Date: Thursday July 11th 2002
Airline: TAP Air Portugal
Aircraft: Airbus A319-111 CS-TTE (s/n 821; delivered in 1998)
From: Brussels National (BRU/EBBR)
To: Lisbon Portela de Sacavem(LIS/LPPT)
Photo © Florian Kondziela
STD of our flight was 12h05. The aircraft arrived a little bit too late, so boarding was delayed by 10 minutes or so. As usual, when we boarded, we were welcomed by the cabin crew. Since my girfriend doesn't like to fly and forgot to take a pill, she asked one of the FA's for some sort of airsickness pill, but they told here she wouldn't need any, because flights with TAP are always smooth. Now that's what I call decent marketing. Unfortunately, that didn't help my girfriend much, so she just went to her seat (7B) and begun to get quite nervous. As always, I tried to relax her. I myself got seat 7A.
If I remember well, the aircraft pushed back at around 12h05. As we taxied to RWY 25R, we got the safety instructions from one of the TV monitors that 'jumped' out of the roof. Before us, a Belgian Air Force C-130 took off, and as we lined up on the runway, a BA A319 was already waiting behind us to line up as well.
At around 12h15 or so, after the TV monitors were back retracted, we finally took off from BRU. Take-off was very smooth, as was our climb (well, except then when we 'hit' the clouds).
By the time we reached TOC, the FA's started to offer the pax some drinks (coke, fruit juices, beer,...), some cookies (some with garlic flavour, other with cheese flavour) and some newspapers (even Belgian newspapers), so my girfriend could relax a little bit
The TV monitors were folded down again, and we saw some more information about Portugal. Afterwads, we also got to see our current flight status (several maps, and an info screen, showing information such as ETA, ETE,...).
By the time they started to show us some cartoons, such as Mr Bean ('Ray of Light' or something like that) and Tom&Jerry, the FA's started to serve us our lunch. The lunch was a hot meal, with some fish in it. Next to this hot meal, we also got some salad (which I didn't taste) and a piece of sweet pie, both put in small cases. The pie was excellent. Of course, they also served us some more drinks and some dry sandwiches (which were excellent, I have to admit).
Now, after the cartoons were finished, and the FA's had collected all the garbage, the Tv monitors continued showing our flight status and so, followed by some more information about Portugal.
Of course, later during the flight, the TAP FA's also tried to sell some things with their inflight duty free shop, but I didn't buy anything (I'm just too poor basically).
Me and my girfriend also had to go to the lavatory in the back of the aircraft. And, the FA's were very friendly to get out of the aisle and let us come through.
Oh yeah, during the flight, there was also a curtain, dividing the economy class from the business class.
After a 2h20 flight, we reached TOD, so the pilots started our descend into LIS. The descend went pretty smooth and was quite spectacular. During the final stages of our approach, we first flew to the right of the airport (downwind), flew to the Taag river, and made two turns over the city of Lisbon (this approach offered us some superb views of the city of Lisbon). We then were aligned with the runway (finals) and after a minute or two, we landed on RWY 23. I noticed that the rollout was quite soft. Sometimes, the rollout can be quite heavy (in terms of braking, stopping the aircraft), but this one was extremely soft.
We taxied to our gate (Gate 16) and after the aircraft had come to a complete stop and the engines were shut down by the pilots, we could disembark the aircraft. We didn't have any substantial delay (maybe 5 minutes or so, or even not).
To conclude the trip report about this flight: I was very much surprised by the service offered by the TAP FA's and staff. I was very pleased. Overall conclusion: 9 out of 10.
Date: Thursday July 18th 2002
Airline: TAP Air Portugal
Aircraft: Airbus A319-111 CS-TTF (s/n 837; also delivered in 1998)
From: Lisbon Portela de Sacavem(LIS/LPPT)
To: Brussels National (BRU/EBBR)
Photo © Luis Goncalves
Our flight's STD was 19h00 local time, so we decided to take the bus to the airport at around 16h30. This would still give us plenty of time (traffic jams,...)
By 17h00, we arrived at the airport, and after we checked in, all we could do is wait...I read that TAP's inflight newspaper service (when flying out of Portugal I think) had been replaced by an Inflight Media Desk somewhere at the airport (where you could pick up your free newspaper), but I just didn't find it for some reason. Too bad (however, I also read that they probably didn't offer Belgian newspapers, so not much of a loss...).
Our assigned gate was Gate 10, so after we catched a drink, we went to Gate 10. By 18h35 or so, we 'boarded' the bus that would take us to the aircraft, that was parked on a remote spot on the other side of the other runway (17-35).
Since not all pax were able to get on one bus, after we boarded the aircraft we still had to wait for some 20-odd pax.
After every pax had boarded, and all precautions were made, the aircraft was pushed back and the engines were started. We were given safety instructions by looking at the TV monitors. At around 19h15 local time, we aligned on RWY 03. After a couple of seconds, we took off. We were on our way back to Belgium.
Most of the flight had the same 'routine' as the flight BRU-LIS (except then for the inflight meal for example: this time we were served a nice evening dinner: some nice meat with a very good meat sauce, some veggies and nice rice with curry - and a nice dessert: some sort of pie with raisins).
When we were in the final stages of our climb, one of the FA's came into the cabin, with some aircraft models (I think) and some fun toys for smaller children. She handed out a couple of them to some youngsters. When I notied the aircraft models, I also aksed for one, but she just walked by, acting like she didn't see me. Now, that was one of the things I didn't like about this flight: I WANT MY MODEL!!!
Well, except for this 'minor' incident, everything else was fine. One other minor drawback: they showed us the exact same cartoons! I don't know how other companies cope with this, but I can very well imagine frequent pax getting bored with this cartoons...But, of course, I can also understand that it is quite impossible to show other cartoons on each flight. Or maybe we just had some bad luck, I don't know. I don't fly THAT much.
By the time we reached Paris, the sun had already set, and the pilots already started to descend (The descend went really smooth and took very long, much much longer than normal). This was my very first 'evening' landing, and I was quite amazed by the sheer beauty of it: seeing the sun set, see all those little lights, being able to see the reflections of the A/C-lights on the engines and the ailerons,...
Instead of flying straight to RWY 25L, we first flew to the east of Brussels, then towards Mechelen and so. This quite surprised me. I always thought that aircraft coming in from the south or so would fly straight to BRU's RWY 25L. But hey, I'm never too old to lear, am I?
We could already see the moon, and the pilots had already put on the landing lights, illuminating the engines quite a lot...
When we were on finals for RWY 25L, the pilots darkened the cabin. This way, the outside view became even much more beautifull...At around 22h40 local time, we landed on RWY 25L and few moments later,we turned off the runway, being able to see all the hundreds and hundreds of runway /taxiway lights...beautifull!
At 22h43 or so, we parked at Pier A, and after the pilots shut down both engines, we could disembark the aircraft, and begin our long walk to the terminal to pick up our luggage.
Now, except for the little 'aircraft model incident' and the cartoons, I would rate this flight also 9 out of 10. Excellent crew, good service, and great meals! Thanks you TAP for this wonderfull expercience!