On the 27th of August I was returning home from 10 days in the Costa Blanca. We arrived at Alicante Airport roughly two hours before our flight and the check-in process was very quick with little to no queues at the TUI desks. Security at the airport was fairly quick and we were through to the airside in minutes.
Alicante Airport is fairly new and to access the main airside area you must first walk through the World Duty Free store. After walking through the store often known for overcharging tourists on their return journey you are greeted by several other stores and a variety of cafes and restaurants, the most notable being a Burger King. As TUI Airways do not provide complimentary food and drink we thought it best to pop into the WHSmith at Alicante Airport to purchase some sandwiches and a drink. However, upon entering the shop we were greeted by what is possibly the most expensive meal deal I have ever seen at a WHSmith.
After this we decided to head to the Gate area which in our case was Gate Area C (the exact number of your gate is not shown until about half an hour before departure). We just so happened to be sat by the correct gate and once the plane had landed and the gate was announced, people had began to line up. This is however when problems began to occur as when boarding finally began about 10-20 minutes later than it was supposed to there was only two people checking the passports and boarding passes on what was a fully booked flight.
Upon boarding, I was surprised to see that SX-ACP was fitted with Monarch Airlines new cabin (which was introduced before they went bankrupt). However it was quite clear that this cabin was over twenty years old and even the new seats had started to begin to fall apart with several seats on the aircraft fitted with signs saying "do not sit here, seat inoperable" which is always reassuring. People did sit in these seats however. The seat itself is fairly basic with a standard tray-table, small seat pocket and a tablet holder which Olympus had used to store the various TUI magazines.
The seats were very hard and overall not very comfortable at all and I would not recommend them on longer flights over two hours. The legroom was fairly tight though some additional knee room was available due to the design of the seat.
Now due to the earlier mentioned delay with boarding, our plane along with several others at Alicante had been delayed on the ground and was made to wait about an hour for a new slot. Most of the passengers speculate this was do to the luggage handling at the airport as the aircraft next to us had also been delayed. The captain gave a few announcements to inform the cabin of the delay which was appreciated and the crew were pretty helpful. An hour later than our departure time of 11:40 at 12:40 we took off towards Birmingham Airport.
The flight was fairly turbulent though sitting on the wing meant it couldn't be felt much. The seatbelt sign remained on for the majority of the flight. I ended up purchasing a small chocolate bar which ended up costing about £1.30 which compared to other airlines it was fairly reasonable. Overall, it was a fairly uneventful flight.
We landed at Birmingham Airport at 13:57 and parked at one of the jetways. However upon deboarding the aircraft it became apparent that the seats onboard had been falling apart and could be simply lifted up (as can be seen in the picture below).
Overall, I probably wouldn't recommend Olympus Airways mostly due to the safety onboard and lack of punctionally compared to other airlines on the route though you won't get a choice if you fly them or not as they're a charter airline who was drafted in due to the grounding of TUIs 737MAX aircraft.
If you want a final chance to fly on a Monarch Aircraft then you should consider flying Olympus however otherwise you wouldn't really want to choose them over the other airlines operating on the ALC - BHX route such as Jet2 and Ryanair.