Launch customer for the new Airbus A330-900neo, TAP Air Portugal, have announced definite dates for the aircraft to be deployed in 2019. Although subject to change, seats are already bookable on many flights, and award availability right now is pretty good.
Despite delays to the planned delivery date, the first A330neo was delivered to TAP Portugal in late November. Since then we’ve been eager to get our bottoms in one of their lie flat business class seats, and now it’s almost time for us to do so.
Marketed as the Boeing 797 killer (we’ll have to wait and see about that), sales of the A330-900neo have been somewhat slow. Airbus are hoping that once we all get a chance to see it in action with TAP, sales of the new model will really, ahem, take off.
Where can you fly the A330-900neo?
If, like us, you’re simply dying to fly the new A330-900 with TAP Air Portugal, you’ll want all the juicy route details as soon as poss. Well, that’s OK, because we’ve got at least some of them here for you.
We already know that the very first US route to get the A330neo will be the Lisbon to Miami route, and that they were adding San Francisco to their itinerary, but now we know exactly when, where and how you can fly this shiny new bird. Here’s what you need to know:
This route will be run five times weekly from 1st March 2019. The schedule is:
- TP223: Departing Lisbon 10:35AM, arriving Miami 2:55PM
- TP224: Departing Miami 4:45PM, arriving Lisbon 5:45AM (+1 day)
The route is serviced on other days of the week too, but those services will use other versions of the A330. Most of the services will be provided by the fabulous A330-900neo.
Other North American routes
As well as the initial Miami route, TAP Portugal will begin serving a number of other North American destinations multiple times per week throughout 2019. These are as follows:
- Lisbon-San Francisco: Five services per week from 10th June 2019
- Lisbon-New York (JFK): Twice weekly from 13th April 2019
- Lisbon-Toronto: Three times a week from 31st March 2019
- Lisbon-Boston: Six times a week from 7th July 2019
- Lisbon-Newark: Three times a week from 30th April 2019
Although we know the launch dates for these routes, the precise days of operation are still under wraps. If you’re planning to book a flight, the booking might specify which aircraft is serving the route but do pick your travel dates wisely as none of thee services are planned to be daily.
We expected TAP Portugal’s first A330-900neos to begin replacing their aging fleet of A340s, which currently operate Lisbon to Sao Pablo in Brazil. Although they are clearly keen to deploy the aircraft on US and Canadian routes, Brazil won’t be missing out either.
TAP have announced the following additional routes to Brazil with the A330-900neo:
- Lisbon-Sao Paulo: Already flying, since 15th December 2018
- Lisbon-Salvador da Bahia: From 2nd February 2019
- Lisbon-Rio de Janero: From 3rd March 2019
- Lisbon-Brasilia: From 16th February 2019
- Lisbon-Belo Horizonte: From 17th February 2019
As much as these route announcements are exciting, do keep in mind that TAP have something of a reputation for being a little flaky. The schedule almost certainly remains subject to change, particularly as this is a brand new aircraft to the airline.
What can we expect from the A330neo?
TAP Air’s current fleet has some inconsistency across the on board products, particularly in business class. Some of their A330s have angled seats; others feature lie flat. However, the A330-900neo will be the first aircraft in the fleet with not only fully flat business class seats, but also aisle access from every single seat.
The chosen model for business class is the Recaro CL6710, the same class that El Al installed on their new 787-9s. However, TAP are doing some customisation to the seats to make them that little bit more special.
As well as business, there’s a good looking premium economy cabin, featuring better fabrics and an extra few inches of legroom. In economy plus, customers will also be able to upgrade to the ‘sky couch’ concept which is becoming increasingly popular as a way to be more comfortable or to give kids more space to play.
Standard economy is pretty run of the mill, although at 18” wide and 31” pitch, they’re by no means the smallest seats out there.
Are you as excited about the A330-900neo as we are at Simple Flying? Tell us if you’re planning to fly it and where you’ll be going!