11 July 2009 TAP Portugal TP 742 Lisbon (LIS) - Barcelona (BCN) A320 CS-TQD Economy Class
Next leg of the trip was to Barcelona! I got a very good deal on TAP with a one-way fare to BCN from LIS for only 58Euros per person inclusive of taxes! Not a bad deal for a full-service airline! Initially was quite apprehensive after reading all the not-so-good reviews about the airline but it turned out eventually to be my best ever intra-european flight experience!
Arrived at the airport and used the self-check-in machines, followed by bag drop at the check-in desk. The agent in agent was very pleasant and full of smiles. Not a bad start.
TAP check-in desks
After checking in, we wandered about the airport. Lisbon airport is not very big and very soon, we ran out of shops to go to. Proceeded through security and went to Macdonalds for lunch. When we view the flight information board, we saw that our flight would be delayed for 20min, presumably due to late arrival of aircraft. The flight was also code-shared with SATA.
Soon, our plane arrived and taxied to the gate. The plane was upgraded to an A320 from the scheduled A319.
CS-TQD taxiing to gate.
Boarding was done free for all and no row numbers were called. But surprisingly, it was quite orderly.
KLM B738 from the aerobridge while boarding.
A very warm welcome by the crew as we stepped onboard. Seats were leather upholstered, just like most European carriers and pitch was average. Cabin was well-maintained and clean. Crew were in good moods and they were also definitely one of the most good looking crew members on an airline, all young and vibrant. There were a total of 5 cabin crew members on this flight.
Boarding in process. LCD overhead tv monitors were showing some TAP advertisements.
Seat pitch. Just average, definitely less than BA.
Inflight magazine, duty-free magazine and safety card.
Soon, all pax had boarded and we started to push back. Flight time was announced to be 1hr30min. The safety demo was played on the overhead monitors.
Safety video (not taken by me)
As the taxi to the active runway in very short, we had to hold for the safety video to finish playing.
Taxiing for takeoff. Note all the TAP planes.
After a Fedex plane attempted to land and went around, probably due to strong crosswind, we taxied onto the runway and immediately started our takeoff roll. The crosswind was really strong! We could feel the yawing of the plane during takeoff quite strongly.
Banking towards Spain after takeoff
We climbed to our cruising altitude and overhead monitors came down again to show our flight map.
Cabin service started shortly. Meal consisted of a sandwich with fruit salad followed by full bar service, and then coffee or tea. Cabin crew were all smiles during the service and seemed to be enjoying their work. They were also very professional in handling passenger requests. When my friend requested for a glass of white wine, the crew actually showed my friend the wine bottle and explain where the wine was from and the brand. Interestingly, TAP uses large wine bottles to serve wine, similar to Asian carriers, and not the small individual wine bottles normally used by European airlines.
Very friendly, professional and good-looking crew on TAP
Our meal. The sandwich was a bit dry but the fruit salad was good!
Coffee, white wine and apple juice. Lots of drinks are available!
Overflying Madrid airport
Over the dry Spanish land
After meal and bar service were done and trash collected, the duty free service started. Surprisingly, quite a lot of sales were done, including from me. After I bought my item, i asked if they had any playing cards onboard. Initially, the steward misunderstood me and gave me a postcard but after realizing his mistake, he brought a pack of playing cards for me and even apologized! How's that for service!! In fact, I was even surprised that they had playing cards onboard as BA did not have any stocked on their european flights, as claimed by the crew. The crew were on their feet throughout and the duty free service lasted till we were on our final descent. In fact, the crew took their seats only when the gears were down and ensuring the cabin is secured, which is just slightly more than a minute before landing!
Descending into Barcelona
We landed smoothly and taxied to the new Barcelona Terminal 1, just a couple of weeks after its opening! The new terminal was very airy and spacious and felt a bit like Hong Kong Airport. There were also a lot of shops such as Zara, Desigual and many more spanish brands with summer sales to go, making the airport seems like a shopping mall! I would mind being delayed at this terminal!
Parked at the gate beside a LH A321
Our plane again
Terminal 1. Very new, bright, spacious and clean.
Shops ahead. Its the summer sales!
TAP Air Portugal
Lisbon - LIS
Barcelona - BCN
Overall, I am very satisfied with TAP on this short flight. Given my expectations were quite low, this flight had highly exceeded my expectations of TAP. In fact, they were much better than BA inflight service wise, except for the slight delay. Crew were genuinely friendly and very professional, just like any world class asian carrier. I was genuinely impressed by TAP on this flight!
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