“Titan Airways”:http://www.titan-airways.com/home.html was a new one to me although according to their website ‘they are proud to have spent 3 decades delivering everything that we promise, and more’. They were the recommended carrier for our holiday to The Gambia as, following the demise of Monarch and Thomas Cook, it’s one of the few options, if not the only one, with a direct flight.
Our holiday was booked through Silver Travel Advisor Partner – “Serenity Holidays”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/partner/196134-serenity-holidays-the-gambia-experience – The Gambia Experience and “Seafarer Cruising and Sailing Holidays”:https://seafarersailing.co.uk/, as we were spending our first week cruising with “Variety Cruises”:https://www.varietycruises.com/ on the “Rivers of West Africa”:https://www.varietycruises.com/cruises/west-africa. As we were a late booking, an option to upgrade to their Star Service was only available on the outward journey (£150 per person), so we decided to give it a miss.
The Airbus A320 had only 168 seats whereas other charter carriers squeeze in 180. There was a configuration of 3 and 3 and seat pitch of 31 inches. The hold baggage allowance was 20kg with a hand baggage allowance of 5kg. Check in opened 3 hours prior to our 6.50am flight and when we arrived to check in, we were served immediately.
The flight time to Banjul was 6 hours 10 minutes, and as we took off promptly, and there was no time difference, we landed at 1pm.
Inflight entertainment is unusual. There’s no seat back screen and you need to download the Titan App on your own device in advance, and then you can log in and watch a limited choice of films or TV programmes or listen to music. Its best to take you own headphones although they can be bought onboard. We didn’t bother and Roy was kept fascinated by a lady sat opposite who kept dropping off mid action, i.e. putting her hand into a bag searching for nibbles, whilst I was entertained by a gentleman next to me who had been a jockey, tennis player/coach and musician. The seats didn’t recline which solved any problems but irritatingly the safety monologue, that the captain rightly scolded we should listen to, still included ‘ensure seats are in the upright position’.
Having provided drinks menus with a range of spirits, beers and wine on offer at £4.50, the trolley started at the front and as we sat right at the back, took around 45 minutes to get to us. And then it only served the complimentary soft beverages and hot drinks with a shortbread biscuit. At 10.30am there was another drinks’ run, this time ones you could purchase, and we stocked up on a G&T each and wine for lunch. When this arrived, there was a choice of chicken, rice and vegetables or beef chasseur, mash and vegetables which was pretty good. It was served with a roll, crackers and cream cheese and chocolate mint.
Staff were friendly but service slow mainly because there were two attendants in business class to serve 9 rows of four people and two to serve 19 rows of six.
On the return journey, both of us had suffered from ‘Banjul Belly’ the night before and although ‘shored up’ with Imodium, were dreading the flight. After an uncomfortable wait in a stifling, non-airconditioned departure lounge and the jolting and dusty bus, the cool plane interior was bliss. Staff helpfully provided additional sick bags and when the pilot announced that (a) we would be setting off 8 minutes early (the maximum allowed) and (b) that our flight time would only be 5 hours 30 minutes, we were both relieved and relaxed and parked the bags. We slept as best we could, rejected food, sipped on a bottle of water and landed 50 minutes early. Fortunately, our taxi driver had tracked our arrival and was waiting for us.