On February 23rd, 2019 I had the privilege to take what is my 400th flight, excluding two Cessna flights in Temploux, a balloon trip across the Walloon Brabant, and countless jumps and falls . Coincidentally, first flight back on December 10th, 1983 was also heading to the Canary Islands and this trip was only the second one heading that direction.
Booking with TUI Belgium is a breeze even if their website isn't as intuitive and friendly as Transavia's. Expect a report on Transavia between Amsterdam and Beirut in the future ! I was travelling with the kids so I decided to order meals as part of the booking process. Seats couldn't be selected at the time of booking and had to be added as options closer to departure. I opted for seats 7A, B & C on all legs, resorting to the aisle while the kids hog the window. I was hogging the window back in 1983 when I was the kid.
We checked-in online and strictly respected the 10kg hand luggage policy (2 cabin trolleys and 1 backpack), there was no queue at departures and we got to terminal A waiting for gate info in less than 15 mins from drop off. We had left home less than 10 mins before, one of the good sides of living between the airport and the city it serves.
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1. 23/FEB/19 12:30 (04:05) 15:35 TB1551 BRU-ACE Y 7M8 OO-TMB 2. 27/FEB/19 10:40 (00:35) 11:15 TB1712 ACE-FUE Y 7M8 OO-TMY 3. 27/FEB/19 12:05 (04:10) 17:15 TB1712 FUE-BRU Y 7M8 OO-TMY
The flight departed 1/2h late due to the late morning long haul departures queue and we landed 1/2h late in Lanzarote as a result. The flight was uneventful and the ride very quiet and comfortable. The Leap engine made a distinct unfamiliar high pitch noise at take off power and calmed down after gaining some altitude and throttling back. The mood lighting was set to sky blue for takeoff and landing. Landing was very smooth as well and we were requested to show boarding passes on exit as the plane was proceeding to Gran Canaria. TUI offers some sort of deluxe service where front seated passengers (no empty middle seat) are offered some bubbles, a newspaper, and on this flight a hot meal. We received our cold booked meal, a poured drink, tea or coffee service and another poured drink later in the flight. You don't know what the meal will be which can be difficult with teens (the child meal was welcome) so buy on board might actually be a better option for some.
2. An even newer MAX for our return trip (Yankee). We had checked in online and had the same luggage so we skipped the long queue at the TUI desk and brisked thru security checks. It's important to note however that the customs officer removed the few volcanic rock samples the kids had collected, it seems they are protected. Or maybe if it's for safety reasons, what if we schemed to overpower the crew! Yet we were allowed to keep our smaller green olivine rocks, which packed in a pouch would be as effective a weapon. The short hop between the islands took 20 mins, leaving ACE heading North, taking a right turn to head South, exceeding FUE, taking another right turn to head North, and landing. Passengers disembarking at FUE were requested to show their boarding pass on exit. We didn't have to exit the plane during the stop and were asked to unfasten our seat belts while refuelling the aircraft.
3. We left FUE on time and heading North-North East towards Belgium. The flight was similar to the going leg, except for some minor turbulence over the Atlantic. This time the mood lighting was set to salmon orange for takeoff and landing. We landed in Brussels on time and were out of the airport in as little time as we needed to get in. And then back home in 15 mins due to the peak hour traffic.
In all, these were good flights with a good airline aboard a very nice aircraft and I recommend the option. With advanced booking and a slow week it didn't cost more than 700€ for 1 adult, 1 teen and 1 child including hand luggage, booked meals and seat reservations. Travelling light is probably key to making it such as pleasant experience.
Questions and comments welcome!