Review: TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class

Toronto to Lisbon Roundtrip

by Dalia
TAP Air Portugal A321LR

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TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Introduction and Booking

The Airbus A321LR (Long Range) holds the record for the longest range of any single-aisle aircraft. It’s capable of flying up to 4,000 nautical miles non-stop. TAP Air Portugal operates its A321LR aircraft on its direct flights to Lisbon from Montreal and Toronto. TAP Air Portugal A321LR business class can be booked using Aeroplan miles or redeemed on any other Star Alliance member’s program. With Aeroplan, the redemption rates are 60,000 miles one-way from Toronto to Lisbon for the lowest reward or 74,000 miles for the flexible reward, excluding taxes and fees.

Aeroplan Miles Redemption - Business Class

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Aeroplan Miles

I jumped on a fantastic seat sale that TAP was offering and snagged two roundtrip business class tickets for $1,300 USD each from Toronto to Lisbon. Having previously cancelled trips to Portugal booked with miles, I was determined to make this third attempt a reality. If I cancelled this cash booking, it would’ve cost me $1,000 USD per ticket. This was definitely an extra incentive to make this trip happen!

TAP Air Business Class – Boarding and Cabin

Our outbound flight to Lisbon experienced a slight delay during boarding, with no reason given. Even our inbound flight to Toronto was delayed. Yet, what was worse was that they started the boarding process before they were even ready to onboard passengers. We stood in the jet bridge for at least 20 minutes waiting before they finally welcomed us onboard.

Upon boarding the TAP Portugal A321LR business class cabin, I was reminded that we were flying on a narrowbody aircraft. The cabin, with a single aisle, was very small. At least it was cozy. In any case, I’ll take this any day over Boeing’s narrowbody 737 MAX! With only one door for boarding, we awkwardly sat in our seats as the rest of the passengers boarded and made their way to the back of the plane.

TAP’s business class cabin, which it refers to as its executive class, is made up of 5 rows. The seat layout alternates between a 2-2 configuration and a 1-1 configuration, comprised of a total of 16 seats. The seats in the 1-1 configuration are referred to as “throne seats” because there’s a large armrest on either side of the seat, giving it the “throne” look.

TAP Air Business Class – Throne vs Bulkhead Seats

 Throne Seat

For our journey to Lisbon, I selected throne seats 2B and 2E. Unlike Swiss Air and other airlines that charge for booking throne seats in advance (free for certain elite members), TAP doesn’t not charge for these coveted seats.

What’s so great about the throne seat?

One major appeal is the privacy it provides. You don’t have someone sitting directly next to you, providing you with plenty of personal space. It’s also a window seat and it has the convenience of direct aisle access.

It also offers more storage room to store personal belongings. For instance, the right armrest has a generously sized enclosed compartment to store things. Unfortunately, the left armrest did not have any compartments, a missed opportunity! With such a large surface though, you can use it for your laptop/tablet.

There’s one catch, though. By selecting the throne seat, you make the sacrifice on the footwell. It’s very tight! This is because of the way this seat is configured, where the footwell is squeezed between the two seats in front of it.

Throne Seat

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Throne Seat

Throne Seat - Rear

Throne Seat – Rear

Double windows

Double windows on TAP Air Portugal A321 Business Class

Throne Seat - Enclosed Storage

Throne Seat – Enclosed Storage

Throne Seat - so much space!

Throne Seat – so much space!

The tight throne seat footwell!

The tight throne seat footwell!

Bulkhead Seat

For the return journey back to Toronto, I selected the front row seats 1D and 1F, known as the bulkhead seats. With these seats, 1D has direct aisle access, while 1F has the window seat. Notably, there was no large storage compartment like the one found in the throne seat. While this pair of seats provide less space than the throne seat, they do offer a lot of legroom and a larger footwell.

TAP Air Portugal A321LR - Business Cabin Seating

TAP Air Portugal A321LR – Business Cabin Seating

Bulkhead Seats

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Bulkhead Seats

Bulkhead Seats

Bulkhead Seats – Lots of legroom!

Bulkhead Seats - another angle

Bulkhead Seats – another angle

Bulkhead Seat - Front View

Bulkhead Seat – Front View

Spacious footwell

TAP Air Portugal A321 Business Class’ Spacious Footwell

Throne vs. Bulkhead Verdict

Both seats have their pros and cons. For the throne seat, I found the footwell to be uncomfortable for sleeping. Conversely, with the bulkhead seat it was very comfortable, but it’s proximity to the galley was an annoyance. The flight attendants kept opening the bins in the galley where they stored their hand luggage. Each time they opened and closed; they would slam the door shut, making a lot of noise.

Ultimately, if I were flying on this aircraft again, I would lean towards the throne seat if available. This is especially the case if I’m catching a day flight or flying solo. I just loved having all this space to myself with the convenience of direct aisle access, along with a window view.

General Business Class Cabin Seats

TAP’s A321LR business class cabins feature lie-flat seats with a USB power outlet and 110v electrical outlet. To the side of the seat is where you’ll find a noise cancelling headphone, headphone jack, a reading light, a remote for the in-flight entertainment system, and a water bottle holder. Seat controls are located adjacent to the seat.

Facing the seat is the IFE screen with a small pouch underneath it for storing small items. The coat hanger is next to the screen. The safety card is located in the pouch between the two screens for the bulkhead seats, while for the throne seats, it is to the left.

For our outbound flight, there was a grey blanket and a lime green pillow on top placed on each seat. However, for our return day flight, blankets and pillows were only provided if requested after takeoff.

The amenity kit placed on the armrest, was quite limited. It included an eye mask, socks, hand cream, dental kit, and ear plugs. Gone are the quirky and fun colourful socks that were offered in years past, now replaced with plain black ones. TAP’s new amenity kit was created in partnership with Benamôr, a Portuguese cosmetic company.

What I liked about TAP’s IFE system was that it included a show teaching basic Portuguese words and phrases. I managed to learn a few words before landing in Lisbon!

If you would like to stay connected, TAP offers three Wi-Fi packages, but it will cost you a lot of euros. Alternatively, you can sign up for their free messaging but it’s only good for an hour, unless you use different e-mail addresses to get additional time.

TAP Air Portugal - Bulkhead Seats

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class- Bulkhead Seats

Electrical and USB Outlets

Electrical and USB Outlets

Headphone and things

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Headphone

A321LR - Seat Controls

A321LR – Seat Controls

TAP Air Portugal - Pouch

TAP Air Portugal – Pouch

TAP Air Portugal - Amenity

TAP Air Portugal A321LR – Business Class Amenity

TAP's Skimpy Amenity Kit

TAP’s Skimpy Amenity Kit

TAP's Pricey Wi-Fi

Pricey Wi-Fi

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Meal Service

There was no food during our flight to Lisbon, not even snacks. TAP left us starving! In all seriousness, no meal service was offered on our outbound flight due to the strike by the catering provider in Toronto. To compensate, they provided us with meal vouchers at the check-in counter to use at Toronto Pearson Airport prior to our flight.

The two meal vouchers amounted to a total of $35. What was disappointing was that they handed out the same compensation to all passengers, failing to distinguish between those that paid for premium cabin versus economy. So, on our 7-hour flight, only beverages were served. No pre-departure drinks were served. I found the best thing to do was sleep, especially since this was an overnight flight.

When I woke up a couple of hours before landing, the flight attendant asked if I would like a drink. I requested a glass of orange juice and then made my way to the bathroom to freshen up. When I returned to my seat, there was no glass of OJ waiting for me, so I had to request it again. Not impressed.

Fortunately, for our return flight, I experienced TAP’s meal service. The menu card was provided and meal orders were taken 30 minutes after takeoff.  I chose the Veal Osso Buco for the main course, with other options being the Croaker Fillet and Four Cheese Pasta. The meal service kicked off with the flight attendant handing us warm towels.

Shortly after, she brought out the tuna salad starter and main dish together on one tray. This was followed by offering us our choice of bread from a breadbasket. Admittedly, I was not a fan of the meal. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t to my liking.

Afterwards, the flight attendant came by to ask us what we would like for dessert. I was confused as I thought it was a dessert trio. When she prompted and asked what I would like, I told her I’d go for the ice cream. Minutes later, she placed a board of desserts on my tray table.

This was indeed a dessert trio of fresh fruits, cheese with crackers and cookies ‘n cream ice cream, as noted on the menu. I was really puzzled as to why she asked what I wanted. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the dessert trio.

They came around again to offer us drinks, and then they offered us chocolate from an assorted chocolate box. For breakfast, there was none. I woke up an hour and a half before landing and was not offered anything to eat. I can only assume they served brekkie before I woke up.

TAP's Cheap Meal Vouchers

TAP Meal Vouchers



Dining Menu

TAP Air Portugal A321LR Business Class – Dining Menu

Wine List

Wine List

Appetizer and Main Course

TAP Business Class Appetizer and Main Course

Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio

Chocolate snack

TAP Business Class – Chocolate Snack

TAP Air Portugal Business Class – Take Away

Overall, my experience on TAP’s A321LR business class was lukewarm. I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. I found that they can step it up a notch or two on the service. They can also improve their catering options to provide enhanced meals with more options.

On the positive side, the hard product was fantastic. The throne seat beats the angled seat pods that some of the other airlines offer in their premium cabins. If you’re looking for an affordable, lie-flat seat to Europe, TAP Air Portugal offers great value.

TAP Air Portugal A321LR

TAP Air Portugal A321LR


Anthony June 24, 2024 - 12:07 am

Great post ! I am flying them business class next month.

I flew them last year too and Went with the throne seat and will agree with the narrow footwells, but I liked the privacy of the seat.

I have a 5 hour layover in LIS.

How was the TAP business class lounge in LIS airport ? Or is there a better lounge there to visit ?

DALIA June 25, 2024 - 8:19 pm

Thanks Anthony! I lounge hopped and visited both TAP and ANA lounge. I personally preferred ANA because it had a resting area to nap and was bigger than TAP’s lounge. Both were crowded when I visited. Make sure to make a stop at PAUL Cafe at LIS and have a nice treat – it beats the lounge food.

Enjoy your trip!


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