Thomson Airlines. Charter Airline That Is As Good As Scheduled Ones

Fly Thomson Airlines Cabin London Stansted Airport to Kefalonia Travel Airplane Photo

Fly Thomson Airlines Cabin London Stansted Airport to Kefalonia Travel Airplane Photo

My Tips for Travellers blog focuses on travel experiences. While this travel blog often focuses on tips and advice about the more luxurious side of travel (including first class flights, 5 star hotels and luxury trips) the most important thing that I look at is the actual experience in every journey. It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I booked our flights on the charter airline Thomson to get to the Greek island of Kefalonia for our summer holiday.

I was impressed that there were quite a few airlines offering a direct London to Kefalonia service, which meant that the flight would be under 3 hours with no connections. My initial concern was that none of the so-called “legacy” airlines like British Airways operated on the route. I tend to fly with airlines like British Airways, Swiss and their equivalents if I can as I know the pros and cons, the pros outnumbering the cons for me.
The airlines on the London – Kefalonia route were either “low cost” airlines, like EasyJet and RyanAir, or charter airlines, like Thomson and Thomas Cook. Based on my charter airline flight experiences over the years I associate them with unsocial departure times, surly service, lousy food options and cramped and uncomfortable seats. As I am 6’ 2” tall (that is 185 cm for the metric minded) with long legs I had found the seat experience really challenging. 

My initial concern and reservation about charter airlines was mistaken having done the trip. We chose to fly with Thomson as it had the best and most sociable departure times over EasyJet and RyanAir. It was a good decision as it shattered my preconceived idea and experiences from the 1990s about charter airlines. 

I had a flying and journey experience on Thomson that matched, and bettered in some areas, the economy experience on scheduled airlines like BA, Air France and so on. 

Thomson is primarily a package holiday company where flights are bundled into the total holiday trips that they sell. Most of the people on the flight seemed to be part of a package judging by the luggage labels, and by the many buses with Thomson signs on to greet the flight in Kefalonia. They fill the remaining seats with flight only passengers like us.

The fare was not that inexpensive, but fares to Greece never seem to be on any airline. Once you have bought the flight you can add on extras. Extras like baggage! Like EasyJet and RyanAir to take anything other than carry-on luggage you have to pay about £12/US$18 per 15kg bag. On Thomson you can only take 5kg carry-on so you need to buy baggage allowance. You can then also pay to chose your seat and for extra leg room seats.

These are the positives for me about our Thomson flights to and from London Stansted airport to Kefalonia Greece:
  • The customer service before the flight was impressive. I even got a call from them, despite having booked online, about 10 days before the flight to check is everything was in order. Of course it was, in part, a reminder that you could buy extra leg room seats, baggage, transfers and other extras. However, it was not a pushy sales call – just a reminder.
  • Check-in was efficient and fast. 
  • London Stansted, that they fly out of, is not as busy and manic as some of the other London airports. So getting checked in, going through security, shopping and getting something to eat before the flight, and then getting to and on the plane was much less crazy than it is at other airports.
  • The planes were new, and much newer than many of the scheduled airlines I have used to commute to and from European destinations. The seats, even those without the extra leg room, had the same leg room as those other airlines. We had paid the premium to have an extra leg room seat at the exit, which cost around £40/ US$60 per person on each flight. The leg room was huge, and I could easily stretch out my long legs without even touching the seat in front. 
  • There was no free snack or food, but most economy flights in Europe will charge for food or provide just a very small snack and tea or coffee. There was a large choice of hot and cold food though that seemed popular. We actually took food from Pret at London Stansted with us on the flight.
  • The crew and flight crew were very cheerful and efficient and not the off-hand and disinterested.

After fearing that the charter airline experience to go my Greek holiday to Kefanoia would be a necessary – but uncomfortable – part of my travel experience, I found that it was not at all. Though, to get the best travel experience I would splash out on the extra leg room seat though!


Extra leg room seats on Fly Thomson Airlines to Kefalonia Greece

Extra leg room seats on Fly Thomson Airlines to Kefalonia Greece

Extra leg room seats on Fly Thomson Airlines to Kefalonia Greece

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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3 Responses

  1. Do you ever worry about safety and maintenance on these flights?

  2. Good point! On Thomson I don't as such a big operation out of the UK with long heritage. I have avoided some in some parts of Europe and Africa though……….. agree is a very key point and worth always double checking……

  3. Enjoy premium class upgrades with Thomson Airways Quite an impressive blog. For me, Thomson is a company that offers fantastic flying experience for its passengers. As far as the Premium Club is concerned, Thomson Airways allows 23kg baggage and 7kg hand baggage allowance. Moreover, their holiday extras offer everything you need to make your trip go smooth. Premium class upgrades, in-flight meals, seats with extra space, commission-free currency exchange and travel insurance, Thomson Airlines provides it all. Did I mention that they offer facilities such as pre-book airport parking, overnight stay in an airport hotel as well as pet sitting services too? Yes, Thomson’s air charter service is really good. And this blog highlights the key benefits of Thomson Airlines quite well. Superb post. Thanks!

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