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Thursday 28 March 2024

Flying with TAP Air Portugal From Lisbon to London Heathrow

 Welcome to my part 2 of my TAP Air Portugal Flight Experience! 

A TAP's Airbus A321neo waiting for permission to push back.


After a marvallous 5 days in Lisbon with my loved ones, it was time to head back. I chose the afternoon flight for convenience and I was glad that the Airbus A321neo was scheduled to operate on this flight. I did a check on the history of TP1364, the retro livery operated on the previous 2 days and of course as expected, I was assigned another aircraft. Thanks to Flightradar24, I knew my assigned aircraft a few days before my flight. 

This is TAP Air Portugal's retro livery CS-TJR (Photo: Edwin van Hassel)

About my time in Lisbon, I like how affordable things are and is certainly cheaper than in London and other major cities in Europe. In addition, enjoy the delicious local food and the beautiful view of the city especially those tourist attractions, these are reasons are enough for you to consider visiting. 2 or 3 days are enough to cover this capital city of Portugal. 

What I don't like about the city is the footpath can be tricky to walk on for it's smooth surface and also how confusing and troublesome the metro fare system is. Why did I say that? It took me a while to figure out how to buy 3 one-way tickets to my destination. For the metro over here, you need to purchase 3 tickets and then select the number of trips for each ticket. Do not that this ticket that you purchased can be reused again. For top up, get the machine to read your  card option and then from there it will indicate whether you have trips left or not, if there is no more trips then you can top up. What makes it more challenging for me is that some machines were in dire condition, the screen resolution of some of them were quite bad. I had to look away for a short while to prevent myself from developing a headache. 

Anyway, do note if you are departing from terminal 2 and arriving by train to the airport, the train system stops outside terminal 1 and you need to take a bus shuttle to terminal 2. There are signboards leading you to the assembly point for the free airport shuttle.

About Lisbon Airport 

Humberto Delgardo Airport is the name of this Lisbon Airport is located northeast of Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal and is one of the main airports in Europe that served an important hub to South America and Africa. This airport was opened in 1942 and only started developing after the world war 2 ended. Currently ANA (Not the airline) Aeroportos de Portugal is responsible for the airport and so far it has expanded the airport by building a second terminal which is used exclusively for low cost carriers. 

The airport layout of LIS airport (Photo: Columbus Travel Media)

The map of Lisbon Metro system (Photo: Lisbonlisboaportugal.com)

My time in Lisbon 

This is my accommodation in Lisbon near Arrorios metro station. 

Night time 

Day Time 

After arriving to our accommodation, we settled for dinner at a local restaurant nearby. The food was absolutely delicious. I had the steak and fries and it was good, accompanied with a bottle of wine. 

A typical street in Lisbon.

The view from Castelo de S.Jorge 

Do you recognise this footballer model on display? He is none other than Christiano Ronaldo.

This is the area of Rossio 

Santa Maria Maior 

The view is absolutely stunning especially in good weather. 

I had the octopus for lunch and it was served with vegetables and potatoes, absolutely delicious.

My mum had the fish which comes with the same side dishes. 

This is the one of the most popular brand for egg tarts stall in Lisbon. 

This is Doca de Belem. 

This is Santuario de Christo Rei.

Padraos Dos Descobrimentos monument 

Checking in with TAP Air Portugal's return flight 

Fortunately the computer system assigned us to the row just in front of the emergency door. It pays to check-in early especially for those without assigned seat. Just like my recent flights with Gulf Air, you need to pay to change seats during check-in, probably only applies on Economy Light or similar tier fare. 

The airline offered lounge access and gave us a chance to upgrade to business class but it was an easy decision to skip them.

On the day of departure 

Even though we had plenty of time before our flight departure, we decided to head to the airport early as dragging our cabin baggage across the footpath was not ideal. 

Although the weather looks good, it was also another windy day. 

This is terminal 1 

This is how the check-in desks look like in Lisbon Airport

There are a good number of eateries available in this terminal. Airport WiFi is available. 

There is a little bit of latin American feeling about this airport in my opinion.

This is the 2nd level of the departure hall (land side).

Self check-in kiosks 

To play safe, I decided to print the boarding passes for us.

Boarding pass received. 

We settled down for a cup of coffee.

You see this signboard just outside the terminal. The ride to terminal 2 takes around 5 minutes. 

Terminal 2 

This is only one eatery at the land side of this terminal. Airport WiFi is available. 

This is like a budget style terminal reminded me of the old defunct budget terminal at Changi Airport. (replaced by terminal 4) 

The airlines operating from this terminal (March 2024) are Eurowings, Ryanair, Norwegian, Transavia, Volotea, Vueling and Wizzair. It has a daily operating hours from 0330 to 0030. 

I flew with Ryanair once and I wouldn't mind trying them again perhaps for the MAX 8-200? I would like to add this to my list of aircraft flown.

There are vending machines around to purchase snacks and beverages. 

Once I was done, I took the shuttle bus back to terminal 1. 

The exterior of LIS airport terminal 1 

As my mum and partner were hungry, we decided to head to a cafetaria upstairs to grab some food. 

This is a family room 

Somehow this reminds me of GRU (Sao Paulo) Airport Terminal 2. 

This is where we had our meals. 

I chose the octopus with rice, not as good as the one I had at Belem but this would do. 

I did a check on my aircraft's location, it was about 10 minutes to landing at Lisbon. 

Not the best screen resolution for the flight display, time for an upgrade?

Once we cleared security check, we headed to the duty free to buy some items.

We bought some chocolate. 

After which, we headed to our gate.

This is the central atrium. 

It was very crowded and since there wasn't much space to sit, we decided to settle down near our gate.

At this point, I was wondering how come we didn't have to go through immigration since we were departing for a non European Union country.

This is Swiss Airlines A321ceo.

An Air France Airbus A319 heading back to Paris CDG Airport.

This is TAP's Airbus A321neo.

After checking my flight status, I realised we were at a wrong gate and quickly after grabbing a couple of 1 Euro mineral water at the vending machine, I went to look for my mum at the gate and we made our way to the correct gate and this time we past through immigration (fortunately the queue was short) to access to the gates for non-EU cities. There are some vending machines at the airside but there is one near immigration at that time sold mineral water for 1 Euro, cheaper than the others that were selling at 2.20 Euro.

There are more eateries at the land side and it was crowded. 

We had to walk fast to make our way to immigration. At this point, I was getting a bit nervous because of the time. 

This is one of the airline's A330neo and it was heading for Miami. 

It was quite a rushing experience for us as the time was ticking fast, but fortunately we were not the latest to arrive and boarding had not started. 

Gate 43B was our assigned gate. 

It was already 1345 and yet boarding haven't started? Departure time was 1405 and that means one thing we would be departing late. Blessing in disguise if you ask me.


Gate 43A, B or C? That means 1 thing, airport bus to the aircraft!

Once we had our boarding passes scanned, we were stuck at the staircase for a good 15 minutes, I think we missed the first bus but the second bus shouldn't have taken this long to arrive or maybe there wasn't a second bus? Only the airport staff knows.

My ride, CS-TJQ (Photo: Josecampelo)

Airbus A321-251NX (Leased from CDB Aviation)
Aircraft name: Humberto Delgado 
Configuration: CY221
Engines: 2 X CFMI LEAP 1A32 
Delivered to airline in January 2020
9308th Airbus built 
Age: 4 Years Old (March 2024)

Route: LHR-LIS 

Miles: 972 

My seat: 26B (Photo: Aerolopa.com)

There are 4 different types of configuration for the airline's A321neo. 

Airbus A321neo-LR (C16 Y155) - IFE system in every seat and lie-flat business class seats comes with Airbus XL overhead bins 
Airbus A321neo (CY 216) - Standard cabin 
Airbus A321neo (CY 221) - my aircraft's configuration - Airbus XL overhead bins
Airbus A321neo (W16 Y182) - Standard cabin

C- Business Class 
W - Premium Economy Class 
Y - Economy Class 

Airline: TAP Air Portugal 
Flight: TP1364
Route: LIS-LHR 
Aircraft: Airbus A321neo
Registration: CS-TJQ 
Terminal: 1 
Gate: 43B 
Schedule departure: 1605 
Boarding: 1547
Pushed back: 1640
Take off: 1651 
Flight Time: 2 hours 10 mins 
Actual Flight Time: 2 hours 10 mins 
Schedule arrival time: 1855
Actual arrival time: 1900
Departure runway: 03
Arrrival runway: 27L 

Business Class (Same seat as the A320neo)

These Recaro BL 3530 seats have a dimension of 17.6 inches wide with a legroom space of 32 inches and can recline up to 8.4 degrees. This depends on the business class demand, the airline can assign business class seats up to row 17 but seldom would there be many business class sold especially on short haul flights. For the rows of the business class cabin, the middle seats remain vacant and after doing a quick check, I believe the business class seats is up to row 4. For the remaining seats, they are classified as EconomyXtra which the middle seat would be sold. These BL3530 seats are fitted in row 1 to 17. 

USB-A and AC sockets are available on these seats. (Do note: this photo was taken from my A320neo trip report - I didn't take manage to take photos of this section of the A321neo) 

For the Airbus A321neo-LR cabin, it features the business class product and you can check out the trip report from The Upgraded Points (Daniel Ross) over here.

Economy Class 

This is the standard economy class cabin featuring the Recaro SL3510 seats. With the exception of the emergency row seats, the seats have a seat pitch of 28 inches. However for this cabin, the seats do not recline and just like the A320neo's product, USB-A and AC socket are not available in this section. 

This is the last row of the first section of the Economy Class. 

We were sitting at the last row just in front of the emergency door. 

The recaro seats does look nice even in this tight configuration. 

The larger size overhead compartment is certainly an improvement over the standard product. 

For my flight experience with TAP on both flights, the mood lighting wasn't in used. 

The view from my seat 

My in-flight experience 

Just like my previous flight, we departed late without any information why but checking with Flightradar24 on this aircraft's previous flight, it arrived 9 minutes ahead of schedule so why the delay? In hindsight, it actually worked out for us as we arrived at the gate quite late, too late for my liking. 

Once on board, I settled for the middle seat. Just like my previous flight with TAP (A320neo), it was cramp but at least I was sitting with my family members so not too bad. About 40 minutes on the aircraft, we were finally on our way, no updates from the Captain until later part of the flight. 

While taxing to the runway, it started raining and off we went! The turbulence was not as bad as what I was anticipating and for most parts of the flight, it was smooth. Cabin crew came around to do the BOB (Buy On Board) service and this time, we noticed someone ordering water and wasn't charged so we did the same. I hope that the airline would offer complimentary beverage and snack for regional flights, at least make yourself look different from Low Cost Carriers, even the likes of GOL, Azul (Low Cost or Hybrid airline - you decide!) offer a complimentary drink and snack and the flights I flew on with them were shorter than an hour! 

Finally before started our descent, our female Captain came on and updated us on our arrival and weather update and with a prediction of light turbulence during our approach. The weather in London was gloomy as always and we did encounter some light ones but it wasn't as bad as my previous flight. Despite departing late, we arrived just 5 minutes after our schedule arrival time, so that's not too bad. 

More photos of my seat 

Legroom space is at 29 inches. For a 6 foot 4 traveller, it wasn't comfortable. 

The foldable tray 

What's inside the seat pocket? 

2 small cans cost 6 Euros? That's too much isn't it? I always like to check the prices of the meals to see which airline offers the most ridiculous pricing. 

Advertisment of this alcoholic beverage. 

Safety card of my ride. The airline has printed different safety cards for the A321neo due to the different configuration. 

You need to request for water when they come around doing the BOB (Buy on Board) service.

Window view photos (Take off to Landing)

Time to go! 

Unlike my first day in Lisbon, the weather was gloomy. It seems like the weather in London followed us here. 

Once we reached the runway, it started pouring. 

Off we go, fortunately it wasn't turbulent. 

Goodbye Lisbon, until next time! 

We flew through some unfriendly clouds. 

Just a few more moments later, we were out of this gloomy weather. 

There we are, at this point, it started to get dark. 

TAP's wing logo is really nice, agree? 

The last ray of light. 

At this point, we started our descent into LHR airport. 

We followed the traffic east into London which allows to enjoy some view of the city. 

At this point, it was slightly turbulence as we flew through some low ceiling clouds. 

Can you spot the Eye? (Below) 

We were on final approach to runway 27L. 


A great landing from the PIC (Pilot-in-command)

The taxi from runway 27L didn't take long and we reached our gate in less than 10 minutes. 

We parked besides Singapore Airlines and that reminded me of my flight home a few days later.

My flight summary 

Back in London! 

It took us about 15 minutes to reach the automated machines for clearance into the country.

Once we were out, we took the Tube to Tower Hill station. 

This is Tower Bridge! 

My ratings 

Airline Mobile App/Website: 2/5 
Airport Experience (LIS Terminal 1): 3/5 
In-Flight Experience: 3/5
In-Flight Entertainment: 0/5
Seat Comfort: 3.5/5 
Cabin Ambiance: 4/5
Cabin Cleanliness/Condition: 5/5
Punctuality: 4/5
In-Flight Meal/Snack: 1/5 (For the water) 
Overall rating: 25.5/50 
Percentage: 51%


Considering the total cost of the price I paid for these tickets, I don't think it is any different from flying with a low cost carrier. Like they say you get what you pay. I was hoping at least to earn some miles but up till today, I haven't received any. Some airlines are generous to give miles even if your ticket is at the lowest tier but not this airline. Whatever it is. I am glad to have gotten this airline off my list of airlines to fly. If you are lucky, you can experience the better in-flight products on the airline's A321neo-LR which sometimes fly within Europe, probably to high demand regional routes. 

For the soft and hard products on the narrow-body aircraft (excluding the A321LR), there isn't anything to shout about. However, I like the stylish crew's uniform and the cabin interior of both aircraft I flew on. Unfortunately, the lack of amenities such as complimentary snack and entertainment system is a let down and for more than 3 hours flight, one can expect more especially paying more to fly TAP over the low cost carriers. At least if one has a Star Alliance Gold status, he or she can visit the lounges and earn benefits like any other Star alliance airlines members get and perhaps get complimentary upgrade to better seats if its available. 

As for Lisbon Airport, it is certainly not the most modern in Europe but at least there is a train connection to the heart of the city and also offers a good number of restaurants at both the air and landside. With complimentary wifi at the airport, there are places to sit around and do whatever you do, so that's a good thing. Do ensure you reach there with sufficient time especially depends on where you are heading to. The Once you pass through security, for flights within Europe including domestic flights (Schengen zone), you don't have to go through immigration process. However, if you are flying to non European union countries, you need to follow the sign towards the (non Schengen area) immigration counters where the officer will stamp on your passport to confirm your exit out of this country. 

Overall, I enjoyed my time with my family and despite the bits of hiccups, the trip went well and would I fly with TAP again? Maybe on the A321neo-LR and A330neo but depends on where I go and for now, my main focus is to fly as many airlines as I can and hopefully can reach 150th airline by end of next year. That is tough, but I hope to make it work and I am planning to have a huge celebration when that time comes. 

For my previous trip report (TAP LHR-LIS A320neo), click here

For my next trip report: Flying home with Qantas A380 from LHR to SIN, click here

Hope you enjoy this trip report and have a good one! 

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