Review: TAP Portugal Business Class A330-900 neo, Toronto – Lisbon
TAP Portugal is known for its reasonably discounted business class fares that can be used to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in reasonable comfort. The fares were often available to be purchased for one way travel, and included a generous 200% earning of points into Air Canada’s Aeroplan as a Star Alliance Partner. I would get the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic Ocean on these discounted business class fares. The real question that I was asking myself was: do you get anything less with the business class experience as a result of these discounted business class tickets?
This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland via TAP Portugal and British Airways Business Class.
- A Positioning Flight: Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Toronto – Lisbon
- Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, Lisbon, Portugal
- The First Steps in the Hilly Capital City of Lisbon, Portugal
- Exploring the Turrets of Castelo del São Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal
- The Seaside Town of Belem and the Jerónimos Monastery, Portugal
- The Lisbon Cathedral and Iberico Ham at Time Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Premium Business Lounge, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Lisbon – London Heathrow
- Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge: London Heathrow Terminal Two
- The Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, United Kingdom
- Walking Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, London, United Kingdom
- Churchill’s War Rooms & Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
- Touring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom
- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
- De-Cyphering the Rosetta Stone and Camden Locks, London United Kingdom
- Day Tripping to Stonehenge, Salisbury, United Kingdom
- The Moxy London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom
- The Plaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal Two
- Aer Lingus: London Heathrow – Dublin
- Aloft Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
- Discovering Temple Bar District, Dublin, Ireland
- Calling on the Guiness Storehouse and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
- The Shertaon Athlone Hotel, Athlone, Ireland
- Drinking at Ireland’s Oldest Bar, Athlone, Ireland
- Hiking Along the Cliff’s of Moher, Ireland
- Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast, Killarney, Ireland
- Circling The Skelling Islands and Driving the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
- Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
- AC Hotel by Marriott, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Experiencing the Tragedy of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- In the Shadows at the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- Terminal One T1 Lounge, Dublin Airport, Ireland
- British Airways Club Europe: Dublin – London Heathrow
- Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, London Heathrow
- No1 Lounge, London Heathrow
- British Airways Club World Business Class: London – Vancouver
Review: TAP Portugal Business Class Airbus 330-900neo, Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal One – Lisbon Humberto Delgato International Airport
I had arrived into Toronto on Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto on a separate ticket. I collected WT73 Junior who was in a great mood and eagerly anticipating his summer overseas trip. After a light dinner at the nearby Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto Airport we headed back to the Toronto Pearson Terminal One for our Tap Portugal Flights.
Checking into TAP Portugal:
We were the first in line to check in at the TAP Portugal counters in Row E of the departures hall at Toronto Pearson International Airport. As advertised, a long line of people had queued in the economy lines for the 8PM counter opening time. Thankfully there was no one in the business queue and we were among the first served.
After checking in, we headed through security. We used our Nexus cards for front of the line service. We headed for the Thyssen Krupp accordion escalator in the Toronto Perason International Terminal that is famous on the departure side. WT73jr found it fascinating and, as a jaded 15 year old, he took an iPhone video of it as it slowed to a crawl at the end.
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
Immediately opposite the end of the escalator is the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto International. It is Air Canada’s flagship international business lounge and is accessible by other Star Alliance carriers departing from Toronto Pearson International Terminal. TAP Portgual provides access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge as part of your ticket.
While we’ve reviewed this particular location before in the past, please feel free to visit that post for further information on what to expect. It’s always dark whenever I am through here and today’s flight was not going to be any exception to the practice. It leads towards a bit of a solemn mood for the place as a result of the lack of light.
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto International was pretty quiet and large enough that it offered a bit of personal space between the chairs. WT73Jr enjoyed settling into some oriental pasta spiked with peas and vegetables. Notwithstanding that teenager ate minutes ago at the nearby Sheraton Gateway in Toronto Airport, you can never pass up an opportunity to feed the stomach pit of a youth when it’s complimentary lounge that offered food that junior happened to be interested in.
Boarding TAP Portugal:
Boarding of tonight’s TAP Portugal flight was set for 10:45 PM. The Toronto Airport concourse has joined many of the other American world airports where there are free Ipads for entertainment at many of the seats. We wandered downstairs through the iconic sculpture and practiced our echo’ing through the middle of it. We eventually made it to the gate after passing through the international area.
The boarding zone was, like many of my other Toronto Pearson experiences, absolute chaos. There were several dozen families and those that needed extra time to board having to crawl their way across the non-existent maze.
Boarding started at about 15 minutes after the posted 10:45 PM sign on the boarding card through a strange L shaped gate. While we waited, I got a glimpse of the new A330-9 Neo parked with the sunglasses look.
TP – 262 Business Class
YYZ – LIS (Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 – Lisbon Humberto Delgado International)
August 13, 2019
11:30 PM – 11:25 AM + 1 (scheduled)
Booked: Airbus 330-9 neo
Flown: Airbus 330-9 neo
On Board TAP Portugal Business Class:
When it came time to board, we boarded through door 2L on a single jet bridge. We crossed the aisle through the galley and turned left.
When I bought the tickets, I was expecting an angle flat seat on their Airbus 330-2 but we since got swapped onto their newest Airbus 330-900 neo business class product.
TAP Portugal has business class on its Airbus 330-900 neo’s set up in a 1 – 2 – 1 configuration in nine rows of business class totalling 34 flat bed seats.
The seats are herringbone styled seats that face inwards to the aircraft aisles, unlike many reverse herringbone seats that face outwards towards the fuselage.
It is a bit different to have seats that are facing inward to the aisle, as opposed to the current industry standard to have seats that face the fuselage. I had selected seats across the aisle for the pair of us. While we weren’t able to carry on many long conversations over the jet stream noise, seating across aisle was a reasonable way to travel and I would probably pick the same configuration again if travelling with a companion.
The seat offered magazine storage an allowed a place for the safety information card.
The video screens, like many new aircraft, feature aspirational images of the destination. Today’s feature offered pictures of the central area of Lisbon.
Most of the travelling customers in business, didn’t seem to be people actually travelling on business travel. Rather, they seemed more like affluent families or seniors. It reminded me somewhat of the business class clientele in the usually discounted Icelandair Saga Business Class on our past Iceland Air flights.
The Amenity Kit: Castelbel Branded Kits
Waiting at the seat was an amenity kit, the menu for today’s flight, and a set of headphones.
The amenity kit was pretty with scenes from Portugal, but not particularly useful in terms of content. The kits were Castelbel branded; a brand name I was not too familiar with.
Pre – Departure Services:
A pre-departure beverage of water, orange juice or sparkling was dropped off. The pre-departure beverage was served in a proper glass, unlike some American carriers that use plastic cups as a shortcut.
Prior to take off, I took the opportunity to take a look at the menu. The menu itself was quite “Plain Jane” and was simple in its presentation. I would have thought this may have been an opportunity for a more colourful product as I almost found it sterile in appearance.
We got underway on time. Surprisingly, the safety video was screened and surprisingly it was wholly in Portuguese with only English subtitles. It featured scenes of Portugal. It definitely piqued my interest for another longer visit sometime.
In Flight Entertainment: Advanced Video on Demand
The flight itself from the East Coast was a short 6 hrs 11 minutes by the time we were airborne. As with most business class flights under seven hours, it’s not much time to eat, relax and get a sleep in, let alone enjoy the product.
I fooled around with the large touch screen. The Advanced Video on Demand contained approximately thirty movies. As I was aiming to get an overnight sleep in, I didn’t get the opportunity to watch anything during this flight.
Since I didn’t have time to get into a movie, I explored the in flight wifi offers. I didn’t get an opportunity to try it out, but they offered a variety of price points.
The Meal: A Late Dinner
I figured that on such a short flight, we would either get a large breakfast or a large dinner. Without many past reviews about TAP Portugal, I didn’t have a great starting point for any research. It turned out the larger service was the dinner which was served immediately after take off.
I took one for the team and had the green pea soup with lemon crème fraiche, grilled beef, potato puree, roasted vegetables and demi-glace sauce. This was plated and presented all at once.
I paired this with Portuguese Quint da Alornia Tejo red wine. It was tasty but the wine was presented in very small thimble sized glasses.
The beef was surprisingly well cooked for an airplane steak… perfectly red.
A 330 ml bottle of water was dropped off at the seat, closing out the dinner service.
Seat Comfort while Sleeping:
After dinner, we were passing Prince Edward Island so I went to sleep. The cabin lights were dimmed, but not put out completely. TAP Portugal provides a basic blanket and a light cheaper pillow that is very basic; similar to what you’d expect in economy class, only a little larger in size.
The Recaro seat is pleasant and new looking. It is quite firm; something that would eventually transfer into a firm sleeping experience. I slept pretty lightly for about 3.5 hours. As a side sleeper, I didn’t find the seats too comfortable since I wasn’t able to bend my legs. My feet would be stuck in the foot cavity and unless my knees were into the aisle, it was a bit difficult. As a 6ft 2 inch person, I could easily touch both ends of the foot and top of the seat lying flat. Nevertheless, it was a full flat seat and better than an angle flat on some of the older aircraft that I have flown.
The Second Service: A Light Breakfast
At about 4:40 AM, or 90 minutes prior to landing, I woke up for the breakfast serving.
A towel service was presented prior to the meal.
The breakfast was strictly a continental affair; egg lovers like myself would be lingering for more.
Breakfast consisted of pastries, yoghurt along with orange juice and a coffee. The coffee was fairly average. Unfortunately, the coffee was not branded as Lavazzia or anything like that.
I checked out the washrooms and they were straightforward. There were no branded toiletries or anything along those lines.
Arriving to Lisbon Humberto Delgado International Airport:
As always, it’s interesting to see the first glimpse of the continent when you arrive from an overseas flight. Arriving into Lisbon was a little bit different than my usual European flights which usually arrive to greener climates in France, Germany or the United Kingdom. The view from the window on the approach was quite scenic. It included a fly over of downtown Lisbon.
We eventually touched down at a non gate position, parking next to an Azul jet.
We had double air stair disembarkation into a warm and sunny Lisbon.
We would take a bus combined with economy and business class travellers over to the airport terminal. Our bags were put out at baggage claim. We were able to clear EU Immigration and Customs without incident. We transferred over to the Sheraton Lisbon Hotel and Spa for a four night stay in Lisbon, Portugal.
We didn’t experience any complications or issues with our travels with TAP on this journey. Our flights were as marketed, and we received a generous 200% Air Canada Aeroplan miles earned on this segment. In essence, the discounted ticket was of tremendous value and we didn’t get anything less as a result of paying less than other carriers.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, TAP Portgual, was a reasonable way to cross the Atlantic. The service was fine. It was everything you’d expect from a business class crossing. Aside from the compact footprint in the business class suite and a limited amount of available routes, I would easily fly them again on this new equipment. Add the fact that they have discounted business class fares that earn 200% Elite Qualifying Miles and Redeemable Miles into Air Canada’s Aeroplan, and you have a winning combination.
We didn’t experience any challenging issues with re-scheduling or ticketing issues with our tickets, although I understand that TAP has reputation for poor customer service when things go sideways. All to say, our experiences with them were terrific and I am happy to endorse them.