So this post is all about flying long haul with Thomas Cook Airlines, also known as Airtours. Thomas Cook aren’t the most familiar airline to me for flying with – usually opting for Jet 2 for short haul and the majority of long haul with British Airways or the Arabic airlines – depending upon destination.
For my honeymoon, we flew premium economy with Thomson (TUI) so I didn’t really know what to expect from a standard seat with Thomas Cook. Booking the actual holiday with Thomas Cook was nice and easy and you can go in store and make payments, dependant on how long you book it before your actual hols.
The flight was from Manchester direct into Cancun and was estimated at just over ten hours. We got on the plane and we were sat right at the back at the right hand side which meant we were in 4 x rows of 2. I prefer to go in a row of two were possible and this meant a little bit more leg room too as it was where the centre row switched from four seats to three giving more aisle space too. It was a nice distance from the toilets as to not have too much disturbance but was a bit noisy due to the postion of our seats in comparison to the engines.
For me on a long haul, the entertainment is really important. When flying for ten hours, and I often can’t sleep on a plane, I need to keep my mind going otherwise the flight feels more like twenty. With Thomas Cook, they give you a basic entertainment package with a minimal amount of films and tv shows but for a bigger package, you can upgrade for £5 per screen, they give you a code to type in to the screen which instantly gives you access to the premium content. This is a bit of a rip off – on a long haul flight in my opinion as I think you should be able to get the entertainment package included. They do actually give you a set of headphones for free but they are the cheap ones so I suggest you just bring your own.
They split the drinks service into two sections so they came round in the first hour to be able to get your drinks for the first five hours including the drinks to go with your meal. Your meal is included in the payment of the flight and was split into a lunchtime meal and then afternoon tea. The lunchtime meal was a beef and potato meal with carrots and dumpling. It tasted good but was so small. Thomas Cook have James Martin to design their meals for them but they weren’t anything amazing. You then got the usual bun, small dessert in cup, crackers and cheese. It was probably the worst inflight meal I have ever eaten. I think I would rather have had the option for a meal deal on the plane to pay for.
The afternoon tea was a bit of a debacle. You got a scone with clotted cream and jam, two sandwiches (both mayo fillings which I don’t eat) and a small shortbread biscuit. The worst thing about the whole bloody thing was that there was no knife in the pack to be able to cut open the scone. They expected you to use the stirrer for the cup of tea (which only select people got) to open the scone which resulted in this mess.
We did have quite a turbulent flight meaning they had to stop the hot drink service and switch to cold drinks which was perfectly understandable. The
The only bonus was that we got a Cornetto later on in the flight which redeemed it slightly.
One thing that is good about Thomas Cook long haul is their onboard shop which I purchased a few bits and pieces from which I talk about here.
The return journey was a little better with it being a better plane. The plane on the way back had a bunch of toilets down a little stairway and another at the back which meant the aisle wasn’t as congested. The meal on the way back was quite nice too and was a beef curry (non spicy) sort of meal. Breakfast was a small continental meal too. I just found the return flight much more comfortable with a bit of a bigger leg room, plus a shorter journey helped.
Although one of my complaints with the airline is that the crew tended to pick and choose who they were serving with hot drinks vs cold when the turbulence ended. I think some of them need to work on their customer service.