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First Choice Airways Passenger Reviews and Customer Trip Reports



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FIRST CHOICE review : 6 October 2008 : by N Batchelor

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

SSA (Salvador de Bahia, Brazil) - LGW Boeing 767-300 Premium Cabin. I can’t fault the cabin crew, inflight meal, beverage selection, seat comfort or entertainment - excellent and above average for a charter carrier. It was disappointing to see cabin furnishings, seats etc. are now in desperate need of refurbishment, or were on this particular aircraft. The cover of the seat arm meal tray was stuck in an upright position which was a little uncomfortable . I guess until decisions are made as to what Thomson Airways plan to do with their cabins across the fleet nothing much will happen, but I hope that they don’t go down the Thomsonfly route of the 2-4-2 abreast configuration in economy as it is far to uncomfortable for a long flight.


FIRST CHOICE review : 25 September 2008 : by Tom Hughes

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Manchester to Orlando Sanford return. Check in fast and painless. The flights were on time both ways, on outbound leg my seatback inflight entertainment was defective but crew were helpful in re- locating me to a working screen. The main meal was poor but the snack was tasty. Legroom was good but seating could be more comfortable for a long-haul flight. The cabin was very cold on both flights, and blankets only provided on the return, although these were complimentary. We received amenity kits with travel toothpaste/toothbrush, socks, eye mask, freshener wipes etc on the way out. On the return flight check-in at Orlando Sanford was very slow but this was mainly due to a lot of passengers having overweight luggage. On the flight, we discovered there was a charge of 5 per person for the better in-flight entertainment. Whilst this was not particularly expensive, for a family of four travelling return this could add up, and this charge was not clearly mentioned in any of the First Choice brochures. On the whole satisfied with First Choice, if they could improve on the points mentioned I would certainly recommend them.


FIRST CHOICE review : 12 September 2008 : by M Broome

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

BHX-MIR return. Outbound check in swift and efficient with on time departure. Onboard poor seat pitch, certainly in the pre allocated 6E/F on a 757 with a tired interior. Meal, poor to say the least. Inbound, fast and efficient check in and boarded on time. Again pre allocated seats same comfort, or lack of as on the outbound, meal quality far superior compared to outbound. Friendly cabin crew both directions. Have used First Choice several times before without real problem but sadly from a comfort point of view will we possibly not use again.


FIRST CHOICE review : 12 September 2008 : by J Head

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

London Stansted to Mahon return. Both flights were on time, food on both flights was good, cabin crew were courteous and efficient and economy class leg room issue was not that bad.


FIRST CHOICE review : 7 September 2008 : by C Parnell-Smith

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Gatwick to Lanzarote and back - one of the worst experiences of my life. Things got off to a bad start when, after boarding on time at Gatwick, we were told there was a small technical problem, but they would update us shortly. They got back to us 15 minutes later and we were told that it would be in excess of an hour before the problem could be fixed. For some bizarre reason the crew seemed to think that we would be more comfortable remaining onboard rather than letting us back into the satellite building and there we sat. As you can imagine, a charter airline such as First Choice is made up in the main by families with small children, so keeping them cooped up in an aeroplane for any longer than absolutely necessary is suicide. Add to this the unbelievable lack of leg room and you are starting to feel our pain. Our 4 hour flight became in excess of 6 hours from the moment we boarded to the moment we disembarked in Lanzarote. On the return we arrived at Arecife airport in plenty of time, to find that the flight had been delayed by 45 minutes. This delay gradually got longer until we eventually took off 2 hours late, though thankfully this time the delay was spent in the mildly more pleasant surroundings of an airport terminal building. The four hour flight went relatively smoothly for ourselves, but trouble was never far away for other passengers. From extra leg-room seats being wrongly allocated to people not receiving their meals, the whole airline wreaked of incompetence from the off.


FIRST CHOICE review : 22 August 2008 : by L Julian

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

To and from Varadero from Gatwick Star Class premier. Arrived at the airport 3 hours before take off. Premier check in was quick and lucky enough to be sitting together next to the window. Boarded the plane first. Offered juice or sparkling wine. Pillows and blankets on the seats. Given headphones (no charge) for the films etc. We had a choice of meals and these were ok, nothing special. Offered drinks with meal. Crew were nice, did the usual stuff, duty free etc. On arrival in Varadero we was expecting our luggage off first, this never happened, despite having a label with priority baggage on it. On the return journey pretty much the same service, but our luggage was some of the last lot out again. To sum up, don't think the upgrade to star class is worth the extra 500 it cost us. although the seats had more leg room the width was the same. if they made the cabin 2-2-2 then they could add wider, more comfortable seats. People we spoke to who travelled economy were more than happy with the seat they got. So next time I will save the money and just pay the 20 to upgrade the seat.


FIRST CHOICE review : 21 August 2008 : by G Lester

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

LGW-Funchal return. Flights on time. Both flights on clean, but cramped A321 aircraft - extra legroom seats had all been booked. Cabin crew were professional and friendly - handing out meals, scratch cards, duty free etc, they also offered complimentary drinks. Meals tasty. Only complaint that seats were very cramped and there was an unpleasant smell in the cabin on both flights.


FIRST CHOICE review : 16 August 2008 : by N Dunlop

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Manchester to Dalaman. Flight on time both on the outward and inward journey, ordered meals both ways which were nice. Crew friendly and polite. Legroom cramped on the way back. Showed good films on both journeys. Would fly with First Choice again.


FIRST CHOICE review : 13 August 2008 : by T Ward

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

BHX-Funchal. Both flights were on time. The 757 was ageing and generally shabby, interior yellowed, not particularly clean. Seats possibly the worst legroom ever encountered, as we were travelling with our 3 year old daughter we couldn't book extra legroom seats. Luckily flight was only 3.5 hours so it was bearable. Food was good, service fine - nothing remarkable, they handed out stuff then collected it in - nothing more, nothing less. Return flight on same aircraft, service was mirror image of outbound leg. If you fly to Funchal then your choice of carrier is somewhat limited, especially since BA/ GB Airways sold out to EasyJet, which for me with their seat lottery system is a no go. I'd fly First Choice again I just think they need to scrap this particular 757.


FIRST CHOICE review : 22 July 2008 : by P Schofield

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Manchester to Cancun return. Premium seats only give you 3" extra legroom more than the standard seats. The premium seats are the same size and layout as in standard cabin just covered in a different leather and Idid not find them very comfortable. I booked the Premium service for all the nice little extras that First Choice purport to offer. My seat had a broken foot rest, There was no pre-flight bucks fizz and fruit, Premium customers were allowed on and off aircraft first but our luggage came off last (instead of first) in Cancun so had to stand around for a long time. Coming back - My seat armrest was broken and would not shut properly and was very uncomfortable during the 10.5 hour flight home. The headphone socket on 2 of our 3 seats did not work which meant we could not watch the advertised videos. The cabin crew had loads of ready excuses and an attitude with it if you dared to complain. Basically they just said complain when you get home. Not much comfort for the extra 600 I paid for the 3 of us. If you are travelling with small children and they normally eat an adult meal like my 5 year old, beware. First choice automatically allocate the seats 3 days before the flight so getting to the airport early for your premium seats will not help you. You are not even guaranteed to sit next to each other. Apparently "sitting together" according to First Choice is your partner sitting on the row behind, the row in front or across an aisle. Take my advice - save the 600 you will spend on Premium Cabin and buy your own drinks. If available Upgrade the standard cabin seats to extra legroom seats for 20 each way (only if you have long legs). Upgrade the standard entertainment system to premium for 5 each way. Get to the airport early and pick your standard cabin seats. I got there 3 hrs before flight and there was no queue at either the Premium or standard checkin desks. From my experience what you get is a poorly maintained seating area. Extra services that are covered by lots of small print that basically mean tough luck if the things they promise are not delivered. What I have described may have been the exception to the rule however what you have to consider is it could also happen to you. I personally think that the fuel crises must be hitting First Choice hard and they are looking to make the cash back by saving what they can on the premium cabin customers. Dont let them get away with it.


FIRST CHOICE review : 16 July 2008 : by John Lynn

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Manchester to Taba, Egypt A320 seat pitch fine for a charter flight, enough leg room for us - its only 5 hours. But why do people in front of you always insist on putting the seat all the way back, do they consider others behind? Pre-booked veg meal very good, aircraft clean and cabin crew efficient and friendly. Cannot fault them apart from the selling of scratch cards.


FIRST CHOICE review : 15 July 2008 : by Mike Sims

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Stansted to Mahon. Have flown First Choice many times from Stansted and found them to be an OK airline. Aircraft clean and staff helpful. The flight out was excellent, lucky to get an exit seat with extra leg room and great meal. Flight back was the flight from hell. Seat space has to be the worse I have ever encountered and the cabin staff were panicking because they had so many babies on board and could not find enough extension straps. A noisy, stressful and uncomfortable flight. But I think it will get worse when they merge with Thomson.


FIRST CHOICE review : 2 July 2008 : by Graham Samways

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Bristol-Lanzarote return. An hour late departing on both legs. Seat room totally inadequate in economy. Most people couldn't lay the tray table flat as there simply wasn't enough room. Entertainment screens didn't work on the way out, sound on the way back. Food was the best bit as both meals were tasty and quite edible, but it took nearly 2 hours from take-off for the crew to reach us, by which time drink choices were limited. Strangely enough, though, they did have plenty of scratch cards to sell. Unfortunately there is little or no choice on flights from Bristol so you either take it or leave it, and I guess First Choice know that. If there was any possibility of flying with anyone else I would.


FIRST CHOICE review : 2 July 2008 : by Ian Aitchison

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Stansted - Paphos. Check in smooth and trouble free. A321 was a little bit tired. Seated in row 18 (19 on return). Breakfast poor but managed to keep the hunger demons away. FA's friendly. Biggest complaint is leg room. At 28 inches its just about bearable for a 1 hour domestic trip but not for a 4+ hour European trip. Check in at Paphos is chaotic but once you are through security its fine. Food on return was very good. I guess for a charter airline it is very much par for the course. But a bit more attention to leg room I am sure would give added value benefits to the airline in the long run.


FIRST CHOICE review : 25 June 2008 : by A Vale

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Manchester - Sharm El Sheikh B757 - with 28" seat pitch. Travelling with my girlfriend and baby daughter. Can only agree with posting below - worst flight ever with an infant. FA's constantly up and down the single aisle selling anything and everything. You need a blanket - sure - just 5 for a comfort pack! Declined to pre-book an on-board meal - no room to eat with infant on lap. I would not use First Choice again or Thomson as both companies have now merged and are sharing aircraft.


FIRST CHOICE review : 20 June 2008 : by Tony O'Dell

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Manchester-Hurghada. Outward journey one hour late. Very cramped for 5.5 hour flight. The only way I could hold my baby son with the seat in front reclined was to recline my own seat. The only way to pick up anything dropped on the floor was to wait for an adjacent seat to be vacated. Parents beware! FAs mainly occupied in selling something - friendlier on return but they don't restock at Hurghada so didn't have anything to sell. This also meant that they ran out of bottled water on the return flight. I wouldn't travel with First Choice again.


FIRST CHOICE review : 20 June 2008 : by S Borrett

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

East Midlands to Sanford return. Departure on time and though we were one of the last to check in, given centre exit row seats with extra leg room. The only problem with this was that, despite an announcement to the contrary, passengers used the space in front of us to cross from one side of the aircraft to the other which was very annoying. B767 clean and tidy, food better than Thomsonfly and crew efficient rather than warm. The best features of this service are the use of two secondary airports where sheer weight of numbers and the consequent hassle that brings were absent. Shame First Choice about to be gobbled up by TUI.


FIRST CHOICE review : 3 June 2008 : by J Ollington

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Booked First Choice Holiday to Lanzarote for early holiday in May 2008. The experience on the outbound plane left a lot to be desired but coming home was worse. We chose First Choice because the advertising always pushes the fact that the leg room on their planes is 33inch pitch. We were so cramped (even before the person in front of us threw her seat back) that our knees were jammed up against the seat in front. When the food was served the Stewardess told everybody to be careful 'as the boxes were hot and the food had been left in the heater too long'. I couldn't even get the lid off my meal to begin with as the heat had fused the carton and lid together. I had to ask my husband to identify the 'green slime' in the corner of the carton which turned out to be 'broccoli'. We both gave the meal a miss and decided to just eat the cheese and biscuit - the cheese had turned to liquid with the heat from the dinner! The Stewards came along immediately with tea and coffee so most people declined - you just couldn't hold onto it.


FIRST CHOICE review : 3 June 2008 : by R Foulstone

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Flew home with First choice on 29th May - no leg room, very squashed. The headphone plugs in seats didn't work - after paying for two 2.50 each set. Cabin staff were really stretched - about 240 on board. After 1.5 hrs they finally offered us a chance to buy a drink - no hot choc and had run out of many food items I requested. The staff were flapping - didn't seem experienced or enough staff onboard to cope. Food was poor. Will probably not book a holiday with First Choice again.


FIRST CHOICE review : 30 May 2008 : by A Holt

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Manchester - Paphos return in May. B757 out and back. Tirst choice cabins showing heavy wear. I had an exit seat both ways - the outbound seat wouldn't lock upright! 1 toilet u/s, food inedible; never seen so much go back! Late departures at both ends. Given TUI group ownership of First Choice & Thomsonfly, check in at Paphos was utter chaos - all group departures checking in at once, hence all flights delayed due terminal congestion - no management whatsoever. A couple got on our Manchester bound flight that should have been on the Birmingham flight adding to the delays while they and their bags located to the right flight! Dont bother with the pre booked seats either - they were oversold and people let down.


FIRST CHOICE review : 27 May 2008 : by G Viles

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

LGW-SFB-LGW Star Premier Class. Service was good, reasonable AVOD, food and drink good and priority baggage both ways. Flights pretty much on time. I would use them again in this cabin class, but worry as they are now being integrated into Thomsonfly. Only complaints - there is only one toilet for a cabin of 60 and on the return the aircon was very cold.


FIRST CHOICE review : 16 May 2008 : by Roger Pearse

Customer Rating : 1/5

1 Star Rating

Flew with First Choice from Gatwick to Luxor. This is a 5 hour flight. On the way out I was in the first row, so plenty of leg room. But the overhead lockers were full of cabin crew junk, so your coat and bag had to go several rows back, which isn't good if you have money in them. I had the aisle seat, and was jostled constantly. On the way back I had a standard window seat. I was dreadfully uncomfortable for the whole trip. This seat spacing was just greed.


FIRST CHOICE review : 13 May 2008 : by John Lynn

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Manchester to Taba. Paid extra for extra leg room seats - excellent although the seat base a little hard. Cabin crew Inbound excellent.


FIRST CHOICE review : 13 May 2008 : by David Marlow

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Gatwick - Fuerteventura return on First Choice. As a frequent traveller to Fuerteventura and at just over 6'5" and of very big build I am usually so tightly packed in and cramped that a seat belt is hardly required. We booked the flight using a refund from first choice as they offered a premium cabin, just 24 seats available. On the way out we sat in row 1 E/D/F - the leg room was fine however the fixed arms based on solid centre's restricted the width. On our return flight the standard arm rest which are hinged to the seat allowed for more thigh room. The cabin of this Airbus was immaculate and comfortable and the flight was enjoyable. Much more friendly crew on the return, although the changes that Tui Group seem to be inflicting on its staff were evident, from the crews comments and overhearing their gripes from behind the front curtain. I know it comes down to cost and profit for any type of business but come on First Choice - let us see you lead the way and make the pitch 33" for any passenger in economy cabins on any route. 28" seat pitch and I cannot fly with you, you are putting people through pain and discomfort before and after their holidays!



 


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