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Review: Monarch Airlines


A half full flight tells a tale

  • By SilverTraveller HMJ

    740 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • September 2016
  • London Gatwick South
  • Funchal, Madeira
  • Friend(s)
  • Economy

68 people found this review helpful

On arriving at Gatwick South for my flight to Madeira, I found the Monarch Airlines check-in desks surprisingly clear and, as my flight was mid-week at 2.50pm, even security didn’t take long to clear. Our priority seats meant boarding first, extra leg room at the front and complimentary drink. The plane was very empty and we had plenty of room to stretch out. On board, they were offering the extra leg room seats for £15, but there weren’t any takers.

Whilst pushing back from the stand early, we were 20 minutes late taking off but this seems par for the course these days.

The service was very good and the pay-for menu offered the usual range of drinks, cold sandwiches and two hot dishes (an all-day breakfast and penne pomodoro) for £6 which were said to be ‘freshly cooked’ and would take 25 minutes. I think their definition of freshly cooked is different to mine as I can’t imagine a chef at the front cooking my bacon and eggs to order. I suspect they mean ‘it will take 25 minutes to re-heat’.

The flight time to Madeira was 3 hours and 10 minutes and we were pleasantly surprised to find there was no time difference between the UK and the island. The inflight magazine was good and having read a good article on Toledo, it’s now on my list of city breaks to do.

Unlike some flights the pilot was clearly understandable and just before we landed he told us that on the left side we would see the island of Porto Santo. Despite our late take off, we arrived on schedule.

The return flight 5 days later was similarly good and once again, the flight was very empty.

Flying with such empty planes is possibly one reason why the company seems to be experiencing current financial difficulties.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    about 4 years ago
    I travelled on them at the beginning of November and was very pleasantly surprised by the airline. The outward flight was only half full but the return flight virtually full. Staff were efficient and pleasant. They didn't even bat an eyelid when I managed to lose by boarding card at Malaga Airport. They checked their computer screen and on I went.

    Unlike Autocruise, I'd have no hesitation using them again - perhaps after nearly 20 years, he/she ought to reconsider them?
  • Autocruise
    over 4 years ago
    We last travelled with Monarch in1998 and swore we never would again ... and we haven't!