This flight on TAP in business class between Paris and Lisbon was once again the occasion to appreciate the quality of the service on board even if the Embraer 195 used was less comfortable than the aircraft used in general.
I booked this flight two weeks before my trip at a rate of a little more than 400 euros, I could have piad a little less if I had decided sooner or chosen times that were less convenient.
Check-in and ground course
I check-in online the day before my trip ( the TAP application and its legendary ergonomics…) and leave for the airport quite early, being wary of possible demonstrations or of the risk that the ring road is blocked. Finally everything goes well and I arrive very early at the airport.
Since my previous trips TAP has changed terminal and is now departing from the B gates.
No one in Access Line 1 and I’ll be through security in no time.
Once airside it’s a bit of a mess with all the gates very close to each other and the passengers clumping together.
Does the place look familiar? It’s the old Air France La Navet terminal from where I departed a few hundred times in the past! Air France has now left this part of the airport and has also partly left Orly where its operations are unfortunately reduced to a minimum. What a shame.
Today this concourse is used by TAP and Easyjet. Greatness and decadence…
I go upstairs to see if I can find a place to wait more comfortably. And I do indeed find a comfortable and very airy relaxation area.
You will of course recognize the old Air France lounge!
I miss the time when, after the COVID, TAP left Orly 3: even if they had no lounge there were shops and restaurants!
A TripIt alert tells me that the flight is delayed from 12:35 to 13:15. No announcement is made and it will take almost 3/4 hours for the delay to be displayed.
The place is rather pleasant considering the crowd downstairs but on the other hand there are no toilets: you will have to go to the basement.
Our aircraft of the day finally arrives…it is an Embraer 195.
I keep a good memory of the Embraers of the Portuguese airline after a Lisbon-Porto and a Porto-Paris which allowed me to appreciate their very comfortable cabin. It was the only positive point of this trip, since the catering was so disappointing and, moreover, they managed to lose my suitcase and have it stolen.
Note that TAP sometimes operates this route with an A330Neo, but I won’t have the chance to fly on this aircraft today.
I end up reaching the boarding area shortly before time.
The situation is as messy as ever. The people are crowded in the greatest disorder and the premium line is very difficult to identify and access.
The boarding finally starts….the premium line first! All this to stay stuck in the jetway for 10 minutes! The boardings with TAP are definitely all the same.
We are finally released and enter the aircraft.
Considering that everyone has gathered in the jetway, a nice jostle occurs when we are allowed to move forward. Not easy to take good pictures in such conditions.
At first sight I am a little disappointed: it is not the same cabin as during my previous flights in Embraers on TAP.
Different cabin but maybe it is comfortable!
As far as the seat is concerned, everything is fine: the seat is comfortable, maybe not as much as on the other Embraers because it is harder but it’s fine! It reminds me a bit of the NEK seats of Lufthansa. On the other hand, the legroom is very small and has nothing to do with it.
Really not good.
There will be only two rows of business class on this flight. As far as I can see, the adjacent seats are not blocked in the business cabin of the Embraers contrary to what is done on the Airbus A320/321. Fortunately I won’t have a seatmatea, which is not the case for the occupants of row 1 on the side with three seats.
The flight attendant comes to me and greets me by name, something she won’t do for the other passengers.
We are finally ready to leave.
The flight and the service
We take off and say goodbye to Orly.
Then the TAP service protocol starts. That is to say that nothing happens! For 30 minutes the flight attendant will stay in the galley without showing up in the cabin. Then she will appear…. to disappear again and talk for 10 minutes with her colleague from the economy class.
It’s only 45 minutes after departure that she will come to distribute the menus! I understand that the airline thinks it’s better to do the service in the middle of the flight rather than at the beginning, but they could at least offer drinks while waiting for the service of the dishes.
I’ll have the lamb chops… but the flight attendant will come back because they were not available anymore. No pasta either. In fact she made a mistake and did not give me the right menu.
So I’ll have a duck confit. At this time (the flight is supposed to leave at 12:35) TAP offers hot meals but only at meal times and the notion of meal times is to be interpreted strictly: a flight that leaves at 11:30 a.m. and arrives around 2:00 p.m. is not during meal times.
The meal tray is brought in without the lids removed. It’s not that complicated, though.
Look, it’s more presentable like that.
Only then will the drink orders be taken. Almost an hour after the departure, I am dying of thirst.
It’s time to start eating.
The smoked salmon is very good even if the alliance with the orange is a little surprising.
The duck confit is good, the purée light and creamy and the vegetables rather bland.
For dessert, the pudding will not have too much taste.
I will have several refills of wine and the flight attendant will be very attentive and friendly.
I am installed to finish the flight…
Then the TAP protocol resumes: the flight attendant goes in the galley, closes the curtain and we will not see her again before landing.
Shortly before the descent the pilot makes an announcement that due to the wind we could not make up for our delay.
The service on TAP is remarkably consistent: excellent when staff are working before hiding in the galley for the rest of the flight.
I also think that a beverage service could take place earlier but that’s not the fault of the staff who just follow the protocol they are given.
Landing and arrival
The descent goes smoothly but with some turbulence. Unfortunately, for once, the approach will not require flying over the city and making a loop over the ocean to return…. No nice pictures to take then.
Once on the ground, and as too often in Lisbon, we will have a long taxi before going to park…at a remote parking stand!
Chaotic bus disembarkation, once again a long trip on the tarmac, endless stairs and corridors…. and I finally get out of the airport.
A typical TAP flight: messy boarding, absent staff during the first hour of flight, excellent service, then absent staff and finally messy disembarkation in bus.
This Embraer made me regret the usual Airbus because of the lack of legroom.
But let’s be positive: at least at meal times, TAP offers a choice of hot dishes on the Paris-Lisbon route, which is not the case for everyone! Moreover, it is generally a good quality catering.
Articles about this trip to Portugal
|Preparing my birthday trip to Portugal
|Paris Orly-Lisbon – TAP – Business Class – Embraer 195
|Zunzum Gastrobar, Lisbon
|Solar Dos Bicos, Lisbon
|O Frade, Lisbon
|100 Maneiras, Lisbon
|Lisbon day #1: downtown
|Lisbon day #2: Belem and beyond
|Four Points by Sheraton Sesimbra
|O Batel Sesimbra
|TAP Premium lounge Lisbon
|Lisbon-Paris Orly, TAP, Business Class, Airbus A330Neo.
|Debriefing of the trip to Lisbon and Sesimbra