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GUIDE: TAP Air Portugal Airbus A330-900neo

GUIDE: TAP Air Portugal Airbus A330-900neo

Old Jan 21, 2020, 3:05 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: UA MP, NW WP, AA
Posts: 695
Trip report LIS-SFO

It was our family’s first time on TAP. Just want to share our recent experience on the LIS-SFO flight in J. A330-900neo was the aircraft.

Airport Check-in
There was a dedicated counter for J passengers. The agent was very friendly and helpful. I complained to her about how my 7K seat was switched to 6D, leaving only one window seat for my two children. (Our seats prior to online check-in were 7 A, E, F, K). She went the extra mile and talked to her supervisor about my complaint. We ended up getting our 7K back! I was very impressed. Unfortunately that was the best service we would encounter for the rest of our journey with TAP....

Security/Lounge
We had “fast track” due to being in J. It was a breeze to get through security. We arrived at the airport kind of late so didn’t spend too much time in the lounge. In fact, we just grabbed a Portuguese tart and coffee, then left, spending less than 5 minutes there. It turned out to be a wise decision not lingering too long in the lounge because the passport control line was long. So long that we were in danger of missing our flight. (There was no “fast track” in passport control). We had to run to our gate...

Boarding/Pre-flight experience
When we arrived they were boarding the last 20 or so economy passengers. We were in J so eligible to use the priority lane. After we passed the boarding gate we found out they were using only one entrance for this wide-body jet. No separate entrance for J cabin. Now we had to wait in a long line to get on the aircraft. I can’t quite remember when was the last time I had to wait in a jet bridge to get on an airplane while flying internationally in J on a wide body plane.

When we finally arrived at our seats there was no offer to store our coats. Two of our seats were really dirty, with food debris all over the armrest and storage area. The foam-like material between the seat and the wall was stained as well. I asked a flight attendant for a towel to clean up the mess. The flight attendant seemed annoyed with my request until I showed her the debris.

Seat/Entertainment
The seat was cramped, especially when the entertainment screen was out. I am not a big person. (5’7”, 160 lbs). Our outbound flight on AF’s 777, also in J, felt a lot more spacious. 7 E & F were good for my wife and I; we were able to have a conversation without raising our voices or straining our necks. The seat was much more comfortable in lie-flat mode. I was able to get a decent amount of sleep.

There was a good variety of entertainment options. Lots of jazz albums which I loved. I was also able to play “battleship” with my son while staying in our respective seats.

Meal/In Flight service
Throughout the flight the flight attendants gave me the impression that they were more interested in “get the flight over with” than provide good customer service. They were also borderline rude whenever I made an inquiry or request. For example, when it was time to take our meal order one of the flight attendants approached me and asked “What would you like?” In response I said “What do you recommend?” He then said, “I am not taking your order now, just your daughter’s.” His face was stern throughout the entire interaction; he wasn’t joking with me. Another example, my daughter eats slowly and I mentioned it to the flight attendants. Still, it didn’t stop them from asking me every 5 minutes if they could take her tray. Also, they were never proactive in refilling my drinks. During the meal service whenever they came around the first question was always “May I take your dish?” Even though my glass was empty they never asked if I wanted another drink. I had to ask to have my glass refilled. Moreover, I had a good sleep so I wasn’t awake when they started to serve breakfast. When I was awake, which was still a couple hours from landing, no one ever came and asked if I wanted to have breakfast. They were all “busy” going around collecting dishes from other customers. After 5-10 minutes waiting I finally had to buzz the service button to get someone’ attention and had them serve the breakfast.

Food was terrible. Soup was served from a thermo and was lukewarm. My steak was way too well done. I sent it back and had ravioli. The ravioli wasn’t any better; I felt like I was chewing erasers. The second meal wasn’t much better. There was no hot items offered at all. It was so disappointing since Lisbon is such a great food city.

Overall impression
I felt like I was on a budget airline the entire flight. The seats were dirty and not well cleaned. Service was nowhere near what I had experienced with other airlines. The flight attendants’ service was poor and seemed annoyed with my questions and requests. The only positives were the lie-flat seat and entertainment options. I will only fly with TAP again if the price is significantly lower than other airlines.
LAX/HKG is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2020, 10:52 am
  #47  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: Free agent, UA 1K, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by LAX/HKG
It was our family’s first time on TAP. Just want to share our recent experience on the LIS-SFO flight in J. A330-900neo was the aircraft.

Airport Check-in
There was a dedicated counter for J passengers. The agent was very friendly and helpful. I complained to her about how my 7K seat was switched to 6D, leaving only one window seat for my two children. (Our seats prior to online check-in were 7 A, E, F, K). She went the extra mile and talked to her supervisor about my complaint. We ended up getting our 7K back! I was very impressed. Unfortunately that was the best service we would encounter for the rest of our journey with TAP....

Security/Lounge
We had “fast track” due to being in J. It was a breeze to get through security. We arrived at the airport kind of late so didn’t spend too much time in the lounge. In fact, we just grabbed a Portuguese tart and coffee, then left, spending less than 5 minutes there. It turned out to be a wise decision not lingering too long in the lounge because the passport control line was long. So long that we were in danger of missing our flight. (There was no “fast track” in passport control). We had to run to our gate...

Boarding/Pre-flight experience
When we arrived they were boarding the last 20 or so economy passengers. We were in J so eligible to use the priority lane. After we passed the boarding gate we found out they were using only one entrance for this wide-body jet. No separate entrance for J cabin. Now we had to wait in a long line to get on the aircraft. I can’t quite remember when was the last time I had to wait in a jet bridge to get on an airplane while flying internationally in J on a wide body plane.

When we finally arrived at our seats there was no offer to store our coats. Two of our seats were really dirty, with food debris all over the armrest and storage area. The foam-like material between the seat and the wall was stained as well. I asked a flight attendant for a towel to clean up the mess. The flight attendant seemed annoyed with my request until I showed her the debris.

Seat/Entertainment
The seat was cramped, especially when the entertainment screen was out. I am not a big person. (5’7”, 160 lbs). Our outbound flight on AF’s 777, also in J, felt a lot more spacious. 7 E & F were good for my wife and I; we were able to have a conversation without raising our voices or straining our necks. The seat was much more comfortable in lie-flat mode. I was able to get a decent amount of sleep.

There was a good variety of entertainment options. Lots of jazz albums which I loved. I was also able to play “battleship” with my son while staying in our respective seats.

Meal/In Flight service
Throughout the flight the flight attendants gave me the impression that they were more interested in “get the flight over with” than provide good customer service. They were also borderline rude whenever I made an inquiry or request. For example, when it was time to take our meal order one of the flight attendants approached me and asked “What would you like?” In response I said “What do you recommend?” He then said, “I am not taking your order now, just your daughter’s.” His face was stern throughout the entire interaction; he wasn’t joking with me. Another example, my daughter eats slowly and I mentioned it to the flight attendants. Still, it didn’t stop them from asking me every 5 minutes if they could take her tray. Also, they were never proactive in refilling my drinks. During the meal service whenever they came around the first question was always “May I take your dish?” Even though my glass was empty they never asked if I wanted another drink. I had to ask to have my glass refilled. Moreover, I had a good sleep so I wasn’t awake when they started to serve breakfast. When I was awake, which was still a couple hours from landing, no one ever came and asked if I wanted to have breakfast. They were all “busy” going around collecting dishes from other customers. After 5-10 minutes waiting I finally had to buzz the service button to get someone’ attention and had them serve the breakfast.

Food was terrible. Soup was served from a thermo and was lukewarm. My steak was way too well done. I sent it back and had ravioli. The ravioli wasn’t any better; I felt like I was chewing erasers. The second meal wasn’t much better. There was no hot items offered at all. It was so disappointing since Lisbon is such a great food city.

Overall impression
I felt like I was on a budget airline the entire flight. The seats were dirty and not well cleaned. Service was nowhere near what I had experienced with other airlines. The flight attendants’ service was poor and seemed annoyed with my questions and requests. The only positives were the lie-flat seat and entertainment options. I will only fly with TAP again if the price is significantly lower than other airlines.
Ouch, pretty scathing review. Flying TP in a few weeks on SFO-LIS-MXP and getting kinda worried at this point.
bioyuki is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2020, 3:24 am
  #48  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: UA MP, NW WP, AA
Posts: 695
Originally Posted by bioyuki
Ouch, pretty scathing review. Flying TP in a few weeks on SFO-LIS-MXP and getting kinda worried at this point.
It could just be small sample size. YMMV. Hope you will have a much better experience than we did.
LAX/HKG is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2020, 7:31 am
  #49  
TPJ
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: TK*G (E+), IHG Plat Ambassador
Posts: 7,884
Originally Posted by LAX/HKG
Overall impression
I felt like I was on a budget airline the entire flight. The seats were dirty and not well cleaned. Service was nowhere near what I had experienced with other airlines. The flight attendants’ service was poor and seemed annoyed with my questions and requests. The only positives were the lie-flat seat and entertainment options. I will only fly with TAP again if the price is significantly lower than other airlines.
Yes - TP is a budget airline and their business model focuses on price and not on service.

And we better hope airlines like TP or DY survive and prosper - otherwise these 3 cartels (AA/BA, LH/UA and AF/DL) immediately increase J and PY TATL fares.

But all TP TATL flights have fully flat seats (I think someone reported the last A330-200 is now being retrofitted, so fully flat is guaranteed), meals are edible, F/A are reasonably friendly (sorry - have never experienced a rude TP F/A). Plus they are part of a major alliance, so you can collect miles.

Want better service - fly with another airline. Want to pay reasonable price for reasonable service - TP is your airline.

PS. Something does not add up in your story - you flew LIS-SFO - there is no breakfast served on this flight.
tff and Chiller3333 like this.

Last edited by TPJ; Jan 25, 2020 at 7:38 am
TPJ is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2020, 12:17 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: PEK
Programs: A3*G, UA Gold EY Silver
Posts: 8,884
FAs are hit and miss. Some are downright rude (like the ones you got) - with no customer service training, while others are the most pleasant you can find in the industry. Unfortunately, the unions won't let them fire the rude ones, and I doubt TP really cares about that anyway.
Palal is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2020, 4:27 am
  #51  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: UA MP, NW WP, AA
Posts: 695
Originally Posted by TPJ
Yes - TP is a budget airline and their business model focuses on price and not on service.

And we better hope airlines like TP or DY survive and prosper - otherwise these 3 cartels (AA/BA, LH/UA and AF/DL) immediately increase J and PY TATL fares.

But all TP TATL flights have fully flat seats (I think someone reported the last A330-200 is now being retrofitted, so fully flat is guaranteed), meals are edible, F/A are reasonably friendly (sorry - have never experienced a rude TP F/A). Plus they are part of a major alliance, so you can collect miles.

Want better service - fly with another airline. Want to pay reasonable price for reasonable service - TP is your airline.

PS. Something does not add up in your story - you flew LIS-SFO - there is no breakfast served on this flight.
I am glad you have NEVER encountered a rude TP F/A. I hope your luck continues.

I certainly did not expect the service to be anywhere close to NH/BR/OZ, the star alliance carriers that I most frequently fly in J. On the other hand, I don’t think expectation such as having my drinks refilled would be asking for too much, especially in J. You must remember this is the “flagship” national carrier for Portugal, not Ryan Air. Besides, budget airline such as Southwest offers excellent service. Being a budget airline does not necessarily give a carrier a pass for rude, unfriendly service.

Taste is subjective, What is edible for you might not be edible for me.

In regards to “breakfast”, I was referring to the second meal they served before landing. If you are wondering, I am not making up a story to badmouth TP.
LAX/HKG is offline  
Old Jan 27, 2020, 11:15 pm
  #52  
TPJ
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: TK*G (E+), IHG Plat Ambassador
Posts: 7,884
Originally Posted by LAX/HKG
On the other hand, I don’t think expectation such as having my drinks refilled would be asking for too much, especially in J.
Funny enough on the MLK Day, I flew BOS-LIS-ZRH and as I had to drive in ZRH, I drank only water. On the BOS-LIS flight at least 2 F/A's approached me and asked if maybe I want wine
TPJ is offline  
Old Jan 28, 2020, 12:49 am
  #53  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: UA MP, NW WP, AA
Posts: 695
Thumbs up

Originally Posted by TPJ
Funny enough on the MLK Day, I flew BOS-LIS-ZRH and as I had to drive in ZRH, I drank only water. On the BOS-LIS flight at least 2 F/A's approached me and asked if maybe I want wine
Good for you! That should be the standard level of service in J.
LAX/HKG is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2020, 12:57 am
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Northern California
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Posts: 52
Originally Posted by bioyuki
Ouch, pretty scathing review. Flying TP in a few weeks on SFO-LIS-MXP and getting kinda worried at this point.
I'm flying this exact flight next month - how was it?
CaliforniaDom is offline  
Old Feb 13, 2020, 5:55 pm
  #55  
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Are 4C & 4D ok for a couple?
djjaguar64 is offline  
Old Feb 14, 2020, 12:27 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: Free agent, UA 1K, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by CaliforniaDom
I'm flying this exact flight next month - how was it?
Flying this tomorrow so will let you know.. To be honest, given the horror stories I've heard of missed connections in LIS due to immigration, I'll be happy if the flight is on time.
bioyuki is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2020, 1:51 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA LT PLT 3 MM+, BA (very) Blue, CO nobody
Posts: 2,640
Originally Posted by TPJ
Yes - TP is a budget airline and their business model focuses on price and not on service.

And we better hope airlines like TP or DY survive and prosper - otherwise these 3 cartels (AA/BA, LH/UA and AF/DL) immediately increase J and PY TATL fares.

But all TP TATL flights have fully flat seats (I think someone reported the last A330-200 is now being retrofitted, so fully flat is guaranteed), meals are edible, F/A are reasonably friendly (sorry - have never experienced a rude TP F/A). Plus they are part of a major alliance, so you can collect miles.

Want better service - fly with another airline. Want to pay reasonable price for reasonable service - TP is your airline.

PS. Something does not add up in your story - you flew LIS-SFO - there is no breakfast served on this flight.
I am not flying till May SFO-LIS but I am not surprised. J ticket SFO-LIS-AMS is $1600. Most other airlines on this route start around $4000 all the way to $9000. I wouldn't expect the same experience for $1600 than for $9000. If I get a flat seat to sleep on the overnight flight and some edible food and drinks, I'll be happy. I do not expect SQ suites comfort, food or service at this price.
Paulchili is offline  
Old Feb 21, 2020, 12:39 am
  #58  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Posts: 2,640
Originally Posted by bioyuki
Flying this tomorrow so will let you know.. To be honest, given the horror stories I've heard of missed connections in LIS due to immigration, I'll be happy if the flight is on time.
Well - how was it? Did you make the connection - how long did it take?
TIA/
Paulchili is offline  
Old Nov 21, 2021, 12:42 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: ANC, NYC
Posts: 327
My LIS-JFK was just swapped to a 330neo. Is it right that 3/5/7 AK are the "true" window seats?
desafino is offline  
Old Nov 24, 2021, 1:13 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 70
Originally Posted by desafino
My LIS-JFK was just swapped to a 330neo. Is it right that 3/5/7 AK are the "true" window seats?
Just flew this a few days ago. Yes, you are correct.
Matt the Coffeeman is offline  

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