TAP Air - a personal review!
TAP Air (Air Portugal) was an airline that I was previously unfamiliar with. On our recent trip to Europe, I had the pleasure of experiencing this airline! The airline had excellent value and different levels of 'perks' that you could pick and choose to customize your experience. You can even book your flight with a free stop over (up to 5 days) if you would like to enjoy the beautiful cities of Lisbon or Porto!
TIP: It is important to note for all those DIY'ers out there - when you book your flight through OTA's (online travel agencies - like Expedia / Red Tag, etc.) you are only getting the discount fare (basic fare with no seat selection or luggage included)! We heard many complaints from guests who were shocked at the fees for luggage at the check in counter!!
You can even book your flight with a free stop over (up to 5 days) if you would like to enjoy the beautiful cities of Lisbon or Porto!
We chose the Classic fare for our flights. Even though we did not have any check in baggage (more on how to travel Europe for 17 days in a Carry-on later!!), I liked the flexibility of knowing I could check a bag if I shopped too much through my vacation and needed an extra one for the way home! I also liked that I could choose a premium economy seat (Executive Class next time for this girl!!). We had a 4 hour connection in Lisbon, so we also chose to purchase the Premium Lounge Access! What a treat!
The booking: I booked my flights direct with the airline - carefully weighing the options of seat selection / bags / lounge access, etc. Booking was fairly simple. TAP has an app that I downloaded to my phone and was able to access my online check-in easily and conveniently. Once checked in online, I had the choice of printing, saving, texting or emailing my boarding passes!
Basic economy flight overseas. It was a night flight, so we were greeted with pillows and blankets on our seats and a great selection of current movies. The meal was standard (we had the option before check in to order vegetarian / gluten free / special diet meals). The flight was uneventful and we managed to get a bit of rest through the night.
We had a 4 hour connection on our first flight. We opted to purchase a pass to the brand new Lisbon TAP Premium Lounge to pass the time. It was well worth it. There is a full spread of meats, cheese, breads, pasta and hot soups! Plenty of selection for beverages (hot, cold, alcoholic and non) as well! Complimentary Wi-Fi, showers and comfy chairs made the 4 hours a whole lot less painful! If you choose not to purchase the premium lounge, the regular waiting areas are full of cafes, shops, charging ports and more. There are some quiet - off the beaten path areas that you can find to help the time idle by while you wait.
The short (express) flights:
This was a bit more disappointing. The aircraft resembled a smaller version of Spirit Airlines here in North America. Slim, uncomfortable seats, less room for hand luggage (ours had to be checked - complimentary - but still a pain when we didn't plan to wait for luggage in Barcelona). They still served beverages and the service was the same friendly feel, however, the aircraft was not nearly as comfortable as the larger / cushier version!
On our return our departure from Brussels was delayed, thus, we missed our connection back to Toronto (by a whopping 14 minutes I might add). While it was a HUGE disappointment, TAP Airlines did exactly what I would expect any airline to do. They met us at our boarding gate prepared with new boarding passes for the next day, and a voucher for a hotel for the night / taxis / all meals. At the end of your vacation, when you are looking forward to seeing your own bed, a missed connection is devastating. Alas, we made the best of it! We watched the sun set over the beautiful city of Lisbon from the balcony of our hotel 🙂
All in all - I would happily fly with TAP Airlines again! Despite the hiccup on the way home, they were an excellent airline to fly with!