What to expect flying Vueling?

What to expect flying Vueling - Travel for a Living

I am a frequent flyer and am boarding at least one flight pretty much every single week of the year (six flights in seven days might well be my personal record). As such the whole booking, check in and boarding process has pretty much become second nature and I don’t lose much sleep over it. That being said, every now and then I will find myself on board a new airline that I have not flown with before. And although the overall process is the same for all airlines, it is the finer points that change. Such as hand luggage allowance or on-board catering. As I was recently flying Vueling for the first time (and in case you wondered, it is pronounced something like ‘Welling’, not quite how I would have pronounced it… but then, I don’t speak any Spanish), let me tell you what to expect flying Vueling. 

So earlier this month saw me headed to Portugal and Spain on a business trip. Whilst my flight out to Porto was with my go to airline British Airways, the second flight from Porto to Barcelona was with Vueling. As was the one back from Barcelona to London. Although that was actually booked as a BA flight, but ultimately was operated by Vueling (so first thing to learn about Vueling? They do code sharing with British Airways, although they aren’t part of OneWorld).

In this post I will try and cover the most common questions about Vueling and what to expect when flying Vueling:

What airline is Vueling? Is Vueling a budget airline?

What booking classes does Vueling have?

How much hand luggage allowance do I have with Vueling?

Is Vueling strict on hand luggage allowance?

Can I collect Avios with Vueling?

Does Vueling cater on their flights? 

What to expect flying Vueling - Travel for a Living

What airline is Vueling?

So, let’s start with the basics, shall we? If you want to know what to expect when flying Vueling, it would probably help to get a little context.

Vueling is a Spanish airline. I was actually surprised to learn that it is the largest one in Spain. I had assumed that was Iberia, as the much better known (at least to me) and as the flag bearer for Spain. But apparently not. Vueling operates all over Europe with 130+ short-haul routes and its main base is Barcelona.

Vueling has been around for a couple of years (15 to be precise) but might still be considered the new kid on the block compared to some of the other airlines.

Is Vueling a budget airline?

Well, probably depends how you actually define a budget airline. But I would say yes, Vueling is a budget airline. It is one of those were the basic ticket doesn’t include anything other than an actual space on the aircraft. But more on that a bit further down when I try and make sense of the Vueling booking classes for you.

And when it comes to budget airlines, my expectations are usually fairly low. So, any little extra comes as a pleasant surprise. Therefore, Vueling did actually better than expected for me. Although our flight from Barcelona back to London was delayed by almost an hour. But as I know only too well, delays and cancellations can happen with any airline.

What booking classes does Vueling have?

When booking a flight with Vueling, you have four booking classes to choose from. Well three actually, unless you travel as a family. And what to expect when flying Vueling greatly depends on the ticket you book.

The Vueling Basic Fare:

Well this pretty much does what is says on the tin. It gives you basic service. As in you are allowed on board, are randomly assigned a seat, don’t have a checked luggage allowance and won’t get any catering on board (unless you pay for it. But that actually seems to be the case for all Vueling fares).

The Vueling Optima Fare: 

The Optima Fare includes a few extras that the Basic Fare does not include. You can choose your seat straight away when booking. You can immediately get your boarding pass. In addition to your hand luggage, the Optima Fare automatically includes one checked bag of up to 25kg.

The Vueling Family Fare:

Obviously, this one is only available if you actually travel as a family. The Family Fare includes the same amenities as the Optima Fare. In addition, you are offered priority boarding, which makes flying with those little ones a bit easier.

The Vueling Time Flex Fare: 

If you fly for leisure, this one probably isn’t very relevant for you. But for business travels, I can sure see the beauty of this Fare. This is a hand luggage only fare, but it allows you to change your flight time on the day without additional fee (you will however pay the difference in Fare price). The Time Flex Fare also includes priority boarding. Making it as quick and easy as possible for business travellers. I guess you didn’t expect that from a budget airline like Vueling?

How much hand luggage allowance do I have with Vueling?

Whenever I fly with an airline for the first time, this is one of the most important questions I have. As hand luggage allowance varies greatly from airline to airline. And whilst I am fine restricting myself to a small carry on suitcase for most of my travels, it is the weight restriction that usually gets me. By the time I add all my work stuff (tape measure, laser, light meter, sample box, pens, laptop) a meagre 8kg hand luggage allowance leaves just enough room for a pair of knickers and a toothbrush. Which probably is why I love British Airways so much. As long as I can lift my carry-on suitcase into the overhead compartment myself, the suitcase can be as heavy as it wants. It only needs to stay within size.

But this post is about what to expect when flying Vueling, not British Airways. So, let’s get back on track.

The hand luggage allowance for Vueling (correct in July 2019) is 10kg for your carry-on suitcase (maximum size 55x40x20cm), plus a small handbag or laptop bag to fit below the seat in front of you (maximum size 35x20x20cm). In addition to that you may also carry one bag with duty free purchases. However, this will also need to fit below the seat in front of you.

The Vueling hand luggage allowance is the same for all booking classes.

Is Vueling strict on hand luggage allowance?

Well, obviously I can only go by my own experience here. But on both my flights, no one really bothered to check the weight of my hand luggage. Nor the size. To be honest, they didn’t even have scales at the gates. So, it seems Vueling isn’t strict on hand luggage allowance. But then again, I’ve only flown with Vueling twice, so I can’t guarantee they never ever check it. But compared to some other budget airlines, Vueling felt very relaxed about the hand luggage.

Can I collect Avios with Vueling?

As mentioned earlier, Vueling does a code share with British Airways, but they are not part of OneWorld. So, for the flight back from Barcelona (the one I booked via British Airways), I was able to collect both Avios and Tier Points on my BA app. However, for the flight from Porto to Barcelona (that wasn’t just operated by Vueling, but actually booked via the Vueling website), I couldn’t.

If you fly Vueling more frequently, it might be worth joining their own loyalty programme. Which also collects Avios points. I am not quite sure whether you could then transfer the Avios points from the Vueling programme to the British Airways programme (or vice versa). Chances are, you probably can. But since I don’t expect to fly Vueling again in the foreseeable future, it didn’t seem worth it for me.

How to check in my Vueling flight

When you can check in your Vueling flight depends on the type of booking you have done. If you’ve booked the Vueling Basic Fare, you can check in 7 days before your flight and you will be randomly allocated a seat. If you selected a seat during the booking process, you can check in straight away when booking.

For all other Vueling Fares, you can select your seat and check in immediately when booking.

You have several options on how to receive your boarding pass. If you are a well organised Do It Yourself person, you can download and print your boarding pass as a pdf or use the mobile boarding pass on your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone or printer (or can’t check in online for whatever other reason), you can simply go to the check-in desk at the airport and pick up a boarding pass there. And here’s the good news. Unlike some other budget airlines (not pointing fingers here, but Ryanair springs to mind immediately), Vueling does not charge for you to check in or have your boarding pass printed at the airport.

What to expect during a Vueling flight?

In terms of aircraft, Vueling pretty much offers the same standard as most other European short haul airlines. We had an Airbus A320 for one of the flights, an Airbus A321 for the other (so same as Lufthansa and British Airways use for their short-haul flights).

Vueling offers a clean and modern interior in grey and yellow, with thin, but comfy seats with armrests. Nice touch, the armrest next to the window can actually be moved out of the way, so you can cuddle up to the wall and window for a nap. However, the back rest isn’t adjustable (nothing new, similar to other budget airlines) and you won’t get an adjustable headrest either.

Each seat comes with a tray table, that is absolutely fine for snacks and drinks, but a little on the tight side if you want to work on your laptop during the flight.

But therefore, each seat comes with in-seat power. It took me a while to work out where the power was actually located. During the flight from Porto to Barcelona, the crew referred to the in-seat power, but I couldn’t spot any USB port or socket. So, upon boarding the second flight from Barcelona back to London, I investigated this a little further. And eventually worked out that the USB ports were located below the seat. Rather than in the back of the seat in front of you (as I had experience before when flying LOT or Norwegian Air).

When it comes to leg room, Vueling is a little on the tight side. I mean, it was fine for me. But then again, I am short (and have very short legs, as Mr T never gets tired of telling me). My colleague is considerably taller and eventually ended up moving the magazines to gain a little more room.

Does Vueling cater on their flights?

No, Vueling does not cater on their flights. Well at least there is no free catering. But then again, on short-haul flights, the catering isn’t really that important. Or at least not to me. After all, even my favourite airline British Airways doesn’t serve drinks and food any more (and no, I certainly don’t miss the aircraft food. But I didn’t mind a free G&T after a long day).

You will find an onboard menu in the seat pocket in front of you, detailing the snacks and drinks on offer. Whilst not cheap, the prices are similar to other airlines. Nothing too outrageous really. And the selection is also fairly standard. A few sandwiches, some crisps, sweets, few different drinks with and without alcohol.

You can pay by card or with cash (both Euros and Pounds Sterling), so that certainly is a benefit.

Usually I don’t really bother with buying any snacks during the flight. But on the flight back to London I did actually fancy some nibbles (since the non-Schengen area at Barcelona wasn’t really foody heaven). Unfortunately, we had a fellow traveller with severe nut allergy onboard. Meaning no products with nuts would be served. Nor were we allowed to open any of our own products if they contained nuts. So, when opening the onboard menu, I quickly worked out that out of 15 or so different snacks, only 2 would actually be available during this flight. Crisps or crisps… very exciting. Needless to say, I bought neither. It might be worth for Vueling to have a look at their menu. Since the frequency of nut allergy announcements seems to go up, it would probably be a good idea to have a slightly more balanced selection, that can cater for such scenarios.

Well, now that you know what to expect when flying Vueling, I should probably share my own thoughts on Vueling. Yes, I know. Everyone’s experience is unique. And only because I had a decent enough flight, doesn’t mean yours will be the same. So, would I fly Vueling again? Sure, why not. They might not have blown me away, but they didn’t put me off either. So happy to recommend them, should you look into the option of booking your first ever Vueling flight. Chances are, it might be route to sunny Spain or Portugal. And any flight that takes you towards sun and beach must be a good one.

Tell me, have you flown Vueling before? What did you expect flying Vueling for the first time? And did they deliver or disappoint?  

What to expect flying Vueling - Travel for a Living

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  2. Sam Opps

    This was so detailed! Thank you so much for providing all this information. I am dreaming to go to Spain so this airline can now be on my radar =) The photo of the leg room helps so much to get a better idea of the flight!

  3. Stefan

    My experience with Vueling is fine as well, but you have to accept delays on your travel, specially in summer time.

    My average of delays last september with 6 flights was 57 minutes departure delay and 29 minute arrival delay.