Review: TAP Portugal Business Class A330-2, Lisbon – London Heathrow


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 in Air Canada’s Aeroplan as a Star Alliance Partner. Today’s flight would be the continuation of our North America – Europe ticket that got us over to Europe.

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.

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Read more from this trip:

Review: TAP Portugal Business Class Airbus 330-200, Lisbon Humberto Delgato International Airport – London Heathrow Terminal Two

Today’s flight was the continuation of our discounted business class ticket from North America on TAP Portugal Business Class Toronto – Lisbon. We had a free 4 day stopover with this ticket, before continuing on to London in the United Kingdom.

Getting to the Gate:

We left the TAP Premium Lounge Lisbon at 6:35 AM when the gate information was posted on the monitors. Like many airports in Europe, the gate information was not posted until 60 minutes before the flight.

Once the Gate N43 was posted, we headed down towards the N gates. We passed through the Shengen European Union exit customs, and then down towards the no man’s land of international flights. Aside from some duty free, and the odd lonely restaurant, there wasn’t much down here. If you’re travelling through here, best to stay on the Shengen side until closer to your flight.

I dropped WT73Jr off at the gate so that I could go take a closer look at duty free. When I got back, the boarding call had been announced completely oblivious to WT73Jr who was wrapped up in his headphones watching a YouTube video.

TAP Portugal Boarding Gate Next to Air Transat
TAP Portugal Airbus 330-200 Taking us to London

We boarded through the Premium lane and got stuck in a queue on the jet bridge while they loaded those that needed assistance.

TAP Portugal
TP – 1354 Business Class (W)
LIS – LHR (Lisbon International – London Heathrow Terminal 2)
August 18, 2019
07:35 AM – 10: 00 AM (scheduled)
Booked: Airbus 330-9 neo
Flown: Airbus 330-200

On Board TAP Business Class:

TAP Portugal schedules a wide body aircraft for services from Lisbon to London Heathrow. This means that you often get a proper business class seat when many of it’s European competitors like British Airways or Lufthansa offer a narrow body aircraft on its connecting flights from British Airway’s hub in London Heathrow or Lufthansa’s hubs in Frankfurt or Munich. This simple feature makes the flight much more comfortable than sitting in an economy class seat with a blocked middle seat.

We boarded through door 2 L through single jet bridge boarding and turned left into the older TAP Portugal Airbus 330-200 series. This more common version (for the time) had the dated angle flat seats in a 2 – 2 – 2 configuration set up in four rows of business class.

We located our seats 4H / K in the last row of the business class cabin and settled in for the flight. This is an older aircraft and it easily shows. The outdated angle flat seats are really dated by today’s standards. The in flight video monitors that were smaller than some laptop computers these days.

TAP Portugal Business Class Seats on Airbus 330-200
Small In Flight Video Screens
A Wired Remote
Simple Seat Recline Functions
The TAP Business Class Cabin on Airbus 330-200 Series

Pre – Departure Services:

There was no offer of a pre-departure beverage, which was surprisingly odd for business class on wide body flight to be just sitting there while we waited. The flight deck announced a 10 minute departure delay for push back for some unspecified reason.

We eventually got airborne. I gave Jr the window seat so I didn’t get any ground photographs. Instead, I played with the outdated In Flight Entertainment system which was circa the 1990’s era. It reminded me of the current In Flight Entertainment System located on some of the older British Airways jets.

A Very Dated In Flight Entertainment System

I had a bit of a nap as we climbed to altitude.

The Meal: A European Breakfast

Prior to the meal service, we had a wrapped towel service offered. I personally find the wrapped towelettes more inconvenient than a proper towel as served from a tray.

A Refreshing Towel Service

As we got underway, the breakfast service was provided. It was presented on a tray all at once. It was a typically European offering of cold cuts, yoghurt and breads from the bread basket. Orange juice and a very forgettable drip coffee was also offered. Jr ended up sleeping through breakfast, thanks to the 4 AM wake up.

TAP Portugal Breakfast Lisbon – London

As we approached Heathrow, we entered into a holding pattern for about 15 minutes and eventually landed with a short taxi into Terminal 2.

A Circular Holding Route Approaching London Heathrow

We disembarked our flight and wandered to immigration. Canadian’s are now eligible for the passport E-Gates, a change they made in early 2019. Hoping to get a passport stamp for the collection, I almost got hauled out of the line by the Border Force for even trying. I think he gave up after I told him the reason we were there. We ended up getting one “on request” since they don’t offer them anymore unless you are here for “entertainment” purposes.

Arriving to London Heathrow
This is probably my last United Kingdom Entry Stamp

The Bottom Line: TAP Portugal Business Class

This segment concluded our Tap Portugal Business Class ticket with a free stopover. The ability to be able to get over to Europe so cheaply and the ability to earn 200% miles into Air Canada’s Aeroplan represented a great value. If you’re able to stay on the Airbus 330-900 neo aircraft, it’s much more comfortable than the older Airbus 330 configurations as presented here. At the time of traveling on this report, the older aircraft is still floating around and it shows when you ride it. Recent reports now indicate that most of these aircraft have now been refurbished.

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.

If you have taken advantage of the discounted TAP Portugal Business Class fares, was the short connection needed worth the inconvenience ?

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