MIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2512 posts, RR: 25 Posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4925 times:
This trip came as a last minute thing, you see, back in November when I returned from HKG on QR (trip report here) I lost my passport, so after 6 months of dealing with the Italian Consulate here in Barcelona (or C**tsulate as I call it) finally they issued me with a new passport.
Now it was just a matter of popping over to Milan where I am registered as a citizen in order to obtain a new identity card, this can also be done at the c**tsulate but apparently it takes ages, so I was advised to just go to the Comune in Milan where it could be done pronto.
Anyways, the 15th is a bank holiday here in Spain, so I thought ¨hmm well, I could leave on the evening of the 14th, do my bureaucratic bizzwazz on the 15th and fly back on the evening¨ I started looking at fares and Vueling came back with the best offer of 76€ total departing on the 14th at 18:25 and returning on the 15th at 20:40, so I went ahead and booked it.
But then my Italian colleague came into the office and waving her hands told me ¨Christian, the 15th is also a bank holiday in Italy!
Back to Vueling, I checked to see if I could change my flight to the early 7:20am departure on the 14th they were kind enough to accommodate my request in exchange of an extra 44€
So here it goes, my first flight of 2012 after being grounded for what seemed like an eternity.
14th of August 2012
Flight VY 6330
Barcelona El Prat (BCN) to Milan Malpensa (MXP)
Dep 07:20 / Actual 07:30
Arr 08:55 / Actual 08:50
Airbus A320-200 EC-IZD ¨Barceloning¨ their very first aircraft delivered in 2004.
As many of you know, Vueling is an LCC based in Barcelona Spain; they started ops in 2004 and have had some steady growth ever since, especially after their merger with Clickair and also after the demise of Spanair.
They call themselves ¨A new generation airline¨ they offer assigned seating either by buying your preferred seat during booking or letting the system assign you a random seat free of charge, they also offer some sort of flight connectivity (only with IB and some partners) and a business class kind of service called ¨Duo¨ which means having the middle seat blocked off, a bit more space and a free snack and drink.
They are also known for their marketing campaigns featuring talking clouds speaking in different languages, like this.
And also for hosting events onboard like fashion shows where models catwalk on the aisle, or for having famous DJ David Guetta perform during a flight.
Their website is clean and very simple to use, you can search for tickets using a range of dates to see when they offer the best fare, you can also lock down the price on a reservation for 24 hours at a cost of 2€ per sector, and once you made your booking you can view your reservation and make any changes or buy your preferred seat.
Their customer service is also pretty good which is surprising for a Spanish company LOL.
Finally they have a FF programme called Punto and you earn points by booking flights, checking in online, using their Visa card and also if you book flights on Iberia.
There has been a few VY reports on here where some a.netters have found their service to be terrible or just average, I have had quite a few flights with them and never had any trouble save from a 3 hour delay on a flight from ATH.
Back to the flight
I got up at 4:30am, got ready and left my home at 5:10 in order to get to Pl Cataluña to board the trusty Aerobus service to the airport, being August there were quite a few people waiting for the buses even at this early hour and we picked up some more on the other 2 stops the bus makes before making the dash to the airport.
Upon arrival I made a beeline for the self service machines, VY were upgrading their website during the preceding weeks and it was impossible for me to do the online check-in, but it took the machine just a few seconds to spat a generic white boarding pass, I then cleared security in a breeze and just walked around the terminal which was full of people going (or coming) from their summer holidays.
Some spotting at this early hour included the gorgeous AZ Retro A321 and other sleepy aircraft, photography was impossible due to the reflections on the windows but I managed a few.
AZ Retro, Mamma mia, le cose piu bella!
UX 738 and a FR 738
Sleepy Lufties and a Finnair.
¨Vueldone¨ being prepped for her flight to I-freaking-biza!
At 6:50 I checked the monitors to see A45 as our assigned gate, then while walking nearby I heard the words ¨Vueling blah blah Milan Malpensa Boarding Gate A45¨ and I quickly walked over to the gate.
There were not many people around our gate, so after a quick beep of my boarding pass at the gate, we walked down to our waiting bus (I know some a.netters are used to travelling first or business class and being whisked around the airport in Mercs and Porsches) but today a puny Cobus 3000 was given the duty to deliver us safely to our Aircraft.
After a short ride across the ramp passing lots of sleepy Vuelings we pulled next to EC-IZD, and when the bus driver got the OK from the crew to let us loose, I went straight for the rear door since everybody else just went for the front door.
At the door an indifferent crew ¨welcomed¨ us aboard and by welcome I mean she was just standing there staring blankly, I showed her my ticket stub but that did not sparked any reaction, so I just went ahead to find my seat.
I stored my backpack on the overhead locker and then I proceeded to dislocated some of my bones in order to fit into the seat, boy the seatpitch is TIGHT!
Ubiquitious A.net leg shot, notice the knee-crunching pitch.
The cabin was not really nice looking, it was quite dirty and the seats were also dirty and very worn out, the seatpocket in front of me was kind of loose so I kept bumping it with my knees for the rest of the flight.
I know some of the newer VY aircraft have the Recaro Slimline seats but this particular craft had the older (more comfy yes) seats but with such reduced pitch they don´t make any difference, I cannot imagine sitting here for the 4hrs flight to TLV or DME!
The crew today consisted of a male and 3 female F/A´s the girls seemed to have come out of the Vueling School of Cuties since they were very young and very pretty, announcements were made during boarding welcoming us onboard and ensuring we took our seats quickly in order to have an on time departure.
The load today was very light (60%) so boarding took no time at all, the ¨Close door, arm slides and cross check¨ call was made and we were ready for departure, a manual safety demo was done in Spanish, something resembling English, and finally Catalan.
One by one the CFMs were awakened and we started our taxi towards 25L racing an IB A343 which of course we easily beat.
Captain Victor Hugo gave us a nice briefing with some route information and weather conditions en route and in Milan, and finally wished us to have a ¨Good Vueling¨
When he was finished we were already at the threshold of 25L and after a company A319 took off, it was our turn to line up, speed up and get the hell outta here.
After a quick takeoff roll, we lifted off and made the usual fighter jet-like left turn towards the sea to keep the neighbors happy, we steadily climbed and Barcelona slowly faded in the distance.
Upon reaching safe altitude the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew started their buy on board service, I bought an orange juice to go along with the sandwiches I brought from home (yes I am a cheapskate) and passed the rest of the flight looking out of the window and listening to music.
Our route today was the standard one, out of BCN and across the Mediterranean to France, right over NCE and Monaco (where I could spot my yacht) then turning inland near Genoa for a straight in approach into Malpensa RWY35L.
Inflight, I love those wingfences
Over Monaco, Hi MadameConcorde
After 1:20 in the air, the captain called the crew to secure the cabin for arrival, and gradually started the descent, after a few turns we continued descending, flaps lowered and the familiar THUMP-CLUNG-WIIIIZZZZ-THUMP sound of the gear indicated we were nearing the end of the flight, we slowly glided towards the runway and the captain gently put the A320 on the ground (Ryanair Pilots can learn a thing or two) and after some braking we vacated the runway and taxied to our assigned gate.
Spotted during taxi were a CX777, AA767, DL764, and a cute Air Dolomiti ERJ amongst the other usual visitors, a Saudi Arabian Cargo 747 landed right behind us, sadly no pictures because I did not have my camera ready and my iPhone camera did not wanted to focus properly on the 747.
We pulled into our gate and once the engines were off, the mad rush to disembark started, I waited for a bit and after thanking the crew I made my way to the train station in order to catch the 9:33 train to Milano Cadorna Station, before exiting airside though, I was stopped by a Guarda di Finanza (police) he wanted to see my documentation and check my backpack, he asked me questions about my visit to Milan, and why I was an Italian citizen living in Spain (probably never heard of the EU) once he was satisfied I was not a shady character or a drug mule, he let me go.
Catched my train with time to spare and after 35 minutes I was in Milano, straight into the Comune and came out 5 minutes later with my brand new ID card if only the c**tsulate was this fast!
I spent the rest of the day doing some shopping, walking around eating Pizza, Gelato and good food before succumbing into my hotel bed at 8:30pm (it was a really hot and long day)
MIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2512 posts, RR: 25 Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4898 times:
15th of August 2012
Flight VY 6335
Milan Malpensa (MXP) to Barcelona El Prat (BCN)
Dep 20:40 / Actual 20:30
Arr 22:10 / Actual 21:45
Airbus A320-200 EC-LQN delivered to Spanair in 2004, and in service with Vueling since March 2012.
After another hot day in Milan, made boring because most of the city was shut for the bank holiday, I made my way to Malpensa at around 3:30 arriving there at about 4:15, I tried checking in early but the agent told me check in is not open until about 2:30 hours before the flight, so I went to the toilet to get changed and freshen up and spend the rest of the time watching the action on the ramp through the huge windows.
Some of the action in MXP.
AZ MD80, the only AZ plane I saw during the entire afternoon (loads of Air One tho)
AY A320 with PIC Kimi Raikkonnen as it was taxiing really fast.
SN pushing back for BRU
Cute LO Jungle Jet
At around 6:50 I went back to the check in desk and after waiting in line for about 10 minutes I was checked in, the agent asked me if I wanted a window or aisle seat, I chose window of course and he gave me my boarding pass with 21F right hand side, perfect if you are flying into BCN on the approach to 25R as you get some nice views of the city.
After that I returned to see if there was something new on the ramp, then I just went to clear security which surprisingly was not so busy considering that there was a Jet Airways flight to DEL, a TAM flight to GRU and a CA flight to PEK, maybe they clear security in another area.
After that I just leisurely walked to the gate area stopping at the duty free to spray some Acqua di Gio on myself in order not to be Mr Sweaty Stinks-a-lot.
Smelling nicer I walked around the gate area taking pics of the aircraft around, including this LH 735 which flew me from DUS to BCN back in 2010 (my first and so far only 735 ride)
LH 735 with some Italian men waving their hands
My plane was already on its gate but this is the best shot I could manage.
Boarding was called at around 8:00 so the plane must have arrived quite early (I missed its arrival whilst clearing security) since I was right in front of the gate, I joined the queue and was one of the first to board, a smiling F/A at the door was greeting us and I walked to the back of the cabin to take my seat.
Seats where the same as on the inbound flight but had a slightly better pitch, the air conditioning was not running and the cabin was really hot and stuffy, apart from that the cabin was in a slightly better shape than the inbound flight except from my armrest which due to the government cuts in Spain had to make do with this shoddy repair job.
Crew today was all female with yet another batch from the Vueling School of Cuties.
Boarding took a bit longer today due to the high load, a family of 4 took the 2 seats next to me plus the other 2 on the other side of the aisle, next to me where their 2 teens who really thought they were the future ¨Eminems¨ since all their communication was done rapping, and let me tell you something, rapping in Spanish is really hideous.
Boarding was soon completed, and with doors closed, armed, and cross-checked the Captain finally switched on the darn APU and some cool air was pumped around the cabin, the crew perform their manual demo again in Spanish and something resembling English as we were pushed back.
We started our taxi towards 36R and stopped near 36L to let a Portugalia ERJ135 land, we then carried on and on the threshold the captain gave the call for ¨Tripulación de cabina, entrando en pista para despegue, buen vuelo¨ (Cabin Crew, entering Runway for takeoff, good flight) and performed a rolling takeoff (awesome)
That was the only time the flight crew was heard during the entire flight.
After a brisk takeoff roll, we climbed out and set course towards BCN on the usual route which is basically the reverse as the inbound route.
Cabin crew did their buy on board service but I did not get anything as I wasn´t felling hungry nor thirsty after noming a delicious oven baked pizza followed by a Tiramisu and Rocher gelato in a restaurant in Milan before heading to the airport, I just looked out of the window, listened to some music and played Uno! on my iPhone.
Sunset over France.
Soon enough we neared the Spanish coast and the captain instructed the crew to secure the cabin for landing, PAX used this time for a last minute visit to the loo and then we were all ready for landing.
Approaching BCN on a clear day you can see some of the sights of Barcelona like Sagrada Familia, the Tibidabo, Agbar tower (which looks like a massive dildo) the W hotel, etc and tonight they were all nicely lit up.
We glided over the port area and the captain gently put the A320 on 25R followed by a lot of reverse thrust, we vacated the runway and started our taxi to our gate, the crew did their farewell announcements in Spanish and English but had to be cut short because we have already reached our gate.
I waited for the impatient PAX to deplane first, thanked the crew, and on the way out I saw the next crew who would do the BCN-TLV-BCN flight and boy they did not look very happy. (It´s an all-nighter there and back flight)
My plane, note the IAE engines, a sign that this is a former JK machine.
I then went over to the bus stop to catch the next Aerobus back to the city and was home at 10:45 knackered and I still
had to get up at 6:40am the next day ready for work ugh!
Such is the life of the poor.
Another decent trouble-free set of flights on Vueling, in spite of the poor cabin conditions or the inhuman seat pitch, they still deliver a much much better flying experience than say… FR, of course I would still fly with them as I have done for the past few years when the price is right and the schedule suits my needs.
Hope you have enjoyed this report and feel free to leave a comment good or bad.
rogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1187 posts, RR: 20 Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4838 times:
Nice to see this week's report on your visit to Milan to get your identity right
Great to see those early departures, I am flying to ORD, via ZRH, on Sunday on LX at 6.30, and despite the early wake up call I love the fresh air, hard to get these days, and the light coming with the first Sun beams.
I consider VY an OK airline for short flights, but anything longer than two hours, go figure TLV, DME or LED would be quite hard to bear, I have flown them from AMS and to and back from FCO and PIS and my only objection is the legroom and the FA's attitude, they do not seem to enjoy their job and are quite obsessed with picture taking, something I have not experienced in defunct JK, IB or UX (i do not fly them that often but never had any issues with pictures)
Thanks for the report and have a great summer! or what is left of it....
BTW, I saw the AZ retro today at BCN as I was saying my goodbyes to some friends going to PMI. Beautiful livery!
[Edited 2012-08-17 11:00:59]
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4125 posts, RR: 51 Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4277 times:
Quoting MIAspotter (Thread starter): Back to Vueling, I checked to see if I could change my flight to the early 7:20am departure on the 14th they were kind enough to accommodate my request in exchange of an extra 44€
Not bad, those 44 Euro's... Overall the ticketprice was still very reasonable
I'm not a fan of this airline, I am one of the a.netters with mishaps on VY, but I do love their marketing slogans and commercials
Quoting MIAspotter (Thread starter): There has been a few VY reports on here where some a.netters have found their service to be terrible or just average, I have had quite a few flights with them and never had any trouble save from a 3 hour delay on a flight from ATH.
Bad info, cancellation without real reason, overnight delay, cancelled reservation 1 week before departure which made me have to buy an expensive ticket elsewhere, and moreover... it took months to get back my few Euro's I paid to this horrible airline.
Quoting MIAspotter (Thread starter): (I know some a.netters are used to travelling first or business class and being whisked around the airport in Mercs and Porsches) but today a puny Cobus 3000 was given the duty to deliver us safely to our Aircraft.
Cobus 3000 does very fine, as long as they don't fill it up to the brim
I could tell you that One of the reasons to avoid them actually (for me)
Quoting MIAspotter (Thread starter): Captain Victor Hugo gave us a nice briefing with some route information and weather conditions en route and in Milan, and finally wished us to have a ¨Good Vueling¨
I must admit, I remember the speech from my captain also, and it was very enjoying to listen to his voice and story with flight info. Is this usual style on VY?
Hmm, I'm not sad about it. Apart from the enjoyable MD83/B717 flight on them, just to get on both aircraft types, the rest was terrible too, crew, I had doubts about their safe operations after seeing one particular turnaround at PMI which was even quicker then FR does and the legroom was even worse then VY on the A320 has.
Quoting MIAspotter (Thread starter): ¨Tripulación de cabina, entrando en pista para despegue, buen vuelo¨ (Cabin Crew, entering Runway for takeoff, good flight) and performed a rolling takeoff (awesome)
I love this! btw, it's Catalan or Spanish what they use on this airline?
Nice report btw, gladly the office in Milan was quick so you were able to enjoy the city a bit more too.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
Quoting LXM83 (Reply 3): Thanks for this nice report. Always thought of VY as an ok airline, too. Having taken many flights with them I never had a bad experience... apart from the legroom of course.
You are welcomed, glad you had an OK experience on VY, but yeah the legroom really sucks.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4): Bad info, cancellation without real reason, overnight delay, cancelled reservation 1 week before departure which made me have to buy an expensive ticket elsewhere, and moreover... it took months to get back my few Euro's I paid to this horrible airline.
reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1264 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3802 times:
Thanks for sharing. I have flown VY before the Clickair Merger and found them quite cool (showing Simpsons cartoons etc), but I guess this has termendously changed.
That said, I can agree from an agent side of view that they're suprisingly easy to reach for a low cost carrier and that from Germany you don't use a premium number. However don't expect any of their agents speak German (and this for an airline flying to 3 German destinations), and for English it's really a hit or miss. But usually they are quite ok by a Low Cost carrier standard.
They're by the way now also bookable by GDS through their own or HR ticket stock, making them a little bit of a regular network carrier, since they also offer connecting flights via BCN.
Which is funny is that one can check in as soon as you made the booking, even if it's weeks ahead.
MIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2512 posts, RR: 25 Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3740 times:
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 6): great report, thanks for sharing.
Glad to hear something positve about Vueling.
They seem to have a ok product.
Great spotting pics in MXP.
Thanks for the comment, yes they are an OK airline not in the same league as say AB or U2 but well above FR.
They just need to address the issue with the inhuman seatpitch and take better care of their cabins, I have been on FR planes with much better cabins (and those planes get thrashed around pretty heavily)
Oh cool! yeah let me know and we can meet up, which cruise are you taking?
Quoting reifel (Reply 8): Thanks for sharing. I have flown VY before the Clickair Merger and found them quite cool (showing Simpsons cartoons etc), but I guess this has termendously changed.
Oh yeah! none of that now, they just offer boarding music nowadays LOL.
Quoting reifel (Reply 8): That said, I can agree from an agent side of view that they're suprisingly easy to reach for a low cost carrier and that from Germany you don't use a premium number. However don't expect any of their agents speak German (and this for an airline flying to 3 German destinations), and for English it's really a hit or miss. But usually they are quite ok by a Low Cost carrier standard.
Yes as I said, of all the times I had to contact them, they have been very helpful and polite and dealt with the issues swiftly and appropriately, very happy.
Quoting reifel (Reply 8): Which is funny is that one can check in as soon as you made the booking, even if it's weeks ahead.
Only if you pay for seats, if not you can only check-in from 7 days in advance.