What to expect when flying with Tarom

While I am not an uber-frequent flyer, I did fly enough in the past few years to get an idea of how things work. So I decided to write a few short notes on what to expect when flying on some of the airlines I flew on and to some of airports I have been through. I will only post reviews on airlines I flew in the past 3 years, as aviation is a dynamic business and what I experienced 5 or 6 years ago might not hold true anymore.

As of the time of this writing, I have been a passenger on Tarom flights 22 times, both on internal and international flights, and all of them in economy class. I have flown on their ATRs (both 42s and 72s) and 737s (300 and 700 series). I have yet to fly on their Airbus 310 and 318.

Overall, cabin crews have always been helpful, polite and pleasant, even if at times they were tired or bored (I really can’t blame a flight attendant for not faking a smile after a 10 or 12 hour work day, sometimes well past midnight).

On the ATRs, the seats seem to be more cramped than on the 737s, but at 1m83 (~6 ft), I had enough space. They are old style seats, but that’s a good thing: they have nice thick padding that feels comfortable and they do recline enough to make a long night flight bearable.

On internal flights, whether they are on an ATR on a jet, there is no real food, just some pretzels or peanuts, but given the longest flights (Bucharest to Oradea, Baia Mare and Satu Mare) take around 1h20 gate to gate this isn’t really an issue. On international flights there are very good warm meals along with a wide variety of drinks, something that is seen less and less often with legacy carriers these days.

Inflight entertainment is completely absent on the ATRs, and on the 737s there are a few CRT monitors fixed in the ceiling that show various maps with the current position of the aircraft, altitude, speed, estimated time of arrival and other similar information. For me and my children that isn’t a problem since we prefer looking out the windows (and we rarely watch tv at home, anyway), but for some travelers that might be a problem.

One (big) caveat: Tarom has no 24/7 passenger assistance hotline, if you have problems and need to contact the airline, it better be during their office hours (Monday to Friday 08.00-20.00, Saturday: 09.00-14.00; Sunday: closed) or you are out of luck. We found this out the hard way recently while connecting on a Tarom flight in Madrid one Sunday. An error in Tarom’s computer system prevented us from doing the checkin online, and the checkin agent at our departure airport, although she managed to check us in, was unable to give us boarding passes. Once in Madrid, we were sent out of the boarding area, sent from desk to desk in the airport with nobody knowing how (or wanting) to help us, and despite the gate agent holding the plane for us for an hour (he rightfully thought we were wandering somewhere in the duty free shops), we missed the plane altogether, with no way to contact someone at Tarom to help us.

So, if possible, fly during their help desk business hours!

To sum up:

Company TAROM
Cabin flown Economy
Cabin crew 4 Stars
Seat comfort 4.5 Stars
Food&beverages 4 Stars
Inflight Entertainment 2 Stars
Value for money 4 Stars
Passenger assistance 1 Stars
Average 3.3 Stars


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