Review: TAROM Economy Class FCO – OTP (Boeing 737-700)

In this review, we will take a TAROM flight in economy class on the Boeing 737-700 from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Bucharest (OTP).

Rome Fiumicino Airport

After a surprisingly comfortable flight in economy class on the China Airlines Airbus A350 from Taipei to Rome, I found myself at the satellite building of Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino Airport from which most of the long-haul flights to Asia and the Americas depart.

From the satellite building, I had to take a short ride on the underground automated people mover to reach the main terminal building.

Although queues at Rome Fiumicino Airport can often be long, this time around it took just minutes to clear passport control and security – which are both required to enter Terminal 3 again for your connecting flight.

Alitalia lounge

As I had a couple of hours to spare between the arrival of my China Airlines flight and my onward TAROM flight to Bucharest, I went again to the Casa Alitalia Business Lounge.

TAROM business class passengers as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus members flying in economy class can access this lounge, the latter being the case for me as an Air France/KLM Flying Blue platinum member.

I already had the pleasure to visit this great business lounge earlier this trip before flying to Asia, so for a full review of the Casa Alitalia Lounge you should check the link above if you haven’t already read it.

My first call was to inquire for a shower, which I was told would be ready in 20 minutes. This was ideal as I could first get some decent breakfast after the rather bad breakfast meal which was served on my China Airlines flight.

After breakfast and the refreshing shower, I managed to get some bits of work done and even had time left to enjoy an Aperol Spritz at the bar.

casa alitalia lounge rome fiumicino
The Casa Alitalia Business Lounge in Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino Airport. ©Paliparan
breakfast alitalia
Some yummy pastries in the Casa Alitalia Lounge. ©Paliparan
shower room casa alitalia lounge rome fiumicino airport
Shower room in the Casa Alitalia lounge. ©Paliparan
casa alitalia lounge rome
Enjoying an Aperol Spritz and some canapés at the bar of the Casa Alitalia Lounge at Rome Fiumicino Airport before my TAROM flight. ©Paliparan

Boarding

Priority boarding was neatly enforced at Rome Fiumicino Airport, although it was quite meaningless for my TAROM flight as it was departing from a remote bus gate.

Today’s flight load was pretty light with 2 passengers in business class and around 50 in economy, so everyone could fit in one single bus.

Of course, the only advantage of boarding by stairs is that you can make some nice pictures of the plane upon boarding, which was the case as well with this TAROM Boeing 737-700 in SkyTeam livery which was used for today’s flight.

departure gate rome fiumicino
The departure gate of my TAROM flight to Bucharest. ©Paliparan
boarding tarom rome
Boarding the TAROM Boeing 737-700. ©Paliparan
tarom boeing 737-700 skyteam livery
The TAROM Boeing 737-700 in SkyTeam livery. ©Paliparan

Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Bucharest (OTP) on TAROM
Flight RO404
– Boeing 737-700 – Economy class, seat 5A
Departure: 12.15pm
– Arrival: 3.30pm
Flight time: 2h15m– Distance: 724 miles
Costs: 80 EUR

rome fiumicino bucharest tarom flight
The flight from Rome to Bucharest takes around two hours. ©Great Circle Mapper

TAROM Boeing 737-700

The TAROM fleet currently consists out of some Airbus A318s, ATR turboprops as well as a couple of Boeing 737s.

TAROM has three types of Boeing 737 in their fleet: The ageing Boeing 737-400, the Boeing 737-700 which I will review here, and the Boeing 737-800 which I have reviewed before.

The TAROM Boeing 737-700 has 14 leather recliner seats in business class in a 2-2 configuration as well as 102 economy class seats in a standard 3-3 configuration.

The economy class seats on the TAROM Boeing 737-700 might look old and there certainly is quite some wear and tear, but they are well-padded compared to modern slimline seats which are used on more modern planes by most European carriers.

I had assigned myself seat 5A, one of the bulkhead seats, at online check-in. The amount of legroom here was certainly good and the seat itself was quite comfortable.

Do however note that economy class seats on the TAROM Boeing 737-700 do not have any power sockets or USB charging ports and that not a single plane of the Romanian flag carrier is equipped with WiFi internet.

tarom flight late night cairo boeing 737 business class
The cabin of the TAROM Boeing 737-700. Note the proper business class recliner seats in 2-2 configuration up front! ©Paliparan
tarom economy class boeing 737-700 late night cairo
The economy class seats on the TAROM Boeing 737-700 are old but comfortable. ©Paliparan
bulkhead seat tarom boeing 737-700 rome bucharest
If you can, it’s well-worth it to assign yourself a bulkhead seat in row 5 to profit from more legroom. ©Paliparan

Departure

Due to the light passenger load, boarding was completed in record speeds. Just minutes after I sat down, we were already taxiing towards the runway for our departure.

The take-off from Rome Fiumicino Airport was smooth and the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea were lovely.

rome fiumicino airport
Taxiing over the apron of Rome Fiumicino Airport. ©Paliparan
take-off rome fiumicino airport tarom boeing 737-700
Take-off from Rome Fiumicino Airport. ©Paliparan
Tyrrhenian sea tarom boeing 737-700
The coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea. ©Paliparan
boeing 737-700 tarom rome fiumicino
Once above the sea, our plane made a U-turn and headed back inland towards the east. ©Paliparan
rome tarom boeing 737-700
Flying over the city of Rome. ©Paliparan

In-flight service

As a full-service airline, TAROM always serves complimentary food and drinks on board its flight. Depending on the flight length this can be just a snack or a full meal.

In the case of flights between Rome and Bucharest, TAROM serves a sandwich. Although the bread was rather dry, at least the sandwich had some decent amounts of cheese and ham on it, making it edible enough. The crew also handed out bags of salty peanuts.

To drink, I just went for a cup of coffee. Unfortunately it wasn’t any good – as all I got was a sachet of rather disgusting instant coffee and a half-full cup of hot water which was just barely enough to make some coffee with in the first place.

Apart from coffee or tea, TAROM also serves complimentary soft drinks, juice and alcoholic drinks (beer and wine only) in economy class.

meal tarom bucharest rome
My meal on board the TAROM flight between Rome and Bucharest. ©Paliparan

Landing

The flight went by fast and about one-and-a-half hour after we had departed from Rome Fiumicino Airport the fasten seatbelt signs flashed on again as we started our gradual descent towards Bucharest Otopeni Airport.

Although I’ve flown to Bucharest more times than I can possibly remembers, I was still glued to my window as the views over the Wallachian countryside were certainly lovely today.

The landing at Otopeni Airport was smooth and even a couple of minutes before our scheduled arrival time.

clouds cloud formation
Lovely cloud formation somewhere halfway between Rome and Bucharest. ©Paliparan
bucharest airport descent
Starting our descent towards Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP). ©Paliparan
wallachia romania countryside
View from the window over the countryside of Wallachia. ©Paliparan
countryside wallachia
View from the window over the countryside of Wallachia. ©Paliparan

Otopeni arrival

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that smooth once I entered the terminal building of Bucharest Otopeni Airport as there were some huge queues at immigration.

Passport control really took forever as proper queuing etiquette was non-existent, with everyone just trying to shove his way forward.

otopeni passport control
The scenes at passport control were rather chaotic. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

I had a perfectly fine flight from Rome to Bucharest on the TAROM Boeing 737-700. Sure, the plane might be old and there is some wear and tear in the cabin, but the old-fashioned seats are well-padded and comfortable.

If you manage to grab a bulkhead or emergency exit row seat, the legroom certainly is great too for economy class.

TAROM’s in-flight product is in theory quite nice as the airline serves complimentary meals and beverages, even though the quality left something to be desired this time around.

Flying TAROM often is a blast from the past, although mostly in a good way. Even though it’s certainly not Europe’s best economy class product, it’s certainly well above average and you can’t really go wrong flying TAROM.

End of the trip

The arrival back at Bucharest Otopeni Airport marked the end of this fantastic trip to the Indonesian island of Java.

If you have followed the adventure from the beginning, I want to give you a big thank you for following along. If you missed the earlier instalments of this trip report, you should definitely check out the index below.

Feel free to leave a comment, or subscribe to our FacebookInstagram or Twitter pages to receive instant updates when a new article is posted online! A simple like, follow or comment really makes our day and helps supporting this website.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Journey to Java‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Rome Ciampino (Airbus A321)
2. Half a Day in Rome: A Walk Around the Eternal City
3. Review: Casa Alitalia Lounge ‘Piazza di Spagna’ Rome Fiumicino Airport
4. Review: Saudia Business Class Rome to Riyadh (Airbus A320)
5. Review: Saudia Alfursan Business Lounge Riyadh Airport
6. Review: Saudia Business Class Riyadh to Jakarta (Boeing 777-300)
7. Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
8. A Day in Jakarta: Exploring Indonesia’s Bustling Capital City
9. Review: Garuda Indonesia Domestic Business Lounge Jakarta Airport
10. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Boeing 737-800)
11. Review: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – Mgallery By Sofitel
12. A Magical Sunrise Visit to Borobudur Temple
13. A Visit to the Great Hindu Temple Complex of Prambanan
14. Review: Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Indonesia) by Train
15. Review: Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, Indonesia
16. A Day in Surabaya: Exploring Indonesia’s Second Biggest City
17. Review: Concordia Premier Lounge Surabaya Airport
18: Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Surabaya to Singapore (Airbus A330-300)
19. A Short Singapore Stopover: Into the City or Stay at the Airport?
20. Review: SilverKris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2
21. Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Singapore to Manila (Boeing 787-10)
22. Review: PAGSS Business Lounge Manila Airport Terminal 1
23. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)
24. Review: China Airlines Business Lounge Taipei Airport Terminal 1
25. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Taipei to Rome (Airbus A350)
26. Review: TAROM Economy Class (Boeing 737-700) Rome to Bucharest (current chapter)

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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