldn’t have taken it if it were only the flight review I were after. But between the opportunity to review a new airline and visit a new city, I figured I might as well. And at 45,000 Aeroplan miles plus ~$128 in taxes/fuel surcharges, it certainly wasn’t an expensive redemption.


While I’ll have a full trip report soon (I’m a couple of reports behind, so it will be a couple of weeks), I figured I’d share my initial thoughts.

TAP A330 Miami Airport

TAP Portugal business class seat

It’s worth noting that TAP has different business class products on their A330s and A340s, with the A330s actually featuring their better business class product.

The A330 business class cabin consists of 24 seats spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. On the plus side, the business class cabin on this flight was only about half full, so I had an empty seat next to me.

TAP business class cabin A330

TAP business class seats A330

TAP business class seats A330

The seats are produced by Recaro and angled flat, which is quite disappointing. They aren’t modern, but aren’t horribly worn either – they certainly don’t feel “fresh,” though.

TAP business class seats A330

Nowadays for transatlantic flights, not having a fully flat business class product puts you at a disadvantage, so thumbs down to them on their angled seats.

Nearly as bad is that the entertainment wasn’t on demand. Instead there were just 16 or so channels of entertainment that looped.

Off the top of my head I can’t think of another airline not offering on demand entertainment in business class on transatlantic flights.

TAP business class entertainment system A330

To not have fully flat seats or on demand entertainment on longhaul flights in 2014 — and to not have concrete plans for installing them — is ridiculous.

For what it’s worth, per their website they do have “some” A330s with on demand entertainment. I guess I just didn’t get one of them.

TAP Portugal business class food

This was the one impressive part of the flight – the food was excellent.

To start there were canapes, which consisted of nuts, a pepper roll with goat cheese, and ceviche with pita bread.

TAP Portugal business class canapes

Then there was a salad and soup course, and both were prepared at the seat. The soup consisted of carrot creme with ginger and honey, while the salad had both smoked chicken and salmon.

TAP Portugal business class soup & salad

For the main course I had the palamino steak, which was served with rice, beans, and plantains — it was excellent.

TAP Portugal business class main course

And lastly, for dessert I had guava cheesecake.

TAP Portugal business class dessert

It’s worth noting that no trays were used, but rather all courses were placed directly on the tablecloth. And despite that they managed to offer an efficient service. That may have more to do with the business class cabin being staffed with three flight attendants for a total of 12 passengers. But what does TAP know, La Compagnie has it all down, with their three flight attendants per 72 seat business class cabin. 😉

It was hands down one of the most delicious transatlantic business class meals I’ve had, possibly on par with Austrian and Turkish, which have DO&CO catering.

TAP Portugal business class service

I’m a bit torn on this. The seatbelt sign was on for the first 75 minutes of the flight. This isn’t the cabin crew’s fault and I won’t judge the actions of the cockpit crew, but my point is simply that on a 7hr30min redeye, that impacts service quite a bit, since they apparently couldn’t start the service until the seatbelt sign was off.

During boarding and during the time the seatbelt sign was on, the crew came across as disinterested and borderline rude. They had the charm of the LAN or LOT crews I’ve had.

But during the meal service – which was really efficient once they actually started – they warmed up a bit. They weren’t amazing, but I also wouldn’t say they were actively rude anymore. There was one flight attendant in particular that was actually friendly, even if she wasn’t the most attentive.

So I wasn’t impressed by the service, but it wasn’t memorably horrible either.

TAP Portugal business class amenities

The pillows and blankets offered were okay. They felt quite cheap and itchy, though it’s somewhat of a moot point since I can’t really sleep in an angled flat seat anyway.

TAP business class pillow and blanket

The amenity kit was stylish in that it was offered in a tin, and certainly looked nice. It featured all the basics you’d expect.

TAP business class amenity kit

TAP business class amenity contents

TAP Business Class bottom line

The food exceeded my expectations, and everything else left me disappointed.

If they had a fully flat business class product I’d certainly consider flying them again, but having an angled seat on a transatlantic flight nowadays is a deal breaker.

Put simply, I wouldn’t “tap” that again.

If you’ve flown TAP Portugal, what was your experience?

  1. ” I can’t really sleep in an angled flat seat anyway”
    First World Problems 🙂

    Luckily I don’t have that problem. I can sleep in any plane. Sleeping in Y is no problem for me (even though I’m 1m93 – 6ft4″).

  2. I’m with you on the seat, but I don’t really care about the entertainment system. All I need is an outlet to power the iPads and I’m good to go with my own content.

  3. @ Neil S. — Agreed, I always bring my own entertainment as well, so doesn’t impact me personally.

  4. Ben, if you enjoy unique scenery and nature, fly to Madeira – only 90 min flight from LIS.
    You may like one of the kind FNC airport as well. Melia resort is a decent hotel choice there.

  5. Do you think it’s that surprising that they offer a NEW angled flat product?

    They don’t really have nonstop lie-flat competition on North America -> Lisbon.
    So I think they can monetize on it being a nonstop which is already better than long, circuitous routings via MAD, LHR, FRA, etc…

  6. @ bd — Yeah, I do find that strange. I believe United flies to Lisbon with a flat bed product as well, no?

  7. @ Michael T — Yep, there was one type of port wine on the dessert cart, though I’m not sure what it was.

  8. Somehow in the land of port, I would have expected more than one option. Certainly an opportunity for the airline to make a big deal of its hometown product…

  9. I had a similar experience about 3 years ago but I think we may have had on demand entertainment. I think I would have remembered if we didn’t and it doesn’t stick out at me. I also thought the food (and wine) was good, but the seats were horrible and on a relatively short flight from EWR to LIS I don’t think I slept at all. With the flight arriving VERY early, I wound up at the Sherton well before my room was ready and I conked out in the lobby. :-\

  10. Ben, as usual very nice report – just missing a few things – could be nice to see the menu card and wonder how was the coffee – sometimes you have great photos of they coffee got got. What I like with coffee when airline give you CREAM or even sometimes a choose (LX) . But some airlines like SAS even long haul C class ONLY serving SKIM MILK 0.05. By the way best airlines for coffee – LH -LX-OS-SQ and even NIKI and AB AEGEAN has perfect coffee.
    Ben, I see YOU want visit STO – Great city but do NOT waste time and money and take SAS ( I just did SK from CHI to STO in Business really still not a good product – wait for the new product next year .
    Finally SAS has NO business class inside EUROPE.
    Thanks for taking your time to go deep in your trip report looking forward for the next report .

  11. Not surprised at all by your review. I would expect TAP to be on the stone age regarding modern amenities. As well as I would expect their crew to be rude. Finally, I would expect they served one of the best meals on the sky. Portuguese cuisine is outstanding. Hope you can try one of the restaurant recommendations in Lisbon we all gave you in the previous post. Enjoy Portugal!!!!

  12. @ Lantean — I guess it depends what the alternative is and what you do on daytime flights. Personally I usually pass out on daytime westbound flights from Europe, since I’m tired after limited sleep on the trip. I guess my bigger issue is that regardless of whether or not I want to sleep, I like being able to recline all the way and watch TV from “bed.” So if there’s no alternative it’s not a horrible option for a daytime flight, but I still wouldn’t seek it out.

  13. @ Jill — On the plus side my room at the Sheraton was ready, so I managed to nap for a few hours upon landing, which did the trick.

  14. @ Jorgen — Stay tuned, more info on the menu and coffee will be coming with the full trip report. 🙂

  15. Thanks for the info, always good to get a review of a product that most of the bloggers don’t talk about. Sort of off topic, but ho do you find out who makes the seat. Where is that kind of info published.

  16. I flew that same aircraft in business from LIS to EWR in February. I had never seen anyone review it, so I had no idea what to expect. I had a very nice experience. I thought the food and wine was excellent and the service was really good. I prefer flatbed, but found the seat to be pretty comfortable for an angled flat and I found the cabin to be really spacious. Exceeded my expectations. I flew SATA in business going over and so it certainly is nicer than that seat which is basically a leg rest. Fortunately I got off in the Azores to break up the trip so it was not a long flight.

  17. Hi Lucky.
    Great Trip report. I’d say that is my standard with TP, outstanding food (The red wines usually are also fantastic), lacking hard product and the crews that are tolerable.
    Actually the A340’s have the new IFE (even in Y). I flew earlier in the year GRU-LIS and those are on demand. The A330 on the way there was also loop (in Y again).
    To do in Lisbon: Go to Bairro Alto in the evening, have diner around (Ask for Black pig steak strips), and afterwards just bar hop (go to a fado place even if just for a few minutes).
    Take the train to Cascais, get out in Monte Estoril and walk all the way to Cascais near the sea. On the way back you can get out in “Parede” and go to a place called “Eduardo das Conquilhas” which is next to the train station and go for some seafood. Some of the best seafood you’ll ever have. This will make the trip worth it!

  18. Don’t mean to be a idiot’ but…

    Kuwaiti doesn’t offer on demand entertainment on JFK-LHR

    Sorry, just had to say it 🙂

  19. Had same experience heading to Portugal and if it wasn’t for the food I would have been very upset as I was looking forward to this first time with TAP. Returning was on newer-feeling, “cleaner” plane with on demand, and better seats. Port and cheese were excellent and tried every one of their wine offerings on the way back. My wife loved the female flight attendants with their hats and gloves on for take off. 🙂

  20. @Lanteen – I would definitely consider TAP for a westward return from Europe. I find this type of seat more comfortable for working, watching media and even napping (aka falling asleep after good wine and port) rather than a full-flat seat. Add in the terrific food, wine and especially the cheese and I personally WOULD go out of my way to take them on a daytime trip back across the Atlantic. Good award availability is another bonus.

  21. I’m flying the LIS-EWR route but nervous about the palamino steak. Didn’t Roy Rogers have a palamino?

  22. I fly TAP-PORTUGAL at least 3 times a year on the same route, Miami/Lisbon/Miami. On some of their latest delivered A330’s, TAP does offer flat beds in Business Class, and the Saturday flight from Miami (May 2015) is an A340 with flat beds and a brand new on demand IFE with quite a very large selection of movies, TV shows, games etc..
    Every time I fly TAP, the crews have been very professional and very pleasant, and the service very attentive. The food service is actually good for a Business Class product, my favorite, the Portuguese red wines selection and the Portuguese expresso served on board.

  23. Hey Lucky when can we expect a full trip report on this? It’s been close to a year and I can’t wait to read the full report.

  24. Please don’t say ” angled -flat”. It’s almost a confusing as the airlines own marketing. If it’s on an angle it is not flat. Granted you have angles for all 360 degrees but practically speaking an angled surface is slanted/ sloped / diagonal / on a bias ect and a flat surface is flat.

    You can call it lay flat or 180 degrees flat

    And for you non flat seats typically recline to 150-175 degrees

    Sorry for sticking on this point. I don’t like being mislead

  25. Stuck in the plane here at the airport in Miami. Delay due to weather. The crew is welcoming. Champagne is being served. I have not tried to lay my seat flat but have great expectations.

  26. TAP has ordered around 60 new aircrafts including several brand new A330-900 NEO. They will be the first airline to fly this new jet, expected delivery end 2017. They will all feature a top business class product.

    They also will add several new A320-A321 LR NEO and will fly more US and Brazil routes with these planes.

    Currently their A332 planes have three configurations: 24 business/244 economy with AVOD, 24 busines/239 economy with IFE but no AVOD and 20 business/245 economy (full flat bed and AVOD). Their A340 use a 36/232 configuration.

    In their A340 they have angled lie seats, with an almost vintage business class made of 36 seats. Seats are not that bad but seat pitch is smaller making window seats an annoying experience. They use these planes in their brazilian and african routes mostly or in any other route when they oversell their business class.

    One thing worth noting about TAP is their fantastic safety record. They always feature among the top in Europe – only reason why they are not in the top now is because their fleet is getting old. This should change next year. KLM, Lufthansa (athough the German wings crash brings a lot of questions about their internal functionning), TAP and Finnair are consistently on the top of safety rankings.

  27. Just flown Tap from Manaus to Lisbon which formerly was just a quick stop (Not Transfer) in Belem and on the return actually direct non stop. Unfortunately with the merger of Tap with Azul one of David Needleman brain childen this is no longer and involves a complete stop and the fares have risen by 50% presumably to give Needlman’s Azul a part of the action. It still remains the quickest route from northern Brasil to Europe. All other carriers add a further 6 hours by taking you down to their San Paulo or Rio Hubs.
    This time I flew upgraded to business class , and although the food was OK took about 3 hours to serve reducing the sleeping time available. The actual all male staff were helpful although it was notable there was an aged 3 stripe attendant in the background who appeared to do very little. The seats were an insult . They would not go upright so you had to sit on the edge of the chair to eat, In order to make space for the angled bed to extend you were left with your feet dangling in the normal position, The bed slats when extended gave obvious rucks and very uncomfortable making sleeping on ones side impossible I would rather sleep on the floor with just a pillow. The selection of films was poor.
    This is hardly a business class service which is probably why they had so many up grades to auction off.

  28. i understand those were not “primo seats” but you might want to take into consideration the price. From my personal experience, some of the better alternatives to this seat/route will run you nearly double the price. If money is no object, than yeah, don’t tap that but if you want something better than coach-class but without refinancing your home, this is sort of a good option….imho.

    —ps. if anybody has updates on this mia-lisbon route, please post.

  29. The staff problem is not only on long haul flights. They are trained to do nothing.
    I fly regularly from Amsterdam to Lisbon but also to Madeira (which is beautiful). I try to fly KLM but sometimes I do not have the choice and book TAP. Even in business class they only come once for the drink and the food. The rest (2 hours!!!!!) they are behind closed curtains and chatting their time away. I try to avoid TAP. I loved your motto:
    Put simply, I wouldn’t “tap” that again. My motto: Take Another Plane (TAP).

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