Flight Review: TAP Air Portugal A330neo Business Class

In February, I flew TAP Air Portugal Business Class from Brasilia (BSB) to Lisbon (LIS) and I am going to tell you how was the experience of flying a brand-new Airbus A330neo.

Check it out!

About TAP

TAP Air Portugal (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) was founded in 1945 and, since then, connects Portugal to Europe, the Americas, and Africa. TAP Air Portugal flies to more than 80 destinations and has carried 17 million passengers in 2019.

The company has a fleet of more than 100 aircraft, and in 2015, signed a contract with Airbus to be the first company to fly the new Airbus A330neo.

The A330neo is a widebody jet airliner designed to replace the old A330s. The improvements done by Airbus (such as winglets, engines, and greater wingspan) offered around 14% fuel burn reduction, making the A330neo the most cost-efficient medium-range aircraft in the world (source: Wikipedia).

Flight TP 058

  • Outward Leg: Brasília (BSB) – Lisbon (LIS)
  • Departure Time: 18:10hs (local time)
  • Arrival: 6:15hs (local time)
  • Flight Duration: 8h30 min

Checking-in at BSB Airport

I checked in online on TAP’s website, and it was very easy. The website is quite intuitive. You just need to fill in your identification data as you do in all other airlines.

Brasilia International Airport Check-in Area
Brasilia International Airport Check-in Area

On the day of my trip, the Brasilia Airport was empty. There was almost no queue at any check-in counter.

At the airport, TAP check-in desks were divided into four lines:

  • priorities according to Brazilian law;
  • customers traveling in business class;
  • passengers who have already checked-in online that only needed to drop-off their luggage;
  • passengers who still need to check-in.

The check-in procedure was very quick, and I was given voucher access to the Vip Club lounge, located on the lower level of the international departure halls.

Vip Club Airport Lounge

Vip Lounge of Brasilia Airport International Hall
Vip Lounge of Brasilia Airport International Hall

The “Aeroportos Vip Club” is the only lounge available in the international hall of Brasilia airport. It is a small lounge but it was quite empty. The sofas and tables were occupied by just 10 people. I think it’s because the flight to Lisbon was the only international flight scheduled for that afternoon.

The variety of items available in the room was small and the quality of the products was not so good as desired.

Vip Lounge of Brasilia Airport International Hall
Vip Lounge of Brasilia Airport International Hall

To drink, one could get a soda, water, beer, and one sort of juice, as well as a type of red and a type of white wine. There were some snacks, cheese, and 2 different sweet cakes.

To sum up, I don’t feel like paying to stay in this Lounge. By the way, Brasilia Airport is mostly a domestic airport with just a few international flights. At the domestic hall, which is bigger, there are better Airport Lounges.

Boarding

Boarding was delayed an hour, as the aircraft arrived late in Brasilia. However, as soon as it landed, boarding was quick in the following sequence: priorities according to Brazilian law, business class passengers, passengers without a suitcase, rows A and B.

Aircraft

Tap Air Portugal - A330 neo Business Class Seats
Tap Air Portugal – A330 neo Business Class Seats

In Business Class, the aircraft has a 1-2-1 seat configuration. Some seats are facing the corridor, others facing the window.

The plane was brand-new. My seat had a power outlet, a USB port, a noise-canceling headphone, and a “safe” with a small door, where you can safely leave your smartphone.

Noise Canceling Headphone and Entertainment Remote Control
Noise Canceling Headphone and Entertainment Remote Control

Amenity kits are delivered right after boarding. Inside you could find standard items like socks, eye patch, pen, toothbrush, comb, a moisturizing lotion, a lip balm, and a scented sachet. The bag has a design that refers to the beautiful sights of Portugal.

Tap Air Portugal - Business Class Amenity Kit
Tap Air Portugal – Business Class Amenity Kit

The seats are flat-bed, but for me, the comfort ended there!

I was in the seat facing the window and I felt like I was inside a sarcophagus. As the seat lies down, your legs go into an extremely tight “tube”, which does not even allow you to place one leg over the other and even less to rotate your body to sleep.

It is important to note that both the distance between the seats (pitch) and the seat width has significantly decreased from A330-200 to A330neo. Pitch went from 44 inches (111.76 cm) to 42 inches (106.68 cm). The seat width went from 27.5 inches (69.85 cm) to 20.5 inches (52.07 cm). To learn more, click here.

There wasn’t also much space for my arms. On one side, the plane’s fuselage, and on the other, an armrest.

Tap Air Portugal - A330neo Business Class Seats
Tap Air Portugal – A330neo Business Class Seats

I couldn’t sleep! I was feeling claustrophobic.

Fortunately, the Business class was empty, and I managed to move to the front seat, facing the corridor. Although the space for my legs was the same, it was more comfortable, because part of my arms could lay in the corridor.

Onboard Entertainment

Tap Air Portugal - Onboard Entertainment
Tap Air Portugal – Onboard Entertainment

The entertainment system offered several TV series and movies, including some recent ones, such as the Joker.

Tap Air Portugal, Onboard Wi-fi Service
Onboard Wi-fi Service

Besides, Wi-Fi service was available on the flight with the possibility of sending free messages. On the outward flight, I slept and ended up not using the service. And coming back to Brazil, when I tried to connect, the internet was unavailable. So I don’t know how it works and if it works.

Onboard Service

Tap Air Portugal, Business Class Menu
Business Class Menu (in Portuguese)

I read on the company website that the onboard service was reformulated with the intention of bringing Portugal’s flavors to the world, but, unfortunately, the food disappointed me.

Before departure, the welcome drink is served: water or champagne.

Tap Air Portugal, Business Class, Starter
Starter

After about 2 hours of flight, the diner was served. As a starter, it was given raw salmon and pumpkin soup with ginger pieces that, by the way, were large and therefore unpleasant in the mouth.

Diner's Main Course, Tap Air Portugal, Business Class
Diner’s Main Course

The dish I chose was shrimp, but I found it without seasoning and the accompanying puree was not so good.

Lastly, the dessert was a great disappointment: a terrible cake that I couldn’t eat.

Dessert, Business Class, Tap Air Portugal
Dessert, Tap Air Portugal

I didn’t eat breakfast.

It’s important to highlight that the food on the return leg was much better than on the outward leg.

Coming back to Brazil, the cod was delicious and the cold meal served before landing, comprised of cold meats, mushroom salad, custard tart, and fruit was very tasty!

Landing

We landed at Lisbon Airport a few minutes after schedule. As the plane didn’t stop by a Jet Bridge, an exclusive bus was made available for Business Class passengers.

Overall Review

Unfortunately, I didn’t like TAP’s business class very much! I found the seat uncomfortable, although they recline 180°. The food in the outward leg (Brasília – Lisbon) didn’t please me as well.

The crew, in turn, was very professional but they were not so friendly and helpful as the flight attendants we found in other premium airlines.

Did I get used to the Qatar Airways Business Class? Read how was our experience in the World Best Business Class 2019 according to Skytrax!

Cover foto credits: Flickr.com (@erussel1984) [CC BY 2.0]


Sobre o Blog


Turistando por mais de 60 países, já dobrei o Cabo da Boa Esperança, cheguei ao Fim do Mundo e alcancei o Topo da Europa. Enfrentei as Dez Cortes do Inferno e cheguei ao céu em um Balão. Ainda tenho muitos lugares a desvendar, culturas a conhecer e comidas a experimentar. Viaje comigo nos relatos!

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