The airline with the best average rating is TAP Air Portugal with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 43 minutes.More information
I am delighted to be writing this short series of 4 flight reports with TAP Air Portugal with whom I flew to Madeira Island (I'm back at home now). The reports will cover flights WAW-LIS-FNC-LIS-WAW on 3 different types of aircrafts: A20N, A21N and 320. I will also make some remarks on travelling to Portugal during the COVID-19 pandemic and I will try to include some pics from Madeira in one of the reports too (spoiler alert: it was amazing in there).
In this report you'll find:
- Early morning departure from Lisbon Terminal 1
- Flight from Lisbon to Funchal (review of the green Economy seats on the A321neo ACF, which I haven't reviewed on the previous flight)
- Landing into Funchal
- COVID experience at Funchal Airport
- A hotel recommendation on Madeira (in the tourism bonus section)
The return ticket to Madeira from Warsaw was around 250 Euros which I think is quite a good price. We only bought the tickets 2 weeks before departure and picked TAP Discount fare, which is the cheapest one, only including hand luggage.
Flight number TP1699
Route Lisbon Portela - Funchal Madeira
Flight date 5th April 2021, 0715-0905 (actual 0722-0853)
Scheduled flight time 1:50 (actual 1:32)
Aircraft model Airbus A321neo ACF
Aircraft registration CS-TJP
Seating configuration CY221
Aircraft age (at the time of flight) 1.4 years
Seat number 16F
Departure gate 23S (jet bridge)
Arrival gate "Walking" gate in Funchal
Load factor (approx.) 31%
After a short night at Holiday Inn Express in Lisbon (we arrived the previous night after 10pm), it was time to continue our journey to Madeira. We were not the only people continuing to FNC from the last evening's flight from WAW, but the these two couples travelling on the same itinerary stayed at the airport to spend the night there. But I think, choosing a night in a hotel was a good decision, our Holiday Inn was 5 mins by uber from LIS terminal 1, and was quite a good value for money. We also got packed breakfast just before we left the hotel at 6am, to eat it on the plane.
That's the hotel. Nothing special, and not a really pleasant neighbourhood but fine for a short layover.
We arrived at T1 in Lisbon 6:15, so an hour before our departure, which was more than enough, as the airport was really empty that early in the morning. Everything was closed: shops, cafes - I think there was only 1 cafe open, at leas I only saw one. But we went straight to the gate and were actually 15 mins early. Boarding started at gate 23S, at about 6:45 and was quite quick. It was done in groups: Priority passengers, Group A (rear of the aircraft), Group B (front section of the green=cheaper cabin), Group C (Economy Xtra=front of Economy cabin). We were group A with seats assigned at the very back and so we boarded as one of the first passengers.
Again, like on our previous flight, when we stepped on board this brand new A321neo, it felt so fresh inside, literally as if it just left the factory in Hamburg (even though it joined the fleet 1.4 years ago-December 2019, it was stored due to COVID between 24 JUN 2020 and 2 APR 2021, so only started flying 3 days before our flight). The crew at the doors seemed sleepy and wasn't as cheerful, as the one on our flight to Warsaw (but wasn't unkind either, just very neutral).
An empty cabin of our A321neo, as passengers are still about to board. I love this rare view!
Luckily enough, after my very kind request, we were "granted" seats in the exit row again, so that I didn't have to squeeze my long legs in the 28" legroom in the green zone.
Super nice legroom in 16F - and much much better than the legroom in A320neo exit row! Notice however, that the configuration on this aircraft (A321neo ACF) only applies to 3 TAP's aircrafts: CS-TJP, -TJQ & -TJR, other A321neos have slightly fewer seats.
Such a nice morning - as passengers were still boarding, the relaxeing boarding music was playing, the Sun started to rise - a truly magnificent scenery to start the day (plus the perspective of going to Madeira)!
Pushback started on time, and we were soon ready for departure.
A must-have set: the passport, TAP Clean & Safe tissue (given on boarding, but also available in the lavatories) and the boarding pass. TAP gives one boarding pass for all connecting flights to save some paper, which is great. I also like the design of the boarding pass (both the front and the back). Of course Portugal stopover programme is advertised.
Taxi wasn't too long this morning and lots of TAP aircrafts were parked around the airport, in a quite disordered manner I have to say… like the whole Lisbon Airport is quite disorganised. But I also managed to spot 2x Euroatlantic 767s and AirAzores A321neo. Lots of A330-900neos from TAP too, it was the first time I saw them and they look great, but not as nice as the A350 ;) Departure was smooth but there were very low clouds around Lisbon (but not above the airport!) so we couldn't see too much of the city :(
After a sharp-left turn, we flew onto the Atlantic Ocean territory and were on our way to Funchal, Madeira. Like on our previous flight, the seatbelt signs remained on for good 25-30 mins into the flight. It must be TAP's policy to do that, as it was done consistently also on the next two flights. Cabin crew is released a bit earlier, however. Once WE were released, I grabbed my packaged breakfast from the hotel and started the feast. Asia, my travel companion, decided to eat it when we've reached our hotel. I also ordered a black tea from the Buy on Board selection. The flight attendant that was serving us was very kind and pleasant (the only remarkable crew member on that flight). We had a little chat about our Apple watches - she had the same one as I have - she bought it a few weeks ago in Boston during a layover, she said ;) She even offered a tea refill, later on!
As the seatbelt signs were finally switched off, it was time for some food. And even though it was a very simple breakfast, it tasted great with this view! What more can I ask for.
After the meal it was time for a lavatory tour. The toilet was clean but that wasn't surprising, as it was the first flight of CS-TJP that day. However, the rubbish bin doors were faulty and didn't close, so weren't secured properly. In terms of amenities, same ones were present, as on the previous flight: soap, air freshener, a drawer full of refreshing tissues and a box with normal tissues.
I will now quickly review the slimline Economy seats in the green zone at the back of the aircraft, which we were originally assigned but which we swapped for the exit row. These seats are the same as the ones you find on newer Easyjet airplanes, BA A320neo back section and Iberia's back economy section as well as on many other airlines. Even though comfort is the same, I like TAP's colour choice for the seats most :-)
Grey seats with lime green sides, and green thread look great in my opinion. They also feature a coat hook on the side.
The legroom, as you can see, is very tight, especially for someone 1.87m tall like me. Fine for a 1:30 flight to Funchal but would be a nightmare on a 4 hour flight to Warsaw.
The tray table is also ultra-small and wouldn't even fit the smallest MacBook Air I believe… There is also only one seat pocket at the bottom to even more restrict you knee space. No separate literature pocket is present.
One more look at the back Economy section.
All in all, I'd say it's worth to pay a little extra and book the seats in the front Economy section, as they give you many more perks comparing to the green ones at the back. Or you can always count on the cabin crew - and ask them if you can take the exit row.
After the meal and short seat review, it was time to finish the film "Green Book" which we have started with Asia on the previous flight, as I said, it is a really good movie and I definitely recommend watching if you haven't already. We managed to finish just before descent into Madeira, which was absolutely scenic and picturesque. Also the approach was unusually smooth (not bumpy, at all!) and also from the north and not from the south as it usually is.
Getting towards Madeira through a layer of clouds. But no rain on the island today.
And the most beautiful part of the approach, the final. Just next to the mountains, it's purely amazing, and like I said it was surprisingly smooth this morning. For those of you who don't know Madeira is one of the most dangerous and bumpy landings in Europe: the runway is very narrow and quite short, partly over Ocean and supported on 180 columns, plus often strong winds are present (not today however) and usually (also not today), a sharp right turn at a very low altitude is required just before landing.
Anyway, landing was way before our scheduled arrival time. We parked next to an easyJet which also arrived from LIS, a few moments before us. Disembarkation was conducted by the crew row by row, front to back, something that wasn't done on the previous flight from Warsaw, so a bit of inconsistence here.
Once I left the aircraft, I took the must-have shot of our A321neo with the surrounding mountains. The aircraft was however a bit too long to have the whole fuselage on one pic haha… I would've managed if only it was a 320 :)
From the airplane, we followed other people straight into the terminal which was quite a pleasant one for such a small airport and you could feel the local atmosphere due to some design features.
You can see the amazing observation deck which I used on my flight back from FNC.
We went straight through the baggage reclaim hall, since we only had hand luggage. Then we did the check out of our car, which I ordered from Goldcar. Please never never use this car rental company! They are frauds, the service is very impolite and tries to cheat on you on every step. Even if you have to pay slightly more, take other rental companies, if you don't want to have troubles.
That lady from the Goldcar counter made me furious in the first 10 minutes of my holidays. Insane.
Deep breath and we were able to leave the terminal. A quick check from the staff of whether we have the QR code from the online COVID form and whether we have uploaded the test before departure and we were free to go. We even got a bottle of water each from the staff which was a nice touch.
*On Madeira, vaccinated people and people who had COVID in the last 90 days, are exempt from the test (but not if you're flying through continental Portugal!). Others have to take the test, either before departure (these are free to go straight away) or once on Madeira (at the expense of the Government but you have to wait at the hotel until you get your negative result).
*Information correct as of 12th April 2021
Since the airport is named after Cristiano Ronaldo, his statue is there in front of the entrance.
And one more pick of the airport from the front. I think it looks quite nice.
We then picked our Ford Fiesta and drove directly to our hotel in Funchal, which was a 30 mins ride. If you fancy some hotel recommendation, please continue to read the tourism bonus section. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and reading my report. I hope to see you soon on reports covering my way back to Poland: FNC-LIS-WAW.
PS. I'm taking a flight* to London-Heathrow this Friday on a 737 MAX 8 from LOT Polish Airlines. I'm quite excited and I'm definitely going to share my experience with you.
*Of course if I get a negative COVID test.
On Madeira, we stayed for 5 nights in a superb, modern hotel Savoy Palace in Funchal, which I can recommend with no doubt, I couldn't find any flaw of the hotel, really. It's slightly expensive but we got a great deal (we paid 1/3 the regular price) since we got upgraded from a lower hotel which remained closed due to COVID.
The view from our room 842 - day and night.
Huge swimming pool at level 0.
Lots of beds and sunbeams around the pool and not too many people due to the pandemic.
The area around the pool at level 0. Lots of plants, blooming and with great scent that you could smell all around.
One of the hotel restaurants, Alameda with delicious Mediterranean food.
The infinity pool at floor 16 with view over the city of Funchal.
Magnificent reception hall.
The lobby bar.
An amazing staircase!
And another pic at night.
Rest assured we did not spend all 5 days in the hotel, on the sunbeds. We actually spent the time quite actively and I will share a few pictures with you in the next report.
Any questions, please ask in the comment section.
It was a pretty standard intra-European flight and it was a really hard task to give marks for it objectively. I hope you'll forgive me the average marks for this flight.
Cabin was very fresh and impeccably designed. My seat in the exit row was fairly comfortable with great legroom and other features, only the seat back was a bit hard. But the seats at the back are terrible - super uncomfortable.
Cabin crew was very average, except for the one member that served my row.
Entertainments is pretty much non existent. Well, you can still download some press onto your device and use the power ports (but only in the red zone!).
I can't say too much about the meal. I think the choice was wider than on my flight from WAW but I only took tea, because I took the breakfast from the hotel.