✅ Verified Review
| We flew from Gatwick to Banjul on Christmas day as part of a Thomas Cook holiday. The bag drop was OK because we were early so no queues yet. That was about as good as it got. There was too much hand luggage on the flight for the luggage space and so we were having to cram it in wherever we could (and it was already cramped!). Thomas Cook had not checked the size of the hand luggage and some people had huge bags. The flight was 20 minutes late departing with no explanation or apology; instead we got an announcement that the plane wasn't carrying enough fuel to reach our destination due to the wind being in the wrong direction and the amount of passengers/luggage on board. So the plane clearly wasn't big enough for the job. We would have to stop off at Gran Canaria to refuel, turning a 6 hour flight into a 7.5 hour flight. We were offered no free refreshments, not even water so we paid £8 for some cheese and crispbreads, a miniscule packet of crisps and a small 125cl bottle of wine - their special offer meal deal. It was a joke! The return flight was even worse - a complete disaster. We got to the airport around 18:30, check in again was OK, friendly and fairly efficient. We had a meal and a drink and waited. The flight was scheduled for 21:05 departure and we saw the plane arrive at around 20:10, a little late but nothing too terrible. We watched all the passengers and crew get off and the baggage being unloaded and just waited for the announcement that we could board but nothing was happening. By about 21:30 and still no announcements or sign of anyone to ask, the passengers were getting restless and beginning to complain amongst themselves. Just after 22:00 the announcement came that there was a delay which was due to a bird strike on landing and that the technicians were working on it. Why did they take so long to announce this? Shortly after this they handed out food vouchers for the airport cafe to the value of 250 Delasi (about £5 per person) We did not rush to the cafe as we had already eaten. There was then another announcement that they had fixed the plane but had to wait for an engineer from Airbus to inspect it and approve the aircraft for flight. I accept that none of this was Thomas Cook's fault and the fact that we were in the Gambia and they were fresh out of aeronautical engineers, but surely by this stage, or even an hour earlier, someone should have made the decision that there was no way that flight was going anywhere tonight! Anyway, it was now approaching 23:00 and we joined the long queue for food, only to find out that they had sold out of everything except pringles and chocolate. Approaching midnight they gave up on an engineer and arranged buses to take us to hotels for the night. We eventually took off at just after 14:00 the following day after a few more minor annoyances and being told it would be 12:00. Once more the flight was cramped with not enough room for hand luggage. My biggest complaint is the length of time it took to make a decision and the lack of communication to passengers.