My first TAP experience- review

Old Apr 11, 19, 2:36 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Philly, Madrid
Programs: Alaska MVP
Posts: 2,547
My first TAP experience- review

Based on a $243 rt EWR-MAD fare that I came across a few months ago, I just completed my first TAP experience. I was very wary after reading reviews and getting a strong warning from my sister that flies TAP kind of often. But in the end, and based on proper preparation, I am very happy with the way it all went.

First, I was concerned with the luggage issue. Domestically my carryon roller bag often weighs probably over 40 pounds, but based on some Air France carry-on ridiculousness that I've been subjected to in the past, I prepared for this flight with the assumption that TAP could be as bad as Air France. In total my trip was only 5 days, and there was no way I was going to pay $120 each way to check a bag, so I actually purchased a new 'international size' carry on roller suitcase and packed it at exactly 8kg. Then I pulled out an old laptop bag that fit the published personal item size limits and packed it at a little over 3 kg, but I was ready to stuff a few of the heavier things in my jacket pocket just in case they wanted to weigh the laptop case as well. But my concern was mostly unwarranted as my laptop case was hardly even looked at and my roller bag was weighed only at checkin both ways allowing me to stuff my jacket and some other stuff in it after checking in. I even saw a bunch of people boarding each flight with carry-ons that clearly far exceeded the size limits, but I didn't see any of them getting hassled about the size.

Now the seat issue did cause me some concern as I would be really unhappy if I ended up in a middle seat for a 7 hour flight, but the automatically assigned seats that I was given at check in were all aisle seats. I did make a mistake on the return flight and tried to select a different aisle seat, which of course made the system try to get me to pay forty some euros. But I just cancelled my check in and waited to get to the airport to complete it. Surprisingly the agent did try to get me to pay for the seat that I had selected (it was still over 7 hours from the connection), but I told him I wasn't going to pay and he could give me any seat he wanted. So of course he obliged by putting me in a middle seat, but when the 3 hour window came I was able to easily move myself to one of the empty aisle seats on the side. Through a combination of low loads, luck, and choosing way-in-the-back seats I was fortunate to have an empty seat next to me for both of the trans-Atlantic segments.

I had a 3 hour layover in Lisbon on the way over, and a 5 hour layover in Porto on the way back. I spent this time in the clubs, but I didn't enjoy these layovers at all. But for $243 I was fine dealing with it.

And lastly, the crew was all very nice and I was very happy with the food. In fact the food was better than either United or American which is how I usually fly to Madrid.

So to summarize... with proper planning to avoid an unfathomable $240 for a rt checked bag and with buying a new smaller sized carry-on, combined with seat selection knowledge and good luck (and of course the $243 ticket cost) I had a genuinely good first TAP experience. In fact my only complaint from the experience was with the unending bus ride from the plane in Lisbon to the terminal, followed by a 45 minute line for customs. My sister was surprised when I told her how good my flights were. I won't expect things to necessarily go as well next time I choose TAP, but if they continue to have great prices I will definitely fly them in the future.
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srodr is offline  
Old Apr 11, 19, 7:30 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Heraklion, Greece
Posts: 6,551
Out of simple curiosity, what do you carry along with you for a 5-days trip that "often weighs probably over 40 pounds" or 11 pounds as in this case?
KLouis is offline  
Old Apr 12, 19, 2:48 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: somewhere between Europe and Africa, from SFO
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Posts: 7,671
Sounds like a typical TAP experience in all accounts

If you only had a carry-on, why did you bother checking in at the airport at all?
Palal is offline  
Old Apr 13, 19, 1:20 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Terceira Island
Programs: TP Gold, *G Star Alliance
Posts: 225
Immigration in Lisbon is chaotic at the moment specially if you are arriving early in the day. Regarding the carry-bag weight I never had problems, but when I’m only using a carry-bag I always OLCI.
milfweed20 is offline  

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