A sudden change of planes on a TAP flight to Rio de Janeiro led to confusion and the presence of police after a passenger complained.
Flight TP-75, between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro, has been operated for a few years by the Portuguese company’s Airbus A330-900neo model, since the final departure of the four-engine A340-300 and the withdrawal of most A330-200 PDGs. , older.
It turns out that this regular route, during these holidays, was sometimes taken by the Airbus A330-200 of the also Portuguese HiFly, one of the most prominent companies in the charter with crewa business model which consists of leasing the aircraft with the crew, in addition to operational technical support.
The changes were made to support the European summer network and also relieve the TAP crew, who have been working to the limit and suffer from constant delays and problems at European airports.
However, the latest aircraft replacement did not sit well with Brazilian passengers, who were shortchanged when switching from the new A330neo to the A330ceo already in use. In a video circulating on social networks, it is possible to see them arguing with the Public Security Police of Portugal (PSP) and employees of TAP.
One of the passengers said: “there is no structure on the plane and we pay in cash”. They claim they paid for TAP Business Class but were told at the gate that the flight would be operated by HiFly and when they entered the plane they were confronted with a much smaller interior than they imagined it.
Registered 9H-TQP, the HiFly A330-200 used on this flight last Sunday, the 21st, was manufactured in 1998 for Canada 3000 and arrived in the Portuguese airline in 2011, being leased to several other companies in the same way as TAP. .
It carries 298 passengers, exactly the same number of seats as the TAP A330neo is configured, but the A330-900 is larger, as it is based on the A330-300 fuselage, which is longer than the A330 -200. The HiFly configuration is therefore more dense (tight).
In addition, the Economy class of 9H-TQP has 267 seats compared to 264 for TAP’s A330neo, and in the Executive the difference is 3 fewer seats, being a “compromise” between the two classes.
Another point to note is that TAP’s most expensive class takes up the entire front part of the aircraft, between the two front doors and on HiFly only half the space.
But the complaint was not possible demote class, but of those who were in the executive and continued there on the other plane. In the HiFly aircraft, the seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, and on TAP it is 1-2-1, all with aisle access and with 3 fewer seats per row.
In addition to having more seats, they’re smaller, have less privacy, don’t convert into a bed, and don’t have individual entertainment screens (absent throughout the plane). In these cases, HiFly usually provides a Tablet with movies for each executive passenger.
It was reported that Executive passengers received a compensation voucher of €250 (R$1,272) for changing planes, but it was still not enough, and faced with the problem, they turned to the PSP.
In the video below, you can see them arguing with police and TAP employees over the substandard quality of the plane, and demanding that it be placed on the next flight in the same class, what the employee says cannot be guaranteed.
Passengers who paid for 1st class on the TAP flight to RJ refused to board a plane chartered by TAP to Hifly. Since it uses an aircraft (interior and comfort) much inferior to that operated by TAP and therefore to what was paid. Is it the flag company? ! pic.twitter.com/WZfMBmcozr
— Miguel Baumgartner (@MiguelBaumgartn) August 23, 2022
Faced with an impasse, what appears to be a company supervisor takes the microphone from the speaker system and asks passengers who wish to disembark to do so through the front door, in order to clear the aircraft for those wishing to continue .to Rio later that night. The video ends without showing the outcome of the story and whether the passengers have disembarked.
According to data from the flight tracking platform RadarBox, the flight departed nearly 1.5 hours late, arriving in the capital Rio de Janeiro half an hour later than scheduled. A complaint was also filed by the vice-president of the municipality of Cascais, Miguel Pinto, stating that the fee for the executive was €5,000 (R$25,000):
TAP chartered this absolutely indescribable HIFLY plane to fly Lx – Rio (5k€ executive). TAP by Pedro Nuno Santos always innovative. pic.twitter.com/1BCdkqC7Ao
— Miguel Pinto Luz (@miguelluz) August 23, 2022
Other passengers also complained about the plane, saying the bathroom was filthy and there were no outlets to charge electronic devices.
I flew in economy class conditions, an old plane, without comfort, badly maintained and with very limited services: there was no USB to charge my mobile phone or my computer, bathrooms in terrible conditions, chairs didn’t fully recline and there was no leg support.
— MARCUS COSTA MORAES (@MARCUSCMORAES) August 23, 2022