LISBON & MADEIRA – After spending 2 days in Lisbon exploring the city and doing some plane spotting, it was time for me to continue my vacation with a flight from Lisbon to Madeira onboard TAP Air Portugal Business Class.
Airline: TAP Portugal
Flight number: TP1687/1695
Aircraft: Airbus A320/A320neo
Seat: 1A & 3F
I checked in for my flight online via the TAP Portugal website. I arrived at the airport about 4 hours prior to departure, leaving enough time to drop off my baggage and get some work done in the lounge.
I dropped my bags off at the designated Business Class Check-In Area. In Lisbon, TAP Portugal offers an extra check-in area only for Business Class passengers, as well as a Service Desk for passengers sitting up front.
The agent was very friendly and quickly checked our bags through to Madeira.
I soon made my way through the Fast track security, which was quite hidden.
The staff was friendly and efficient. Nothing to complain about.
After security, I headed to the Lounge right away. TAP’s lounge has a decent food offering “, lots of drinks, and the highlight – a bar!
One thing I realized right after arriving at the lounge, it’s packed. I had trouble finding a seat and a table for lunch and eventually sat down at the bar, waiting for a table to become vacant.
In the end, it was a good strategy; it took 2 gin tonics, I mean 20 minutes, to get a free table.
The bar was awesome, the cocktails were made with love and effort. The food was decent as well and tasted quite good.
Boarding Attempt #1
I arrived at the gate, just as boarding was set to start. I went straight to the Business Class line and waited for boarding to start. And I waited for a long time.
After an hour, we got the first announcement that our flight would be delayed further. We eventually boarded the aircraft and were left sitting on the ground for over an hour.
We soon found out that the tire of a private jet burst on the runway, which eventually led to the closure of the airport.
We waited for a further 30 minutes when our flight got canceled. We were all told that our flight will depart at 9 pm from the same gate.
In pure disbelief, we tried to get rebooked on an earlier flight. This didn’t happen as the airport closure caused many flights to divert, meaning flights got delayed further and were eventually canceled.
To skip all the boring stuff: our flight got completely canceled, we were rebooked on a flight 3 days later and were told we would have to pay for our hotel ourselves as TAP doesn’t provide any hotels in Lisbon.
We left the airport, headed to a hotel near the airport, and dropped 400€’s for a night – which we haven’t seen refunded till today.
Trying to rebook
I left the hotel early in the morning, leaving my family behind. I headed to the airport, trying to rebook our flight. I will admit, I skipped the line and just walked past the queue to the service counter. This ultimately saved me.
I got rebooked on a flight leaving the same day, though I had to accept a downgrade to economy. The agent was great and did everything trying to rebook me.
My family soon arrived at the airport, and we headed straight into the lounge. The airport was in complete chaos, with people sleeping all over the airport.
Boarding Attempt #2
We eventually boarded our flight to Lisbon and got upgraded just minutes before departure, due to many passengers missing their connection.
We boarded by bus (which we had to deboard once due to a delay, of course). We arrived at our aircraft on time, and we were welcomed by two unmotivated flight attendants who clearly didn’t enjoy their job.
I settled into my seat 3F, which is a standard economy seat, with the middle seat staying empty. The aircraft taking me to Lisbon was an A320neo featuring the standard 3-3 cabin configuration.
30 minutes after boarding, the crew came by, handing out drinks and menus. Don’t be fooled, the drinks were handed out due to the delay we had after missing our slot.
Shortly after departing, lunch was served. The service started 20 minutes after departure and took very long. There were no choices available, and the meal was served on one tray.
Overall it was very tasty, nothing to complain about – apart from the once again rock hard bread. I especially liked the fact that they had a warm meal service.
The starter, the cottage cheese, wasn’t my favorite. I fell in love with the goat cheese panzerotti, they tasted awesome! The rice pudding dessert didn’t look too appealing and wasn’t very appealing either. All in all, decent meal service for this short flight time.
I went for a Gin Tonic and a Coke with my meal service. The Gin Tonic was nicely presented and tasted decent.
TAP Portugal once again showed off that their inflight can be great. However, I found the crew to still lack professionalism. The crew, both on the ground and in the air, were far below average. The customer service was awful.
All in all, I’m very disappointed with the handling of the situation and the TAP staff. I’ll be avoiding this airline at any cost.