"Boa Sorte" - which in German means something like "Good luck" is what the flight attendant calls after me as I step onto the rear stairs of the A320Neo at Lisbon Airport. In the end, it was 44 minutes late with our A320Neo coming from Berlin reaching the parking position of Lisbon Airport.
Before this test and trip report, I had read a lot about TAP over the last few years, especially that the airline - after all a member of the Star Alliance - is actually quite ok as long as there are no irregularities (such as delay or cancellation).
So my changeover time should be reduced from 1h20 to just under 35 minutes. Actually, a fact that I generally see as a sport, if it weren't for the fact that I had been booked on an onward flight to the US with additional passport and security checks.
After being encouraged to run through the terminal to catch my flight to JFK, I followed this apparently well-intentioned advice. Immediately after reaching the terminal, I could see Gate 47 and “Last Call” on the first monitor, which made me see my cases swimming away. When I reached the gate gasping for air after a sporty 5-minute sprint, the agent was already waiting with a “hurry hurry”. Funny.
When I was finally able to scan my boarding pass, the gate was closed right behind me - 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time - really at the last minute. Anyone planning a transfer in Lisbon with TAP should be very skeptical if the journey takes less than 1,5 hours. In any case, helping TAP ground staff was a clear non-existent.
While on my flight to JFK, 90% of the economy seats were extremely well booked, things looked completely different in the front “comfort rows”. Here the occupancy rate was not even 25%, so that, for example, in row 7 I reserved, no other seat was occupied apart from my seat 7F.
This allowed me to put my feet up and, across the 7DEF row, close my eyes in a relaxed manner. Both the larger seat spacing and the recline function are worth the additional cost.
Entertainment / Wifi
TAP offers 4 different Wifi tariffs (see picture). The cheapest tariff I chose for 2 hours of messaging was fast and absolutely stable (text messages without pictures) and came out cheap at €3. Overall, the package prices are up to €30 for a complete flight, but everything else is cheap. The entertainment is extensive and well stocked and the installed air show also offers a very pleasant selection with 6 different viewing modes, which make the flight entertaining should the battery of your own device run out. Incidentally, headphones were distributed free of charge immediately after the start.
TAP offers free catering in all booking classes! Since there are no printed menu cards for Economy Class, these can be called up via the monitor / entertainment (see image).
A drink was served immediately after the start, followed by the hotmeal service and then nothing for about 4,5 hours. When I went to the toilet I asked for a cup of water in the rear galley which was no problem. 1 hour before landing there was a snack/sandwich service including another drink. You can argue about taste and quality, but unfortunately it wasn't my case at all.
TAP Air Portugal regularly offers tickets from around €300-400 return to North America (especially New York and Boston) as part of special promotions.
My first transatlantic flight in an A321 single aisle aircraft was actually fine. I would like to mention, however, that from my point of view this only applies to the "comfort seats" in the front rows of the A321neo. The surcharge of €65 (each leg) on the LIS-JFK flight was worth every penny!
Both the extra legroom; as well as the USB connection on the monitor or the good recline option, brought me a restful 2 hours of sleep on the 7,5 hour flight. When I briefly took a seat in the extremely well-filled "normal" economy in a toilet aisle, I immediately realized that I would not have liked to do this for the 7:30.
While WiFi and entertainment were properly stocked and stable, the "catering" was really anything but commendable. Only the dessert could halfway score here. All in all, the flight for around €500 return including a seat in “Premium Economy” was well worth the money. This also applies to cheap Brazil flights, for which TAP also – partly – uses the A321NeoLR.