Vueling Airlines Review: A Budget Airline with Limited Legroom

Vueling had a fast self-service bag check at the airport and tasty snacks on board. Legroom depends on your seat.
Elina Geller
By Elina Geller 
Published
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Vueling Airlines is a low-cost European carrier based in Spain. As is typical with budget airlines, you’ll need to pay for all add-ons when you fly, and all seats on the plane are economy. However, if you’re looking to save money and don’t care about these extras, Vueling could be a good choice.

Here’s a review of a Vueling Airlines flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Amsterdam and what you can expect when flying with this carrier.

What is Vueling Airlines?

Vueling is a budget airline, flying to over 100 destinations within Europe and to various countries in Africa and the Middle East. Vueling Club, the airline’s loyalty program, allows you to earn Avios on your flights. The airline also has an app where you can book trips, check into a flight, review flight info and more.

Airport experience: Check-in and baggage drop

The entire airport experience from the check-in kiosk to the bag drop was fast and efficient. It took no more than 10 minutes.

Vueling check-in kiosk

(Photo by Elina Geller)

I saw many self-service check-in counters at the airport and followed the signs to Vueling's check-in area. I had already checked in on the app, but I used the kiosk to print a luggage tag since I had a bag to check. (You can also check in at the kiosk).

After printing my luggage tag, I attached it to my bag based on the easy-to-follow instructions displayed on the kiosk. When attaching the luggage tag to your bag, you keep a part of the luggage tag that displays your bag tag information. I took a photo of this like I always do, in case I lose the piece of paper.

Vueling baggage drop

(Photo by Elina Geller)

Right next to the check-in kiosks is the self-service baggage drop section. I was impressed with this area rather than the usual long line I am used to seeing when I want to check luggage at the airport. In addition, plenty of Vueling employees were walking around offering help to anyone who needed it.

In the bag drop area, I found an empty station and placed my luggage on the conveyor belt so that it could be weighed. I also scanned my boarding pass using the handheld scanner attached to the screen, which then displayed my flight information. I would assume that if my bag were overweight, I would have been prompted to pay extra for the weight.

My bag was within the allowance, so at this point, the conveyor belt began moving and took my bag. The entire process was straightforward between the check-in kiosk and the self-service baggage drop area. I wish more airlines would adopt this approach.

Vueling baggage policy

It's important to remember that since Vueling is a budget airline, checked luggage or even a carry-on bag isn’t free on most fares. However, Vueling allows all passengers to bring an underseat cabin bag for free.

Only the TimeFlex Fare includes a carry-on bag up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) at a maximum size of 55 x 40 x 20 centimeters (21.6 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches). If you’re flying on another fare, you can add a carry-on on the app or website for 24 to 59 euros (about $26 to $65). Doing this at the airport will cost 55 to 75 euros (about $60 to $82).

If your carry-on is larger or heavier, it must be checked. When adding checked luggage to your reservation, Vueling provides different prices depending on the weight of your bag. The weight options range from 15 to 30 kilograms for a checked bag.

According to Vueling, you can save up to 50% on your luggage fees if you purchase your checked bag up to a day before your flight on the website or app. I had a 20-kilogram bag and paid 35 euros (about $38) at booking for my checked bag.

Seats: Comfort depends on where you sit

My flight from Barcelona to Amsterdam was on the Airbus A320, which features 180 standard economy seats. All the seats are the same, with a seat pitch of 29 inches and a width of 17.7 inches. The only difference between the seats is that some have extra legroom due to their positioning in the front of the plane or at the exit row.

While I was initially seated in seat 22B, I was moved before takeoff into seat 1D. As a 5-foot-5-inch passenger, I had minimal legroom in seat 22B.

(Photo by Elina Geller)

The seat pocket in front was large enough to hold my headphones case and power bank. I could have probably stuffed a water bottle into the pocket too. When I moved to seat 1D, there was significantly more legroom.

(Photo by Elina Geller)

In seat 1D, the space for storing belongings was reduced. This is a common feature of seats at the bulkhead, along with no underseat storage. I didn’t mind because the space felt much more comfortable due to the extra legroom.

The carpet in this area looked pretty worn and was already dirty, and we hadn’t even taken off yet.

If you plan on flying Vueling and legroom is important to you, sitting in row 1 is your best bet. I didn’t get a chance to check out the legroom in the exit rows. You can also check how much different Vueling seats cost on Vueling’s website.

Food and beverage: Plenty of choice but not free

Although the trip from Barcelona to Amsterdam was only around two hours, there were plenty of drink and food choices for sale on the flight. Each seatback pocket included an extensive menu, featuring a QR code on the front cover to view the digital menu.

Here are a few photos of what’s featured in the menu to give you an idea of the choices available:

(Photo by Elina Geller)

(Photo by Elina Geller)

(Photo by Elina Geller)

Since it was a quick flight, and I had already eaten in the Priority Pass lounge, I decided to just buy some snacks. I chose a Coke Zero, mixed olives and truffled almonds, which totaled $11. It was really tasty and I was satisfied with my purchase.

(Photo by Elina Geller)

There is also a published food and beverage menu on Vueling’s website, available to review before your flight to give you an idea of what options may be available.

Vueling Club

The airline’s loyalty program, Vueling Club, allows passengers to earn Avios on flights at these rates:

  • Basic fares earn 2 Avios per 1 euro.

  • Optima, Family and TimeFlex fares earn 4 Avios per 1 euro.

  • Premium members earn double Avios.

In addition, you can also earn Avios when shopping with Vueling’s partners or through the Vueling eStore.

If you’d rather not earn Avios with Vueling Club, you can credit your flight to Iberia Plus or Aer Lingus AerClub. You can then keep the Avios in those accounts and use them for booking award flights with those programs.

You can also move your Avios to British Airways, providing an additional opportunity for redeeming your Avios. To do so, you’d need to combine your accounts on avios.com.

I credited my Vueling flight to Iberia, because having my Avios with Iberia (or even with British Airways if I choose to combine) provides opportunities for redeeming for award flights with Oneworld airlines.

Final thoughts: Is Vueling a good airline?

Vueling offers many flight options for those traveling within Europe and to certain destinations in Africa and the Middle East at a low cost. The airline provides an opportunity to earn Avios, which are easily transferable to several airlines. However, as a budget airline, you’ll need to pay to check a bag, pick a seat and enjoy food and drinks on your flight.

Nonetheless, I was impressed with the speedy luggage check process and the tasty snacks on board. So if you’re looking to save money while traveling around Europe, Vueling offers a good option.

(Top photo courtesy of Vueling Airlines)


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