Monarch is a British airline operating from Luton Airport. My sister recently flew with them from London to Tenerife and shares all her tips from flying with Monarch to Hertz car hire.
Georgina, husband, Abbie (3 yrs 10 months), Sam (18 months)
ZB 896 London Luton to Tenerife South, departs LTN 08.00 arrives TRS 12.30
Booked direct via www.monarch.co.uk. I booked our seats and luggage and also paid a little extra for priority check-in and priority boarding. I chose seats towards the back of the plane, nearest to the toilets with baby changing.
Getting to the airport
We don’t live far from Luton, and I booked a private taxi to take us to the airport. We fitted our own car seats and the driver kept them until our return journey.
When we arrived at the Monarch desks I realised that by paying for Priority Check-in, you are simply buying yourself a space in the priority queue for people with disabilities. I don’t know if this is the case at every airport that Monarch flies from but it seemed to be the case at Luton and at Tenerife South. This meant that although there were fewer people in the queue, it moved more slowly as the people queueing up required a more complex check-in procedure as they were organising wheelchair assistance.
On our return journey I did feel quite awkward about this, as there was someone who joined the queue behind us as they needed special assistance, and was clearly frustrated to see their queue made longer by people paying for Priority Check-in.
From Luton it was fairly quick and painless. I took a few sealed cartons of toddler milk through and they just swabbed the packaging.
Returning from Tenerife South the queues were long and slow. I forgot to take my liquids out of my bag and they didn’t notice at security.
At The Airport
We had some breakfast and bought some sandwiches for the journey from Pret. The baby changing room had a toilet inside it and was big enough for us all to fit in with the buggy so that we could get everyone sorted all together.
On our return journey we picked up some sandwiches from Upper Crust to have on the plane.
Our boarding gate was down a flight of stairs with no lift. It was a struggle with both kids, the buggy and lots of hand luggage, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it on my own. We had paid extra for Priority Boarding which was nice as it meant that we had plenty of time to get ourselves sorted out on board. It’s not really essential though, as there was plenty of time before take-off. Sometimes on these flights it’s great to get on board first to avoid the scrum for overhead locker space, but it wasn’t really a problem.
On our return journey from Tenerife we weren’t really able to take advantage of Priority Boarding. By the time we got to the gate they had already called Priority Boarding so it was just one big queue, and once we were downstairs we then all had to get on a bus anyway to get to the plane.
The flight was around 4 hours long, which wasn’t too bad. Our almost 4 year old was happily glued to the ipad for most of the journey, and our 18 month old watched a bit of Peppa Pig, played with stickers and walked around a bit … oh and he puked a few times so that took up some of the journey time!
We decided to rent a car for our stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Abama so that we could get out and escape the resort if we wanted to. I searched through a few websites to get a good deal, but most of them didn’t seem able to guarantee that car seats would be available for us. I then contacted Hire 4 Baby Tenerife as they rent out car seats. However, all of their seats are fitted using Isofix, and unfortunately I couldn’t be certain that our car would have suitable Isofix points. So we decided to go with Hertz as their website confirmed that the car seats would be available.
We had booked a 7 seater so that we could comfortably fit the four of us, plus three suitcases and the buggy, without a big squeeze. The car was in good condition but the car seats had certainly seen better days. We booked an infant seat and a booster. I woudn’t bother booking a booster again, next time we will take our Bubblebum seat with us instead.
Picking up the car wasn’t too bad, but dropping it off at the end of the trip was a bit of a hassle. They were very busy and disorganised and it took us much longer than we had thought to get it all sorted out.
For more tips on children’s facilities at Luton Airport, click here