TAP Executive, Paris Orly – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A321LR: Excellent surprise on the hard product

After a very interesting morning at the Paris Air Forum, I left a little earlier than planned, at lunchtime, for Orly airport.

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypePost
1DiaryConference in Paris and weekend in Madrid
2LoungeUnited Club, Boston Logan
3FlightUnited Domestic First, Boston Logan – Washington Dulles, Boeing 737 MAX 9
4FlightScandinavian Airlines Business, Washington Dulles – Copenhagen Kastrup, Airbus A350-900
5LoungeScandinavian Airlines Gold Lounge, Copenhagen Kastrup
6FlightScandinavian Airlines SAS Plus, Copenhagen Kastrup – Paris Charles-de-Gaulle, Boeing 737-800
7HotelLe Parchamp, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Boulogne-Billancourt
8FlightTAP Executive, Paris Orly – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A321LR
9LoungeTAP Lounge, Lisbon Portela
10FlightTAP Executive, Lisbon Portela – Madrid Barajas, Embraer 190
11HotelThe Madrid EDITION
12LoungePuerta del Sol Lounge, Madrid Barajas
13FlightTAP Executive, Madrid Barajas – Lisbon Portela, Airbus A320
14FlightTAP Executive, Lisbon Portela – Paris Orly, Airbus A321NEO
15HotelMoxy Paris Val d’Europe
16FlightScandinavian Airlines SAS Plus, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle – Oslo Gardermoen, Boeing 737-700
17HotelMoxy Oslo X
18LoungeScandinavian Airlines Gold Lounge, Oslo Gardermoen
19FlightScandinavian Airlines SAS Plus, Oslo Gardermoen – Copenhagen Kastrup, Airbus A320NEO
20LoungeEventyr Lounge, Copenhagen Kastrup
21FlightScandinavian Airlines Business, Copenhagen Kastrup – Boston Logan, Airbus A321LR
Today’s itinerary

Check-in and ground experience

I completed the online check-in formalities just over 24 hours before departure, and took advantage of the opportunity to change my flight to arrive earlier in Madrid, since this was offered to me, free of charge, during the check-in process. I picked up my PDF and Passbook boarding passes in the process.

I arrived at the South of Paris airport more than 3.5 hours before my flight, using the RER B and Orlyval.

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TAP checked in at the ex-Navette section of Hall 1 at Paris-Orly, and I procedeed to the priority queue to try and change my flight for the previous one, which left just over an hour later.

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This was done without a hitch, and I was now on the next flight out. Perfect, since the boarding lounge used by TAP does not offer a lounge. Nevertheless, TAP provided a €15 coupon to be used at Exki.

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I then proceeded to the security checkpoint, which was very slow in the priority queue, as it served as an overflow from the normal queue…

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Boarding

Once in the boarding area, I skipped using the Exki coupon, as boarding began a few moments later.

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4 boarding lanes were marked out, and I entered the priority lane. My boarding pass was scanned and my ID checked.

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However, we wait about fifteen minutes in the jetbridge while the cabin was prepared.

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Cabin and welcome

The welcome at the gate was very warm and charming, and I was invited to settle into my seat, 01A… And then, what a nice surprise, it was the long-haul cabin which was positioned on this flight. It’s a win-win situation!

I asked to move to the back row, seat 02B, which offered a throne, and bingo, it was available.

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I settled in and the flight attendant came to help me move my belongings. Boarding continued and the captain announced a 45-minute ATC delay due to traffic in Lisbon.

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The flight attendant came to hand out glasses of water for Business passengers, and after 35 minutes we pushed away from the gate and took off.

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Service and catering

About 15 minutes after takeoff, service began.

Trays were distributed, and were cold as usual on TAP outside meal times.

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It was very good, but I always feel like I’m eating the same thing.

The red wine was excellent, as will the pastel de nata.

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To finish, I had a black coffee and a port.

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The flight ended quickly, and as we began our descent, one of the flight attendant came to confirm my connecting gate, gate B16.

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Arrival and disembarkation

We underwent a go-around on landing, extending our flight time by a further twenty minutes.

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The flight was then parked at a bus gate, creating a new constraint. Not a pleasant airport to make your connections at all, Lisbon.

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Bottom line

A good flight, thanks to the excellent hard product, full flat and full privacy for an intra-European flight. The service was respectable, but the repeated delays and the horrible management of ground operations in Lisbon made the experience really unpleasant. A real shame.

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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