Tickets with Iberia from Valencia to Amsterdam, via Madrid, turned out to be very expensive at a 300 euros return fare each, so instead I booked flights with Vueling from Valencia to Brussels via their internet site to fly out on December 9th. Because of my work I booked a return flight for myself on Sunday the 12th but not for my girlfriend.
The next morning we got the confirmation that my mother in law´s funeral would be on Monday the 13th, so at the airport before checking in we changed the booking to fly back together on the next day, Tuesday 14 December. Vueling has an easy and very fair reservation change policy, where you pay a 20 euro fee for the change plus an eventual difference in the old and new fare. We ended up with a return fare of 180 euros each.
Photo © Danny Hill - AirlinesOnPrint
Flight VLG 6020
Airbus A320 EC-HZU
STD 1240 STA 1455
ATD 1300 ATA 1500
We arrived at Valencia´s Manises airport around twelve o´clock and headed directly to the Vueling service counter to change the flights. This was done very quickly, we got the print-outs of our new travel itinerary and headed to check-in, which was also completed in a few minutes. Vueling gives the possibility to reserve seats during booking, and we indeed got seats 7A and 7B as requested.
The information screens stated a delay of 30 minutes due to late arrival of the aircraft. The plane was coming in from Brussels, having started earlier in Barcelona. It touched down at 1230 and parked at one of the four fingers. Both disembarking and boarding went very smoothly and we were pushing back at 1300.
The flight was very good and uneventful, it was overcast all the way except around the Pyrrenean mountains so there wasn´t much to see during the flight. We bought two boxes of mini pizzas, a coke and a tonic for 9 euros. Vueling doesn´t have an own in-flight magazine, but instead you can find various magazines about music, movies and computer games in the seatback pockets, which are ok to spend some time reading.
We started our descent into Brussels, and the clouds broke up more or less above the Belgian capital. During descent we came in to the west of the airport and turned east to fly between Antwerp and Brussels, and finally make a 180 degree turn to line up for runway 25R. Sitting on the left hand side we had a nice overview of the city of Antwerp with its harbour. After landing we taxied to the modern A pier, which was new for me as the last time I was at Zaventem was on 1 January 2000 (after spending a great New Year´s Eve in Brussels!) and this pier was under construction.
I had reserved a rental car to go to The Hague, about a two hour drive. We had some difficulties to find the rental car parking, but finally got into our new Ford Fiesta and off we went.
Photo © Hennie Jespers
Flight VLG 6021
Airbus A320 EC-JAB
STD 0955 STA 1205
ATD 1100 ATA 1300
For the flight back we had to get up very early, as traffic can be very bad during rush hour around The Hague, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. We left at six o´clock in the morning. All went surprisingly well however and we only got stuck for a short while on the Brussels Ring, just before the exit for the airport. We arrived there at eight, returned the car and headed towards check-in, which again went very smoothly. We then slowly made our way towards our gate, stopping for a coffee and looking around in the shops along the road.
Many flights were delayed due to the heavy fog, but there was no additional information for our flight. However, the airplane didn´t arrive at the scheduled time of 09.05 and five minutes later it was announced that we would have a 30 minute delay. The fog was becoming less thick in the meantime. Our plane arrived at the gate only at 10.30, and we left at 11.00. The crew explained that they got a new slot in Barcelona due to the congestion around Brussels airport, and they had to wait for their new clearance.
The speech was done in Spanish, English and French. Then again a good and uneventful flight which we mostly spent sleeping, as the emotionally heavy days we went through combined with the early wake up this morning took their toll...
Although I only had two return flights with Vueling Airlines until now, it certainly has become one of my preferred airlines. Nice looking planes, friendly crew, and serious plans to expand out of my home airport Valencia!
Well, this year´s Christmas will certainly be different for my girlfriend, as her mother´s birthday was on the 25th... but anyway she´ll be going to Holland again for Xmas and New Year on the 24th, while I´ll be heading to my family in Istanbul on the 26th, via Milan with Alitalia.