One thing I can say about Monarch is that they are the longest established UK charter airline that is still owned and run by the same people. Whilst Monarch has been flying, great names in UK Civil Aviation have been and gone, which must prove that they have been successful. I flew with Monarch in the 1970s when they were flying BAC1-11s and 720s, the latter to St Lucia from LTN
! The 720 was designed for short haul and it was very uncomfortable for long flights but the smiling and efficient Monarch cabin crew compensated for the discomfort and inconvenience of having to refuel en route. Monarch was one of the first UK charter airlines that invested in new efficient aircraft. They were one of the first European airlines to take delivery of the 757, when the competition was still relying on old jets.
I regularly flew Monarch between 1998 and 2004, either to AGP
. Whilst the seat pitch was rather restricted (no more so than other charter airlines), I rarely experienced any delays and always found the Monarch crew courteous, efficient and professional. Monarch always used to offer a hot meal that was, for airline food, perfectly adequate. Breakfast was always omelettes (or overcooked scrambled egg?), sausage, mushrooms and hash browns, with fruit juice, rolls and preserves. Lunch and dinner were 3-courses with tea/coffee and there was always a pay bar service. Hot towels were handed out and free newspapers provided. IFE was rather poor, drop down screens and usually TV
comedies, but who wants to watch a film on a flight 2-4 hours?
Sadly, in line with market trends, they have recently reduced meal services and any meal now has to be booked in advanced and paid for.
In July 2002 I was unable to book Monarch as they had no seats left on my date of outward travel so I flew My Travel instead. Compared to Monarch, My Travel were appallingly bad so I paid extra to get a seat on Monarch on the return leg and it was worth the extra. Recently I have found BA
cheaper than Monarch, so I have flown BA
(or rather GB
Airways) instead. Seat pitch was better and the free bar service were the only advantages over Monarch but given the choice I would prefer Monarch, which for some reason feels like my "home" airline.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."