Bucharest, Romania (OTP) – Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF)
Flight number: RO297
Aircraft: ATR 42-500
Departure: 6:00 pm (local time)
Arrival 7:00 pm (local time)
Distance: 204 mi
Seats: 2C, 2D (Business Class)
“The worst Business Class”
As we are addicted to flying and always look for more and more unusual extraordinary journeys, we made an amazing trip, which want to share with you!
This time, our route from Bucharest to Sofia was operated by Romanian national airlines – Tarom on its ATR 42-300. To be honest, we were super excited to fly Tarom Business on its small twin-turboprop aircraft, as there is no any review for it. We decided to check it and make our own fair report. Now we gonna share our opinion.
1. Airport time
Our starting point was Tarom lounge in its hub airport in Bucharest. To say the truth, we visited this lounge about three months ago, but this time it looked much better, as it was renovated.
The lounge atmosphere is very good, as there are aa lot of space and new private areas with sofas and small tables make it super comfortable. There is a small computer space, but we more liked wide tables, which are probably more for dining, but many people use it as a working space, the same we did.
The thing that was not changed there is buffet. Previously we did not like the lounge, as it had uncomfortable sitting area with sofas and no food provided. Now the lounge is perfect for its comfort, but still has no food. All the range of provided food consists of yoghurts, nuts, cookies and chips.
There is no restroom inside the lounge, what often occurs in small lounges and visitors use the outside restrooms on the floor. Usually, these restrooms near the lounge are used only by Business lounge passengers and it’s relatively clean for the airport.
We spent about an hour in the lounge and went for boarding, which had no priority transfer from gate to aircraft. We were offered to join all the other Economy Class passengers in a big bus. As the weather there was about +1 degrees, it was not really comfortable!
2. Flight time
We did not have an online check-in and when we got our boarding passes in the airport, did not check our seats. Entering the aircraft we noticed that we sit separately, but coming closer to seats, a flight attendant told us to choose any from 6 Business Class seats, as we were the only Business passengers.
The best from these words was that we were the only passengers, as in case of full capacity of Business Class, which is 1,5 rows in this aircraft, passengers of the first and second row from one side sit in front of each other (the case happens very often, moreover, if there are less seats in Economy than sold tickets, passengers from Economy are being moved to Business sets). Just imagine, you pay about 400 euro for one way 1 hour flight and sit this hour looking into eyes of unknown person, who eat actually the same food, served in plastic tableware instead of ceramic, paying for it about 150 euro.
This aircraft is extremely small, there are even no regular seats for cabin crew, which consist of two flight attendants. There are two tiny seats covered in the part of the aircraft, which stewardesses pull out for take off and landing periods.
As soon as pilot took off, cabin crew started a meal service, as the flight is very short and it’s pretty difficult to serve everybody. For dinner we had a package, which contained tuna salad, bread and butter and dessert. The thing is it could be ok, in case if was fresh and well prepared. Both pieces of bread were so harsh that it was not difficult to kill somebody, throwing it aside. Tuna salad both looked and smelled like Friskies, the cheapest cat food. And even no comments about the dessert. To say that we asked for a chocolate from Economy Class would be enough, we think.
And our last, but probably favourite part – ATR lavatory. When we came to this plane, we were not sure if there is a toilet at all, because the aircraft is super small. Later, we catch an eye on the green light with a lavatory sign. erTo describe it in one phrase, we can say “better not to see”.
We would tell you an absolute truth, one of us visited the lavatory, but only for shooting, as it was too dirty for use. First of all, opening its door, one of us met a person inside and only after this, the flight attendant said that the door is broken. Secondly, it was so old and dirty that it was impossible to use.
Bad condition of the lavatory could be explained by its big age, but what about its door and clearness? Is it so difficult to repair and wash?
4. Overall opinion
Never, just never pay any cent for Tarom Business ATR 42-500! If you need to fly any destination, for which Tarom offers the best price, choose Economy Class only. Economy Class of such level is more than ok for short distances, like our. The ratio of price and quality is fair, so we vote FOR flying with Tarom ATR on short distance flights, but not by Business Class.