TUI Airways – TOM 8042 – LGW – PFO
Seat 25F (Economy)
Flight time: 12:00– 16:30 (12:30-16:30)
Duration: 4 hour 30 minutes
21st November 2018
O V E R V I E W :
This would be a rather unusual trip report as the flight that I would be reviewing was not a choice of mine. As part of my company’s training back in November, I was sent to Paphos in Cyprus on a chartered flight. Given that all flight bookings are made centrally without me having any option, I was just informed that my flight to and fro Paphos would be on TUI Airways (formerly Thomson Airways) from London Gatwick airport. Although my flight is a chartered one, I have decided to report on my outbound journey (both sectors similar) given that it was on a rather exotic airline.Got my boarding pass on the day of departure from a special row of check in desks at LGW bearing no destination but only my company’s training name.Excited to arrive at the boarding gate as I had no clue what my operating aircraft type would be although my guess was the B737 based on the number of passengers it can accommodate. To my surprise, my equipment to Paphos was a Boeing 757-200! Cheers to anything else besides the B737/A320 which I mostly fly on. 😛First impression of the cabin which looked dated. It is not my first time on this aircraft type as I have flew the same aircraft on Iceland Air before which you can read about here. Fortunate to have the seat next to me empty!Rather tight legroom for this ~4 hours flight. Mandatory seat pocket content shot. Note that TUI operates ala LCC and onboard F&B can bought instead. As I was worried that prices would be steep and options onboard would be limited, I got food from the terminal instead but having browsed the menu, the meal deal option seemed to be affordable and not too over priced though options are limited. Taxiing to the runway for departure featuring 2 Virgin Atlantic Queens.Safety demo was done manually by the cabin crew. Time for a loo visit after airborne. The washroom on this B757 is notably more spacious compared to most newer aircraft types.Meal purchase was offered twice (post take off and pre landing) during the flight and quite a number of my colleagues actually got the food sold which actually smelt great. An interesting thing that happened during the service was that the crew had to go on the PA and ask everyone to turn off the bluetooth function on our devices as it interfered with the card payment system onboard, not sure if this happens usually but definitely a first for me. Without realising it, the sky turned dark and I was already approaching Paphos. Touched down on time and a final look at my equipment as I disembarked the aircraft from the stairs (no aerobridges at Paphos airport) and boarded the bus to the terminal building.
C O N C L U S I O N:
As it was my very first time flying TUI and having not read much about this airline online, I did not have any expectations in mind before flying. That said, the soft product was mediocre without anything to shout about as the crew did their duties to what is expected and the consistency was not evident given that the crew operating my inbound journey back to London seemed to be a friendlier bunch. In terms of the hard product, the B757s of TUI are definitely showing their age and it is understandable as to why the fleet have commenced retirement in 2018 by phase. Moving on to the offerings for F&B, while they are not priced steeply, the options could have be more varied to cater for different palates. Overall, nothing to stop me from flying TUI in the future (depending on how competitive their fares are as I have no clue how much my flights costed).