TUI 737 Extra Legroom Gran Canaria to Stansted Review

Just weeks before commercial aviation was grounded and foreign holidays became a fanciful thought, we escaped the winter blues for a weekend in Gran Canaria. Because of the timings, we opted for Easyjet on the outbound and TUI on the return leg. Our outbound flight was from London Gatwick Airport, but this return leg was in an extra legroom seat on a TUI 737 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria into London Stansted Airport. While not our favourite UK airport to travel through, TUI did a good job at making it a nice experience. Dive into our TUI 737 Economy Extra Legroom Gran Canaria to Stansted review to see why we’re usually happy flying TUI.

Flight Details

Flight No: TOM5117/BY5117
From/To: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (LPA) to London Stansted (STN)
Departure time: 17:07
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Ticket Class: Economy
Seat: 5F (Extra legroom)
Flight time: 3 hours 55 mins

In this review:

Check-in & Fast Track

  • The Good
    • No lines at check-in
    • Check-in staff friendly and efficient
  • The Bad
    • Lack of queue management – one line per desk

Many TUI passengers are TUI package holiday customers, which means their transfers are included. They tend to bus holidaymakers back to the airport 2.5-3 hours before their flight. This is why we never arrive more than an hour before the flight! As you’ll see from our photos, the crowds had already passed through well ahead of us. We were greeted with empty check-in desks and friendly staff.

Score: 85%

Boarding

  • The Good
    • Called by row number
    • Orderly – no mad dash or elbow barging
  • The Bad
    • Boarding was fairly slow
    • Bus to the plane rather than an air bridge

Unlike the outbound flight from London to Gran Canaria on Easyjet, boarding was a more civilised affair. There was a steady stream of passengers through the gate, who proceeded down a staircase and onto a waiting bus. Once full, the bus drove us across to the awaiting aircraft.

Score: 75%

Aircraft Configuration

G-TAWJ
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800
Number of classes: 1
Number of seats in flying class: 189
Position: right hand side of the aircraft, 5 rows from the front

Amenity Kit & Washrooms

  • The Good
    • New kit and good maintenance
  • The Bad
    • A bit tight inside
    • Queues formed for the rear washrooms

Washrooms

There was a washroom at the front of this TUI 737-800 and 2 washrooms at the rear. Being a fairly new aircraft, the kit inside was still looking tidy and was in good working order.

With the exception of a couple of stray pieces of toilet tissue, the washrooms were clean and were well-stocked with paper towels and foaming hand soap.

Amenity Kit

As this was a low-cost flight, no amenity kits or in-flight care kits we’re provided.

Score: 75%

Seat

  • The Good
    • Decent amount of legroom
    • The seats recline
  • The Bad
    • Point One
    • The seats recline

Taking our seat on the right-hand side of the aircraft, we were both pleased with the amount of space we had between us and the seat in front and the ample legroom. I took the window seat and had a nice unobstructed view in front of the starboard engine.

Access & Storage

The extra space makes these seats slightly easier to get in and out of. I’d recommend the extra legroom seats for passengers with mobility challenges.

Stretching out under the seat, the separator bar was slightly too far for my toes to touch it.

There was a tray table and seat-back pocket for storage of small items.

Sleeping

The exception of rows 14 and 15, and the awful back row seats on row 32, all seats on the aircraft recline. This is great if you’re in one of the extra legroom or bulkhead seats, but less good in you’re sat anywhere else. Irrespective, if you fancy a nap you’re going to have a more relaxing journey than on Easyjet or Ryanair, whose seats on this route don’t recline.

Cleanliness

The aircraft had received a good clean before we boarded. The seat and floor area were free from debris. The seat trim looked like it had recently been cleaned.

Power & Wi-Fi

There was no at-seat power or Wi-Fi available on the flight. Be sure to charge your gadgets in the terminal.

Score: 85%

What is the best seat on Tui 737 to/from Gran Canaria?

Tui tend to operate 737s on this route. Our aircraft was a 737-800, where the first 4 rows on the right of the aircraft have extra legroom. We’d favour seats D, E or F on rows 2-5, or any seat on row 16 (the exit row). Avoid all seats on row 31 and 32 as they’re too near the rear toilets and galley – you’ll have other passengers queuing by your seat. If the flight is looking full, any seat forward of row 10 is acceptable.

See the seating plan on SeatGuru.

In-flight Entertainment

There was no official in-fight entertainment on this TUI flight to London Stansted. I won’t score the equipment or content shown on it, but the pictures of the equipment and moving map give you a taste of what to expect.

Equipment

Content

The only content displayed on the IFE screens was a moving map of the journey. While always nice to know where we are flying over, our eyes were continually drawn to it, which seemed to make the journey feel longer!

Drinks Service

  • The Good
    • Full size bottles of prosecco for £21
    • Trolley service moved through the cabin at a good pace
  • The Bad
    • Limited choice of non-fizzy drinks
    • Buy a coffee in the terminal!

The star of the show was the whopping 75cl bottle of Prosecco for £21. Please share it with someone and drink responsibly!

There was a good range of lagers, IPAs and cider. There was a very limited range wine (one red, one white) and a standard selection of popular spirits.

Twinings teas were available alongside fruit infusions. We’d tried the Kenco coffee before and gave it a wide birth this time.

All the beverages were served quickly, and with a smile.

Score: 75%

Food Service

  • The Good
    • Some hot ready meals available
    • Pies on a this type of flight is a novelty
  • The Bad
    • A lot of junk food
    • Questionable quality of some hot items

We were both quite impressed by the range of hot food offered on this fairly cheap intra-European flight. While it was miles away from fine dining, some of the dishes could pass for a meal.

We were excited by the pie, but decided against it and opted for the pasta. It was brought to us piping hot, but still in the box. When we unwrapped it, the dish looked about as appetising as a cheap ready meal from your local supermarket. It tasted very salty.

The rest of the food available to purchase was the typical junk you find on low-cost carriers. The tapas looked nothing like the serving suggestion in the picture!

Score: 60%

Arrival

  • The Good
    • Air bridge into the terminal
    • Friendly farewell from the flight crew
  • The Bad
    • Lengthy journey from the gate to baggage reclaim

It was pouring with rain when we landed at London Stansted Airport. There was a short delay after taxiing from the runway before we were able to park on the stand. We were glad for the air bridge into the terminal rather than having to brave the rain on a bus. Once in the terminal, we had a lengthy walk to passport control and then the baggage reclaim area. Once there, we were able to clear immigration with relative ease. We departed on a Stansted Express train into central London within 45 minutes of arriving at the gate.

Score: 70%

BGI Verdict

  • The Good
    • Higher levels of comfort than Easyjet and Ryanair
    • Nice cabin crew
  • The Bad
    • Standard legroom seats aren’t that comfortable

We’ve taken a number European flights with TUI over the years and find them to be very consistent. Their average passenger is a British holidaymaker and they tailor their service accordingly. From check-in through to arrival, the service is relaxed and friendly, and effortlessly efficient. It usually ends-up being a very pleasant journey, like this one. If TUI fly to where we’re going in future, we’ll continue to favour them over the usual competitors.

Total: 75%

BG1 Tip

If you have an American Express Gold or Platinum Card, you can use the VIP Lounge Las Palmas Gran Canaria for free.

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