Monarch Scheduled - LTN/AGP/LTN

Profile picture for user G-OJET

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

Flight: ZB012 LTN-AGP Aircraft: A321 G-OJEG Scheduled Departure time: 0815 Actual Departure time: 0845 Flight time: 2hrs 30mins Having travelled on Monarch Scheduled (and Crown Service) for many years, I was looking forward to this trip as this is one of my favorite carriers. When I booked this flight, I shopped around quite a bit, as you do, checking most of the no-frills carriers as I need to travel out on a Sunday and back the next day. Believe it or not, BA offered a very competitive fare from LHR, however, LTN is much easier for me to get to living not far from EMA myself. I flew from LTN with Monarch towards the end of 2003 and hadn’t seen LTN since. I was surprised to find how much construction work is currently going on there, making it very difficult for people at times. Although Monarch Scheduled is now supposed to be ticketless, I had been told that because I bought my tickets through Touchdown, I needed to collect paper tickets from the ticket desk. I allowed what I thought was plenty of time (nearly 2 hrs 30mins) to collect tickets and check-in. However, there was already a massive queue of the usual golfing crowd at the ZB check-in by the time I arrived. Having waited nearly 20-30mins, eventually, I got checked in and was allocated row 9, second but last row in the forward cabin. In my wisdom, and thinking of my days of working on the 757, I thought “great, I’m only 1 row away from the boarding door". I totally forgot that A321’s board from doors 1 and 4 only, doors 2 are smaller than normal and only emergency exits. The A321 looked fairly standard inside, although I was surprised to see old fixed TV screens in the ceiling of the aisle rather than flip down ones that most airbus seem to have. The crew seats looked like they’d seen better days too! Not sure how old G-OJEG is? After a little waiting around, boarding seemed to begin very early, around 45mins before departure. I assumed this was because LTN has no airbridge’s and if you’ve ever watched “Airline”, you’ll know getting passengers on the right plane across and open apron is tricky! However, it was ridiculously cold, starting to sleet and there I am, half way up a rickety set of air stairs freezing my **** off waiting to get on. The flight was fairly full, a few empty seats here and there. There was the usual compliment of crew, quite a young Senior Crew Member (LTN Pursers seem to be notoriously old school from what I remember!) and the obligatory Spanish native to do the Spanish PA’s! Everything seemed to be looking like an on time departure, then the Captain announced we were waiting for 17 bags to be loaded and we would be on our way. Well…. Half an hour later, we’re still sat there. Still, it was interesting waiting there watching the 2 Wizz Air’s parked next to us, glowing bright pink and watching them loading up and board. Eventually we closed up and pushed back and went past all the hangers en-route to the runway. As we taxied we passed a Britannia 763 in Garuda hybrid scheme and very interesting collection of Private Jets as is usual for LTN. Take off roll seemed long, and bumpy (as I remember banging over the cats eyes every time I’ve taken off from LTN!). This was the first time I’d flown with ZB since their introduction of their new in-flight service. I really wasn’t sure what the procedure was for those wanting hot meals. The idea was that they offered the traditional in-flight airline style meals, all at £5 a go which didn’t seem bad compared to what you can pay for breakfast in the terminal. A crew member them came rounded, handed out menu’s and advised to just ask for what you wanted when they came round with the trolley and pay for it. Now, this must take a lot of clever planning by someone at Monarch HQ to decide how many hot meals and trays to load, how many to cook etc. Not everyone bought them, but a lot did! It seemed far more popular than the nasty sandwich offerings you get with most no-frills. After all, this was every bit the proper old fashioned airline meal they were offering. They followed this with tea and coffee (complimentary only for those who purchased food), hot towels and the usual parade of in-flight sales. I was surprised to see Monarch Scheduled were still offering complimentary newspapers and headsets for the IFE too. The rest of the flight was very smooth, ended with the usual flight out over the water and double back to land into AGP. I always find the reverse thrust on the Airbus rather hair-raising, even as an ex-flyer! It seems too severe! On arrival, the airport seemed quite busy which was normal for a Sunday in AGP. I noticed 4 EZY 737’s parked off stand, an EUJet F100 which looked rather like it was "TECH", a bmibaby 737 and the usual BY and FCA flights. We were lucky enough to be given an airbridge as it was absolutely lashing it down with rain. I’ve never seen such bad weather in AGP before! Disembarking was the usual fiasco, cabin crew tell everyone to stay seated until the aircraft stops etc and no one takes a blind bit of notice. Hat racks were being opened well before the aircraft had stopped! RETURN: Flight: ZB013 AGP-LTN Aircraft: A321 G-MARA Scheduled Departure time: 1445 (I think?) Actual Departure time: Lost track! Flight time: 2hrs 30mins (ish) After having a great flight out, a nice night stop, I thought nothing could possible go wrong. I arrived at AGP nice and early and got checked in within 5mins. The Iberia handling agents there seem much more professional than some of the other agents that the likes of bmibaby and others use. The queue for Security was absolutely horrific. Normally, they don't care if you bleep or not in a Spanish Airport. However, today's idea seemed to be "Make everyone beep regardless". You can imagine the chao's at all the old dears being searched! Its quite easy to then while away your time in the massive Duty Free shops and cafe etc in the departure lounge, which incidentally offers some great views of the runway and aprons. Eventually, I made my way to the gate knowing full well that a queue would have formed regardless of the flight being called or not. I was right, people already panicing about getting on but no sign of any Iberia dispatchers, then I noticed they were out on the airbridge having a fag! Eventually, an aircraft pulled onto stand, one of the hosties got off dressed up in her mac and dragging her trolley behind her. I thought this was weird as they don't get off in AGP, they turn around. I couldn't understand why she was taking her trolley bag if she was going for ciggies for the crew from Duty free (a common occurance when in Spain!). All would be revealed later! There then followed much commotion at the desk at the departure gate with the Iberia staff, lots of shouting in Spanish, lots of phone calls etc. It was now getting on for 30mins past boarding and not much was happening and no announcement made. I assumed at this point that the aircraft was Tech. I waited, and waited and waited. Nearly an hour passed, and eventually boarding began. Whilst in the queue to board I heard the dispatcher telling a passenger that the crew had changed planes in AGP and the inbound plane to take us back to LTN was late in from MAN. It all became clear, both the LTN-AGP and MAN-AGP land at the same time so they had done an aircraft swap. I then managed to get onboard, settle into Row 10 (expecting no recline as infront of an exit, however it did recline) and wait to leave. The the crew are all fussing around, someone hadn't got an ice bucket (yes, can you believe it!) and they couldn't take off without it. I mean... it was around 0c degree's outside, still lashing down with rain and we couldn't leave without an ice bucket!!! Then the hostie who'd gotten off earlier to buy ciggies obviously wasn't back in time, and the delay got longer. Eventually, everyone seemed to kick into action and in a flash the missing hostie was back, the ice bucket in place, doors closed and were off! The captain then came over the PA to apologise blaming the MAN crew for being late with the aircraft ( no mention of said missing hostie, fags or ice buckets!!!). Again, the flight was probably 90% full. I had the most vile old dear in front of me who decided she was important enough to recline her seat into my face during taxiing, but a few quick thumps of one's knee into her back quickly resolved that (hehe!!). There were a lot of takers again for the hot meal service and the rest of the flight went pretty much as the outbound. Overall, I’m still really impressed with ZB. I was disappointed when the announced they were changing their in-flight service, however, I think the new product works fantastically and is obviously selling well too. 8/10 Monarch! (not counting the slight delays, Ice bucket issues etc!) :)
Original post
Profile picture for user bmi-star

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15 years 7 months

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Nice report there mate!
Profile picture for user Mark L

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16 years 6 months

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Nice report, Luton seems to be getting a lot of stick these days for baggage handling, although I'm not sure what the issues exactly are?
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

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Superb report mate :)
Profile picture for user G-OJET

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19 years 9 months

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Thank you everyone.
Profile picture for user Future Pilot

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16 years 2 months

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I had the most vile old dear in front of me who decided she was important enough to recline her seat into my face during taxiing, but a few quick thumps of one's knee into her back quickly resolved that (hehe!!)
LOL! Great report there mate! :d

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15 years 8 months

Posts: 1,098

Great report there. You got the 2 'old' A321s rather than any of the 'new' ones. I got OZBE and OZBG back in October 2003 when I flew MAN-ALC-MAN and it was still complimentary meals.
Profile picture for user G-OJET

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 399

Great report there. You got the 2 'old' A321s rather than any of the 'new' ones. I got OZBE and OZBG back in October 2003 when I flew MAN-ALC-MAN and it was still complimentary meals.
Yep, they did feel a little older than you would have expected for an A321, however, they must get some hard usage on all those charters as well. The old fixed aisle TV monitors gave it away!

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14 years 11 months

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Great report
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

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I always think of MARA and OJEG as the oddballs of the fleet, with the other 321s starting with OZB*, I didnt know they were older though.