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TAP Air Portugal A321neo European Business Class (Executive Class) Review

Like with my prior review I just wanted to publish something that was quick to write (well that didn't work, I took this flight back in March 2023). I have reviewed several other European Carrier's Intra-Europe Business Class and TAP's Executive Class is not much different. I could end it there ;) but each Airline in Europe is unique with different catering, service, lounges. etc. so I will continue.

My wife and I were flying from Lisbon to Paris and had two choices (nonstop). Either fly Air France to CDG or TAP to Orly. A few things helped sway my decision. TAP has several flights a day and this flight left late morning (which was comfortable for us) plus, it is a member of Star Alliance which would have been the deciding factor if we were flying Economy (I have higher status with Star Alliance than SkyTeam) but because we purchased a Business Class ticket, fare was a factor along with the fact Lisbon is TAP's home base (along with Porto) therefore I assumed their Lounge would be better than what Air France was using. Another factor was I know Air France no longer serves hot meals in Business within Europe (or at least on flights under 3 hours) and I had read where TAP does (specifically on this route - turned out not to be the case :( ). I get some strange enjoyment eating onboard airplanes so while this was important to me, it may not be for others. Especially since Air France's catering has a good reputation.

Check-in was easy at Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS). Business Class and Star Alliance Elite members on both Schengen and Non-Schengen flights check in at the Premium Customer Centre area. Agent was very friendly but not very informative. Made no mention of Lounge or Fast Track. Which was not operating when we went through security and was not needed as security was also was very easy.

The TAP Premium Lounge is located after security on the second level of the Schengen shopping area. The Lounge was nice, with plenty to eat and drink (I think the Lunch and Dinner spread is more appealing), but certainly not the same as what other European Carrier's main airport lounges are like. The ANA Lounge (which Air France passengers use) is next door and appears to be very similar to TAP's Premium Lounge.

Boarding was by groups with Business Class, TAP Miles&Go Premium and Star Alliance Gold passengers being the first to board (I think families with small children too). This benefit was negated by the fact we were departing from a Bus Gate and waited on the bus for over 20 minutes before heading to our plane. Like many European Airports a good percentage of flights departing Lisbon were from a remote stand.

We received a warm greeting as we boarded the new A321neo. The interior was very nice as this plane couldn't have been more than a few months old. The seats are grey leather with red trim around the headrest (moveable). Like all other European Airlines (except Turkish, S7 & Aeroflot) the Business Class cabin is the same 3x3 configuration as Economy. The main difference is the middle seat is left empty for more space and the number of rows can be adjusted depending on loads. TAP doesn't block of center seat with a tray table so you can lift armrests and add significant width with your seat, When I was choosing our seats there were only two rows in Business, but there were four rows designated as Executive on this flight. There were only 5 passengers in business so despite sitting in a Coach seat there was a feeling of space and privacy. The overheads are large, but not as big as the new overheads where you can fit a Rollaboard on its side thus fitting more bags in the overheads. There was nothing at the seat as you arrived and no pre-departure drink. It was cold outside and on the airplane. It would have been nice to have a blanket. I found out later that there were blankets and pillows in the overhead and available on request. The Executive Class seats have 32 inches of pitch compared to Economy's 30 inches (standard recline). Since the cabin can be extended, I am not sure what row this extra leg room ends. So, stands to reason it is better to pick a seat towards the front. The bulkhead seat appeared to have even more leg room, but the tray table is in the armrest preventing it from raising and therefore those seats are slightly narrower than the standard 18" (17.6 on TAP's site). The seats and configuration (and service) will be the same on their A320's, A319's and older A321-200's, as it is on the A321neo.

There is a power plug and USB port on the bottom of the seat in front of you and on the bottom of the bulkhead seats. The seatback pockets are rather small, but there is a device holder on top of the seatback (bulkhead would not have this feature). Now this device holder would imply there is some sort of own device IFE or Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there is neither. Currently, TAP only has Wi-Fi on their A330neo's and A321LR neo's. I would think at some point TAP will add Wi-Fi, but at least you can comfortably watch pre-loaded content on your own device. The recline is standard for an Economy seat.

It took a while for the meal service to start. It was started with a beverage and then the meal was served. No menu, no choice just the meal. Much to my chagrin, my decision to fly TAP due to this route serving a hot meal backfired. The meal consisted of Cubed Pumpkin, Cold Meats & Cheese, an Egg Wrap, Fruit and a Pastel de Nata for dessert. The flight attendant came by several time with a breadbasket and additional beverages. My wife loved the 10-year Tawny Port. I wasn't a fan of the main dish (she did like it) but the bread and fruit were very good, and the Pastel de Nata was great. A real treat!! Coffee and Tea were served after the meal service ended. I do know that they serve a full hot meal on this route because a month prior to this flight I saw someone posted the Business Class meal. Most likely because the flight was in between Breakfast and Lunch is why this meal was served. Two flight attendants were assigned to the Business Class cabin and both were very pleasant. Announcements were in both English and Portuguese (no French). There is one Lavatory in the front (and two in the rear).

TAP also fly's an a321neo (A321LR) that is configured with international lie-flat business class seats. They do not fly these planes within Europe, nor do I think to Northern Africa. These aircraft are used on some transatlantic (EWR & BOS) and African routes. The interior of these planes are very different to the A321neo. As noted above, they have Wi-Fi, plus all the luxuries of an international business Class product - much better catering, seatback IFE, etc. and they have Economy Extra (Comfort Area) seats.

Overall, TAP's Executive Class is typical of all the other European airlines Intra-European Business Class. I would say their leg room may be better and their catering is as good if not better than most. Their fares are very competitive, and Portugal is a great place to visit. So, I look forward flying TAP Air Portugal in the future.

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