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A Review of Vueling A320-200 Economy LGW – LPA

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En route to join our Windstar Cruise, we needed to fly to Gran Canaria. I thought a one way to Spain would cost an arm and a leg but was surprised to find an excellent fare with Vueling. Vueling is a budget partner of British Airways, part of the One World Group, and is based out of Barcelona. So what is Vueling like? Join us as we travel from London Gatwick to Las Palmas in this review of Vueling A320.

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Our Vueling and London Gatwick Airport Experience

Check In

I decided to book one big bag between us as taking a large hand luggage each was more expensive. we were both surprised to see that outside the Schengen region, Vueling’s check in only opens 2 hours and 20 minutes beforehand. That throws my “three hours before the flight” schedule right out. Well, we arrive at London Victoria in time for an earlier train so we decided to go straight to the airport already.

Vueling’s Self Service Bag Drop

Happily, when we arrived, we found a self service check in and bag drop area that was already open. I had checked in online so getting our bag tag was really quick. I tagged the bag with expert flair (of course) and we popped it on the belt. The light turned green (thanks for the naughty 300 grams extra that we packed) and it trundled away. So easy!

With more time than expected, we zipped through security and found a lounge to hang out in before the gate was announced.

The Gate

Gatwick has cramped closed gates with no bathrooms so I was very glad that we had popped to the loo before walking down. British Airways staff were manning the gate. I guess they are the handlers at Gatwick. They referred to the airline as “vewling” which probably adds to everyone’s chronic mispronunciation of it.

We were there before most people and grabbed a seat next to the crew. People wandered up to the bank of vending machines with nothing else to do and the time ticked by.

There was an announcement to apologise for delayed boarding. It was due to a slow disembarkation of the inbound from Malaga. We eventually started boarding about ten minutes before we were due to take off. They called groups one and two, which had about thirty people in total. Then group three, which consisted of the rest of the plane. It was slow boarding. There was no call for people with small children and not using seat row numbers seemed a bit mad considering 80% of the plane was in group three.

Vueling A320 Interior

The inside of the plane was bright but not super clean. The panels above our heads were mucky, as was the tray table and the exit door.

Our Seats

A few days before the flight, we got an email from Vueling advertising a bidding system for extra leg room seats. I popped in a relatively low bid (£13 each) and it was accepted. I hadn’t realised it was for the exit row. In my commuting brain, I was opting for the front rows (1-6 or so) which are called Space Plus. It was a little annoying but it was my misunderstanding and still very nice to have the extra room on a 4.5 hour flight.

The seats themselves were standard budget seats with not quite enough padding and lacking any recline. The colour scheme was odd. The seats were a dark taupe which I find distinctly unappealing with yellow head rest covers which were also leather.

There was small, adjustable tray and a mesh seat back pocket. This didn’t have sides so be careful when putting anything small in here. I think we all know by now that I don’t like to use these as they are hard to clean and can harbour nasty surprises left by previous flyers, but at least this one isn’t all enclosed.

The Storage

The overhead lockers were meant to be reserved for large cabin bags only. In fact, they had stickers that said as much. Most people adhered to the rule but of course, there was the odd handbag or coat in there too. There seemed to be a lot less hand luggage in general and I think that means everybody did as we did and opted for the cheaper check in option. It was nice to see that the crew weren’t struggling to fit everything in as they do on many other cheaper airlines. This does indicate that their boarding strategy is less than ideal though, as the hand luggage is usually what causes delays on the jet bridge.

The Entertainment

This one’s easy, there is no entertainment but there is a USB A plug each between the seats so best to fill your phone with things before you leave. Saying that, our plugs didn’t work so make sure you’ve got a power bank too, just in case.

Amenities

No inflight kit was provided.

The bathroom at the front was small but clean enough. It was odd that they had tiny hand soaps instead of hand wash. The amount of plastic waste this generates doesn’t feel great and the idea of touching someone else’s used soap can put a lot of people off. I think anything that makes hand washing harder should be discouraged, especially in the germs world of the aircraft bathroom. At least they had plenty of hand towels.

Vueling’s Inflight Food and Drink

I took a quick look through the on board menu (all chargeable) and was delighted to see the prices. Whilst not cheap by regular standards, when compared to other budget airlines, the prices were pretty good.

Two 20cl bottles of Cava for €11.95 was better than a London pub and a tea or coffee with free refills at €3.50 is a bargain! (I wonder how hard it is to get refills).

This was clear when the cart came down the aisle. Everyone bought something, and not just one thing, people were buying full meals. I decided it would be fun to try an “Cordoníu Orange Spritz”. However, the crew got to our row, asked one side what they wanted and then disappeared! I thought they were just letting people through to the bathroom but no, they didn’t came back. A guy in the row behind pointed this out and another crew member went after them. They came down collecting empties and we both jumped for them to buy something. I got the spritz and it probably was t worth the wait. It was nice-ish; a one and done.

Final Thoughts on this Review of Vueling

If you can book early and get a cheap ticket, then it is a good shout. They go from major London airports and I did like the affordable purchasable food and drink options. However, if the tickets are a similar price as carriers like BA, I’d opt for the “full service” carrier. That said, I would definitely fly Vueling again

Rosie xx


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