Want to fly Business Class to Brazil? Try TAP Portugal. Here’s my review…
I love the excitement of a long-haul flight. But once you’ve read that day’s newspapers, eaten three meals and flicked through numerous movies via the inflight entertainment, being in the air for eight or nine hours can begin to take its toll.
Not so when you fly Business Class with TAP Portugal, which I did on my recent press trip to Fortaleza in Brazil. Flying business isn’t something I would normally be able to afford. But when I am occasionally offered an upgrade with work, I notice the difference it makes to your flying experience.
If you really want to go all out, start your travels in the luxury of an airport lounge. As we were in Heathrow Terminal 2A – The Queen’s Terminal, we were lucky enough to be invited into the Plaza Premium Lounge which made for a relaxing start to our journey.
Breakfasted up, we boarded our TAP Portugal flight to Fortaleza, via Lisbon.
The flight to Portugal was a smaller aircraft, but once we boarded the larger plane in Lisbon, that’s when we got the true benefits of flying long-haul Business Class.
The seats on the TAP Portugal aircraft are one of the biggest talking points for those who experience an upgrade. To start with, they are super roomy with loads of leg room. Plus, there are three sets of two which means you never have to be the one in the middle.
Thirdly, and probably most importantly, the seats in Business Class have an electronic control on the armrest which allows you to recline it to just about any angle you like. As it sinks into a sort of capsule, your feet move up, the back sinks down and eventually, you are pretty much horizontal. So you can snooze away in utmost comfort with a pillow and blanket.
I can’t emphasise how excited this made me feel when I knew my nine hours above the clouds were going to be this comfortable.
Speaking of clouds, the views of the clouds and the sparkling coastline of Portugal as we approached Lisbon were incredible. Seeing the river and sun soaked hills made me want to stop in Portugal’s capital even more. A city stop-over to consider perhaps if you’re ever Brazil-bound?
Other great little things they excel in on TAP Portugal planes are the cute little tin boxes you get, containing your travel toothbrush, eye mask and ear plugs.
That and the fact you get a copy of the New York Times and a refreshing hot towel once you board.
An hour or two into the journey we were served our inflight meal. In Business Class on TAP aircraft, this translates to a menu which you can order your dishes of choice from. It also means lovely attention to detail in the way of proper cutlery, glassware and chinaware (rather than plastic), starched white table cloths, and an amuse bouche to whet your appetite before the three courses (like this delicious shrimp skewer with Cilantro cherry tomatoes).
The wine list was really impressive. I took great pleasure in reading the inflight dining menu that provided lots of detail on the centuries-old history of Portuguese wine.
Onboard their flights, they offer two reds and two whites by the glass, plus a sparkling wine and of course, their very famous Port. I ordered a delicious mineral-rich glass of their 2014 Esporão Verdelho Branco which went deliciously with the smoked salmon salad with orange vinaigrette starter.
And although the Rigatoni alla Bolognesa dish didn’t look much at first, it was absolutely delicious.
The other delight? Well those absolutely gorgeous pastel de nata, which don’t seem to lose one ounce of their yumminess from being served at high altitude.
I was one very happy flyer.
The inflight entertainment on TAP Portugal was the only thing I thought could have been improved. The slightly outdated system of having a continuously running programme meant that you couldn’t choose when you wanted to start watching your TV show or film. As I really hate viewing something mid-way through, I swerved it in favour of naps, reading and the odd bit of music.
The flight was extremely comfortable, clean and the staff were fantastic. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for them.
And it always makes a difference when there are flowers in the loo.
An hour or so before we touched down into Fortaleza, we were served another light snack and arrived to a humid city. We’d had a long day but as is often the case when you fly West, we fitted in yet one more meal at the hotel, and then headed off to bed. Having had such a comfortable flight over made me feel all the more refreshed and ready to explore the city the next day.
TAP Portugal flies from London Heathrow to Fortaleza seven times a week. Prices start at £702 return (for economy) including all taxes and surcharges. For further information, visit www.flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932.