I arrived in Bucharest on another TAROM flight from Sofia. Transferring at Bucharest Henri Coanda airport is fairly straight-forward. Since Romania is not part of the Schengen zone you need to pass a transfer security control, just like at most airports in the world, however for some reason you also need to pass passport control.
There are two passport control checkpoints in the international terminal which are used for both arriving passengers and transfer passengers. If you are transferring, rather than passing through the door next to the counter to get to the baggage hall, you turn back a few metres to get to the transfer security control. The setup is a bit strange, but again, not particularly difficult or time-consuming.
There is a TAROM lounge in the transit hall accessible to TAROM and Skyteam business class passengers as well as passengers with a Flying Blue Gold or Platinum card or a Skyteam Elite Plus card.
The lounge itself is quite nice-looking with a contemporary design and a good view of the apron. The furniture are in white and red and the high ceiling makes it feel quite spacious.
The selection of drinks was fairly standard with Romanian red and white wine, beer and a standard selection of spirits. However the selection of food was disappointing, there was very little substantial to eat other than a full fridge with yoghurt. The Romanians seem to like yoghurt as there was plenty of it, or perhaps they just got a good deal with a yoghurt supplier. Other than the yoghurt the offerings were limited to biscuits, crisps and peanuts.
TAROM flight RO 339
I left the lounge in good time before the 9 pm departure. However as I got to the gate we were informed there would be a bit of a delay. Rather than waiting 25 minutes at the gate I returned to the lounge, which was just around the corner anyway. The woman recognised me and let me back in without any comments.
Boarding eventually started around the scheduled departure time just after 9 pm but as the load was quite light the process was quick and the delay at the end was just about 15 minutes.
An Airbus A318 was used to Stockholm and I had selected seat 04D, an aisle seat on the first row of economy class.
Seat and cabin
The configuration onboard the Airbus A318 was 3-3 except in business class where the configuration was 2-2 with a blocked middle seat, which also had a cocktail table.
The seat pitch was fairly good, the amount of legroom was not an issue and the blue older-type seats were in fact quite comfortable.
Food and drinks
The good thing about travelling on TAROM is that there is still a full hot meal service also in economy class on longer flights such as Bucharest-Stockholm with a flight time of around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
After takeoff a small plastic bag was handed out followed by the main course, which turned out to be chicken and pasta. Not a culinary experience, but still very nice to get a proper hot meal in economy class, also on an intra-European flight. Especially as there was not much substantial to eat in the lounge. The bag included cutlery, butter, a bread roll and a small dessert.
Red and white wine as well as beer and soft drinks were offered from the trolley. I asked for a glass of white wine.
Although it may sound a bit strange to get the meal (or parts of the meal, the actual hot meal was served separately) in a plastic bag, the concept is in fact quite clever. After you have finished you simply put the rubbish in the bag. This means you get some space on the tray table and it is very easy for the crew to collect it later.
Eventually coffee and tea were offered. I asked for a cup of coffee which interestingly was served as instant coffee with hot water. A strawberry cake was available in the bag for dessert.
Later during the flight I pressed the call button to ask if it would be possible to have a beer to drink. It took a bit of time before the flight attendant arrived (there was no more drink round after the meal) but a Romanian Ursus beer was promptly delivered to my seat a few minutes later.
The crew working in the cabin were friendly and there was nothing to complain about regarding the service. However there was no status recognition of me as a gold card holder of Flying Blue, which is also the frequent flyer program of TAROM.
As there was no one travelling in business class to Stockholm, after the meal service was completed all the flight attendants had a seat in the business class cabin. Although they had finished their job with with the meal meal service and had closed the curtain, it was still quite easy to notice and frankly it does not look very professional when four flight attendants have a coffee break in the business class cabin during a flight, completely out of sight from the rest of the cabin. Nevertheless someone did arrive when I pressed the call button.
Despite the delayed the departure from Bucharest we made up some time and landed just a few minutes late in Stockholm.
Very impressive to get a proper hot meal and a complimentary glass of white wine also on a two-hour economy class flight in Europe. Tidy aircraft with comfortable seats and friendly crew.