Review: Tunisair Business Class A330 Tunis To Montreal

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Tunisair 202
Tunis (TUN) – Montreal (YUL)
Wednesday, June 14
Depart: 4:15PM
Arrive: 8:10PM
Duration: 8hr55min
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 4K (Business Class)

At 3:45PM we arrived at the remote stand, and I proceeded up the stairs to the second door of the plane. There I turned left into Tunisair’s business class cabin.

Tunisair A330 business class cabin

Tunisair’s business class cabin consists of a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. While Tunisair’s A330s are new, the airline elected not to install fully flat seats on the plane, but rather has angled seats. As a matter of fact, the seats are virtually identical to those on Air Tahiti Nui.

Overall I like the turquoise finishes, though found the color scheme a bit odd for the airline, given that everything else in Tunisair’s branding is red and white.

Tunisair A330 business class cabin

I had assigned myself seat 4K, the window seat in the last row of business class on the right.

Tunisair A330 business class seat

Tunisair A330 business class seat

On the far side of the seats were the seat and entertainment controls, both of which were easy to use.

Tunisair business class seat & entertainment controls

Underneath the center armrest was a USB outlet, power outlet, and headphone jacks.

Tunisair business class power outlet & headphone jack

Behind that was a very small privacy partition, as well as the adjustable reading lights. Fortunately there was no one seated next to me on this flight, but I don’t get why these types of seats don’t have larger adjustable privacy partitions.

Tunisair business class seat reading light

The tray table extended from the center armrest, and was a single “piece” that rested on the opposite armrest.

Tunisair business class tray table

Then on the back of the seats in front was a water bottle holder (now if only they ever distributed bottled water, which was one of my complaints about this flight, but more on that later).

Tunisair business class seat bottle holder

Waiting at my seat on boarding was a pathetic little pillow and blanket. C’mon airlines, this kind of “bedding” just isn’t acceptable on a longhaul flight. This is what I’d expect on a regional flight, or roughly similar to what I’d expect in economy on a premium airline, but certainly not what should be offered in longhaul business class.

Tunisair business class pillow & blanket

The first bus didn’t have any other business class passengers in it, so I had the cabin to myself for about 10 minutes.

About 15 minutes after boarding began, the crew came around with newspapers and magazines.

Tunisair business class pre-departure newspapers & magazines

A few minutes after that they offered pre-departure drinks, with the choice between kiwi juice, orange juice, and mango juice. I had the kiwi juice (which I don’t think I’ve ever had before), and it was rich.

Tunisair business class pre-departure beverage

Eventually 18 of the 24 business class seats were taken. As mentioned above, fortunately the seat next to me stayed empty. That 75% load factor also includes several people being moved up from economy during boarding.

Perhaps the strangest part is that one of the flight attendants seemed to be traveling with her two young children. Unless my read on the situation was completely wrong (which the airline can investigate, I’m sure), this is completely irresponsible, and I don’t know how the airline allows this. She spent much of the flight looking after her own two kids (who I would guess were maybe six and 12, or so). While they were well behaved, I just find that so unprofessional. It’s one thing if there were another adult traveling with them, but even from a safety perspective this seems questionable. If an evacuation became necessary, something tells me she’d look after her unaccompanied kids before she looks after others. Anyway…

By 4:10PM the door closed, at which point the safety video was screened. Once that was complete, we began our pushback.

Tunis Airport ramp

The lead flight attendant made all announcements in Arabic, French, and English, so as you can imagine, they took forever.

Our taxi to the runway took less than five minutes, and at 4:20PM the captain announced “good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, 8hr50min flight, takeoff shortly.”

Taxiing Tunis Airport

Our takeoff roll was a bit crazy, as we had a “rolling” takeoff from the taxiway. Most of the time pilots will line up the plane on the runway and then accelerate, while these pilots added a lot of power while we were still at a 45 degree angle to the runway, so everyone was pushed to the side in a way I’ve never quite felt before on a plane. That isn’t at all to question the skill of the pilots, but rather to say it was a cool sensation.

Taking off Tunis Airport

The views on our climb out, especially of the coast, were gorgeous.

View after takeoff from Tunis Airport

View after takeoff from Tunis

What a beautiful country that I’d love to explore more of soon.

View after takeoff from Tunis

View after takeoff from Tunis

Flying along the coast of Tunisia

Five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. About 15 minutes after takeoff the crew handed out amenity kits, landing cards for Canada, and headphones.

The amenity kit had the basics, including earplugs, eyeshades, a brush, lotion, etc.

Tunisair business class amenity kit contents

The headphones were also pretty basic, so I used my own Bose headphones.

Tunisair business class headphones

As we continued our climb out, I browsed the entertainment selection.

Tunisair entertainment selection

The selection was reasonably decent. There were 15 “new release” movies, and a total of 22 “Hollywood” movies.

Tunisair entertainment selection

Tunisair entertainment selection

However, the sitcom selection was really bad, with the most modern choice being “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Tunisair entertainment selection

I also checked out the airshow, which was easy to use.

Airshow enroute to Montreal

Airshow enroute to Montreal

Airshow enroute to Montreal

I was expecting this flight to have Wi-Fi based on the press releases I saw when Tunisair first introduced these planes. However, Tunisair didn’t have Wi-Fi on the A330. I asked one of the flight attendants about this, and he said “we hope to have it one day, Inshallah!”

Given my recent love of animated movies like Zootopia, Sing, etc. I decided to watch Storks, which was pretty good too.

Tunisair entertainment selection

About 40 minutes after takeoff the meal service began, starting with warm towels.

Tunisair business class warm towel

Then there was a selection of canapés, along with mixed nuts and drinks. The canapés were tasty, though to my surprise Tunisair was “dry” during Ramadan. The flight attendant was surprised by this as well, and didn’t understand why.

Tunisair business class starter & nuts

Tunisair business class drinks

Once drinks and snacks were served, the crew distributed menus.

Tunisair business class menu

The lunch menu read as follows:

And the drink list read as follows (though wasn’t accurate, since they weren’t serving alcohol):

Appetizers were served about 10 minutes after the canapés.

Tunisair business class lunch

I selected the Tunisian option, which was reasonably good.

Tunisair business class lunch — Tunisian appetizer

There was also a very small side salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheese.

Tunisair business class lunch — seasonal salad

While not on the menu, I was asked if I also wanted some soup. I agreed, and was happy I tried it — it was super spicy.

Tunisair business class lunch — soup

For the main course I had the Tunisian grouper with saffron potatoes. While perhaps not the most inspiring presentation, the quality was phenomenal. What a flavorful dish.

Tunisair business class lunch — Tunisian grouper

Next up was a cheese course. The crew rolled a cart down the aisle with the cheese selection, and prepared the cheese plates there.

Tunisair business class lunch — cheese plate

Lastly I was offered the dessert, which consisted of a pistachio cake, as well as some fresh fruit.

Tunisair business class lunch — pistachio cake

The meal service was done about 2hr30min after takeoff. What a huge, all around pretty good, meal. I was impressed.

Furthermore, the two male flight attendants working in business class were really friendly. No, they weren’t the most polished flight attendants I’ve ever had, but they were genuinely well intentioned.

After the meal I figured I’d try to get some sleep, but a few minutes after reclining my seat I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I’m not trying to be a diva, but I’m just someone who struggles sleeping unless I’m in a bed. I’m not the type who can sleep in a recliner seat, in a car, etc.

So for a daytime flight on an airline without great bedding, I realized I just wasn’t going to get any sleep. So I gave up, and decided to work instead.

Tunisair A330 business class seat reclined

At this point we were just under six hours from Montreal, and starting our transatlantic crossing.

Airshow enroute to Montreal

Rather frustratingly there was a single business class lavatory in front of the cabin. The lavatories behind business class were always used by economy passengers, so I almost always had to wait to use the lavatory. The lavatory itself was reasonably nice, though the funniest part was that the cockpit door was almost never closed.

So I’d go into the lavatory, which is right behind the cockpit, and could have just as easily walked in there. The crew kept the door open as they were chatting in groups, and that way they could more easily talk with the pilots.

Tunisair A330 business class lavatory

I worked for several hours, and then eventually one of the friendly flight attendants asked me if I wanted a little snack. I figured I’d get one just for the photo op. They had chicken pastries and also some Tunisian desserts. One frustration I had was the lack of bottled water. As someone who likes to drink a lot of water when flying, I found it tough to stay hydrated on this flight.

Tunisair business class snack

Soon enough we were just north of St. John’s (hi, Fogo Island Inn!), and a couple of hours from landing in Montreal. There seemed to be some sort of medical emergency at the front of business class, as maybe a dozen people were around the seat trying to help someone. I stayed out of their way so wasn’t sure what exactly happened, but it seemed to resolve itself.

Airshow enroute to Montreal

At that point the crew came through the cabin to see if anyone wanted a drink. I ordered a coffee and some more water.

Tunisair business class coffee

Then about 90 minutes before landing the pre-arrival snack was served. The menu read as follows:

This time around everything was served on a single tray, including the canapés, main course, and fresh fruit for dessert. Overall it was once again a filling and tasty meal.

Tunisair business class meal — chicken kebab and beef fillet

After that the crew brought out cute little plates with two packaged chocolates each.

Tunisair business class chocolate

At around 7:30PM we began our descent into Montreal, and the seatbelt sign was turned on immediately, even though we were still at 40,000 feet.

View descending to Montreal

I enjoyed the views on the descent, as it was a gorgeous evening in the area.

View approaching Montreal

View approaching Montreal

We had a smooth touchdown at 8PM.

Landing in Montreal

Hi, Qatar Airways 777!

Taxiing Montreal Airport

Air Transat A330 Montreal Airport

From there it was about a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we ended up disembarking at around 8:10PM.

Arriving at gate in Montreal

Tunisair A330 business class bottom line

On the plus side, I found the food on Tunisair to be excellent, and the service to be well intentioned. So the airline has that going for them.

However, it’s disappointing that Tunisair took delivery of these planes just a couple of years ago, and elected to install angled seats in business class. To top it all off, their bedding is terrible as well.

I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Tunisair between Montreal and Tunis, since there’s something to be said for the convenience of a nonstop. However, if connecting, I’d look at another option with a more comfortable product.

  1. Good review lucky, thanks. Interesting product that’s for sure.

    I’m in total disagreement with your stance on the flight attendant with ‘her kids’ on the flight. I know you are not a father, so maybe that effects my judgement, but let me ask you this; do you bring family with you to work? Obviously you don’t have a job like a flight attendant (although you both fly in a lot of planes haha) so it’s a different situation, but you happily bring your family on some trips.

    First off, unaccompanied minors fly all the time, so if they are her kids, why not make it a flight she is working? If she was not working the flight, and flying non rev, would you have the same opinion? Second, any other unaccompanied minors on the flight would have anywhere from 2-10 more employees to look after them. So don’t think she wouldn’t look after her own kids in an emergency – of course she would. Just as I would hope a flight attendant would do for my son if he was flying alone.

    Think about the perspective of a parent, and remember that family is a very important thing to protect and enjoy!

  2. @ Brad — Fair enough, and I respect your perspective. I wouldn’t have had any issues if she were non-reving with her family, but to me it’s unprofessional to be looking after your kids more than paying customers on a flight. It’s one thing if she were traveling with a spouse or friend who was looking after the kids and she just checked on them every so often, but she had to help them with everything.

    I thought it was cute that she did this, and I totally get how it’s appealing to show your kids Montreal for a couple of nights. I just think this crosses the line in terms of “bring your kids to work,” because it somewhat prevented her from fully performing her job.

    I’m curious how others feel about this…

  3. Regarding the FA with kids on the flight. Most (if not all) US based airlines have policies that explicitly prohibit this situation. Why? Safety concerns. In the event of an emergency, the FA’s focus cannot be on their own kids/family, but on dealing with the emergency (whatever it is) without distraction.

  4. I support traveling with your family as nonrevenue, but I agree that it shouldn’t distract the employee from servicing the other paying passengers. Any nonrevenue passenger should be looking after themselves. So in your situation, it depends on how much she had to help them… were you disserviced at all?

  5. Just from reading your description, I don’t think I would have a huge problem with the FA bringing her kids.
    I agree with Brad, I don’t find this too different than the unaccompanied minors service.
    Of course, if the actual service was impacted, then that would be a problem. But since you didn’t mention any impact, I assume this is more of a “philosophical” discussion.

  6. Great review!
    Just one little point: Never stick the spoon inside of the cup when you`ll have a saucer!
    This is so unpolite, suitable for the product for sure 🙂

  7. Totally agree very unprofessional of the FA to be taking care of her children while she is “working”.

  8. Maybe the FA was called to cover that flight last minute for an absent crew member and the purser agreed it was fair to bring the family to avoid disrupting the previous engagement, such as meeting a relative that works in Canada.

  9. @Dan: your comment is spot on

    @Lucky: the cockpit door being open most of the time surprises me (have you observed this before). Maybe since the flight was headed to Canada. I doubt they would be allowed to do that on a flight to the US.

  10. I’m also with @Dan and Ben on the FA bringing her kids with her. You wouldn’t expect a server, nurse/paramedic or shop worker to bring their kids to work – or would you?

    There is an obvious safety implication here and it’s not an anti-family policy per se to restrict this kind of thing. Also just because someone doesn’t have kids it doesn’t mean their views on family policies in any less valid. Just sayin’.

  11. I liked this review very much – so detailed, great writing and I feel I fully understand the pros and cons of this product.

    Two things:

    – I completely agree on the FA. How unprofessional. While I certainly understand her and I think it’s sweet she wants to show her kids Montreal, it makes paying customers (in J, mind you) feel like they’re imposing on her family holiday if they ask for coffee.

    – Did anyone complain about the dry flight? I’d go way out of my way to *not* end up on a dry flight; not that I drink much at all, but I don’t really want to entertain any religious BS in general. If I were sold this flight as a normal flight and I then learned it had been islamized, I’d be pretty pissed off tbqfh.

  12. Considering this review and the London-Tunis one, I have come to the conclusion that some would consider the “unprofessional” conduct as simply a different cultural view about how things in this world should be done.

    Sitting on armrests with your back to the customer, working but also travelling with your children, doing an unnecessary “cleared for immediate takeoff” maneuver because it is “fun”, and leaving the cockpit door open because it is more convenient, those are probably very acceptable practices in Tunisia and with Tunis Airlines. Unfortunately for the traveling public, they are sloppy and/or dangerous.

    Still, I am not surprised considering the nationality of the carrier. It is their way of doing things.

  13. Being excited about your job and bringing your kids on board is unprofessional. Yeah, right.
    A few issues with the general level of disgust shown towards that lady.
    1. The kids were well behaved
    2. Lucky says that she spent a large part of the flight with her kids. Do you have any measurements to back that up? If no, a large part as per Lucky might be a small amount of time in my estimation
    3. What’s wrong with being proud of your work and showing your kids what you do for a living?
    4. A lot of the statements against this lady just smack of entitlement. Get a grip on yourselves guys.

  14. @Lucky – in your articles could you please make sure to specify which model of aircraft (eg: A330-200 or A330-300). Thanks!

  15. Actually I was an airline kid, and would sometimes accompany my dad on flights where he was working (he was a purser/in charge FA). It allowed me to see the world, and spend time with him at the same time. Felt so special taking the crew bus with him to the hotel. That was a long time ago, of course, so not sure if that’s allowed now. Once I was sat down in my seat, of course he would check on me every now and then but I mostly just sat quietly and watched movies. I dont think that took him away from doing his job, so if the FA is going to do it, the FA needs to be professional about it.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *