Flight No: RO226
Route: Prague Václav Havel (PRG) - Bucharest Otopeni (OTP)
Date: July 18th 2022
Flight time:: 1h 29m
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700 (YR-BGI, 18 years old)
When you book a full service airline in Europe, you would expect that nothing could be worse than Lufthansa and their strict luggage rules on intra-European flights and the small chocolate that you receive on board. Well, you’ll be blown away after I show you this.
Everything started 4 days earlier, on the 15th of July when I had flown the same route the opposite way for a short city break in the beautiful Czech capital. I flew on the same aircraft (YR-BGI) and had a rather unpleasant experience with the outdated cabin of the aircraft. My seat (15A) felt like it was made of cardboard and the tray table was barely standing in place. I thought, “ok, it happens, bad luck”. The crew was also quite rude and only passed through the cabin 2 times for the entire flight (not even after the fasten seatbelts sign was turned on due to turbulence).
When I found out I was going to fly YR-BGI again on the return flight, I was rather disappointed, but expected a better seat. I booked 14A for free while checking in online. If you want to book the seat in advance while travelling with the light fare, or economy saver, you can only reserve the middle seats for free. Not really a problem for me, I have flown airlines that don’t allow you to choose your seats before check in in even in business.
For this flight, I paid 131 euro return with the light fare (which is only offered to some destinations, for some reason), booked about 2-3 months in advance. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. I could only take a regular cabin bag on board, but that’s more than enough for such a short trip.
I arrived to Václav Havel Airport by bus and entered terminal 1 (used for flights outisde the Schengen area). Check-in and passport control were done in minutes, quick and efficient. Terminal 1 is one of those weird ones where you do the security screening right before going to the gate. Gate A6 was announced and I quickly went there to get a seat with a view of the apron (BTW, very good airport for gate spotting).
The aircraft arrived from Bucharest on time:
Soon after, it was time for boarding. TAROM still features real business class seats on the 737-700 (which are also very comfortable despite being old, had the chance to fly in one a few years ago):
Unfortunately, things are quite different in the back, seats look wide and comfortable (not the kind of slim seats you find on most newer aircraft) but most of them are really broken. You would think it’s from some unruly passengers, but no. It’s the same for all seats on the plane. The seat was reclining without pressing any button whenever it wanted to which seemed quite unsafe to me. At least the legroom was standard:
We departed Prague 27 minutes behind schedule on runway 24:
Fortunately, the crew on this flight was much friendlier and, despite being just as ignorant as on the other flight (and 1 more I had with TAROM this year), it felt like an improvement.
The sevice on TAROM consists of one cup of water (still or sparkiling, no matter how long the flight is, domestic or international) and one wet wipe. You cannot prebook or buy on board any other kind of beverages or food. In business class it consists of a 500ml bottle of water (still or sparkling) and the same wet wipe with no other stuff available:
I was rather disappointed knowing they used to serve delicious hot meals on international flights back in 2019, even in economy. Nonetheless, I ignored the (lack of) service and enjoyed the view of the Slovak and Hungarian fields we passed over while reading one of my favourite books I had in my backpack with me:
There are no IFE screens, but there is an ancient TV where you can see details of the flight, such as a map, altitude and ground speed:
TAROM offers Personal Device Entertainment on board their jets via Airfi Wifi. You can access a few movies, Travel and cooking guides for some of their current and former destinations, and some simple games like Flappy Bird that you can play. Overall, not too bad, considering they don’t serve any long haul destinations.
After a 1 hour cruise, it was time for a bumpy approach into the Romanian capital, we landed 6 min late on runway 08R:
At the end, we parked at a jetbridge which is quite rare for this airline at its HUB these days. Overall, it wasn’t my best experience with the airline. It is already my 5th flight of the year with them and only 2 of them met decent standards (friendly crew and non-broken seats). Do I recommend TAROM? Probably, if they are the cheapest option and you aren’t flying their 737-700. The other aircraft in the fleet offer much better seats.
Thanks for viewing and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it!