TAP Portugal Will Introduce A New Business Class Product

TAP Portugal has lofty expansion goals, including increasing their footprint in North America. Over the summer TAP launched flights from Lisbon to Boston and New York JFK. However, they have a limited longhaul fleet as of now, so the airline leased two planes from Brazilian carrier AZUL to operate the new routes.

TAP-Porutgal-Business-Class-1

TAP’s own planes feature angled business class seats, which are less than ideal for transatlantic flights.

TAP-Porutgal-Business-Class-2

However, one of the good things about these flights operated by AZUL planes is that they feature fully flat, staggered business class seats, which are a huge improvement over TAP’s own product. The problem is that TAP has been swapping planes last minute all the time, so there’s no way to reliably book flights operated by AZUL planes, even if they have their “usual” routes.

TAP-Portugal-New-Business-Class

Well, the good news is that TAP Portugal has just announced that they’ll be installing new business class seats on their own planes.

Per thedesignair.net, TAP Portugal will be installing fully flat business class seats on seven of their A330s. They’re not installing those seats on the rest of their A330s, since they plan on replacing those planes with the A330-900neo in the coming years.

These business class upgrades should happen throughout 2017, with the project starting early in the year and finishing late in the year (of course that’s subject to change). Often installing a new business class product leads to a reduction in the number of premium seats, which is bad for award availability. However, in this case they’re getting creative by taking away some galley and closet space, and the business class seat count will actually increase from 24 to 25.

As far as the product goes, TAP will be installing Thompson Vantage staggered seats, which are similar to the ones you’ll find on Aer Lingus, Austrian, Brussels, Delta, JetBlue, etc.

Austrian-Business-Class
Austrian’s business class, which is similar to what TAP Portugal will offer

Bottom line

I’m thrilled to see TAP Portugal installing a new business class product. While we’ll still see angled seats in their fleet for the next couple of years, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It has been a couple of years since I’ve flown TAP, so I’d love to try them again when their new product is introduced.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. This is indeed good news because from NYC it’s always been a drag to go to Portugal as a 1 stop trip instead of direct. My understanding was that TAP had already put flat bed planes on their NYC and Boston routes? Are you saying they have AZUL planes on this route, but that you really aren’t guaranteed those seats? I flew them once in coach and it was unbearable. I had a bulkhead seat which was great for my leg room, but the seats were so tight I couldn’t recline at all the guys behind me we’re tall and when I tried (and lets face it we’re talking 2 inches of recline) it was impossible as their legs were already pressing against the seat back. Cruel and unusual punishment flying them in coach on a transatlantic crossing I don’t recommend it! On the up side they have great graphics both inside and outside the plane very fun. Fingers crossed those seats are in place when I fly them in January!

  2. @Nick: I’ve flown on the Azul plane back in August from JFK to LIS in business class and it was a nice ride (it’s a short one). Gave up my Window seat to accommodate a family and was on the aisle seat; not as much privacy as you would get at the window seat and FAs walking by may bump into the seat waking you up since the aisle is very narrow. @lucky, I have a few picture of the seat and meal service if you need them.

  3. This upgrade at TAP’s J seats is long overdue.

    I’m based in Brazil, to where TAP has many flights, with great award availability and deep discounted prices in J. This is not surprising, though, considering that their current J hard product (except for the Azul planes) is not much better than a premium economy.

    So, I simply avoid TAP. I will only fly them again after they start upgrading the J, and only if I can be assured that I would fly the new product.

  4. Avoid TAP regardless what class you paying for.

    I am a Star Alliance Gold member based in Europe and recently flew TAP from ORY to MIA with a connection at their LIS hub.

    Check in supervisor at ORY cancelled the LIS to MIA because I couldn’t provide a hard copy of my ESTA. The truth is ESTA is an electronic form and one is not required to have or show any printed form.

    Despite contacting TAP customer service FALA CONNOSCO, I was told that their response could take up to 60 days.

    To make things worst I was not credited any miles to my elected Star Alliance account for the two segments ORY-LIS and LIS-MIA.

    So regardless of TAP or AZUL a330, my opinion is to avoid that carrier to and from the US.

  5. @Miguel Q, well thats life.

    I flew from London to Lisbon then on to my final destination Salvador on 25 October.

    My experience was very good. Sure the angle lie flat beds do not really allow for a proper sleep but they more than make up for this I feel with a good service.

    Delays at Heathrow and Lisbon though in taking off, but somehow, amazingly enough the pilot always made up the time.

    I like TAP and will be flying them again in May when I next return to Sitio Do Conde.

    It would be nice if they upgraded to fully flat and upgraded the IFE, but you know what, not bothered by it. They seem to me to be an old school airline that I like.

    The A330 airlines they are are the smoothest planes I have ever flown on as well. TAP have an excellent safety record, and to be honest, in general not a lot to complain about if you are chilled out.

    If you are a stress head though, then obviously you would find anything to whine and cry about.

    Seat 4/10.
    IFE 2/10.
    Service 8/10.
    Beverages 8/10.
    Food 7/10.

    They make up for the their shortfalls with service and agreeable beverages and food throughout the Business Class flight.

    Still going to fly them though. Where else can I simply book a ticket to Salvador from London without adding another 5, perhaps 6 hours to my flight, flying all other airlines. Makes sense.

  6. @MACH81.

    Why should you give up your seat?. You paid for Business Class, you choose your seat, therefore it is yours.

    You are too nice.

    If a family is not booked properly, then they can sit where they are either told or have choosen. Not up to you to change your seat Sir.

    I had a similar situation with a family that had a baby that insisted I closed my blinds so their brat could sleep. Well first of all a baby will sleep regardless and secondly I paid for my Business Class seat, by a window, 3A. I am sorry, but I paid several thousand pounds for my seat next to the window so i can see out. I did not close the blinds, because I think it is a cheek that these people who have these creatures think they can do as they bleedin please.

    Give up seat for someone elderly who really needs it, but not for families and certainly not for babies. Horrible creatures.

  7. I needed to get the last flight out of dodge city after NY Fashion Week just recently after my last show late on the Wednesday in order to get back to London for…erm…fashion week. I had planned to leave by BA at a leisurely pace on Monday but then booked another show in NY and had to stay over. I couldn’t rebook without a hefty price on BA and besides I didn’t think I’d make their last flight at 23.10…with a service leaving JFK at 23.40 TAP was the latest flight I could get (almost) direct to my home in Manchester UK that didn’t take 3 days and was reasonably priced…as in approx £2k less than the BA flight in business. The shared TAP lounge at JFK was a shocker – you got a $10 voucher, which equated to 1 x beer, at a glorified doctors waiting room with 1 toilet. Luckily I was only in there long enough to inhale the beer and board. Once onboard the food and wine were excellent I thought. Films were pretty good (but had Portugese subtitles splashed all over them with no option I could see to turn them off). The bed and the little pack of overnight goodies were super stylish – all black, lovely moisture cream and stood up pretty well against the BA pack I got on the way out. Nice re-useable tin case as well. Staff were a touch brusque and uncommunicative…but then I know zero Portugese so that may have been it. But one would expect pretty good English for a flight from the US…maybe they were not in a chatty mood…I was asking probably too many Qs as it was first TAP flight…still one to keep an eye on. The flight was very quick and the transfer at Lisbon was pretty pain free. I had about 2hrs to kill before my flight to MAN and luckily the lounge at Lisbon is much better. Good food and drinks, spacious withy lots of seating, decent wi-fi and wooden little pods behind a gorgeous wooden wall for naps and showers. The Lounge was pretty near the gate and all-in-all it was only a couple of hours more than my BA flight. I’d definitely do it again. Interestingly I had bought economy for the LIS-MAN leg as it was only 1.5hrs but I got an email to ‘bid’ for a business upgrade online, I put in a bid of £60 and got it…which basically was not a lot different than economy save for a double seat to myself, a nicer meal but crucially for me I got the lounge and I didn’t have to put my 2nd bag in the hold allowing me a swerve of the notoriously slow MAN baggage carousels.

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