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Time to fly... This time with Thomas Cook Airlines
Thomas Cook Airlines
Member Name: loulou22
Thomas Cook Airlines
Advantages: It takes you to your holiday
Disadvantages: see reveiw
Thomas Cook Airlines.
I flew with Thomas Cook Airlines in the Autumn of 2010 on a flight to Fuerteventura. I was going on an all inclusive holiday with my friend, for me it was very last minute as the person she was supposed to go with let her down at the last minute, due to this I cannot comment on the booking process, but I believe she booked it all online, the holiday was with First Choice and Thomas Cook was the flight part only.
*** Check in and Delays ***
Our flight was from Birmingham airport so nice and local for us. When we arrived at the airport we had a look on the departures board to see what check in desks we needed to use. Upon arriving at the check in desk we were greeted by a lovely long queue, however we were a little early and check in hadn't actually opened at this time. As soon as check in opened the queue moved at a reasonable pace and we were only waiting around 15 minutes until it was our turn at the desk. As we got closer to the desk it was clear to see we were at the correct one. The monitors behind the desks clearly displayed our flight information and destination.
When it was our turn the lady behind the desk called us forward and we handed her our tickets and passports, she politely asked us to place our cases on the weighing part of the conveyor and asked the usual check in questions: Did you pack your bags yourself? Has anyone asked you to carry anything for them? and Could anyone have tampered with your bags? Of course we answered correctly and then she checked the weight of our cases. The usual weight allowed is up to 15kg, however my friend had paid extra to be allowed 20kg. Both of our cases were within the limit, mine easily and my friends narrowly, however the check in lady did advise us that if our cases came to under 40kg in total then it was alright for one to be slightly over weight. Baggage labels were then attached to both of our cases and off they went on the conveyor to meet us in Fuerteventura. We were then handed our documents back along with our boarding cards and told to have a pleasant journey.
We then proceeded to do the usual airport things, shop, eat, play in the arcades and keep an eye on the departures board. By the time we had gone through security the departures board was informing us that our flight was delayed by 45 minutes.
*** Boarding the Plane ***
As our original departure time was approaching it started to flash on the departure board to proceed to the departure gate. I felt a little excited at this thinking we might be leaving on time after all. However my excitement was short lived when we arrived at the gate but there was no boarding gate staff present. After a further 5 minutes 4 members of staff appeared and went through the departure gate doors, minutes later they called for any wheelchair passengers and passengers with pre-booked assistance to make their way to the front of the queue to be boarded first, once these passengers were though the gate staff started checking everyone else's boarding cards and passports and moving us through the gate and along the tunnel to board the plane. Inside the doorway of the plane were a couple of cabin crew checking boarding cards again and telling us how far down the plane we needed to walk to be at our allocated seat.
Once everyone was seated and the cabin crew did their final checks of seat belts and overhead luggage compartments the safety demonstration began as the plane taxied towards the runway. The safety demonstration was well presented and clear to understand and their is also a safety card seat back pocket in front of you in case there was anything you were unsure of.
Also in the seat back you will find a magazine and just in case you might need it... a sick bag.
*** Comfort ***
The seats themselves I noticed straight away were small and felt rather cramped, there was only the 2 of us sitting in our row of 3 so we sat with a seat between us to give us a bit more room and once we had taken off we lifted the arm rests to make them a bit wider too, I'm very grateful there weren't three of us in the row. The seats were actually quite comfortable to sit on, however the leg room was minimal, I am only 5ft 1in and I found it difficult to find a comfortable position to sit in where my legs didn't feel cramped. When the tray table was down space was down to a minimum so I felt better to fold the tray table up and read my magazine holding it instead.
*** In Flight ***
After take off the in flight service was good. The cabin crew did the usual move through the cabin offering items for sale including duty free gifts, snacks and drinks. There was a nice variety of goods available, but as usual I found the prices to be a little expensive. However this didn't stop me from purchasing the most expensive dog toy I have ever bought for my little Izzie. I bought her a squeaky plane on a rope tug toy at a price of £10... Izzie's appreciation of this £10 toy? Not interested at all, she prefers the 2 Euro cuddly parrot toy instead!
During the flight meals were served to those passengers who had booked for a meal when they booked their holiday, we hadn't done this though. The food smelt lovely wafting through the cabin as I was sitting munching on a chocolate bar and a packet of crisps that I'd bought in the airport!
In flight entertainment was non existent unless you are willing to pay a hire charge of £9.99 for a Sony PSP to watch in flight movies on or play games on it. I found this idea to be ridiculous especially when some people are travelling as a family and there would be no chance of getting children to share one PSP and watch the same thing, therefore either having to hire multiple consoles or have bored children! In my opinion they should be using the TV's that drop down and then if they have to make money somewhere then go back to selling earphones like most airlines who offer in flight entertainment do.
The take off and landing of the flight were both smooth and hassle free, on our return flight there was a rather loud bang which we had no idea what it was, but we landed safely and nothing was mentioned. Upon landing the cabin crew make another announcement to welcome you to your destination and thank you for choosing Thomas Cook airlines.
*** Disembarkation ***
Disembarking the plane was what I am coming to accept as the standard procedure, everyone was stood up as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off and the isle was blocked with people removing baggage from overhead compartments. Once the doors were opened though the isle soon cleared and we could leave the plane.
*** Home Time ***
Our return flight was pretty much the same once we had actually taken off, however before we had taken off we boarded the plane as usual only to be told that just as we were about to start moving towards the runway a piece of radar equipment in the control tower had stopped working and under Spanish law no aircraft can take off or land with out this equipment. I appreciate that this is not the fault of Thomas Cook Airlines, but we were now stuck on a stationary aircraft. Overall we were sat on the plane for almost 3 and a half hours before the equipment was up and working again. During this time the pilot of the plane made regular announcements to keep us updated and apologise for the situation. He did his best to keep the air-conditioning on as much as possible as it was rather warm, I think he only turned it off when the plane was being refuelled as they had to refuel to allow for the air-conditioning running and also because of the air traffic control strikes taking place in France when we did take off we were going to have to divert around French air space. While we were waiting the cabin crew served us with complimentary cups of water and they offered us the chance to purchase non alcoholic drinks... yes thank you I will stick with the water!
*** In Conclusion... ***
Overall I don't think I would recommend Thomas Cook Airlines. While I found the cabin crew to be polite and efficient I felt that some of them lacked enthusiasm with regards to pride in their appearance and representing their airline. One male member of crew in particular was unshaven and wearing creased clothes, so I just feel they could have made a little more effort. We travelled with hold baggage and encountered no problems. Our luggage was not damaged or lost and all of the contents were present and in one piece. Finally... if you are tall or have long legs then Thomas Cook Airlines simply isn't the one for you.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: Not terrible... but definitly room for improvement
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