: Vueling A320 LPA-AGP Y
Background: The time had come to leave the Canary Islands and begin my journey home. The start of my trip had seen me flying with a Condor 757-300, which had been a very good flight. For the conclusion of my trip, my first time in Spain, my goal was to fly a Spanish airline. Spanish low cost carrier Vueling was my choice, with a great price on a convenient departure. Vueling would also become my first European LCC. My second concern was comfort during the flight, easily guaranteed by booking an exit row seat. I was excited to try a Spanish airline within Spain, and to see what type of onboard experience Vueling would offer.
Enjoy the report on my Vueling exit row experience, and I look forward to your comments.
Departure: 13:40 (actual 13:35)
Arrival: 16:55 (actual 16:41)
Actual Block Time: 2h6
Actual Flight Time: 1h51
Seat: 14D Economy Space Seat
I arrived to check-in at 12:05, and after a quick ten-minute line for an in-person check-in, I was provided a nice cardstock boarding pass. Vueling had actually emailed my boarding pass immediately upon my booking, but I always go for a cardstock souvenir. I was advised that I'm boarding group 2, but that the gate was not yet displayed. I was directed to security, where I found only a ten-minute line. I was airside at 12:25, with my boarding gate still not displayed, but in a couple minutes it was announced as B02, the farthest end from security. I arrived there by 12:35 for boarding at 13:00 and departure at 13:40.
I was happy to be trying a new airline in Vueling today. Perhaps they're just an LCC, but with my pre-booked exit row, I was expecting a comfortable trip, and I'm always interested in trying a new carrier and checking out their experience. And I'd gotten a great price, too.
My Vueling A320, EC-LVT, arrived at 12:48, and much to my surprise, the jetbridge was attached. I was totally expecting bus boarding, so common in Europe and especially on an LCC. My aircraft, EC-LVT has been flying since 2013.
Boarding began on-time at 13:00, impressive since the plane had only arrived 12 minutes prior. Group 1, as well as families with babies, were invited to board. Boarding was through three clearly-marked lanes for Groups 1, 2 and 3.
I boarded with Group 2, made it onboard, and made my way past a spacious bulkhead row (Vueling Space One
with +20% legroom), then three additional rows 2-4 (Vueling Space Plus
with +10% legroom), through regular Economy and back to my aisle seat in the exit row, 14D, a Vueling Space Seat
Exit Row Seat Branding:
Vueling no longer offers the blocked middle seat option, similar to European Business Class, but now offers the opportunity to book two seats for yourself, both at the same price, thereby doubling your cost. I had not booked the second seat, but did buy the exit row, and I found very good legroom as expected. The seats did not recline. They were super slim Recaro seats, with somewhat small armrests, but overall comfortable, with great exit seat legroom, and good width, too. A very good seat for my 2h flight today.
People continued boarding, but without much of a backup in the aisle. Boarding was soon announced as complete, and the flight was mostly but not totally full. Once boarding was announced complete, some people rearranged seats to minimize the number of middle seat people; some also moved into the exit rows for free, leading to my row becoming full. Had I booked the second seat option, it would have been annoying to turn them away. Somehow I don't think many people book the second seat, though. A flight attendant came to give the exit row safety briefing.
The view from 14D:
Pushback was early at 13:35. The safety demo was performed, to recorded English and Spanish narration. Come to think of it, it had only been recorded announcements so far. "Enjoy your flight with Vueling." Takeoff was at 13:46 from 03R. It was a rolling takeoff, but with only moderate power and pushback into the seat, very quiet. Additional recorded announcements took place, and at 10,000 ft. the curtain was shut to the galley, the seatbelt sign was switched off, and unexpectedly most people took off their seatbelts. What might be expected was some people getting up to retrieve belongings from overhead compartments for inflight use, but what was again unexpected was those people all left the overhead compartments open. Finally a passing flight attendant shut them.
The first non-automated announcement served to introduce the crew, and then another recording introduced inflight service. Service began simultaneously front to back and also center to back, beginning only one row in front of me, leading to me being quickly served. I ordered the Caprese Special, which came with a snack and a drink, plus the Lemonade: Mozzarella Caprese - Introducing a delicious, mouth watering classic. Succulent fresh mozzarella cheese, sweet sun-dried tomatoes with a beautiful pesto dressing in a soft panini roll. It's full of flavour and great eaten hot or cold. Choose a snack and soft drink or change to beer.
My snack choice was Marinas Mediterranean Crisps with Formentera salt and olive oil. My beer choice was Estrella Damm. Other beers on offer included San Miguel Especial and San Miguel Selecta. I chose Estrella Damm, as it was a beer from Barcelona, the main city for Vueling. Cerveza Mediterránea, Receta Original 1876.
Finally I also ordered Linda Lemonade + Ginger - Linda Lemonade + Ginger is the 100% natural refreshment, zero calories as it is sweetened with Stevia, non-carbonated, without colourings nor preservatives. Refresh yourself in a healthy way. Order on board!
I requested the Caprese hot, and it was sent off to the galley to be heated up for me.
My sandwich soon arrived freshly heated. To be honest this was an excellent airplane meal. The sandwich was actually really good. Heated to order was a really nice touch, and made it perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed trying a new Spanish beer on Spanish LCC Vueling. The Mediterranean crisps were definitely above average, and the Spanish Lemonade was excellent as well. It was great that they actually had everything from the menu that I wanted, and at reasonable prices, very good quality, and local Spanish offerings, I was totally satisfied.
Caprese sandwich with Mediterranean crisps:
My beer choice:
And a local lemonade:
This had been truly a great European airplane meal. Thinking about it, my Vueling LCC experience today, and also my prior Condor leisure flight, both offered a great price on a spacious exit row seat, combined with an excellent meal service, again at a reasonable price. They really make European Business Class a tougher proposition. I have much better legroom than European Business Class, which does not typically offer extra legroom above regular Economy, and definitely not as much as an exit row - now in Business Class, the middle seat is kept free, but today I had plenty of space and the seat was pretty wide. Add the excellent inflight service I'd experienced, the only difference being that it's not complimentary as in Business Class, and the only thing missing is priority services such as check-in, security and boarding, and lounge access - today my check-in and security passed in quick order, and priority boarding typically makes no difference if it's bus boarding. I guess my conclusion is that my expectations for both leisure airline Condor and low-cost carrier Vueling were both exceeded, and I was definitely impressed by both airlines.
The inflight shopping trolley was heading down the aisle now. My sandwich and beer complete, I was now enjoying my chips and lemonade.
If I had only one minor complaint, it would be the tiny tray table made it hard to order so many items. I suppose Vueling need not change that, as most people either didn't order anything, or ordered only one item. The lack of a plate for the sandwich also made it a little more difficult to eat from the tiny tray table. Again these would be extremely minor observations. Overall I'd say about the number of passengers that I'd expect ordered from the food trolley and the shopping trolley - that is, a small number of people ordering food, and even fewer shopping. Definitely fewer than on my Condor flight info Gran Canaria, where I was surprised how many people bought things.
At this point I was not going to let several crying babies ruin my satisfaction or my enjoyment of the remainder of my lemonade. We were expecting to begin descent in about a half hour. Meal service really makes a flight go by quicker!
The captain's first announcement was in Spanish, followed by English. We had begun descent, and expected to land in 20 minutes. The weather in Málaga was fantastic, 24 with light winds. "Thank you for choosing to fly with us."
Landing was at 15:37, with very calm braking, and we parked at the gate at 15:41 - Gate D66, another jetbridge gate. Make that 16:41 mainland Spanish time. Everyone was out of their seats as we finished pulling into the gate. I headed to baggage claim, arriving just as the belt started up.
My aircraft was now going to operate VY3140 to Lanzarote, departing at 18:45. Here she is pushing back for that flight.
I'm very happy I tried Vueling. I found them to not only be a professional, smooth operation, but with a great price, comfortable seat, and excellent inflight service. And we'd even arrived early. Consider me a satisfied Vueling customer, who wouldn't hesitate to fly with them again if they serve a certain route.
Previous Flying Europe
trip reports:Flying Europe: Swiss Avro RJ100 & Helvetic F100 JFlying Europe: Lufthansa B737-500 & A321 JFlying Europe: Air France A319 J & HOP! CRJ-1000 YFlying Europe: BA Club World B767-300ER To FRAFlying Europe: Air Dolomiti E195 BUD-MUC JFlying Europe: Singapore B777-300ER MUC-MAN JFlying Europe: KLM Cityhopper E190 & F70 YFlying Europe: LAN B787-8 FRA-MAD JFlying Europe: Hahn Air Business Jet LUX-DUSFlying Europe: Joon A320 TXL-CDG JFlying Europe: Condor B757-300 DUS-LPA Y