This is a configuration option; by default it is set to allow Flash Player/AIR handle the tab key, but you can change this to allow TLF to handle the tab key instead.
Look at manageTabKey in the API docs: flashx.textLayout.elements.Configuration
I did this and it inserted the TLF tab into the markup but it still switched the focus to the next component in the tab list. Is this a defect?
Also, I tried to add it tab stops to the text flow and it just ignores them and tabs to the end of the line. Am I missing something?
Configuration(textFlow.configuration).manageTabKey = true;
textFlow.tabStops = [new TabStop(TabAlignment.START, 20)]
The default behavior when there are no tab stops before the end of the line is to create a new line exactly as you describe. Please verify that you've specified tab stops.
This is even simpler than the above.
will create tabs at 100 and 200 pixels.