Review: TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport

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My connection in Lisbon was just over three hours, as I arrived shortly before 8AM and departed shortly after 11AM. TAP Air Portugal opened a new flagship lounge at Lisbon Airport last year, and I was looking forward to checking it out.

Upon arrival I followed the signage towards my departure gate, since I figured TAP had a lounge in their non-Schengen area. Once there I realized that wasn’t the case, and that their only lounge is in the Schengen area. Since I had gone through passport control, I had to go through passport control again, and then also through security. Oops. Fortunately there were no lines, so I was through pretty quickly.

At that point I found myself in the main oval-shaped part of the Schengen terminal.


Lisbon Airport terminal

At the far end of that was an escalator up to lounges.


Escalator to TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport


View from upper level Lisbon Airport

At the top of the escalator was the entrance to the airport’s contract lounge, which can also be accessed by Priority Pass members.


Lisbon Airport Lounge exterior

I turned left, and then the entrance to the TAP Lounge was just a short walk away.


Hallway to TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport

The lounge is open daily from 5AM until 9PM, and can be accessed by all Star Alliance business class passengers, as well as Star Alliance Gold members.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport exterior

Based on the pictures I saw of the lounge I had pretty high expectations. However, when I arrived the lounge was packed. I took most of the below pictures later during my stay, when the lounge emptied out a bit, though at the beginning the lounge was uncomfortably crowded.

Inside the entrance and to the right was a pretty stylish, circular room. While I thought it had a nice design, I felt like the furniture didn’t look especially comfortable.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport seating


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport seating

The lounge’s bar was located next to this area. For the most part the lounge doesn’t have self-serve drinks, so the bartender didn’t seem to be making imaginative cocktails, but rather was mostly just pouring glasses of wine.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport bar

Near this area was a small business center with a couple of PCs and a printer (I ended up sitting here at first due to how crowded the lounge otherwise was).


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport business center

There was also a play area for kids.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport kids area

Then there was a makeshift nap room.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport napping area

Back towards the entrance, the main part of the lounge consisted of several rows of long couches/benches. Again, they looked nice, but weren’t especially comfortable. There was also a lack of outlets in some parts of the lounge.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport seating


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport seating

Then the last main part of the lounge was the dining area, which had a couple of dozen tables.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport dining area


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport dining area

Throughout the rest of the lounge there were a few other random seating arrangements, including a long bench by the entrance near the bathrooms.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport seating

There was also a rack with magazines and newspapers.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport magazines & newspapers

On the plus side, the lounge had a fairly good food selection. There was one smaller buffet with mostly dessert items, pictured below.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport snacks


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport snacks


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport snacks


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport fresh fruit

Then there was the main buffet. I’ll let the pictures of the food speak mostly for themselves.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport buffet


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport food


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TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport food


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport food


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport food


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport food


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport hot food


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport cereal & drinks

In terms of drinks, there were several coffee machines, a soda fountain, a beer tap, canned drinks, and then a “wine wall.”


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport coffee machines


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport soda fountain & beer tap


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport drinks


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport wine


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport wine


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport wine

I wasn’t terribly hungry, though decided to have an egg tart, because you really can’t go to Portugal without having one.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport egg tart

In terms of the lounge’s views, it nearly had decent views of the apron. However, due to the way the slats of the terminal exterior are configured, you’re somewhat limited in terms of the views you’ll get.


TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport view

The wifi in the lounge was fast, so I spent most of my time in the lounge working, since my flight wouldn’t have wifi.

My boarding pass indicated that boarding was supposed to start at 10:20AM (an hour before departure), so I headed to the gate at 10AM, knowing I’d have to go through passport control and possibly some extra security at the gate. Once again there was no line at passport control.


Walking to departure gate Lisbon Airport

Upon entering the non-Schengen area I saw the most bizarre/freaky-looking store I’ve ever seen at an airport. It only sells sardine-related items, and looks like a circus. I know sardines are popular in Portugal (even if they make me want to barf), but… wow.


Lisbon Airport sardine shop


Lisbon Airport sardine shop


Lisbon Airport sardine shop

The non-Schengen part of the terminal was busy, with lots of TAP’s longhaul flights getting ready to depart.


Lisbon Airport terminal

My flight was departing from gate 44, which wasn’t very far away.


TAP Air Portugal A330 Lisbon Airport

Since the US has “enhanced” security measures, there was some security questioning at the gate. This meant everyone had to get in a queue, which took quite a while. There was no special line for business class passengers.


TAP Air Portugal departure gate


Line to get into the TAP Air Portugal departure gate

In my case, the security guy only asked me what I thought of Trump. Like, he didn’t even ask me whether I packed my bags by myself, but rather just “so… what do you think of Donald Trump?” Alrighty then…

While my boarding pass indicated a 10:20AM boarding time, boarding only began at 10:50AM. First families and those who needed extra time were invited to board, which seemed to be about a quarter of the plane. Then business class was invited, about five minutes later.


TAP Air Portugal departure gate

While they let people on the jet bridge, they didn’t actually let people on the plane until about five minutes later, which seemed like a miscommunication between the crew and ground staff.


Boarding plane to Newark


TAP Air Portugal A330

TAP Air Portugal Lounge Lisbon Airport bottom line

On the plus side, Lisbon Airport is an easy airport to transit, given that it’s not that big. TAP Air Portugal’s new lounge has a modern design that’s true to the brand, though was extremely crowded (at least at first) and didn’t have the most comfortable furniture. The lounge did have a good food selection, though.

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Comments

  1. I’m Portuguese (although part of the ‘diaspora’), but I share your hatred of sardines… and your bafflement with that shop. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw it. I despair that that’s going to be one of the last Portuguese things visitors will see just before they fly out…

  2. ‘enhanced’ security for US bound flights.
    Just wondering if that paranoid nonsense will ever stop. Ridiculous.

  3. You definitely scored the cleanest-looking photos of non-Schengen area … I took a number of photos of the super-dirty parts of the terminal last year that are cringe-worthy.

  4. “At the top of the escalator was the entrance to the airport’s contract lounge, which can also be accessed by Priority Pass members.”

    It looks like other airlines can access it too? Including some Star Alliance members?

    “I despair that that’s going to be one of the last Portuguese things visitors will see just before they fly out…”

    Those stores are actually popular with tourists, so don’t worry if that is the last thing they see.

  5. Sardines are delicious, especially when cooked the right way. The bones as with any fish,can be an issue
    I have a dozen cans for emergencies lol

  6. I doubt it was a miscommunication that had them start boarding, but leaving passengers in the jetway. I get that fairly often in Europe, they start scanning boarding passes and checking IDs before the cabin preparations are complete, once the crew is ready they let passengers on board.
    I don’t know if it really saves time, and I mostly experienced it on short haul. But I guess that is what happened.

  7. I’m a bit bored today, so…

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Lucky, you’ve developed a writing tic. It seems to be appearing more frequently – eg, twice in this short para:

    “In terms of the lounge’s views, it nearly had decent views of the apron. However, due to the way the slats of the terminal exterior are configured, you’re somewhat limited in terms of the views you’ll get.”

    You could shorten…

    The lounge nearly had decent views of the apron.

    … you’ll get somewhat limited views.

    I lost count of how many “in terms of”s there are in this short post.

    The other tic I’ve noticed is you often introduce photos with “as follows” or “pictured below” – when you don’t actually need any words. You could end the sentence with a colon if you wanted to be fancy.

    Blah blah.

    I don’t much like sardines but my dogs love them. And they keep their coats shiny, too. I do like the packaging though.

  8. This lounge is still a massive improvement compared to the “Blue Lounge” which is mainly for LH Business pax. An absolute joke. Also weird that the sardines store is in the Non-Schengen Area since most countries forbid the import of all fish and meat products from abroad.

  9. There is a “business class line” at the final security check. They don’t always have it labeled (and when they do it’s a very small sign) so you just have to walk to the front and ask them. This can easily save you over an hour as that line can get very long and painfully slow.

  10. “Upon arrival I followed the signage towards my departure gate, since I figured TAP had a lounge in their non-Schengen area.”

    @Ben, for someone whose job is to be informed about travel, it just seems odd that you seem to be making some basic travel mistakes these days, what with the ridiculous (not to mention unrealistic) LHR connection and now this. I would’ve thought that you’d find out TAP’s lounge location *before* actually visiting, especially since you were looking forward to checking this one out. Are you just getting old now? 😉 😛

  11. In defense of sardines: There wouldn’t be so many sold in supermarkets etc. if there wouldn’t be demand, and there has been quite some increase in focusing on special brands, design, eco-stuff and so on. I think most people like sardines, many people like special sardines, and one does associate them with Portugal – the national arts and crafts shops feature them as well. I think the circus design and the selfie throne are well-done for the usual audience, and of course the vast majority of countries does allow the import of canned food. Finally, the nice thing about sardines vis-a-vis Lusitanian wine bottles (which I prefer also) is that they don’t break, so they make some sense for the carry-on.

  12. Perhaps you were unLucky about the bar, but when I was there the bartender was keen to be creative, and made me the best Caipirinha I ever had.

  13. The uncomfortable furniture in the TAP lounge gets one ready for the uncomfortable business-class seats on TAP aircraft!

  14. Lucky, you really got lucky because there are times that immigration lines are mad at LIS, both to enter Portugal / Europe as to leave.

  15. “really can’t go to Portugal without having one.”

    Do you mean “can’t leave Portugal without having one”?

    +1 The nice Paul. I also noticed that the first half of any non-review post from Ben can usually be skipped without missing much. I usually look for the word “Well,”☺️

  16. Your comments about “sardines” are racist. Typical North American attitude to other peoples’ food. There are several so called NA foods that I can think of that are quite horrible Your review on the TAP lounge and TAP biz confirm that no one should take this airline unless the price is right.

  17. @Lucky:

    Please give us a bit more detail on the security questioning. For instance…

    Was it a uniformed TAP employee or some other Portuguese governmental employee?
    I can imagine what you’re general feelings are toward this administration, but what was your actual, worded answer?
    What was his/her response?
    What were they asking other passengers ahead of you who may have been of Portuguese or non-American citizenship?

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