Flying TAAG Angola’s New 777 First Class

What a 24 hours it has been, flying TAAG Angola from Lisbon to Luanda to Sao Paulo. As I said before, I was so excited about this trip, given that I had no clue what to expect going into my TAAG experience. TAAG has one of the few international first class products I haven’t yet flown, and I don’t think there’s a single review out there about their first class.

Both of our flights were operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, though they featured two different first class cabins. First let’s talk about the seven hour flight from Lisbon to Luanda.

TAAG had a beautiful eight seat first class cabin on this 777-300ER, in a 1-2-1 configuration. While the suites weren’t fully enclosed, they were quite private.

The cabin exceeded my expectations, and perhaps the coolest part was that I didn’t even realize they had a cabin like this. TAAG’s website and advertising show their older first class, which we had on the second flight.

The seats were spacious and had lots of storage, though they were also quite firm.

Adding to that issue is that the bedding was awful — seriously, this is the bedding they have in international first class?!?? Worst of all, the bedding in business class was even worse, believe it or not.

So while there was a spacious flat bed, the bedding didn’t exactly make for great sleep, not that sleep was a priority on this daytime flight.

For anyone curious, TAAG also has a new business class product on this plane. The seats are fully flat and in a 2-3-2 configuration, and I thought the cabin looked comfortable.

As far as amenities go, there was a fairly nice amenity kit with Aigner toiletries. There were no pajamas or slippers or anything else.

There were no menus in first class, but rather there was just the choice between chicken, beef, and fish.

The meal started with some canapés. I had a glass of champagne — TAAG serves non-vintage Laurent Perrier, which is better than I was expecting.

Next up was a side salad and a choice of appetizers, with the option between shrimp and roast beef. It was perfectly edible but not especially gourmet.

For the main course I wanted the fish (more on that later), though ended up getting the beef. The beef was quite good.

For dessert there was the choice between chocolate cake, a cheese plate, and fruit. All were tasty.

The other pleasant surprise of the flight was that it had wifi. I couldn’t help but text a few people, and the response from everyone was the same — “TAAG has wifi?!?” I was surprised as well. 100MB costs $30, which isn’t cheap, but it lasted me for quite a while.

What else stuck out about the experience? For one, I’ve never had a takeoff roll like I had on this flight. I’ve flown empty 777s on 40 minute flights, but this takeoff roll was on a whole different level in terms of acceleration. Does TAAG train their pilots on aircraft carriers? OMG!

As far as the service goes, the crew on this sector wasn’t bad. They let us take pictures without issue, and more than anything I think they just thought we were weird (which is fair enough). One of the flight attendants was reasonably well intentioned. She wasn’t especially friendly, but she generally seemed interested in ensuring our flight wasn’t actively unpleasant.

There were definitely some things that were off, though. For example, they claimed that they ran out of the shrimp appetizer for one of my friends, and claimed they had no fish anymore for the main course. Later in the flight we saw the crew eating one of the shrimp appetizers in the galley. As far as the fish goes, the flight attendant said they had loaded three, and I looked at the plates of the other passengers, and only one had the fish.

While the service wasn’t great, in comparison to our next flight, this flight attendant was like a rockstar who should be promoted to head of onboard service for the airline.

All-in-all this was a pleasant flight. The cabin was better than I was expecting, and the wifi was a nice treat. The food was alright, as was the service.

I get why TAAG first class isn’t great — there’s not much competition, and they’re mainly shuttling people to/from Luanda. They’re not trying to be Emirates. As far as first class goes, it seems to mostly be intended for employees and wealthy Angolan housewives, and I’m guessing the airline doesn’t have to work hard to win their business.

I think TAAG’s approach to service can be summed up with this sign in their lounge:

They’re a proud Skytrax 3-star airline. That’s basically like saying “hey, we’re better than Air Koryo!”

How does this compare to what you were expecting from TAAG Angola?

Comments

  1. I’d say you lucked out on this flight.

    TAAG’s cabin crew are amongst the laziest, surliest out there…

  2. They’re a proud Skytrax 3-star airline. That’s basically like saying “hey, we’re better than Air Koryo!”

    LOL! Why would anyone proudly display that…what a marketing fail.

  3. Oh my goodness, that bedding. That’s horrendous! I wonder if it would be different on an overnight flight? I would think that PJs and proper bedding are a must in international first class but I guess you’re right that their competition is sparse and so they don’t really have an impetus to offer those things.

  4. Hey Lucky. TK finalised orders for 30 787-9. You can check it on Boeing’s Twitter page. That aside, TAAG doesn’t sound very promising.. what African airline do you think is consistently okay and above?

  5. Their French translation is even below three stars.. It should be “Bienvenue au salon Executive Class”….or even Bienvenue au lounge Executive Class… A + LE = Au…. How hard is it?

  6. I lived in Angola from 1994-96, and had my last TAAG flight in 1998. The new plane looks much nicer, but the service is still surly and awful. At least you got your seats, some food, and the planes landed at their scheduled airports.

    On my 1998 flight, you still had to reconfirm tickets in person 72 hours before the flight. I did that, and got a rubber stamp on my ticket. At the airport checking in to JNB, the agent said, “Sir, you are not on the list, and the flight is full.” “I reconfirmed and have the stamp,” I said. The agent saw the stamp, ran into an office and found me a boarding pass.

    If TAAG is three stars, they are the same as United, Delta and American and better than Spirit.

  7. Really enjoy reading your reviews – thanks for taking the time to write them up and share them with the public.

    Can’t say there have been any surprises in this particular review. I consider myself to be fairly well-travelled and have visited Angola twice due to work (although not with TAAG).

    I think some of the answers to the questions your experience with TAAG (and the authorities in Luanda) have brought up, probably lie with the history and culture of both the Company and the country itself.

    In any case, I’m a fan of their gorgeous livery…and it looked great on their now-retired 747-300!

  8. “more than anything I think they just thought we were weird (which is fair enough).”

    It’s good you can acknowledge that.

  9. Not a fan of the first class finish but do love the white in their business class! It looks to me better than Turkish’s finish over the same product. Hope they introduce the same cabin in their 777-200s!

    @ryan
    I guess rather people would expect airlines in the region pretty bad, or as long as most of their passengers don’t know nothing about Skytrax, a 3-star rating surely sounds as great as a Michelin 3-star.

  10. “I get why TAAG first class isn’t great — there’s not much competition”

    In terms of flights to Europe, their only competition is TAP, since TAAG only flies to Lisbon. BA, KLM, Lufthansa, and Brussels Airlines all fly to Luanda.

  11. Looking forward for the full review and to see the ”Old” 777 first class cabin.

    Taag has in total eight 777’s of which only two (operated only in the LAD-LIS flight) are fitted with the new first class cabin (8 seats) which have been delivered from boeing in 2016. One of these aicrafts DT-TEJ has suffered a tyres tread separate accident on landing in januart and is still in Lisbon under maintenance and unable to flight
    The other 5 are fitted with the ”old” first class (14 seats 777-200 and 12 seats 777-300).

    To me the new first class looks beautiful and fresh!!

  12. “She wasn’t especially friendly, but she generally seemed interested in ensuring our flight wasn’t actively unpleasant.” —- I think you might have just described the typical cabin crew from any US airline.

  13. Look. It’s an airline from the continent with some of the least safe and reliable airlines. The excellent-looking cabin is a secondary consideration. Yes, I agree the food was probably more business-class, than first-class but it looked good and better than what I’ve seen in United and American international first-class. I would be curious to know the wine list. I do agree that the pillow and blanket are unacceptable. It also seems odd that they have a decent amenity kit, but no menus. Were there headphones?

  14. I really like those plates though with the logo! not as cool as the Etihad residence plates with the gold rim with the round dapples, but pretty nifty. I really dig well designed airline serviceware and wouldn’t necessarily expect it from TAAG 🙂

  15. The way they promote their airline as 3-star airline reminds me of what Vietnam Airlines and Philippine Airlines did with their marketing: they were very proud when they were awarded 4-stars. Do you think being 4-star airline is also worth being proud of? In my opinion 3 or 4 stars is just the standard in the airline industry. And Skytrax has long lost credibility and I would be surprised if non-deserving airlines get awarded. Citilink Indonesia has also been awarded the first 4-star low cost airline. I didn’t know there was such a thing.

  16. By claiming to be a 3-star airline, they’re setting the bar very low….so any effort by crew will be a welcome surprise. Perhaps this is what the US airlines should start doing.

  17. hey lucky how long you in Sao Paulo for? Would love to take you and your friends out to a churrascaria or something. OMAAT reader meetup in Sao Paulo maybe?

  18. With crews like that, why do they even bother with 1st or business ?
    Will avoid them like the plague.

  19. It’s amazing how many people are using the word lazy where in the US the privilege group was giving free land by the government but to “lazy” to farm it!

    Once the slaves were freed they simply kept the land in the family and actually for the most part did nothing with it including never pay taxes.

    Presentation is everything, you come across as entitled…..you leave feeling empty. That can be said to happen in many different countries. Americans are the most disliked than any other! Why?? Always some incident of entitlement….

  20. “if you can’t reach your success, lower your standard” well i guess they live it up that way

  21. @truthbetold…what are you talking about free land??? Like in colonial times? And anyone who owns land in this country pays taxes on it, with only a few exceptions like certain universities. You come off as a crazy conspiracy theorist. Plus, I’m pretty sure we are disliked for many reasons unrelated to our entitlement, notably, the actions of our government, not individuals (and even then I wouldn’t say we are the “most” disliked). Americans aren’t perfect but we are known for being generally friendly and good tippers.

  22. I Have reasons to believe that you are exaggerating. Firstly how did you saw a crew member eating the shrimp you wanted in the galley, if the galley courtains were closed? Well that’s one… and you say that the flight crew where aggressive and unpleasant if not on this review you said it on the review of the older cabin. Well this being said, I can assure you that taag hostesses are very nice and pleasant, because every year I travel on their first or business class more than 2 times and i’ve never saw any of the crew members being rude to anyone. Of course taag isn’t at Emirates level, but they try, even because Emirates is the one that manages Taag so… Oh and on your review from Luanda to São Paulo you said that the 3 crew members were asleep on the jumpseat, well again I have reasons to believe that that’s a lie. Because I have a close family member that’s a flight purser on taag, i’ve asked her some things about this review that I though that were an exaggeration, and she said to me that it’s super improbable that such things have occurred during the flight and she said that in 30 years of work in that airline she as never seen such thing. Oh and Thays have to be proud of being a 3 star airline, otherwise they would have been crying all over the galley just because “They are almost at Air Koryo level”?

  23. There is no good African airline in biz or first. Why you were looking forward to this is beyond me. You’re like tourists running around getting as many stamps in their passport and know nothing about any of them including where they are.

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