We recently got back from a holiday in Crete. Overall we had a lovely time, but our return journey was made a lot more stressful than it needed to be by the actions of Monarch Airlines.
As a budget airline Monarch will charge you for everything they possibly can: seat allocation, food, drink, baggage, etc. We weighed up all the options and studied their website before we went and decided which ‘extras’ we would go for. The times of our flights were such that we would need to allow for a meal on the journey. We decided that rather than rushing to find something to eat in the airport or loading ourselves down with packed lunches, we would opt for the airline meals. The meals weren’t cheap at £7.99 each, but we decided to go ahead to save on hassle.
On the way back our flight 9.25pm Greek time and was due to land 1.45am (or 11.45pm BST). After the plane had taken off and climbed to the right altitude the aircrew started out with the drinks and food trolleys. We were in row 10 and it took an age to get to us because nearly everyone was desperate for something after lengthy transfers, airport check in queues and basically no time to get anything in the airport before boarding. The staff got to us and I said that we’d ordered food. They said we had to wait till after they’d finished serving the whole plane.
The cabin crew knew we had a young child who was waiting for his meal. But, they carried on serving everyone their food and drinks, then they decided it would be a good idea to collect all the rubbish before serving our food. Would it be cynical to suggest that Monarch Airlines already had our money, so the service they gave us didn’t matter?
I kid you not, we waited 2 hours to get our meals: it was 11.30pm Greek time when we were served. By the time H had finished his food and could settle down to sleep it was midnight. His normal bedtime is 7.15pm. Now it was always going to be later than usual, but I hadn’t anticipated it being that late.
I contacted Monarch Airlines about the problem when we got back.
They kept me waiting till today for a proper reply because they had to check with their catering department. I was told:
So it seems it’s Monarch’s policy to keep those who’ve preordered and prepaid for food waiting until everyone else has eaten. They seem to think this is acceptable customer service. As a general rule if you prebook and prepay for something you either get it first or at least are not disadvantaged by prebooking/prepaying. It’s pretty basic customer service, isn’t it? Monarch don’t seem to agree.
Monarch say this on the order of their service:
Later in an email Monarch Airlines Sales Support Manager says:
After speaking with the In-flight service manager,
I can confirm the order of service was correct
and provided in a safe, well practiced and in the
most efficient way we have researched possible.
On neither Twitter or email have they given any specifics for this research that suggests it’s the most efficient way.
I can’t find anything on their website that suggests that they advise passengers, in advance, that they will have to wait for their prebooked and prepaid meals, until everyone else on board has eaten.
So are Monarch going to change their policy of keeping you waiting if they already have your money? No, they say not. In fact, they don’t seem to care about that. What compensation have they offered for keeping us hungry and messing up our son’s routine in a big way? A refund of our meals. Well, Monarch Airlines, it simply isn’t good enough.