TAP Executive, London Heathrow – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A321 NEO : TAP rhymes with delay…

After a nice Lounge Hopping session, it was time to board the first flight of the day to Lisbon.

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypeReview
1DiaryWeekend in Boston
2LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, London Heathrow T2
3LoungeUnited Club, London Heathrow T2
4LoungeAir Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, London Heathrow T2
5LoungeSingapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge, London Heathrow T2
6FlightTAP Executive, London Heathrow – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A321NEO
7FlightTAP Executive, Lisbon Portela – Boston Logan, Airbus A321LR NEO
8HotelThe Langham, Boston
9LoungeAir France Lounge, Boston Logan Terminal E
10FlightTAP Executive, Boston Logan – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A321LR NEO
11LoungeTAP Executive Lounge, Lisbon Portela
12FlightTAP Executive, Lisbon Portela – London Heathrow, Airbus A321NEO
Today’s itinerary

Boarding

I arrive at the gate about 45 minutes before the departure. I found it by chance, it was not posted in the FIDS.

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After a quick check on FlightRadar24, I realize that the feeder flight is about 20 minutes late.

Vaccination certificate checks are carried out around the gate, and a green tag is given to the checked passengers. No news about my flight to the US though.

An attendant tells me that the boarding is about to begin and I move to the priority line.

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A parade of priority passengers of all kinds march starts one the side, and the “TAP bazaar” begins. Obviously, since everything is checked at the gate… It’s a mess!

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At H-25 minutes, the boarding starts and I will be the first one to go… To then wait a good 10 minutes in the gateway. Right in front of me, a passenger is turned back to the US, straight to EWR.

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Cabin and reception

The cabin is a classic Eurobusiness medium-haul cabin, i.e. with a neutralized middle seat.

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Big downgrade compared to my initial reservation which was on A321LR NEO, so with Full Flat seat. But I’m supposed to have this aircraft on the next flight, so it’s just a matter of time.

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The reception is rather smiling and I don’t have far to go to reach my seat, the 01A, in the first row of the plane.

I will have the row to myself.

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No welcome drink will be served, except upon request of a glass of water by some passengers.

I would have no special greeting regarding my Star Gold status on this flight.

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Service and catering

The service starts about 15 minutes after take-off with the distribution of the menus.

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Increasingly rare attention on medium-haul flights.

I had pre-booked the beef pie a few days before my flight, but no mention of it will be made and the order will be taken at the same time as the other passengers.

No big deal, since I will have my initial choice.

The trays are then distributed with a trolley, and the drinks are served. I must say that my interactions with the crew are extremely courteous, and their English is absolutely perfect.

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And what a catering: everything was absolutely delicious!

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The cocktail shrimp were just perfect, the flavors very balanced.

The meat pie was perfect, the beef melted to perfection and the mushroom sauce was perfect as well.

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The dessert, although very sweet as always in Portugal, was of little size and thus finished the meal perfectly.

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Refills of drinks and bread were constant.

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A coffee service was made after the meal, and the latter wasn’t too bad.

Arrival and disembarkation

We will arrive at the gate about 15 minutes after the scheduled time. Good surprise, we are at the contact, and disembark directly in the boarding lounge, the United Kingdom being considered as a “Safe” country. I decide not to go to the lounge, as boarding begins in less than 15 minutes.

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Bottom line

A rather good flight regarding catering and service, but what an ignoble experience on the ground. TAP’s operations are truly catastrophic.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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