The airline with the best average rating is TUI Airways with 5.2/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 46 minutes.More information
Hi and welcome on board this second and last report of this routing, it's also the reason of it to catch before their retirement the Boeing 767-300ER of the british leisure airline TUI.
We are at the end of August when I decide to do a little av-geek routing in mid-September, my girlfriend being on a business trip this weekend. For a very long time, I have been looking for a B767 flight, the only type of recent western long-haul aircraft missing in my logbook.
Unfortunately the passenger versions of this model launched in the early 80's are becoming increasingly rare, especially in Europe (even if the aircraft is still in production for cargo and tanker versions) the only remaining operator are mainly leisure airlines such as Condor and TUI.
With the gradual entry into service of the A330s at German airways Condor, the B767s have been replaced on flights to the Balearic and Canary Islands.
So TUI will do the job ! 4 frames were still in operation last summer, 2 in Benelux (one with a Belgian registration the other Dutch) and the remaining 2 at TUI UK with the 2 aircraft based in Manchester. Moreover, all these birds must leave the fleet of the leisure company by the end of the year.
After deep investigation on Flightradar24, I realize that the 2 Manchester based aircraft operates 2 flights every Saturday morning one hour apart towards Mallorca. This is a great opportunity, especially since the prices remain reasonable for these end-of-season flights.
It is also very easy to return from PMI to Toulouse, my base airport. It will be Easyjet which offers a late evening flight.
The hardest part will be to get to MAN, since the Flybe bankrupt there are no more direct flights between Toulouse and Manchester. But there is a line operated twice a week by Ryanair departing from Carcassonne (a small airfield hosting few Ryanair flight located at less than 2 hour of public transport from Toulouse) with a departure on a Friday at the end of the afternoon, for less than 50€!
Av-geek bonus, the flight is operated by the brand new Boeing 737max-200, a nice addition to my logbook as well.
Routing before french ATC strike:
But has you can imagine it didn't go as planned, on Tuesday the french air traffic controllers' unions raised a strike notice for Friday the 16th, for salary increase and to secure future recruitment's.
The strike is important and airlines are required to cut off their flights schedule by half. The day before I receive a notice that my Carcassonne - Manchester flight was cancelled. My hotel can be refunded but not my 2 others tickets for TUI and Easyjet, i.e. a loss of over 150€.
I look at the scheduled flights finally operated by FR over the South-West of France and I realize that one of the rare flights maintained from Toulouse is the one to Trapani in Sicily and that there is a departure for Manchester from Trapani late in the evening I give it a try by exchanging my CCF-MAN ticket for a TPS-MAN for free via the FR application and I buying a TLS-TPS for an extra €48.
Routing after strike:
Even if Manchester airport is in the top 20 of the busiest European airports (figures for 2019 where it was ahead of Milan Malpensa, Brussels or Athens) there are a limited number of reports from this place, the airport mainly hosting local passengers the area is not the craziest of tourist destinations.
I was surprised by the low number of reports regarding TUI UK (only two) and it will be the first report on this line as well another exclusivity, it will be the first report on TUI B767 but there is a very good chance that this FR will celebrate the end of the B767 adventure at TUI/Thomson/Britannia.
After a nightmare flight from Trapani (delayed for more than 6 hours) mainly due to french ATC strikes. And with just a couple of hours of sleep inside the creepy Ryanair cabine. I've finally less than 3 hours to connect between my two flight hopefully the "skybridge" linking terminal 1 and 2 ease the process. According to the plan I was supposed to arrive from the hotel, fresh and rested.
View from the walkway between the 2 terminals, you can see a few planes in the distance, that's a good sign!
Terminal 2 groundside is mainly an impressive row of check-in counters, surprisingly few people in this area dedicated to TUI given the number of scheduled flights, I must admit I didn't look deeply why it was so empty.
The FIDS of the day dominated by the flight of leisure flights operated by Jet2 and TUI.
There are a few more people at Etihad check in counters where many passengers are checking in for destinations in the Middle East or Asia . And even more people in the reds of Jet2.
Manchester airport is truly the Mecca of British leisure airlines with an insane number of flights operated by Jet2.com, or TUI with sometimes large aircrafts like this Boeing 757-200 from Jet2 which is about to start its day with a flight to Reus (airport located on the coast, south of Barcelona).
We will note in passing the memory of one of the great British leisure airlines with this hangar still in the colors of Thomas Cook Airlines.
Another B757-200 from Jet2, wearing the colors of Jet2holidays, will leave in the morning for Mahon on the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands.
This Boeing 737-800 operate the first morning departure for TUI to Palma de Mallorca.
On the other hand of the terminal long-haul aircrafts are parked in the back, we recognize the elegant curve of a Cathay Airbus A350-1000 which perfrom a rotation for Hong-Kong, in the front we find one of the Airbus A330-MRTT operated by AirTanker on behalf of Jet2.com and which will leave almost 3 hours late for Palma de Mallorca too.
Even if leisure companies are dominating the trafic on the platform, you can also see some more "luxurious" aircraft with this Boeing 747-8i from the Qatar Emiri Flight parked just in front of the control tower.
If the number of passengers was reduced groundside, it was really busy airside! The security controls were rather anecdotal with a wait of about 10 minutes much less than I was expecting.
The FIDS like many other displays all around the airport pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II who passed away 9 days earlier.
Terminal 2 in Manchester is quite well equipped with shops, bars and other restaurants. There is something for all tastes but not for all budgets, the prices being still high if we exclude the WH Smith type shops. That said, in most shops, customers seem to be there and at this early hour there are long queues in front of the cafes.
Here is the object of the report, or rather its sistership, the only other Boeing 767-300 remaining in the TUI UK fleet which provides one of the 3 morning flights to Palma de Mallorca, during the booking process I had a time of hesitation to take this flight because it was a little cheaper. In the end, I did well to take the later flight because I would have been a little short to connect otherwise.
Qatar Airways arriving from DOH with a beautiful livery celebrating the soccer world cup hosted few weeks ago in Qatar.
For the sake of competitive equality, I am obliged to share with you the photo of this Boeing 787 from one of the other gulf sisters, namely Etihad with, I must admit, one of the most beautifull livery in the world.
But the bulk of the traffic remains provided by the leisure airlines, here TUI leaves by Boeing 737-800 in the direction of Chania.
I walk around the various jetties of terminal 2 but if it's swarming with passengers at the level of the shops it's a little less the case in some jetties like here with the "A" doors. No Virgin Atlantic flights to Amsterdam, only codeshare on the KLM flight, a type of partnership that should expand with the integration of Virgin into skyteam in 2023.
Aer Lingus has a small UK registered fleet at Manchester Airport since 2021 with 2 based aircrafts. This Airbus A330-300 which provides 4 rotations/week to theme parks in Orlando and 3 rotations/week to Barbados. And one A321neo LR which provides the daily flight to JFK. If you know IAG logic to base Irish aircrafts in Manchester rather than BA metal please explain it to me (even if I suppose it must be an overcapacity of Aer Lingus which had already been requisitioned to operate Vueling flights at Orly a few months ago)
Meanwhile, the broom of leisure flights departing this Saturday morning continues with this slightly washed-out TUI Boeing 737-800, departing for Reus in Catalonia.
Another Boeing 737-800 departing, this time in Jet2holidays livery. It will also reach Spain and the seaside town of Almeria
I reach the B pier where many flights to the Balearic Islands are boarding next to each-over and although the area is rather spacious it is totally stuffed with all ages passengers.
I'm at the right place, gate B4 which is a pax-bus gate, it was already 8:45am when I took this picture and boarding hadn't started yet
The buses arrive, the agents finally start the boarding operations, but as you can imagine boarding a 328-seat B767 with pax-buses takes a while.
The ticket even in electronic version is a real encyclopedia ! I was one of the last to scan my ticket, it is a little after 9:20 a.m. more than 2 hours after the theoretical boarding gate closure…
Little bus ride under the Manchester sun (yes, it happens ^^)
We park alongside this TUI Boeing 787-9 which will leave in a few hours for Melbourne, not the Australian but the American one located on the Florida coast…
I was really afraid that the aircraft would be swapped like the previous week by a B787-9 (probably to the delight of 99% of passengers) but it is indeed a Boeing 767-300ER that will bring us to the main Balearic island this morning. Well we missed a little distance for the pitcure sorry.
Let me introduce you to G-OBYF which is therefore a Boeing 767-300, entered service more than 24 years ago, all passed through TUI and its previous versions, whether Britannia Airways, Britannia (Germany), Thomsonfly then TUI with some seasonal wet-lease contracts in winter, most often on behalf of Garuda Indonesia.
The "welcome on board" from our very smiling and friendly all-female crew (generally the British crews are always super nice) the interaction with the passengers is great. I would be the last to board trying a Tortuga technique in order to recover a window seat left unattended. It will be a big fail, the only seat remaining free being the one that was allocated to me during the OLCI…
The flight is full and I was fooled hoping for a low load factor on this flight until a week before departure when I realized that all the window seats were already booked!
On the cabin side, the seats are quite simple but offer a retractable headrest (photo taken at the arrival).
General view of the cabin as our crew begins to demonstrate the safety procedure of our aircraft. Once this is finished, the captain will indicate an additional delay of about 30min (our flight is now almost 2h30 late now and I cross my fingers that we go to 3 hours in order to obtain compensation ^^ ).
Small miracle an improvement of the slot arrives 10 min later and we start.
The pitch is very narrow, you need to now that we still find these aircrafts on flights of more than 6 hours to Cabo Verde.
The only small comfort feature available on this visibly retrofitted seat, this tablet/phone support; a small terminal containing the ceiling light controls and a USB socket.
Ceiling light here, it's uh… vintage…
It is finally with a little less than 3 hours late that our imposing Boeing 767 pulls itself off the ground with disconcerting ease, we can clearly feel the thrust of the 2 GE CF-6s, with a significant noise in the cabin.
You probably noticed it long before, but TUI offers a 2x4x2 cabin on its Boeing 767s, unlike the usual 2x3x2 configuration that you will found with most operators… and some people complain about the 3x4x3 on the 777s ^^ .
The BOB brochure is available on the seat when I arrive, it must be said that my seat no longer has a seat pocket (like the majority of the seats in the cabin…) there are still the supports but not the fabric pocket so It's a bit of a mess to store on-board documentation.
But let's come back to the buy onboard service, the offer is rather varied and includes many hot dishes at a reasonably priced, if most of the time the onboard sales services have limited success during this flight, it will not be the casse with a lot of passengers buying food or drinks.
Route of the day, I would be less disappointed to not get a window seat by seeing that almost all of the flight will be done above the clouds. Cruising altitude 37000ft.
Thanks to the FR24 statistics, we can also see that the average flight delay is more than an hour.
The rest of the flight will pass quietly, fatigue of the previous night making me sleep a bit during the cruise.
Brutal landing on the PMI tarmac, a large layer of fog hide the view on the window. Less regret not having paid for one…
The disembarkation will take a long time, as it was again carried out by bus with an exit through doors 2L and 4L
Fuselage shot but seen from the rear door this time. We can see that the disembarkation are put on hold due to the lack of available buses.
Buses arrive one by one and go back and forth between the terminal and the plane. We can see on this picture the imposing size of the winglet equipping our Boeing 767 compared to the size of our CBD just below.
Ground operations are in progress, we can see that there were many kids on board by viewing the impressive number of strollers put out of the hold.
Logbook check !
The bus drops us off at the gates A pier, a couple of meters after leaving the bus you have to show your passport in order to be able to enter the Schengen territory. No waiting for the e-gates reserved for European passports, this is not the case in the area dedicated to other passports where 99% of my copax are piled up.
Europe and the Schengen area, what great inventions ^^
This is the first time that I get into this area of Mallorca airport, the non-Schengen pier, which is almost exclusively displaying flights to the United Kingdom.
A little walk and just before reaching the luggage delivery area which includes all arrivals, you will have to show a proof of vaccination against covid (luckily I had not removed my covid smartphone application ^^). As usual in Spain, this sanitary controls were carried out by a large number of staff and the wait is nil.
Constantly passing through the huge baggage delivery room with an impressive number of conveyor belts.
Terminal exit is not farther away. When reach you get into the front of terminal where tourist buses, vehicle rental shuttles, taxis and other VTCs are mixed… a bit of a mess but knowing the area I know that I have to go to the area public transport located a little further.
I would take the express bus in the direction of the center of Palma for a few hours of visit, the price is not especially cheap, 8€ for a return trip 5€ for a one-way trip… Unluckily the only vending machine on the platform is broken down and the driver only sells one way ticket in cash… that will be 10€ for a return ticket. But the service is efficient with a lot of frequencies. It must be because the bus was full.
A flight that allowed me to finally add the Boeing 767 to my logbook, however the experience was not really a great pleasure mainly due to the fatigue accumulated during the previous night passed on a Ryanair seat. By the way the product offered by TUI is of a low level on the Boeing 767.
+ Smiling and friendly crew very attentive to the passengers, very chatty cockpit also as often the British crews are probably the best !
- Narrow seat and tight pitch, ultra dense cabin I was rather lucky at the OLCI with this seat in the aisle and a neighbor who was not too massive.
- The marks are low because I take away a point for the nearly 3 hours delay.
- Easy connection between terminals 1 and 2 with the Skybridge, too bad not to start the travelator
+ Controls passed with surprising ease at this early hour
+ Lots of services and shops at this European top 25 airport
- Fairly good cleanliness in the terminals except in the few and very dirty toilets!
Palma de Mallorca:
+ All the services of a major tourist airport
+ PAF or sanitary control passed without any waiting with an e-gate for the 1st and friendly attendants for the second.
- Access a given step to reach the city center by bus, we regret the fact of disembarking by bus from a B767 (it takes a looonnng time)