Lisbon-Paris Orly in business class on TAP: perfect except for boarding

Last flight of this escapade in Algarve: the return to Paris. Arriving in Faro from Lisbon, I have a shorter connection as my flight arrived late and the experience of my last 3 flights on TAP with rather “suspicious” boarding procedures adds to my vigilance.

As a reminder, the routing of this trip :

And the articles related to this trip :

#1TypeReview
1FlightParis Orly-Lisbon on TAP in Business Class
2FlightLisbonne-Faro on TAP in business Class
3HotelPine Cliffs Hotel Ocean Suites – Albufeira
4FlightFaro-Lisbon in business class on TAP
5FlightLisbonne-Paris Orly in business class on TAP

Connection and ground course

My flight from Faro arrives with a 20 minutes delay, my short connection at the beginning becomes even more so even if there is no reason to worry.

I look at the connection schedule and there, O surprise, one hour before departure the flight is already boarding.

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I’m not overly concerned because I’m getting used to TAP’s boarding procedures. They bring people to the gate almost an hour before departure and a good half hour before the actual boarding. I think it’s silly but that’s how it is.

However, I decided to skip the lounge and go to the gate for two reasons. First of all, I wouldn’t have time to sit there for more than 10 minutes, and secondly, one is never safe from a bus boarding that would be triggered in an anticipated manner. With TAP as far as boarding is concerned, I now expect everything.

I just reach the gate in question which, to my surprise, is “isolated” from the rest of the terminal by a kind of “cordon” with boarding pass and passport control before entering.

I settle down and wait…

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I see the passengers arriving progressively, a little angry to have read that the boarding was in progress and to have hurried for nothing.

However, the boarding will start a good ten minutes before the logical time.

Boarding

The different lanes corresponding to the boarding groups are well marked (for once at TAP…). We will be, for the moment, two in line A (premium).

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The boarding takes place in the right order and …. we find ourselves stuck in the feeder without being able to enter the aircraft, a great classic at TAP. So we wait. Again, why make the passengers get up and line up so early if it is to make them wait. I will never understand the way TAP handles its boardings.

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It allows me to take a look at our A321 Neo.

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We end up being able to enter.

The cabin of the TAP A321 Neo

No surprise with this cabin which is the model found on all TAP medium-haul aircraft and which I am presenting to you for the fourth time in two weeks.

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A cabin with a flattering appearance.

A comfortable pitch for the legsand ( at the bottom), the power and USB sockets.

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A very practical tablet holder to turn your iPad into an IFE.

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A thin seat as it is the standard today but that, in use, I find among the hardest of the market, worse than the NEK Lufthansa that is to say.

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We will be 2 business rows on this flight, for a total of 4 passengers out of 8 possible.

The flight and the service

The boarding finishes largely in advance with regard to the foreseen schedule (quite normal considering at what time we started) and we push back to the hour.

After taxiing to the runway, we let some of the landing aircraft pass by before taking off.

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The menus are distributed quickly. It is the same as a week earlier. Note that TAP offers a choice of two hot dishes on this two-hour flight, which made me prefer it to Air France for this flight, an Air France which would do better to really benchmark the catering of European airlines in medium haul business in order to improve its service.

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Having tried the pasta on the way out, I will take the “veal terrine”.

While waiting for the service I hear that it chatters loudly in the first economy row behind me. Even with my Bose QC35 on my ears I can still hear them!

And here’s the meal that will arrive much faster than on the outbound trip. No 40 minute tunnel without service this time!

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All this is accompanied by warm bread and a glass of wine served by the bottle at the seat.

The starter is good and tasty.

In fact, the dish is more like minced veal. It is tender and the carrot purée is tasty and creamy.

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The dessert is good and light and the coffee that I will be served at the end of the service will be…like water. Nasty. Fortunately, in the meantime, I have been offered wine twice.

In the end a very consistent set. I really enjoyed it.

The flight continues with nothing to report and I doze off while watching a series on my iPad.

Landing and arrival in Paris

Nothing to report either, especially since the darkness makes it difficult to take pictures.

We will arrive with 10 minutes of advance, I will recover my luggage in an almost empty hall and I will easily find a cab to return at home.

The service and the staff

Very pleasant and efficient staff but unlike the outbound flight they were present during the whole flight and not only during the service, leaving a big gap before and after.

Conclusion

Even if the choreography of the boarding remains to be revised, it is the least chaotic boarding I had on a TAP flight lately. Add to that the staff that for once was present during the whole flight and a quality meal, it was an excellent flight.

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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