Route: LGW (London Gatwick) - GOI (Dabolim airport, Goa, India)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200 G-EOMA
We arrived at LGW 3 hours prior to departure, in the hopes of getting good seats. However, as Monarch operate a 24 hour check-in service at Gatwick, the best seats were already gone. We were given seats 40 D + E.
The A330 seat configuration was 3-3-3, narrowing to 2-3-2 at the rear of the aircraft where we were seated. This was great as we had a nice wide isle to stretch out in for the 10 hour flight.
We boarded on time, and everything looked fine. Then out push-back time came... and went. With no word from any crew members on what was happening some passengers began to get upset. Eventually, after almost exactly 1 hour of sitting on the tarmac the Captain addresses the 374 passengers, and told us to get off again. The aircraft had gone tech due to it rejecting fuel from the bowser. This meant the aircraft would have to be hand filled with fuel, and this was to take a further 2.5 hours. 374 disgruntled passengers got off the aircraft.
At 9:40pm, 3.5 hours after scheduled departure time we got back on the aircraft and departed. As we taxiied to runway 26, the TV monitors were lowered for a film style safety briefing. Then these stopped working too so the cabin crew had to "prepare for a manual demonstration". The crew were fantastic, and the first drink was free as an apology for the delay. Dinner was promptly served and was tasty.
I was disapointed with the Monarch A330, as when I travelled to the Dominican Republic last year with Airtours on one of their A330's everyone had personal seat back TV's, on Monarch there are only a few TV's suspended from the ceiling.
We eventually landed at Dobolim airport, and had to sit for some time as the Manchester Monarch flight, an A300 had landed only minutes earlier and were using the air-stairs.
The return flight was un-eventful, and departed on time. Amazingly we were checked into the same seats again! This we didnt ask for and was pure fluke. Out of 374 seats - how strange! It was also the same aircraft, this is not so amazing however, as Monarch only operate 2 A330's.
Overall I would give Monarch as a company 5/10. The crews I met, however, deserved 10/10 as they coped admirably with what they had.