Monarch Flights

Your questions and comment on travel to Tobago
WendyMay
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Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:58 pm

I see that Monarch is starting flying twice a week to Tobago from Tuesday 16/12/14.They are moving the Wednesday flight to Tuesday and adding another flight on Friday. This is showing on the Monarch 2014/15 schedule, which ends on 24th April 2015.
Does anyone know if this twice weekly flight is going to continue into next summer?
I want to book a holiday and flight for August 2015? Can't seem to get any helpful info from Golden holidays, on Summer 2015 flights. I can wait on the sale of flights, but need to know which days they are going, (back to Wednesdays, or twice a week) so I can book accommodation.

Help!

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:01 am

Hi Wendy

I'm afraid its unlikely that anyone will be able to answer that question until around October this year. A lot can happen over the summer and contracts won't be negotiated for some months yet. Your accommodation shouldn't be an issue as August is not a peak booking time and any decent accommodation owner will work with you on the matter.
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WendyMay
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:17 am

Hi! Steve.
I had a feeling that someone was going to tell me. But thank you anyway. As you suggest, I will go ahead and hopefully, book holiday, with a bit of lee way at both ends until flights can be booked.
Thanks for the reply.

Wendy

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Julian » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:43 pm

A report today and yesterday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... ds-by.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... eview.html

about the future plans for Monarch mentions "It plans to pull out of long-haul flights and concentrate on providing more city breaks."

Obviously this would have a knock on effect for Tobago maybe the THA will have to start courting Virgin again.

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:51 am

Hi Julian

I think you will find that the Monarch service to Tobago is not part of their normal scheduled flight service. It is effectively a charter flight organised through Golden Caribbean and largely funded/subsidised by the THA. The aircraft is (I believe) wet-leased from an Icelandic airline and Monarch operate it on behalf of Golden Caribbean. I suspect the future lies very much in the hands of the THA continuing their subsidy.
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Julian » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:09 pm

Hi Steve,

Looks like Monarch may be ending their Tobago charter

http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/ ... size-fleet

Isn't Tobago their only Caribbean destination?

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:58 am

Hi Julian

Thanks for the link. I am looking into this and will report back as soon as I have any information.
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:04 am

Hi Julian

Yes, it is possible that Monarch might pull out of long-haul from May 2015. However, Golden Holidays/Golden Caribbean have signed contracts with Monarch guaranteeing services until the end of April 2015, so this coming winter 2014/2015 will not be affected.

With regard to nest summer onwards, everything depends on Monarch's plans. However, the Golden group have already prepared contingency plans with other airlines to operate the service on their behalf should Monarch decide to concentrate on their own short-haul operations only. Remember, Monarch only operate the service for Golden - i.e. provide the crew, etc.

So, no worries in the short-term. The future largely depends upon the THA providing the subsidies that make this charter service possible.
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:49 am

I see on the internet, that Golden Holidays are now selling their flights to Tobago from May 2015. As I want to visit August 2015, it appears that this is now possible. Surely Golden Caribbean would not sell tickets if there was a chance that the flights may stop during the summer/winter 2015/16 season.

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:29 pm

Hello WendyMay

The tickets on sale are effectively for a guaranteed service, so don't worry. If they are selling/taking bookings for specific dates, it is because Golden Holidays are happy that they have made arrangements with the carrier Monarch. Sure, the long-term plans are a little bit in the air, but the schedules for the next two seasons have been agreed and contracts signed. So, no worries!
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:26 am

Thanks Steve.
All I need to do now is arrange my trip.

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Robert T » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:21 pm


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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:20 am

Hi! Robert, Thanks for the attachment.
Now I am wondering whether to book flights for August 2015 at this time. What if the flights are changed to another carrier, after April 2015. If so and their the flights cost more than stated now, by Monarch, can Golden add more to the booked flights at a later date, when everything else has been booked and in place?
I am assuming that other airlines interested in the route will be charter flights? Golden Caribbean also upgrades hold luggage to 30kg. That is a bonus.
British Airways schedule flights are around £300 more per person, with a hold luggage allowance of 23kg. So we will not travel with them. The extra 7 kg of hold luggage per person is what we love about the Monarch flights, apart from the price, of course.
We are a group of seven, two families. We stay in a hired villa, rent two cars and eat out at restaurants most nights. We also do the usual, rain forest tours, sail on Island Girl and spend the money we saved on flights when we are in Tobago. If we get there, then next year will be the 4th time in Tobago. We don't want to be anywhere else. We love it.

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:08 pm

Hi Wendy

Being switched to another flight has happened to me 3 times. Once by Excel (before Monarch) and twice by Virgin.

In 2007, Excel paid me £300 compensation and put me on a Virgin flight to Barbados with the promise of a link flight to Tobago ... it worked fine until we queried things in Barbados and found out that there was no link as promised ... that journey took 20 hours and I spent the last 40 minutes to Tobago bouncing around in a small Cessna that randomly agreed to pick me up ... it was a good job that I could find the old fashioned phone book in an old fashioned phone booth at Tobago airport in the early hours and contacted my host who came immediately.

Virgin have pulled out of flights more than any other in recent years for reasons covered in other forums. There was no problem with this unless you book through an agent because it is up to the agent to tell you of problems. Our Agent did not tell us and we had to sort things out belatedly with Virgin who turned out to be very good.

On both occasions with Virgin they switched us to BA ... I now continue to support BA because they continue to support Tobago (in my opinion) and they simply do an extra stop from Antigua or wherever else they are going ... BA has never let me down.

I have raved about Virgin before but now, after 15 visits to Tobago ... BA is worth it for me.

In direct answer to your questions, yes BA is more expensive than Monarch but I find them more reliable, they have never ever let me down and they regularly suck up the fall-out from other flight operators that fail (all they do is get another plane out of the garage, give it scrub up and off they go :mrgreen: ).

I think that Monarch are cheaper because I believe they receive a subsidy from Tobago's Tourist Dept similar to the subsidy being granted to another airline to bring tourists from Canada recently.

But, most importantly, if Monarch let you down and they switch you to a BA flight they will not charge you extra ... BA also give or take a little on the weights too and I am sure if you are switched they would make an exception because you probably won't be the only ones let down.

Don't trust me on this but I do believe that BA allow Sports Packs for free (or they used to) because I took all my snorkels, flippers and various other man toys in a separate bag back in mid 2013 ... I am sure you will see any details of this on their website.

Hope this helps.

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WendyMay
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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by WendyMay » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:52 am

Thank you Paul. Your experiences and advice have certainly cheered me up.
Regards

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Robert T » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:56 pm


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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:23 pm

I suppose that it is positive that subsidies are being offered to Flight Operators by Tobago but this needs to be measured with the security in Tobago ... so it seems sense that the flight operators would prefer to offer packages with the option of a Tobago Holiday Resort ... a safe option.

Or should there be an alternative foundation to Tobago's Tourism Business Plan? What is it? Is it protecting Tobago's interests?

Do the main resorts have a stake in these matters? If so, flights for those that court private Tobago businesses for their stay could be limited.

I sense that Steve Wooler's knowingness and wisdom could provide more of an insight to this.

The debate would be ... are organic Tobago Tourist Businesses at risk of being put out of business by their own Government?

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Maria » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:29 pm

Hi,
I was wondering. Where do I go to boom flights fro. Tobago to the London Gatwick with Monarch?

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Maria » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:32 pm

Maria wrote:Hi,
I was wondering. Where do I go to boom flights fro. Tobago to the London Gatwick with Monarch?
Sorry I made typos

Hi,
I was wondering. Where do I go to book flights from Tobago to London Gatwick with Monarch?

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Re: Monarch Flights

Post by Steve Wooler » Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:16 pm

Hello Maria

Welcome aboard! :D

Golden Holidays have just confirmed to me that you should have no problem booking flights on the Monarch service between Tobago and London Gatwick. There are two basic ways you can do this...

Firstly, tickets can be booked through Tourist Services in Scarborough, who can be contacted on 639-2285.

Alternatively, if you are happy to pay in GBP and by credit card, you can call the Golden Caribbean/Golden Holidays reservation team on +44 1342-316900. Unfortunately, their online website booking system only covers flights from London to Tobago and back, not the other way around.

For absolute assurance, I would personally accept the international call and book via London.
Steve Wooler
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