I’ve never travelled with Monarch before, generally using British Airways Business Class for long-haul flights and Easy Jet for shorter European trips. With a flight time to Sharm el Sheikh of 5 hours, it fell between the two. However, Monarch was the airline used by Thomas Cook for our two-week package to Egypt. We chose ‘extra leg room’ seats as my partner is 6’ 2” but I’m not sure of the cost as it was included in the overall price of the holiday.
We arrived at Gatwick South at 5.45am expecting to be told we couldn’t check in as our flight wasn’t until 9.15am. But not only could we check in, there was no queue and even a ‘sale’ for extra leg room seats.
Our full flight set off more or less on time and whilst we had seats 1a and 1b, found the description ‘extra leg room’ a slight misnomer because of the bulkhead in front: still there was no one in front of us to recline and we got served first.
I was really surprised there was no in flight entertainment and all drinks and snacks had to be bought (my partner having read the small print, wasn’t). Basically it was Easy Jet in purple and gold but probably not as slick.
However, the scenery was amazing and we flew over snow capped peaks, mountains and desert as we approached Egypt.
We arrived in Sharm a couple of minutes late at 4.30pm and were told by the cabin crew that if we were not leaving the resort and staying up to 14 days, we didn’t need a visa (helpfully they’d handed out immigration cards at the beginning of the flight).
The day after we returned, Sharm was hosting the Egyptian Economic conference (attended by our Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond). As a number of world presidents were attending, security was heightened and the incoming flight had been late arriving as the airspace had been temporarily closed. Consequently our flight was delayed by an hour: still that was hardly the fault of Monarch: I blame the president.