TAP Air Portugal’s Impressive Fleet Modernization

Filed Under: TAP Portugal

TAP Air Portugal has within the past week reached an impressive milestone. The airline retired their A330-300 with the registration CS-TOG, and with that, the airline now has an incredibly modern and consistent long haul fleet. They’ve now retired all A330-300s and A340-300s.

TAP Portugal has received 30 new aircraft in 2019, and with this, the carrier’s last Airbus A330 without flat beds left the fleet. That means TAP Air Portugal now has flat beds on all long haul aircraft, including A321LRs, A330-900neos, and A330-200s.

Within the past year, TAP Air Portugal has decreased the average age of their long haul fleet from 15 years to just 3.9 years.

Just to compare their current long haul fleet now to their fleet a year ago:

  • A year ago, TAP Air Portugal had four A340-300s and 17 A330-200/300s in their long haul fleet
  • Now they have 17 A330-900neos, four A321LRs, and seven A330-200s
  • TAP Air Portugal has a further six A330-900neos on order, as well as a further eight A321LRs

TAP Air Portugal A330-200

So now all TAP long haul planes feature flat beds, personal entertainment, and wifi. For a sense of what to expect:

The A330-200s and A321LRs more or less have the same business class seats, as they have staggered seats.

TAP Portugal’s A330-200 business class

Meanwhile on the A330-900neos they have Recaro CL6710 seats in business class, which are the same seats that EL AL has on their new 787-9s.

TAP Portugal’s A330-900neo business class

TAP’s soft product and reliability does still leave a bit to be desired. However, there’s no arguing that they offer incredible value. Their transatlantic economy and business class fares are among the lowest out there, in both economy and business class, and they even allow stopovers in Portugal on one-way tickets.

  1. Except that they still operate their high density A320s and A321s on 6+ hour long-haul routes to West Africa.

  2. @Daniel from Finland – I’d love for Lucky to showcase that product. The non-reclining Business seats with 30″ pitch and blocked middle seat are especially comfortable on the overnight return sector. And the Sao Tome flight gets in to Lisbon at 4am – so you have to sit on the floor outside the lounge before it opens at 5am!!!

  3. Cannot wait to fly with them. Bought o/w business class tickets OSL-LIS-BOS for $659 per ticket for June 2020 – thanks to OMAAT where I read about cheap fares originating from OSL!

  4. Fares are great but the business class product (and LIS hub) does not appear ready for prime time. From having no agents at VCE staffing the counter, to an absurd Immigration line to exit the country at LIS (with no fast track) the whole TAP experience does not leave a pleasant taste. SpeakinG of which no food my kids would eat in either the TAP lounge at LIS not on a 10 hour flight and poor FA attitudes to boot. I hated the food and the seats were not nearly as comfortable as United particularly for the 1/2 recline position which is critical on daytime flights.

  5. Yeah flew TAP several times over the past year. Their flight attendants are usually kinda crappy and their flights were always late. As for their great low fares, yes I bought a roundtrip DUB-LIS-SFO for $1,430 when that was available, but this year I grabbed a non-stop CDG-SFO in UA Polaris for $1,500. So for those who wait there’s definitely better value out there.

    Tap feels like Aeromexico.

  6. @Boraxo

    There’s a fast track line at LIS, I use it all the time. And food is a matter of taste. The things toy hate are the things other people will love…but if your kids didn’t like anything on the lounge, I think the problem is not the lounge, sorry. Yes, there are a lot better lounges out there but to say that they couldn’t eat anything there…

    I agree with you concerning the FAs and staff in general though. There’s a lot to improve there but I think things are slowly getting better.

  7. I just wish they wouldn’t run out of water bottles. 3 flights in Biz so far this year LIS-SFO, then SFO-LIS, then LIS-SFO and one to go next week SFO-LIS.

    On the 3 flights I have taken, they have run out of water. Honestly felt like rations were being handed out when we asked for more water in the stinkin’ hot cabin.

    The service is appalling. A330-Neo. They rush the service at the beginning of the flight and then you don’t see them for the rest of the flight. Last flight, after 12 or so hours, not even coffee or refreshments were offered before we landed at SFO. Bloody terrible.

    But despite all that, the worst of all! Why do they insist on having the cabins so damn hot on TAP flights. Jesus! They are like a bloody sauna. Last time it became so unbearable, so I asked what temperature they had it set to and it was 26c. I asked to have it turned down as everyone was complaining and it was sweaty.

    They needed to check with the Captain they told me, quite arrogantly ( Lies ). Eventually they turned it down to a manageable 22c.

    And while I am on a roll, the seats. When you position to lie-flat, up it goes in the middle. You know what I mean. Drives me crazy! Instead of sinking down, they rise and lower. So in reality, if you just want to have the seats in a comfortable resting position, you can’t. It reminds of the old KQ seats. They had sense to dispose of those. TAP must have got them cheap at auction somewhere.

    After 3 trips on the A330 Neo and one more to go, I wouldn’t bother again. Anti-climax of the decade was TP. To me they are a cheapskate airline.

  8. Portugal is still an emerging country and has a huge backlog of infrastructure projects, Lisbon Airport being one. No matter who you fly into LIS with you think you have won the lottery if you get to disembark via an airbridge. A tarmac bus is the norm, which meanders around the airport forever finally dumping you at some grotty entrance to the terminal building.
    Finding a short Immigration line would be another victory; the mythical Fast Track line seems just that, or extremely well hidden. A cheery Immigration offer is too much to hope for, so don’t expect it!
    The OPO airport is a modern marvel compared to LIS, its big sister.
    Service is sub-par, perhaps because they are not touting for tips, as in the US.
    Arrival is the lowlight. Lisbon (and Oporto) is a treasure well worth visiting.

  9. I flew them last week LIs -> SFO. Great seats and staff. Good to see more competition on the West Coast to Europe market.

    I highly recommend them.

  10. @glenn t: Just a few thoughts: It’s widely recognized that two of the worst airport in terms of bus gates are Frankfurt and Zurich … do you also consider Germany and Switzerland “emerging countries” based on the fact that planning does not allow them construct more jet bridges (same reason like in Lisbon)?

    Also, in terms of service quaility, have you ever tried to speak in Portuguese with them? My Portuguese is far from perfect, but I always get excellent service when I speak in their native language to them …

    And finally, what is your take on US immigration where foreign visitors (well, at least those not holding GlobalEntry) often spend more than 2 hours in line?

  11. @Boraxo Judging a lounge based on what your kids may or may not eat is probably the least useful criteria for assessing a lounge ever.

  12. @Andy~ Hoping to ‘poke the bear’ with your last sentence? Sorry dude, not an American so a big FAIL there!
    ( I probably think along the same lines as you on that topic however.)

  13. TAP is a successful case! Two years ago it was a scrapped company. Old and uncomfortable long haul aircraft. I find it strange that people are complaining. Lisbon is entering the world tourism map also thanks to the growth of TAP. Delta and American fly to Portugal with B757, United and Air Canada (Rouge) with the old model B767. This is a joke. Business class is worse than Turkish Airlines premium economy! Sorry, but TAP’s business class is much better and cheaper than all these other airlines in America.

  14. @SeanM – why would TAP use A330’s to West Africa when they can be highly competitive using A320’s? TK’s uses 737 all around the continent and that is not much better. TAP does not have 30 seat pitch but 33 and the seat is reclinable. As for the lounge opening hours, try flying with LH via Frankfurt and you will seat outside as well because their lounges only open at 5 AM as well.
    Flown with UA in their Polaris seat already 3 times and the seat is not better although bedding is.

    @boraxo I always love USA citizens complaining about immigration lines in Europe – that sounds just ridiculous. There is security fast track – which works way better than any security fast track in the USA anywhere I have been – and for passport control you wait in line like everyone else. However, if you have kids you have priority unlike when you have kids in the USA. They don’t give a crap if you are 2 hours in line with a 1 year old after an 8 hour flight.

    United does not even bother any more to have wine menus on their business class – at least in the last 2 flights I did with them. Which is not surprising as they never seem to ensure they have wine in stock. In a Polaris seat SFO-FRA I was given JP Chenet, probably one of the worst French wines available out there, in their business class…they were out of Champagne.

  15. @Hugo – not objecting to TAP flying whatever they want to wherever they want. Just clarifying that they do not have fully flat beds on all long haul flights. Simples.

  16. @Sean M. – They do. But those you mentioned are not long haul flights. Given Portugal’s location they are medium haul. A 5 hour flight to ABJ or ACC is not long haul. Same stuff if you pick Air France to go to Amman – you will get a A320. Simple.

  17. And a last quick note: São Tomé is lucky to even have flights. Been there twice: both times we had aborted take offs due to flat tires. First time was operated by SATA in a A310. The airline had to send an A320 with with mechanics and spare parts. Tremendous cost of the airline – two places in TMS for 48 hours. This happens constantly. Go figure why nearly nobody else goes there. I bet TAP wouldn’t go neither if they could avoid it and to make it worth they were clever to combine it with ACC.

    People love complaining: I am flying a Delta 757 next week from JFK. Try to seat in 4B in their overnight to Europe like I unfortunately did once. A 6 hour flight only with 3 pilots taking 2 hours sleep each and climbing over you all the time. Not even sure why pilots need to nap in a 6 hour flight!!

  18. Would love to try TAP Business on Montreal to LIS (and also BOS-PDL — visited Azores last year, was awesome!). I know that TAP business is a real deal with $$ but do they have any good award deals? They are not transfer partners of any major credit card, right? Have been flying Iberia business a lot, because of 50K roundtrip deals in business — but TAP doesn’t seem to have anything equivalent or am I wrong here?

  19. @Hugo – Indeed, all these African locations populated by the natives are so lucky to even have flights from TAP. We need to be grateful that they even bother flying here rather than point out any shortfalls of their product.

  20. There must be a reason why tap’s fleet is outgrowing most airlines of similarly sized countries like Austria, Belgium or Ireland.

  21. @PaulPaul because Portugal has had colonies and they have huge traffic from Brazil, Angola, Mozambique. They are also in quite a good position for westbound flights, either northwest (North America) or southwest (South America).

  22. @ Sean M – I don’t get it. Why is it a shortfall in the product? Their true African long haul flights – Luanda and Maputo have 339’s with flat-bed service. Why should they send a 339 on a 5 hour mission? They do not do it for any flights to anywhere on their network, so why should you be privileged in Africa. If there was such a business market, why not recommend Africa World Airlines to fly the “World”.

  23. @ Sean M.

    I’m Always fascinated by your perspectives on Aviation generally, and in Africa in particular. Do you blog or write anywhere regularly?

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