In Flight Reviews, Flung writers provide key information about flights they take in order to leave the flying public better informed in an age of frustration, obfuscation and increasingly unfriendly skies.
JFK –> MAN on Thomas Cook
Flight: Thomas Cook Airlines 849 from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to England’s Manchester Airport.
Date and Time of Flight: July 2nd, 2015. Takeoff at 10:05pm.
Terminal: Check-in wasn’t straightforward: we booked our flights with Condor Airlines, but check-in was through Thomas Cook Airlines. The security line was surprisingly efficient and Terminal 4 offered a variety of restaurant options. We chose to dine at The Palm, where I had steak frites and a glass of red wine (all were tasty).
Boarding: Since I was traveling with an infant, I took advantage of priority boarding and settled in quickly. Most of the other passengers were Brits who seemed eager to return home, so the boarding process was quick and uneventful.
Seats: There was a fair amount of legroom in my basic coach seat. I’m relatively tall (5’10”) and sat comfortably with a 26lb infant on my lap and a knapsack under the seat in front of me. Like the flight route, the seats appeared to be new.
Entertainment: Condor offers dozens of in-flight entertainment options: current (post-theater/pre-DVD) movies, binge-friendly TV series, radio stations and classic albums. Headsets were distributed by the crew shortly after takeoff, but since the flight departed after 10pm, many travelers chose to sleep.
Food and drink: Complimentary snacks and soft drinks were offered at the beginning of the flight. Shortly before landing, a disappointing so-called “continental breakfast” was provided at no cost.
Staff: The staff was understandably harried by a few tipsy passengers and a couple of screaming children, but remained even-tempered and accommodating.
Bathrooms: In a pleasant and surprising twist, the bathrooms were located on the plane’s lower level, away from all seating, so there were no lines in the aisles and no seats within sniffing distance.
Arrival: When we landed 30 minutes early, the cabin burst in to muted applause.
Misc: The cabin lights were very bright and remained at optimum brightness for too long. As soon as they were dimmed, the cabin settled into a muted, sleep-friendly state.
Note: Condor Airlines/Thomas Cook Airlines began service between JFK International Airport and Manchester Airport in spring 2015. When questioned, the flight crew did not reveal whether or not the route will be permanently added to the airline’s regular schedule.
-by Sacha Phillip Wynne