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TAP Air Portugal became the first airline to take delivery of the Airbus A330-900Neo last week and its new aircraft comes fitted with a new (and much improved) Business Class cabin.
TAP Air Portugal currently flys to 4 North American cities (Boston, Miami, New York and Toronto) and, from June 2019, the airline will add Chicago and Washington DC to its route map too.
Right now these North American routes are served by TAP’s older A330s which offer a 24-seat Business Class cabin with a 2-2-2 layout.
These older Business Class seats are angle-flat rather than true lie-flat and, although they’re reasonably comfortable, they’re more than a little out of date.
The new A330-900s which TAP is currently bringing online (the first goes in to service on 15 December 2018 on the Lisbon – Sao Paulo route) are home to TAP’s new Business Class cabin which features 36 of Recaro’s CL6710 seats:
These seats are true lie-flat seats and are set out in a 1-2-1 cabin layout giving all passengers direct access to an aisle.
These seats are a big step up from what the airline has been offering in Business Class to date and that’s why it’s great to hear that TAP will be serving Miami with the new A330-900 in 2019.
The A330-900 first appears on the Lisbon – Miami route from 1 March 2019but, although TAP offers a daily service to/from Miami, the A330-900 will be sharing this route with an older A330-200.
Here’s the current schedule for March 2019:
TP233 LIS 10:35 – 14:55 MIA
TP224 MIA 16:45 – 05:45+1 day LIS
There doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the days on which you’ll find the TAP A330-900 flying to/from Miami but it does appear as if the aircraft will fly 5 of the 7 weekly flights
If you’re already considering booking one of these flights make sure you check to see what dates the A330-900 is operating and be aware that airlines change schedules and aircraft frequently so nothing is ever guaranteed.
More Info On The TAP A330-900 Business Class Cabin
The Business Class cabin may be set out in a 1-2-1 layout but not all the seats are created equal.
The Single Seats On Either Side Of The Aircraft
The nature of the Recaro seats being used means that some of the single seats on either side of the aircraft are closer to the window than others (like, for example, on the Qantas 787-9) and the seats closer to the windows are a lot more private than their counterparts.
Also, while the seats closer to the windows are slightly angled towards the aircraft walls, the seats closer to the aisle are actually angled towards the aislewhich will almost certainly make them feel quite exposed.
The best and most private seats are in the even-numbered rows (2, 4, 6 & 8).
The Center Two Seats
As with the Etihad A380 Business Class and a number of other Business Class cabins there are two different arrangements for the center two seats set on alternate rows.
The first arrangement has the two center seats set quite close together with fixed tables protecting them from the aisles and a moveable seat divider between them.
The second arrangement has the two seats set further apart with fixed tables between the two seats giving a bit more privacy….but this privacy is at least partly offset by the fact that these seats are open to the aisle.
The first arrangement is best for couples who want to be able to talk to each other during the flight while the second arrangement is best for solo travelers who failed to snag one of the single seats on either side of the aircraft (or for couples who want to make a pretence of liking each other but would really rather keep their own company J)
Each Business Class seat offers the following amenities:
- Adjustable headrest
- Movable large tray table
- Multiple storage compartments including one for shoes
- Power outlet
- USB port
- HD screen
Something To Keep An Eye On
Right now Miami is the only North American city slated to get the new TAP Business Class cabin but, considering how many of these aircraft the airline will be receiving in 2019, it’s likely that other cities will see the A330-900 too.
TAP has a fantastic Business Class sale on right now for travel between London and the US and it shows no signs of ending. Unfortunately the Miami route isn’t showing any great fares at the moment but the routes to New York and Boston are…..
…..and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these routes was the next to get service from the new aircraft.
If you’re looking for a great deal here’s a suggestion:
Keep a close eye on TAP’s New York and Boston routes (especially for travel towards the middle of the year) and book one of these great Business Class deals if the A330-900 gets added to a route you’re watching while the low fares are still available.
TAP’s Business Class cabin has always been acceptable (considering the low fares that are often) but now the airline is moving into “really good” territory…at least as far as the hard product goes.
The service on TAP can be very hit and miss but, if I can snag a super-cheap fare and travel in the new A330-900 Business Class cabin, I can put up with whatever mediocre service I encounter – it’s all about the seat for me and this seat looks good.
Featured image: Recaro CL6710 Seat – courtesy of Recaro