TAP Air Portugal: My First Flight
To travel from Barcelona to Lisbon, I had a choice of airlines. Vueling Airlines was one of the choices; but my experience with Vueling Airlines was less than stellar. Another flight operated by Transportes Aéreos Portugueses — an airline better known as TAP Air Portugal — was similarly priced; so I chose to travel as a passenger on that airline.
TAP Air Portugal: My First Flight
The Airbus A320-200 R airplane on which I was to fly as a passenger arrived at least an hour late. It was named after Florbela Espanca, who was a Portuguese poet who committed suicide on her birthday on Monday, December 8, 1930 at only 36 years of age. This airplane is almost 19 years old, and its registration is CS-TNJ.
After waiting in the spacious area near the gate, passengers boarded the airplane in two lines. The interior of the airplane resembled that of other typical legacy airlines.
Passengers who were assigned seats in the premium economy class section were able to enjoy adjustable headrests and more leg room…
…but because I purchased the least expensive fare, I was assigned a seat in the economy class section towards the rear of the airplane. These seats were slimline seats which seemed similar to those found on the airplane on which I was a passenger operated by Vueling Airlines; but these seats seemed more comfortable — especially as more leg room was available.
I received no fewer than five e-mail messages from the airline offering me to bid money on an upgraded seat. I declined, as the duration of the flight was only one hour and 55 minutes.
Because the flight was short in duration, I had no need to recline; so I do not recall if each seat in the economy class cabin had the capability to recline.
The control panel above each seat included adjustable air vents, reading lights and a call button for a member of the flight crew — all of which passengers have to reach up above to operate.
On the side of each seat was a coat hook; and the back of each seat had a seat pocket and a typically sized tray table.
Passengers were served a snack with a napkin and a choice of beverage.
The sandwich was ham and cheese on a small baguette with some mild pesto sauce of a pale orange color. I do not like neither ham nor cheese; so I peeled them off of the sandwich and ate only the bread, which was okay and nothing special — but I was glad to have something to eat.
This Pastel de Nata — which is a custard egg tart — is a specialty of Belem, which is located near Lisbon in Portugal. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert.
The total cost of basic airfare for my flight was $42.04, which included a snack and a seat assignment. I did not have to pay extra for anything. I thought that this was a good deal.
The duration of the flight was approximately one hour and 55 minutes; and the airplane departed later from the gate than originally scheduled because the inbound aircraft was late. I did not use any of the lavatories aboard the aircraft; so I cannot comment on that part of the experience.
The biggest disappointment I experienced was that I did not earn any MileagePlus miles — even though TAP Air Portugal and United Airlines are members of Star Alliance — because my fare class was O. In fact, none of the following fare classes of TAP Air Portugal earn any MileagePlus miles if not purchased through United Airlines: A, E, F, I, N, O, P, R, T, and X.
My experience with TAP Air Portugal was basically average and nothing special or memorable. I recommend flying as a passenger with that airline if you want a decent flight at a reasonable cost for short itineraries within Europe.
All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.