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.