A Review-y Of TUI

22 May 2018


I recently took a family holiday to Tenerife with my mum, brother, grandad and uncle in order to celebrate both my grandad's 75th and my uncle's 50th birthdays. Last time I flew to the canary islands was to Lanzarote with Thomas Cook, but this time I flew with TUI.

Before I really start, I just want to state that overall, all members of TUI that I had interactions with were all lovely and super helpful. The tour reps that I talked to were really friendly and just watching the cabin crew, with my slightly above basic understanding of what their job entails, I could see how much they were trying to do. I've called this post a review because it's my way of going over how things happened for me. It wasn't an overall positive experience, things didn't go smoothly but there isn't a single bad thing that I can say about the staff.

Once we arrived at the check in desk, we each had to put up our suitcase to be weighed, and then take them off again before putting them back on once more to get the tag popped on. We did think it was a bit strange, but everything was okay and after that, we headed up to security.

I had a whole experience going on with security at GLA airport, which I'm 100% going to write about in a future blog post (yes, it was a Bill and Ted related experience) but basically my tray was checked for the first time, which I'm totally cool with because I pack my bag in a way that makes things easy to find, and if needed, checked. But we got through security, grabbed some food, I got a phone call and soon afterwards, our gate was announced and then boarding began.

It began in the usual way where those who require assistance, or families with small children board first, and then afterwards general boarding by row number. We boarded and left on time. The plane was a 757-200.

Inside the seatbacks, there are 3 magazines; shop, cafe and discover, as well as the safety card. I always try to read over the safety card as well as watch the safety brief because, even if you're a frequent flyer, or just think 'I know all about this', sometimes, airlines can do things in a slightly different way, so it's always in your best interest to pay attention. This can be to hear what commands they use to instruct you to adopt the brace position or where your nearest exits are. Always pay attention.

The snack service was quite prompt, followed by the duty free and then the charity scratch cards that all flights offer. The takeoff felt a bit shaky but I'm not sure if that was down to more wind, or just because I didn't feel 100%. (I've been seeing a doctor again because I've not been well for a few months.) We arrived on time, got ourselves outside and on the coach, ready to go to our apartments, which I will write a separate post on.

We missed the welcome meeting the next morning but as I'd been walking with mum, I saw an advertisement for an excursion that I really wanted to go on, and after I'd looked up the prices on the official website, and then deciding I didn't want to pay by card (because most of my money was euro notes), a little welcome pack arrived from our TUI rep. The excursion was on it, for the same price. I decided that I was going to see her when she was back in the apartment building the following Monday.

There were two reps that Monday, and both of them were really friendly, and we chatted a little while waiting for the receipt machine to work. I asked them questions about their job and about their day, and then made my way back to my family. (The excursion was amazing and I'm going to be writing a blog post about it really soon!) Talking to the reps did make me really think about what kind of job I want to have in the future, though. I currently work in retail as a supervisor, but I really want to work in travel, so I'm currently considering being a travel rep... We shall see.

We flew back on Friday 11th May and ... It wasn't good. We were told by our coach driver that our check in desk was 29, but upon arriving, we discovered that it was 29-39... and that everybody - everybody - was in the same long, long queue. We were stood for about 30 minutes, maybe 45 and in that time, there were two announcements made for pax to Dublin and then Luton to go to desk 29, because it was dangerously close to their flight time. By the time Glasgow was called, we were already at the beginning of the queue, so there was no point in us going anywhere. But this wasn't the end of the waiting.

We dropped our bags at the desk and made our way up to security where I was the only person in my family not searched (in contrast to the outbound flight). Some family members were checked after the metal detectors and some were drug swabbed (all clear, of course) but it really added the stress onto us. We made our way as quickly as we could to our gate, realised we weren't boarding yet, so went to WH Smith (seriously) where we spent 34 euros on something like 5 water bottles, 2 drinks, 5 kit kats and 2 sandwiches - YES. I AM SERIOUS. Then made our way back to the gate where we waited. And waited. And waited.

I was sitting on the floor, because standing has been taking up a lot of my energy, plus the floor was cold and I find the cold to be really relaxing. It was past 8.30pm at this point, which was the time we were supposed to fly. I'm not sure how long we'd been waiting, but soon afterwards, boarding began - essentially a free for all and everybody boarded together, which was the complete opposite to our outbound flight. By 9pm we were in our seats and at 9.30pm we were in the air. We were delayed 1 hour.

The reason for the delay was fair enough, there was a problem with the previous plane and so they needed to switch aircrafts, and the problems that we'd faced were 95% the fault of the airport and not a reflection of TUI, however, there were no announcements made at the gate informing any of us that there was a delay to our flight, which other flights had had. It was all a bit of a mess.

The take off this time was honestly... The only time I've ever actually been scared on a plane. The aircraft made very loud and concerning creaking noises while taxiing and my brother and I both agreed that it should never have left the ground. Tbh, I'd been mentally reminding myself of the evacuation procedure as well as familiarising myself with my nearest exit, which was behind me. The seatbelt sign also pinged off as we were taking off and was rapidly put back on again, which caused my brother and I to exchange a look of concern. It's likely just been a wrong button been hit but it's not the most comforting of thoughts. My brother suggested that maybe it was an apprentice pilot, which, honestly, it might have been. You'd be surprised by how many pilots are new to piloting so it wouldn't have been that surprising. They did go into a lot of detail when they gave announcements, which does suggest that they were being tested. They provided information on things like fuel level leaving Tenerife, how fast we were going (close to the speed of sound with the help of a tail wind) and other things like that, that you don't normally get told. So that was really interesting!

When we were at a safe altitude, the seatbelt sign was taken off, as it was supposed to, and the snack service began. It took a long while, and the crew were really scrambling and searching for items for customers, because due to switching aircrafts, there had not been a chance to restock and so they were left which whatever had been left from the previous flight. However, they had announced which hot food they had prior to the service beginning, so I'm more annoyed at the pax for not listening than I am at having to wait. I got a hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin.The crew did absolutely everything they could for the pax and I truely felt for them.

Duty free was afterwards, and was very quick and then there was a collection for charity, again like most airlines try to do.

I felt really let down by the return experience because I'd had a really great holiday up until that point. However, like I said, all staff members - reps and cabin crew, that I spoke to were all amazing and I feel so bad for not giving the cabin crew members a tip because they really were doing all that they could, and it was so appreciated.

So, that was my TUI experience. Have you ever holidayed with TUI before? How did you find it? Have you been to Tenerife before and did you have the same awful airport experience as I did?

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

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