Monarch Premium BHX-SFB / A330

Profile picture for user G-OJET

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

Flight: MON313 Aircraft: A330 G-EOMA Scheduled Departure time: 0830 Actual Departure time: 0902 Estimated Flight time: 9hrs 10mins Actual Flight time: lost count by that point! Hi folks, Well, some of you probably gather from my other thread that I had the pleasure of a trip to Orlando (complete with Hurricane Frances!) recently. I decided due to the rather lengthy flight time of 9hrs from BHX-SFB that I couldn't face the prospect of that amount of time with my knee's round my neck in charter economy! I managed to get MON's premium cabin, and was really looking forward to it. Check-in looked terrible on arrival at BHX T1. Thank god they had a separate queue for Premium (I guess they have to justify the £199 upgrade somewhere!) which was reasonably quick although the Groundstar (or is it Swissport now?) staff weren't particularly competent and needed Supervisors for a lot of things. We were allocated seats in row 7, which is the last row of Premium. I actually prefer the last row, no one pulling on your seat from behind every time they want the loo etc. Boarding was fairly slow again, although we got Gate 40 at BHX which is rather nice now they have the new long glass airbridge. I was really surprised to find no leather seats in Premium, instead some strange looking Green upholstery (rather like Air Canada's scheme) and a standard 2-4-2 config up front. Down the back was the usual Monarch blue seats, but in a rather cramped non-A330 standard 3-3-3 config this time. The crew offered Orange juice or water, then we pushed back around 30mins late. We had a very long run up the runway at BHX, I thought we weren't going to make it at one point! I am a big fan of Monarch, so I was pretty surprised to see that virtually nothing of the aircraft interior colour scheme seemed to go together, in fact, it clashed! We had green seats, blue carpet, purple amenity packs and grey blankets. I still think the service was great though. As we had an early departure from BHX at 0830, the service commenced with pre-flight drinks in premium, then continental breakfast after take for all. Continental breakfast was served which consisted of some bizarre salami, lettuce, tomato, hot croissants, juice etc. I think I may have preferred whatever they got down the back at this point. Still, the crew were great and I get the impression they were all MAN based from their accents. I doubt they have any A330 trained crew at BHX for the once a week visit. The IFE was fine. Plenty of films to choose from although not on demand as you get on bmi’s A330’s. The drinks were flowing, all complimentary in Premium. The Number 1 on the flight was especially nice and happened to be serving our aisle. There was no hesitation when ever I asked for another bottle of water, and believe me, that was quite frequent! About 3 hours before landing the crew served a hot lunch with a choice of 2 entrée’s which was very nice. Again, more drinks services followed throughout the flight. They then showed a US Immigration video, they never fail to put the fear of god into you with the instructions on these video’s do they? Finally, we circled Sanford for about 10mins or so, not really sure why as it’s a very sleepy little airport if you’ve ever been. We landed very smoothly and parked up next a Vacation Express 737-200 (looked rather tired!). There was a MyTravel flight (not sure if it was an A330 or 767, too far from where we were parked to tell) just come in from GLA too by the looks of it. Now, if you’ve ever been to Sanford you’ll know that its not exactly an airport full of character or lots of movements. It’s a very dull place, with the usual massive US Immigration queues. One nice thing is the baggage trollies are all free at SFB! All in all, the Monarch experience was very good. We had a lovely Scottish Captain who kept us well informed of the routing and schedule. The crew were very efficient and friendly and I’d happily use them again. Monarch are one of my favorite carriers anyway, but the Premium Cabin was worth it for that length of flight, and you can’t beat a long trip on an A330 in my opinion!
Original post

Member for

15 years 8 months

Posts: 1,098

Great report, glad you liked Monarch. I too went to Sanford back in 2000, but I thought it was a nice airport.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 920

Great report. Sounds as if Monarch's Premium may not be as good as TCX's or MYT's whom I'm sure have leather seats. Sounds better than the cattle class I normally fly anyway. P.S. Does the MON330 ever leave anywhere on time? ;)
Profile picture for user G-OJET

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

green320: Cheers! Yes, I've always been a Monarch fan. SFB is probably nice, I only saw it from the arriving point of view. I left from MCO on the way out instead. Pembo: Thanks again! I haven't experienced MYT or TCX, but I did see the TCX + flight report on here and it did look much nicer than MON. Had to laugh about the A330 leaving on time!!! Its probably true, however, I think in our case it was caused by the ground staff starting boarding way too late. 25mins ish before departure isn't really sufficient for an A330 is it. :eek:

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 920

You're right 25 minutes is not bad at all. I just put that comment in as whenever I have seen a MON330 anywhere, it has always had some sort of delay on it. Glad you enjoyed your trip. :)
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

Posts: 9,401

Very good report, Enjoyable reading :)
Profile picture for user EAL_KING

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16 years 4 months

Posts: 2,114

brill report. sanford is a nice airport when you depart sanford a good idea if you have hours to wait is to go into the guest house which is as you enter the departures lounge go left carry on all the way to the bar then turn left it seems like a long bridge to another part of departue loung but on other side of that is the guesthouse and has cinema and films to chose papers magesines showers free food drink and bar and tv and games room is v.good and also as u enter the departure hall straight ahead is a viewing platform v.good views of a/c and runway.
Profile picture for user Future Pilot

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16 years 2 months

Posts: 3,394

Great Report! :D

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15 years 5 months

Posts: 499

green320: Cheers! Yes, I've always been a Monarch fan. SFB is probably nice, I only saw it from the arriving point of view. I left from MCO on the way out instead. Pembo: Thanks again! I haven't experienced MYT or TCX, but I did see the TCX + flight report on here and it did look much nicer than MON. Had to laugh about the A330 leaving on time!!! Its probably true, however, I think in our case it was caused by the ground staff starting boarding way too late. 25mins ish before departure isn't really sufficient for an A330 is it. :eek:
That would probably be me, they did have leather seats, in 2-3-2 config but they were still the jmc ones.

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16 years 4 months

Posts: 140

For your info, both 330's left on time today!!!!
Profile picture for user G-OJET

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

I'm sure the 330's are much more reliable than the 300's, but as I said, the ground staff seem to have no idea how far in advance they should start boarding 300+ people. Maybe they'll get the hang of it eventually! topjet - TCX sounds better then. I might have to sample it on their MAN-YVR next year.

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16 years 5 months

Posts: 12,842

A very enjoyable report lad
Profile picture for user Duesseldwarf

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

A very good report - glad you enjoyed flying Monarch.
Profile picture for user G-OJET

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

Cheers Steve and Duesseldwarf Yes, I do love Monarch! Just wish they'd start a Monarch Scheduled operation at BHX or EMA for me and give My Old Sh*te(MYT) and bmimaybe(WW) a run for their money!!!

Member for

15 years 2 months

Posts: 576

good report
Profile picture for user Duesseldwarf

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

Cheers Steve and Duesseldwarf Yes, I do love Monarch! Just wish they'd start a Monarch Scheduled operation at BHX or EMA for me and give My Old Sh*te(MYT) and bmimaybe(WW) a run for their money!!!
I'd love to see ZB at BHX too - we should have done it years ago - no doubt about that one, in my opinion.

Member for

15 years 2 months

Posts: 538

I used to like Monarch very much indeed. I loved ZB before they went no frills. They were an excellent scheduled leisure airline with lower fares but good service. I had flown them since they began theri Monarch Crown service from Luton in the 80s. I am sad to see the direction in which they are going, particularly the scheduled operation. I used to try and use MON for charter in recent years as you could book Monarch Plus for a very small extra charge and get an upgraded meal and free drink,very nice. Cosmos holidays offered the Plus service on their holidays. Do MON charter still offer Plus? I love the A300-600R and I hope they continue to serve with Monarch for a long time. Not keen on the A330 though!
Profile picture for user Duesseldwarf

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

OK. Can I just clarify once and for all - We are not NO FRILLS, we're LOW COST with frills - we still offer a lot of frills that other low cost airlines don't. These are namely IFE, free newspapers, free pre-bookable seats, free tea and coffee and hot towels. The only thing that has changed is that the meals, snacks (previously unavailable) and the soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are now chargeable extras, as detailed in the PM I sent you the other day, Danairboy. However, there is now a choice of two hot meals or sandwiches or kids meals on board which was the whole reason our customer feedback was in favour of changing from the preset, no choice menu. Also, as pointed out in the PM, it isn't just the hot meal that the £4 buys you - it includes a salad/starter, bread roll and butter, cheese and biscuits, a desert and an after dinner miniture chocolate. Also, drinks that are purchased still come with the free mini packet of nibbles. That is hardly NO frills now. All this and we are still competitive on price with all the 'actual' no-frills boys. I hope that this now clears things up for you.
Profile picture for user Robert Hamilton

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15 years 8 months

Posts: 409

might have been the a330 to egaa was it a friday?
Profile picture for user andrewm

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19 years 9 months

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OK. Can I just clarify once and for all - We are not NO FRILLS, we're LOW COST with frills - we still offer a lot of frills that other low cost airlines don't. These are namely IFE, free newspapers, free pre-bookable seats, free tea and coffee and hot towels. The only thing that has changed is that the meals, snacks (previously unavailable) and the soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are now chargeable extras, as detailed in the PM I sent you the other day, Danairboy. However, there is now a choice of two hot meals or sandwiches or kids meals on board which was the whole reason our customer feedback was in favour of changing from the preset, no choice menu. Also, as pointed out in the PM, it isn't just the hot meal that the £4 buys you - it includes a salad/starter, bread roll and butter, cheese and biscuits, a desert and an after dinner miniture chocolate. Also, drinks that are purchased still come with the free mini packet of nibbles. That is hardly NO frills now. All this and we are still competitive on price with all the 'actual' no-frills boys. I hope that this now clears things up for you.
Bloody hell thats alot - im going to book with Monarch for next summer!
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19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

Good choice andrewm - just one thing to point out - it's the Monarch Scheduled flights (ZB) that this service applies to - I'm not too hot on our charter product's onboard service.