Trip Reports & Reviews

TAP Air Portugal’s BRAND NEW A330neo Business Class!

Noel

Noel Philips

I was very kindly invited to try TAP Air Portugal’s Airbus A330neo Business Class and Premium Economy (Economy Xtra) onboard their brand new Airbus A330neo on a flight to New York!

Lisbon Airport is about 20 minutes from the centre of Lisbon, and takes around 20 minutes to get there by car.

Once through security, I headed to the TAP Premium Lounge. To get there, you go up the escalators at the back of the first departure lounge. The lounge is in the Schengen area of the terminal however – so if you’re connecting through the N gates, the non schengen gates, you have to go through passport control into the S gates and clear security.

The TAP lounge has a vending machine just for wine, so I was in my element here.

Soon it was time to head to the gate, about 10 minutes walk from the lounge.

Lisbon airport has this very lavish shop, dedicated solely to Sardines.

We were called for boarding around 45 minutes before departure, and I made my way down the jetbridge to the waiting A330neo.

My seat was in row 10, right at the front of the Economy Extra cabin. It’s very spacious here, but unfortunately is also on the same row as the baby bassinets – so you can expect it to be fairly noisy in this row.

I loved that the headrest lifted and actually stayed in place, unlike so many other economy seats.

It was soon time for pushback, and we made our way out to the runway at lisbon.

Our route today took us directly Westbound of Lisbon across the North Atlantic Ocean. We had to make various deviations from our route due to weather, and ended up approaching New York from the south. Flight time today was 7 hours 50 minutes, at a cruising altitude of 38,000ft.

Lunch was served shortly after takeoff, with a choice of chicken or ravioli. I took the chicken, which didn’t taste too bad.

The cabin was really chilly and I had to wrap up with the blanket that was handed out just after takeoff.

The sun gradually started to dip ahead of us. As we got closer to the US we had to take some quite hefty deviations to avoid some bad weather.

Soon enough though we were on approach to JFK Airport, where despite the deviations we touched down just a few minutes behind schedule.

Immigration at JFK is pretty swift if you’re traveling on an ESTA, you can use the same machines as US nationals and are through the airport in no time.

I grabbed an Uber into downtown which cost a rather hefty $90.

The weather was absolutely dreadful, and the rain was coming down really heavy.

After spending the entire day sitting in various coffee shops around Manhattan Island, the rain eventually stopped and it was time to head back to the airport.

Terminal 5 is actually the JetBlue terminal, but it’s also used by TAP and Aer Lingus.

My ride to Lisbon soon arrived, and it was another A330neo painted in the Star Alliance livery.

I boarded the aircraft and this time turned left, into the Executive Class cabin.

The seats are in a lovely 1-2-1 staggered configuration, and feel very private.

The menus were handed round ready for dinner, and I decided on the herb roastedchicken breast. More on that a little later.

The seat controls are at the side in this very smart walnut style armrest.

The TV screen is absolutely massiveand has the same great range of TV and movies found in economy.

The table pulls out like this,and again is in this smart walnut design

At the front of the seat is a 3 pin plug, two USB poorts and a headset port for when the bed’s in the flat position.

Champagne was served before we started our pushback for tonight’s flight.

Our route tonight again took us direcly east from New York across the Atlantic, still dodging that weather from my previous flight.

Flight time tonight was a brisk 6 hours and 4 minutes, at a cruising altitude of 38,000ft.

Dinner was served shortly after takeoff. The chicken was delicious, and the warm bread rolls were lovely, with a glass of Portuguese red wine.

I woke up a few hours later as we crossed the North Atlantic.

Breakfast didn’t take long to be served, and it was a continental style breakfast with meats, cheese and fruit.

The Executive Class amenity kit was pretty well stocked and came in a lovely styled bag. The socks were particularly groovy,and there was a clothes freshener to put in your bag and keep your clothes fresh, which was quite a nice thought.

There’s wifi onboard the TAP A330neos with a range of packages. For instant messaging it’s completely free, the other services are more expensive if you want to do more. There’s also a 3G hotspot on the aircraft, but as always this is a maritime network and therefore very pricey to use.

Before long we were commencing our descent, and soon passed the coast of Portugal ahead of a beautiful approach into Lisbon airport.

Overall I was very impressed with TAP’s Executive Class product. I can honestly say I was surprised by quite how good it was. The seat was the definite highlight – and was incredibly comfortable. I just wished I could have spent longer in it. The inflight Entertainment on TAP is truly excellent, and the service was fantastic. EconomyExtra is also good compared to many other airlines – the inflight entertainment being the real highlight here.

TAP have really come a long way since their privatisation a few years ago, and it’s great to see such an excellent product on their A330neo.