Portuguese airline and Star Alliance member TAP is in the midst of refreshing its A330 longhaul fleet. The retrofit project means new seats in both business and economy class. The angled seats in business class are out and lie-flat beds are in.
TAP released a very cool time-lapse video that documents one A330 transformation–
TAP’s new Business Class will feature Thompson Vantage seats, similar to what we see on South African Airways.
I find these seats extremely comfortable and look forward to flying TAP again. While TAP’s color scheme is very plain, it should age well.
TAP is also installing Economy Plus on its retrofitted planes. This will not be a true premium economy product. Instead, it will be similar to United’s Economy Plus that simply offers more legroom (34″ vs. 31″). Economy Plus seats are free for TAP’s elite members and can be reserved for $65 on transatlantic trips. Reservations must be made at least 72 hours prior to travel.
How Do I Fly the New TAP Business Class?
Currently, the new TAP Business Class appears on flights between Lisbon and Boston/New York JFK. TAP also flies to Miami and Newark and I would expect Newark to be the next lie-flat destinations since it competes with United.
Paid fares can be very reasonable — always check before using your points. If you do plan on using miles, note that business class is 88K r/t with ANA, 55K one-way with Aeroplan, or 70K one-way with United. Fuel surcharges on Aeroplan or ANA run about $500 r/t between the USA and Lisbon, more if you are connecting to a point deeper into Europe. United does not pass on fuel surcharges.
TAP’s new business class is competitive and I look forward to flying it. To offer a consistent product, I hope that the retrofit program will progress quickly.