TAP Portugal seems ok with me missing my connection...?

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Apr 6, 2017
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#1
My wife and I are flying from NYC to Sevilla via Lisbon. The flight on TAP has a 65 minute layover. I requested that TAP put us in seats near the front of the plane in order to increase the chance of not missing the flight. The plane seat map is so far almost empty as no one (including me..) seems willing to pay for seat assignments ahead of time. As this is a flight from USA to Europe, I will need to go thru passport control to change planes.

The chance of me missing the connection is not that low. It could be decreased by putting me in some seats close to the front of the plane, but so far TAP not interested in doing that (unless of course I pay just under 100 dollars for seats). I have travel insurance and Lisbon is a great city to spend the day (with either TAP or the travel insurance paying...)(there are limited flights Lisbon to Sevilla so I would end up spending the night...). But I would prefer to just make the connection if possible. Contacting TAP lead to no reply. Not certain what others might suggest here--thanks.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#2
Unfortunately many airlines have gone to the system of charging for everything unless one is a status flyer.

Seats is the front are preferred and cost extra to reserve in advance. It is a product that is offered and one can take it or leave it.

I dislike the paying for seat assignments model but that is what air travel has come to. BA charges for seat assignments in business class unless one is a status flyer.

The more expensive economy fares on TAP give free seat assignments in the front -- preferred seating it is called (tap plus fare).

I doubt you are the only connecting passengers on the flight so the argument that you deserve it over others is not very persuasive. One could ask why someone who pays a lower fare should get the same free seat assignment in the front as someone who pays a higher fare.

65 minutes is a tight connection in Lisbon. Isn't there an evening flight from Lisbon to Seville?
 
Likes: VoR61
Apr 6, 2017
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#3
On TAP they charge for all seats, not just the preferred ones. I wouldnt ask for one of the preferred seats, just one closer to the front of economy to get me off the plane earlier. I doubt that many people are doing the Lisbon to Sevilla connection--Sevilla is not a common destination. I suspect that most are on other connections with more time. The next flight to Sevilla is in the evening, meaning that I will be entitled to the full amount under EU 261 in the event of the missed connection.

I
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
The preferred seat assignment is free in tap plus fare. If the flight is a code share that is a different issue.

If there is no one seated in the front than perhaps this is a non issue.

If the flight is delayed for a covered reason and the connection is missed than certainly eu 261 applies. TAP can also put passengers on other airlines to avoid the eu 261 issues. I do not think slowly departing passengers such as the disabled is a covered reason, and I am not sure about delays at immigration as that is beyond the airline's control.
 
Likes: ADM and VoR61

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#6
OP says there is a second flight to Seville in the evening. Maybe he doesn't want to wait several hours in the airport if he can make the shorter connection.
 
Apr 6, 2017
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#7
I frankly didnt look that carefully at the connection time when I booked this. Since I booked with TAP directly as part of one reservation, this is apparently an OK connection time per TAP. After ticketing I was looking at the arrival time and went back and said "that is a short connection especially since I am coming into the Schengen zone and will need to go thru passport control....

The solution is that TAP could just assign me seats near the front--doesnt have to be one of the exit row "premium" seats so I can get off the plane quickly.
 
Jan 11, 2017
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#8
Please, be aware, that if your first flight is not delayed, and you miss your connection, then you are not entitled for EU261. TAP offers flights with longer layover. (2:50, 6:15 from EWR, 10 hour from JFK)
I understand, that you prefer JFK and shorter layover, but it is/was your choice, you were ok with the 65 min. The layover time is clearly disclosed before you make the reservation.
The reason for the 65 min offer: people who are familiar with the airport, people with EU passport, business, first class passengers, etc. wants it, they can make it easily. Even people without these advantages might make it, if everything goes well. (My - not plannned - personal records at the worse LHR, CDG were under 30 minutes - in cases when my first flight was hours late.)
Up to the passengers to decide the risk.
The time difference between the first and last economy passenger's deboarding is max.10 min.
The problem much more about the passport control: if more than one jumbo arrives around the same time, it might take much more longer.
 
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Likes: krisseye
Jan 6, 2015
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#9
Even if they were to grant your request, a delay of just 10 minutes could cripple your plans. Landing in a foreign country and counting on a 65 minute connection to be successful is troublesome at best. Your experience would have to nearly flawless:
  • The arriving flight must be on time or ahead of schedule
  • The passengers ahead of you would need to exit quickly
  • The departure gate would need to be very close
  • Your bags would need to be checked through
  • No issues with customs
A multiple hour delay (i.e., the later connecting flight) is a far better choice in my opinion ...
 
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Apr 6, 2017
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#10
I assumed that TAP wouldnt sell a flight without adequate connection time....so I didnt look at it until later. Its unchangable now. I would have chosen a longer connection time--or flown to Madrid and just taken the train...

I did buy travel insurance so its no big deal...I scheduled a day in Sevilla just to adjust to the time with nothing planned so the alternative of spending the day in lisbon is fine also.

The question is--if the flight is even 6 minutes late (and not for "extraordinary reasons" like weather....) then I would be under the minimum connection time. And if the next flight was missed then since there is not other flight that gets me to Sevilla anytime soon, then I can file under EU 261 for the 600 euros per person (and then add the meals, hotels etc and TAP could easily be at risk for at least 1400 euros here). It is interesting that TAP is willing to risk that instead of just putting me in a regular seat just closer to the front of the plane--and those seats are available.
 

Neil Maley

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#11
I frankly didnt look that carefully at the connection time when I booked this. Since I booked with TAP directly as part of one reservation, this is apparently an OK connection time per TAP. After ticketing I was looking at the arrival time and went back and said "that is a short connection especially since I am coming into the Schengen zone and will need to go thru passport control....

The solution is that TAP could just assign me seats near the front--doesnt have to be one of the exit row "premium" seats so I can get off the plane quickly.
What is ok with TAP may not be practical in the real world. All it takes is a delay from your original airport and you won’t make that connection.

That’s why a travel agent will tell you to leave more time in between connections. That’s who protects you against these airlines.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
If the booking was done directly with TAP there are two fares in Economy that give free standard seat assignments--classic and plus-- the ones that do not are basic and discount-- difference between the basic and classic can run Euro 40.

Having a seat in the middle standard area may not even be that helpful. I have seen families with bassinets in bulkhead and they can take time to leave.

When I have a long connection I wait and let others off the plane and hopefully others will do that.

Also TAP has a short connect service where they pay attention to these issues and usher people to the appropriate gate. Ask the cabin crew about that so leaving the plane is more efficient. It is a smaller airport and more manageable.

If the flight to Seville is missed TAP could put the travelers on a connection through Madrid on Iberia or wait until the evening flight.

But what this comes down to is that one of the two cheapest economy fares that do not have free seat assignments was chosen when booking with TAP. Asking for a free seat assignment saying that the flight may be missed and eu261 comes into play is not a convincing argument. If there is a delay with immigration-- people in the line ahead do not have documents in order -- that is beyond the control of the airline and likely eu261 would not apply.

There are many other possible short connections around that time (Porto as an example) and each passenger could claim the same need to have better seats invoking the eu261 penalties.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#13
I like Christina's advice and would add that, for future flights, you identify your flight options before booking. Never take the last flight of the day, and if possible, ensure that the airline in question has at least two other flights that will work for your trip plans.

That way if you are stuck with a short connection, there are other possibilities ...
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#14
This "legal connection time" is infuriating. The airline sets up the flights, how is the passenger to know that it's bogus? But they all do it, and the airlines don't seem to care if you make your connection or not.

I think you're approaching this from the wrong direction. Asking for "seats up front" will be taken by TAP to be a scam to get better seats without paying for them. A better solution is to rebook the connecting flight so you have a minimum of 3 hours in Lisbon. Then you have a comfortable flight without worries, even if the plane is an hour late. I assume (and hope) that you booked this directly with TAP, not an online booking agency. I'd give TAP a call to see if you can rebook the connecting flight. After my knee replacement, I had to do that on several occasions because I knew I couldn't 'trot' to the next gate like I usually do. The airline had no trouble accommodating my request. Good luck, and please let us know what happens.
 
Apr 6, 2017
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#15
Really, I would not have booked this flight had I carefully looked into the connection time--I just assumed TAP wouldnt sell a flight that the connection was this iffy...

I have dealt with other airlines and 100% of the time they have assigned me a seat closer to the front. We arent talking about asking for any sort of premium seat--just a seat closer to the front. United, Delta--taken care of. SWA they had me sit in the front row for what was a 15 minute connection. Lets see what TAP does--again in this case I am not asking for "better" seats--just closer to the front.

ps --this brings up a number of interesting points 1) should airlines post and book connections like this 2) if they do, should they make efforts to get the passenger to make the connection such as putting them in a seat towards the front (or let them chg to a better connection without a chg fee) and 3) I wonder if there are flyers who "mine" for EU 261 reimbursement ie pick a flight at just over the legal connection with no additional flights for at least 6 hours later thus "mining" for money in the likely event of a flight being just 10 minutes late....
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#16
Really, I would not have booked this flight had I carefully looked into the connection time--I just assumed TAP wouldnt sell a flight that the connection was this iffy...

I have dealt with other airlines and 100% of the time they have assigned me a seat closer to the front. We arent talking about asking for any sort of premium seat--just a seat closer to the front. United, Delta--taken care of. SWA they had me sit in the front row for what was a 15 minute connection. Lets see what TAP does--again in this case I am not asking for "better" seats--just closer to the front.

ps --this brings up a number of interesting points 1) should airlines post and book connections like this 2) if they do, should they make efforts to get the passenger to make the connection such as putting them in a seat towards the front (or let them chg to a better connection without a chg fee) and 3) I wonder if there are flyers who "mine" for EU 261 reimbursement ie pick a flight at just over the legal connection with no additional flights for at least 6 hours later thus "mining" for money in the likely event of a flight being just 10 minutes late....
Sometimes it pays to use a travel agent. You don’t know what you do t know until something like this happens.

Many foreign airlines charge for seat assignments. If you are truly worried- pay for the seats up close. If you don’t see free seats any further up - there are none. They are not going to give you free seats in a premium
section. I’m sure you won’t be the only ones with a connection.
 
Jun 9, 2019
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#17
I'll be in the same situation this Saturday. I'm flying SFO-LIS-FCO with just the 65 minute layover. I've never flown to Europe and figured I'd go through immigration upon arrival in Italy but I found out that's not that case and now I'm worried about missing my flight.

So I was wondering what happened in this case (if you made your scheduled flight, how close you were to missing it, and if you have any tips)?

Thanks
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,110
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#18
I'll be in the same situation this Saturday. I'm flying SFO-LIS-FCO with just the 65 minute layover. I've never flown to Europe and figured I'd go through immigration upon arrival in Italy but I found out that's not that case and now I'm worried about missing my flight.

So I was wondering what happened in this case (if you made your scheduled flight, how close you were to missing it, and if you have any tips)?

Thanks
My tip is to change your flight to one with at least a 2
to 3 hour connection. Odds are good you won’t make that connection and have to buy another ticket and hope your luggage gets there.

These are things you need to know when you book your own tickets. Sometimes you need to go through Immigration, get your luggage and recheck it. You could be in line in Immigration for an hour if they don’t have enough agents working.

I wish people that have never booked outside the US would use a travel agent or come here and ask first. There are many things different about booking flights outside the US that you don’t know booking on your own,
 
Jan 3, 2019
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#19
The advice offered here is correct. This issue is not the seat assignments, but the tight connection. You need to pass customs in the first country entered in the Schengen area. Customs are very slow and I usually budget an hour just for that. There is no fast lane and there is no sympathy for travelers who may miss a flight. Everybody in the airport is in a hurry. The seating may even be moot if you need to use a bus to get to the terminal. Additionally, overseas flights and intra-EU flights are often in different terminals. I highly doubt your chances of making the connection will be determined by where you sit.

It's great you have travel insurance, but double check that it will cover a missed connection. Perhaps use this forum to make sure you are properly covered.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
Short legal connections are often desired by business travelers who have the passport of the landing country.

In Lisbon you will need to pass through immigration. You will pass through customs in Rome. Immigration means standing in the non EU passport line

The flight lands at a fairly busy time. See if you can get help with the short connection service.

Can you change the Lisbon to Rome flight?

If the lines at immigration are long the airline is not at fault. Hopefully there would be another flight soon with a seat.

I would not book a 65 minute domestic connection in SFO let alone Lisbon with passport control.