To be honest, I was not planning on writing this report as I was not expecting to be flying on a brand new Airbus A330-900neo for this segment. When I ticketed the itinerary a few months ago, this flight was scheduled to be operated on an Airbus A330-200. I only discovered the aircraft change by accident just a week prior to the trip.
I had a quick overnight in Lisbon prior to this flight, which I will review in a separate post. Knowing ahead of time that the Lisbon airport and the TAP lounge at LIS was nothing too special, I arrived at the airport just an hour prior to boarding time. The hotel I stayed at, Fontecruz Lisboa, was located right in front of the Avenida Metro station on the Linha Azul. I took the Metro to and from the airport, which is connected to the Aeroporto station on the Linha Vermelha. A one-way trip to/from the airport only took about 20 minutes and €1.50.
The airport was very crowded in the late morning, likely because a lot of the timing of South American and US flights, in addition to other European flights. TAP Air Portugal is located in Terminal 1, to the left of the main entrance. Signages, particularly those of premium check-ins (Star Alliance Gold and Business Class) were rather lacking, I managed to find it tucked in to the end of the building along with the check-in desk for their Lisbon-Porto shuttles. Fast Track is available for business class and Star Alliance gold passengers, and there was no queue at all despite how busy the airport was.
I stopped at the TAP Portugal Premium Lounge briefly prior to boarding. Upon arriving to the gate area, I found the usual security theatre for US-bound flights. Boarding had already commenced but there were many passengers being queued up and interviewed by security personnel, who then cross-checked the manifests for anyone subject to extra security screening. Those who have been cleared, or are not subject to an additional screening, had a small sticker affixed to the back of their passport and cleared for boarding. Signages were also lacking in the gate area, but upon asking which line I was supposed to be in, a courteous security personnel checked my passport and opened the barricade for me to the front of the boarding line. Much to my surprise, the flight boarded through a bus gate and we were shuttled to the remote stand, one bus at a time.
Flight Number: TP229
Route: Lisbon (LIS) – Chicago (ORD)
Schedule: 13:05 – 16:05
Duration: 8h 22m
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-900neo (Registration: CS-TUL)
Cabin: Business Class
Date: September 30, 2019
The interior of TAP’s new A330-900neo is beautiful and understated. However, I found the business class cabin to be rather cramped. In fact, I measured the width of the aisle, and found it to be only as wide as the width of my carry-on bag. The ceiling at the foyer/entrance had a checkered design similar to the one found on Etihad’s A380.
Business class has a 1-2-1 configuration in a reverse herringbone style. Some of the window seats are located toward the aisle with a slight angle toward the aisle, and others are “true” window seats, with a slight angle toward the window. Also worth noting that half of the middle seats are “honeymoon” seats — ideal for those traveling together but may be slightly awkward for those traveling solo.
I quickly made my way to seat 5K, a true window seat where I found a blanket, menu, amenity kit and a noise-cancelling headphone. The door was closed not too long after, and business class went 100% full today, despite the seat map showing many empty seats in the hours prior to the departure time.
A flight attendant came by shortly thereafter offering pre-departure beverage. I with with a glass of sparkling wine to quench my thirst, given how warm it was in Lisbon and having spent time outside in the sun whilst waiting for boarding. Taxi was short and we took off right on schedule. Once reaching the cruising altitude, the crew served canapes with a drink of choice.
Lunch menu read as follows:
Roast Beef, Pepper Jam | Roasted Almonds
Tuna Tataki, Marinated Vegetables
Chicken Soup, Shredded Chicken and Foie Gras
Chicken Curry with Ginger and Lemongrass, Sweet Potato and Rice
Stone Bass Confit, Green Pepper and Capers, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach
Spinach Green Grantortellone, Cauliflower Cream and Azores Island Cheese
Cheese Plate | Vanilla Ice Cream | Fresh FruitCoffee | Tea | Espresso Coffee | Chocolates
I chose the stone bass, which was delicious. I found the lunch to be quite tasty overall, which was a pleasant surprise. My fish was accompanied by a glass of Maria Papoila Vinho Verde, which was tasty. My only complaint is probably about how tiny the wine glass was, but the crew kept it topped off frequently. The whole meal took over two hours to complete, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The crew working on my side of the aisle was attentive and courteous — I would put him to be on par with most I have encountered on Qatar Airways.
The inflight entertainment system was quite responsive with decent selection of movies and TV shows. WiFi was offered with complimentary access to messaging platforms. Unfortunately, I had so many issues with the connection that I would not rely on it, if you had to stay connected during your flight.
Before landing we were served a light meal consisting of cold cuts and cheese selection, fresh fruit, butter and bread along with a cup of coffee.
We touched down in Chicago half hour ahead of schedule, and parked at Terminal 5. Overall, I was pleased with the quality of the meal. The hard product was decent if you are able to get on the A330-900neo or A330-200, keeping in mind that some aircraft that are not yet phased out may have older seats. I will not hesitate to fly on TAP Air Portugal again.