Part of the Thomas Cook group of Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines UK (MT/TCX) is no longer the “Bucket and spade” holiday Airline is once was, or still maybe perceived to be.
I took the chance to sample their Premium Economy product recently from Cape Town (CPT) to London Gatwick (LGW).
British Airways (BA) dominate the market from The UK to Cape Town with 2 daily flights from Heathrow (LHR) operated by the B747-436 and 3 weekly flights from Gatwick (LGW) flown by the B777-236
It would be very easy to book with a legacy carrier such as BA, however the prices offered by Thomas Cook in both economy and Premium economy were to good to turn down !
Check in was very easy with 2 dedicated desks for the Premium Economy cabin.
Boarding commenced on time as we boarded 9 year old Airbus A330-243 G-TCXB. Thomas Cook have 3 different configurations on their A330’s. TCXB & TCXC (Ex Avianca) have 314 seats, with 49 Premium Economy seat and 265 in the main cabin. The Premium Cabin is set out in a 2-3-2 config.
Once the boarding of the Premium Cabin was complete, we were given the choice of a glass of Champagne, Orange juice or Water. Something I was not expecting from a Premium Economy product but a nice touch.
A long flight during the night of 11 hours 52 minutes was ahead of us and we were told to expect the usual bumps a few hours into the flight as we approached the Equator. A very informative P.A from the Flight crew explained this and sure enough right on queer the seat belt signs were illuminated for a couple hours as we headed North over central Africa.
Each seat has a seat back TV with a USB charging point. A good selection of films, TV, music channels and an excellent moving map to follow your progress.
We pushed back from Gate A6 2 minutes early for our long journey North to London Gatwick.
The cabin service commenced with a full complimentary bar service with a great choice of drinks followed by a further Wine service before the meal was served. As with any long night flight, its nice to see the Cabin crew get through the service in a manner that doesn’t appear rushed to enable the lights to be turned down to enable the passengers to maximise their rest.
The meal was extremely disappointing. James Martin has put his name to Thomas Cooks inflight meals. This was clearly not one of his creations ! The Cabin Crew were excellent and clearly embarrassed by what they had to serve. They explained this was a catering issue from the caterers in Cape Town.
With the meal service complete we were given the opportunity to buy duty free before the lights were turned down for the night.
Having flown many times with many different airlines, it was great to see the Thomas Cook crew regularly in the cabin offering water or juice and more than happy for you to appear in the galley to request other drinks.
The seat pitch was very good with a good recline which enabled me to get around 5 hours sleep after enjoying a couple fo drinks and a movie.
Breakfast was served a couple of hours before our arrival into London Gatwick. A much better meal than the evening meal earlier in the flight.
We arrived at a wet & windy Gatwick 15 minutes ahead of schedule on runway 26L and made our way to Gate 21.
Overall, I was extremely impressed by Thomas Cooks Premium Cabin and service. A nice clean cabin, superb Cabin crew only let down by the evening meal which was out of their control. Professional and informative P.A’s by the flight crew and a good choice of entertainment.
For the price, this product certainly has to be considered when looking at or indeed booking long haul flight.
Well done Thomas Cook and I look forward to flying with you again in the future !