Catering primarily for leisure travelers, Thomas Cook Airlines offers flights from various regional airports in the UK to vacation destinations around the world. Travelers wishing to get to the UK can take advantage of the same flights and often pick up an excellent bargain. Some flights are all-economy class (as was mine); others offer a new “Premium” class, equivalent to other airlines Premium Economy. Where they compete with other ‘established’ airlines such as British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, the prices are often considerably lower.
Checked baggage allowance: 1 x 20kg bag
Carry-on baggage allowance: 1 x 6kg bag
Check-in at London’s Gatwick Airport takes place in the South Terminal; it’s a short walk to the escalator, and then one floor up to the security screening area. Check-in for my flight was fast and friendly, and I spent less than 5 minutes waiting in line.
Boarding and departure
Boarding was carried out by row number, starting at the rear of the aircraft, was well organized, and completed in good time. The aircraft door was closed on time, and we pushed back on schedule.
Thomas Cook A330-200 aircraft offer a 31” pitch in economy class, with an 18.2” seat width, and are configured 2-4-2 which is standard configuration for this aircraft type. Seats are equipped with the standard reading light and crew call functions, and each seat has its own seatback screen with USB port.
Food and beverage service
Soon after take-off, a pay-onboard beverage service is offered, featuring a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Cash and debit/credit cards are accepted.
Later, a three course (main dish, dessert, and cheese/crackers) meal by celebrity chef James Martin was served, along with tea or coffee to follow. Food was hot, tasty, and enjoyable. On my flight a choice of chicken with vegetables or sausages with mashed potato and vegetables was offered as the main course.
A mini ice cream was offered later in the flight, and approximately 90 minutes before landing, an afternoon tea service, featuring mini filled rolls, and a scone with cream and jam, again accompanied by tea or coffee.
Pay-onboard beverages were available throughout the flight in the galleys, or on request from the crew.
Entertainment and service
The in-flight entertainment system offers access to a limited selection of movies and TV shows free of charge, or for £6.00, passengers may upgrade to the full library of 30 movies and 50 TV shows. All passengers to an extensive audio library free of charge, as well as to flight information, and the moving map. Passengers may use their own single-pin headsets, or purchase one onboard for £3.00.
Thomas Cook Airlines friendly crewmembers provide excellent service, and are always available for any request. My flight had a Glasgow based crew, who brought their own touch of Scottish hospitality onboard.
My flight landed around 45 minutes ahead of schedule; once at the terminal, immigration, baggage delivery, and customs were all slow, as normal in Cancun; all passengers face this unfortunate situation in this overwhelmed airport, regardless of airline or class of travel.
Thomas Cook Airlines flights offer an often unbeatable value for money; onboard comfort, service and meals equivalent to British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, at a price often hundreds of dollars less. Overall, highly recommended.
Book online at www.thomascookairlines.com or www.condor.com
Route: London Gatwick – Cancun
Cabin Class: Economy
Flight #: TCX 412
Airline: Thomas Cook Airlines
Aircraft Type: A330-200
Seat #: 8D
SERVICE * * * *
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Service from regional hubs in the UK
Newly refurbished aircraft
Meals by celebrity chef James Martin
Pay onboard for drinks
Prices way below their competitors