AMSTERDAM – Before flying to my holiday destination, Lisbon, I had been e-mailed by TAP that they organised an upgrade from Economy class to Business Class. For the first time I got the chance to try out TAP’s short-haul Business Class. These Business class seats are actually identical to normal Economy seats, however the middle seat is blocked for more privacy. I was very curious how TAP’s short-haul Business Class would be in comparison to it’s European competitors.
My flight would depart at 7 AM, so two hours prior departure I arrived at the airport to be able to get some breakfast in the lounge before flying. In Amsterdam TAP is using the Aspire Lounge, which is a small(compared to Skyteam’s lounge at Schiphol for example) but pretty modern lounge.
With no checked luggage and no crowded security, I arrived at the lounge slightly before 5:15. When I arrived, there was a big queue in front of the door because the lounge was not opened yet. I didn’t know this(better check opening-hours before the next time!). At 5:30 the lounge opened and now I could start having a breakfast.
Entering the lounge, there was a bar with some food-and drinkoptions and there was a bookcase with multiple newspapers and magazines.
The lounge was not really big and at this time in the morning it was already quite filled up with people. Despite this, the lounge felt modern and spacious. There were 2 work area’s with comfortable chairs and a lot of wall sockets to charge your electronics. In spite of the good workingplace, there was no free-WIFI available! The premium connection came at extra cost of which I thought is pretty strange for a Business Class lounge.
When I arrived at the gate, boarding had just started. I was able to walk straight into the aircraft using the premium-boarding lane. In the plane I was surprised by the look and feel of the cabin, the seats were new and very clean. My seat for the flight was 1A, which I usually prefer to take to be able to leave the aircraft swiftly and have more leg space. However on this flight I would recommend a seat behind the first row, as the bulkhead in 1A is pretty close and there was less legroom available than expected. These seats have a pitch of 32-inch and a width of 22-inch, which is fine for a short-flight. A big advantage of these seats is that there was a power point available to charge electronics via USB-cable, something you usually only see on long-haul Business class aircraft.
Within 30 minutes from boardingtime, we were ready for pushback. Due to a lot of early morning rush-hour traffic we had to wait at the gate for about 20 minutes. After that we had a short taxi to the runway and we took-off to destination, Lisbon.
About 40 minutes into the flight the flight attendant gave me a packet with a refreshing towel and asked me what I would like to drink. Shortly after breakfast was served. Unfortunately there was only one choice and no menu-card available. The breakfast was reasonable. I got multiple choices of cheese, salami and jam to put on the fresh bread and a kind of mashed apple. It all had a good taste.
On this flight there were 2 flight-attendants assigned for 4 passengers in Business Class. This was very customer oriented, because throughout the whole flight the FA’s came to check if we wanted something to drink or to eat. They would always do so with a big smile, this gave me very comfortable touch to my Business class experience.
Just before landing I got a nice cup of tea and then it was already time to start our decent into Lisbon after 2 hours and 10 minutes of flying. After a smooth landing, I had to say goodbye to the friendly TAP-crew who were very professional during the whole flight.
Concluding my flight, I think TAP has a very well organised Business class for flights within Europe if you would compare it to other European airlines. Unfortunately, I’m always pretty disappointed that the Hard product is still an Economy seat with a blocked middle-seat. However the soft product was excellent, the crew was friendly, very professional and the food was quite tasty. I will definitely fly TAP again but maybe I would go for Economy class, to receive a better value for your money.