Flying direct from the United States to Portugal used to be relatively expensive. Mainly because Lisbon was reachable nonstop from few US cities. With not many flights, there would be little competition between the main carriers – Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and TAP Air Portugal.
But now TAP Air Portugal is increasing the offer of direct flights between the United States and the Portuguese capital as part of its business strategy.
Who is TAP Air Portugal?
TAP is the Portuguese carrier. It has had a rough few years, and sold part its shares to Atlantic Gateway, owned by David Neeleman. But TAP is still a state-owned Portuguese company.
With profits in mind, TAP is now providing a basic service, the cheapest economy fare, also on intercontinental flights. The airline is focusing on expanding in the United States, which includes promoting new routes and the Portugal Stopover programme. At the same time, TAP is upgrading their existing equipment and purchasing new aircraft to serve the new routes.
Direct Flights From the US to Lisbon on TAP
TAP Air Portugal flies direct from six US cities to Lisbon. There are regular nonstop flights from Boston (ATL), Chicago (BOS), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK and EWR-Newark), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington, D.C. (DUL), to Lisbon. Note that service between Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Lisbon begins in June 2019.
Understanding TAP’s Airfares
TAP advertises low prices with luggage restrictions. For example, check-in baggage will incur charges for the Discount fare. However, meals are included in all fares. Here’s a summary of the main fare differences:
Discount: the most economical travel, with only hand baggage (1 x 8kg), no seat reservation, but meals are included.
Basic: adds checked baggage (1 x 23kg) to the Discount fare.
Classic: adds standard seat reservation to the Basic fare.
Plus: adds a second piece of checked baggage (2 x 23kg) and front row seat reservation to the Classic fare.
Executive: a more comfortable (and expensive) travel in executive class, which includes seat reservation at any time and two pieces of luggage (2 x 32kg).
Top executive: adds ticket changes and a refundable option to the Executive fare.
By joining TAP Miles&Go frequent flier programme, you earn miles when you fly, and can use them to purchase trips, discounts and upgrades.
Tips on Getting the Best Airfares on TAP
Getting the best airfare on TAP Air Portugal usually requires planning your trip. For instance, you can travel cheap by going in the off and shoulder seasons, which in Lisbon is November through March (off season), and April through May and September through October (shoulder seasons).
If you can be flexible, move your travel plans a day or two to get the lowest fare – select the flexible dates option when searching for flights. You can then fly from a US city to Lisbon for less than $500 round trip on the cheapest Discount fare. You can upgrade to the Classic fare, which gives you checked bags and picking out seats in advance, for a few dollars extra. Finally, if you see an airfare that you want, book it today. Otherwise, it will be gone tomorrow.