Introduction: Italy, With A Refueling Stop In The Azores
Review: Air France Lounge Boston Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A310 Boston To Ponta Delgada
Review: Furnas Boutique Hotel, The Azores
Review: Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A340 Ponta Delgada To Lisbon
Review: TAP Portugal Business Class A321 Lisbon To Milan
Review: Sheraton Lake Como
Why I Didn’t Love Lake Como
Review: Il Sereno Lake Como
Review: Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport
Review: Milan Malpensa Airport Lounge
Review: Air France Business Class A318 Milan To Paris
Review: Air France First Class Ground Experience Paris
Review: Air France First Class 777-300ER Paris To Houston
Originally we had a 1hr45min connection in Lisbon, though we arrived from Ponta Delgada about 25 minutes late. Then we had to go through passport control (even though the Azores is part of Portugal, it’s still considered separate for these purposes). I was through in no time with my German passport, though Ford had to queue for over 20 minutes with his non-EU passport.
So we didn’t have any time to use the lounge, but rather headed straight to our departure gate, S24, where we arrived just minutes before the scheduled 2:10PM boarding time. Boarding was delayed by a few minutes, and actually started at 2:15PM.
TAP Portugal 804
Lisbon (LIS) – Milan (MXP)
Friday, June 23
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 4F (Business Class)
My initial impression of the cabin was favorable. The plane had new seats, and the legroom was solid, at least for intra-Europe business class (which is basically just economy with a blocked middle seat).
While other airlines install tray tables on the center seat in intra-Europe business class, TAP Portugal doesn’t, so from the appearance of the seat you really can’t tell whether it’s business class or not.
The legroom was pretty decent in these seats, and all the reading material was located in either a leather pouch towards the bottom of the seat, or a hard-case near the top of the seat.
What I was happiest to see was that the seats had power outlets, including both a 110v and USB outlet. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen power outlets in intra-Europe business class before, so I was thrilled to find that, especially given that my previous flight didn’t have power outlets.
There were also pillows and blankets, which aren’t always available in intra-Europe business class.
There were a total of four rows of business class, and spread across those four rows were 11 passengers.
Unfortunately that’s where the good things that I have to say about TAP business class end. A couple of times during boarding the crew announced “this flight is operating with reduced cabin crew and for that reason there will be no meal service on this flight.”
At 2:40PM the door closed, at which point the crew sprayed the cabin. At this point the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 2hr5min. However, he said that a few passengers had no showed, and their bags needed to be offloaded. That delay lasted quite a while, and at 3:10PM he apologized for a further delay, as he said we were now slightly delayed due to ATC.
Sure enough at 3:15PM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video was screened. Off our right wing was a gorgeous Swiss CSeries, which I still need to fly.
As we taxied out we crossed the runway where two TAP A330s were parked, including one in a retro livery.
Our taxi to the runway was quick, and by 3:20PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 3.
We had a quick takeoff roll, and gorgeous views of Lisbon and the water as we climbed out.
Five minutes after takeoff the crew drew the curtain between the cabin and galley. The seatbelt sign stayed on for over 30 minutes, even though it was a smooth ride.
Once it was turned off, I visited the forward lavatory, which was simple.
I smelled food in the oven, so I figured that maybe business class passengers would at least get meals, since surely they can serve a dozen meals on a two hour flight. Nope, those were just crew meals.
Finally 45 minutes after takeoff the crew made a pass through the cabin with just water and orange juice. Later in the flight I asked for a refill of water, and I was told “one per person.”
Ultimately this comes down to an issue between management and the union, where they’re technically not staffing these flights to the agreed upon levels. So while the crews are still encouraged to provide the service, they’re not going to on principle. So the crews didn’t make another pass through the cabin until they did their landing safety checks, but rather sat in the galley chatting the whole flight.
I spent most of the rest of the flight working and looking out the window, as the views were beautiful.
Finally around 30 minutes before landing we began our descent, and there was a bit of chop.
We touched down in Milan at 6:30PM.
As we taxied to the gate the crew made the standard after landing announcements, including “it was a pleasure having you with us onboard today.” I feel like they should modify these announcements on flights with no service.
Our taxi to our arrival gate was quick, and we arrived by 6:35PM, about 20 minutes behind schedule.
TAP business class bottom line
I was impressed that TAP Portugal had power ports on these planes, which sadly most airlines don’t on intra-Europe flights. Unfortunately that’s where my compliments of the product end. TAP Portugal needs to figure out their management and union issues ASAP, because this is just plain embarrassing. This issue is also shockingly common. Since publishing my post, I’ve received dozens of messages from readers who have experienced the same.
So if you’re flying TAP Portugal, make sure you bring some bottled water and snacks. We were so hungry when we landed in Milan that we headed straight to the airport food court. That’s not usually what you want your first meal in Italy to be!