TAP Business Class LIS-BOS

Old May 19, 17, 4:30 pm
  #1  
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TAP Business Class LIS-BOS

I'm looking at flying from Lisbon to Boston in April 2018. According to the TAP site, it is the newer, upgraded true lie-flat seat configuration. Seatguru shows that flight number as a 330-200 (V1) with the angle flat seats. Given that I could select row 5 on a dummy booking, I am satisfied that it would be the "good" configuration.

My question is this: Is TAP a decent experience on a transatlantic flight? I don't need 5-star for the price they charge, but I do want to be comfortable and treated like a valued passenger.

I am hoping to fly first class on BA through London using American miles but they have been really spotty on availability as I watch the in-range date approach. This looked like an affordable alternative. Coach for that long is not an option as my wife has bad arthritis and must elevate her feet. Of course, having that need has also spoiled her and she won't fly coach internationally now even with medication.

Thanks for any insights.
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Old May 20, 17, 5:54 am
  #2  
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Until such time as TP has a fleet with a consistent seating configuration, you run the risk of having the airplane type scheduled for your flight substituted by one with a different config.

This happens frequently on the BOS route: see http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other...ess-class.html

Having experienced their angled seats on the short TATL overnight flight, I would not be in a rush to experience it again. Bear in mind also that TP is a pretty determined seller of upgrades, so it is very likely that the entire cabin will be full to capacity. I had an unpleasant on-board upgrader demand I switch seats so that he could sit with his companion. I demurred.
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Old May 20, 17, 12:57 pm
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Thank you. We flew similar angle-flat seats on Lufthansa several years ago and know they are not designed for sleeping and not even that comfortable just sitting upright. The flight we are looking at is a day-time flight so trying to lie down to sleep is not very likely. The more important feature is an adjustable foot rest.

But I am also interested in the overall experience. While I appreciate luxury, I can accept adequate-to-good when I am not paying an exorbitant price. We had several outstanding flights on Cathay Pacific in first class and business. But we know that their service is several notches above most airlines and would not expect anything even close on TAP. If we have comfortable seats, a little acceptable wine and don't go hungry, I would consider that a decent value for the price ($800 one way).

I read somewhere (and will try to find it again) that the goal was to have 7 additional A330's complete by the end of 2017. Since we are flying in April 2018, I would think the odds are pretty good that we would not have the "bad" seats. I think there are just 2 with the lie-flat seats at the moment and can understand why there would be frequent equipment changes.
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Old May 22, 17, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by bob278 View Post
Thank you. We flew similar angle-flat seats on Lufthansa several years ago and know they are not designed for sleeping and not even that comfortable just sitting upright. The flight we are looking at is a day-time flight so trying to lie down to sleep is not very likely. The more important feature is an adjustable foot rest.

But I am also interested in the overall experience. While I appreciate luxury, I can accept adequate-to-good when I am not paying an exorbitant price. We had several outstanding flights on Cathay Pacific in first class and business. But we know that their service is several notches above most airlines and would not expect anything even close on TAP. If we have comfortable seats, a little acceptable wine and don't go hungry, I would consider that a decent value for the price ($800 one way).

I read somewhere (and will try to find it again) that the goal was to have 7 additional A330's complete by the end of 2017. Since we are flying in April 2018, I would think the odds are pretty good that we would not have the "bad" seats. I think there are just 2 with the lie-flat seats at the moment and can understand why there would be frequent equipment changes.
Since LIS-BOS is a premium route, the retrofitted birds will be primarily allocated there. If you're flying in April 2018, the odds of flying one of these planes are high (as long as an A332 is scheduled and not an A333 or an A343). As for the flight itself, wines are good and so is the food. The crew is a hit or miss.
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Old May 22, 17, 4:52 pm
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Thank you.

Other than looking at the seat map doing a dummy booking and seeing 5 rows in business, I have no clue how to tell what model aircraft it is.

Seatguru does show a 332 for that flight but defaults to V1 (4 rows). The TAP site doesn't mention aircraft model. I realize that looking so far out that what is shown is just their intention, but with the additional retrofits, I would agree that it is more likely to hold.

If I can't use my AA miles, this looks like a relatively decent alternative. One advantage is that we wouldn't have to deal with Heathrow and we'd have one less connecting flight.
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Old May 23, 17, 1:35 pm
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I flew this route yesterday in business and found the experience to be very pleasant. Like you, it was a westbound flight so did not utilize the lie-flat feature, but saw others who did and it looked comfortable. I found the wine and food to be quite good. This was also true on my TP flight from VIE to LIS. The movie selection was more than adequate and the screens were better than on our AA flight from PHL to LHR at the beginning of our trip. Also, headphones are passed out before takeoff and are not collected until after landing. FA's were friendly.

Two comments about the Lisbon airport experience. The lounge had some nice rooms for sleeping and it had showers, but overall it didn't feel especially nice. More importantly, the lounge attendant said to head to our gate one hour before departure. I'm glad we were bored with the lounge and left earlier, as passport control is beyond the lounge. Security lines were almost nonexistent, but the passport control line took us 35 minutes.

They do have special lanes for electronically equipped passports that had no wait, however, you can only use them if you arrived and are departing the EU via Portugal.
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Old May 23, 17, 1:37 pm
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They're supposed to increase the number of agents at passport control by July
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Old May 23, 17, 3:33 pm
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Palal and etimer13,

Thank you for that encouraging news.

I still hope to score first class (and would settle for business) on British Air using my American miles. We know and trust both airlines but have no experience (or even second-hand knowledge) on TAP. But watching availability for the last three weeks (our flights get in range in two more days) makes me pretty skeptical about our chances.

Because we have more trips planned that will require more AA miles, the irony is that flying home on TAP would actually be the cheaper option since I wouldn't have to buy any more AA miles. Avoiding Heathrow is another bonus.
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Old May 23, 17, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by bob278 View Post
I still hope to score first class (and would settle for business) on British Air using my American miles. We know and trust both airlines but have no experience (or even second-hand knowledge) on TAP. But watching availability for the last three weeks (our flights get in range in two more days) makes me pretty skeptical about our chances.
You have missed that boat.

Whatever chance there is of J seats opening up, the chances that the F seats will open up again for redemption is very slim.

Originally Posted by bob278 View Post
Because we have more trips planned that will require more AA miles, the irony is that flying home on TAP would actually be the cheaper option since I wouldn't have to buy any more AA miles. Avoiding Heathrow is another bonus.
Buying miles may be OK for topping-up an account; strategies that rely on large-scale purchases of miles may not be optimal. (Particularly if you are hoping to use them on BA flights for which the P and J seats have already been released and snapped up)
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Old May 23, 17, 5:02 pm
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I have seen a decline in availability in F seats on BA but have been very lucky over the last 3-4 years.
IN looking at the two weeks prior to my desired date (April 20), there are 3 days with F seats (but none after 11 Apr). J is available almost every day up to the 17th. If I try point-to-point, it gets better with j seats LIS-LHR every day from 4-19 Apr and F seats LHR-CLT every day 9-14 Apr.

The problem is waiting and catching flight availability on the date I need them.

Topping off my account with the miles I need would be less than $1,500 which is pretty cheap for 2 F seats to Japan. I know it is a gamble, but according to KVS Tool, there are 2 F seats on most JAL flights from JFK or LAX nearly every day (for about 4-6 hours after they open up). J are even more readily available.

I appreciate all the information that has been shared. If I can't get anything on BA/AA, TAP does look like an acceptable alternative.
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