Vueling vs. Ryanair: Which Is Better?

You'll get more out of flying with Vueling — including the chance to earn Avios — but both charge heavy fees.
Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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In the world of European low-cost air carriers, it sometimes feels like a competition in nickel-and-diming the customer. Every part of your flight experience costs extra, from seat assignments to checked bags.

However, as long as you know what to expect, you can score great deals on flights across the continent.

If you’re browsing Google Flights and have found multiple budget flight options for your trip, you might want to know which one to book.

For example, which one is best when it comes to Ryanair versus Vueling? Both are no-frills, budget airlines designed to get you from point A to point B inexpensively.

Let’s take a look at where they fly, what types of fares they sell and how much you might have to pay in extra fees.

Where they’re based and where they fly

Winner for most airport options: Vueling

Both airlines fly to an impressive number of locations — primarily in Europe. Vueling wins this round because it flies to two dozen more destinations in seven more countries than Ryanair.

Ryanair footprint

Ryanair began operations in 1985 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The airline flies to nearly 120 destinations in 40 countries.

Its two largest hubs are at London-Stansted and Dublin. The airline advertises that they have an additional 80 bases at airports across Europe and North Africa, among them:

  • Alicante, Spain.

  • Barcelona, Spain.

  • Berlin.

  • Bologna, Italy.

  • Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Krakow, Poland.

  • Lisbon, Portugal.

  • Malaga, Spain.

  • Malta.

  • Manchester, England.

  • Marseille, France.

  • Milan.

  • Palermo, Italy.

  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

  • Porto, Portugal.

  • Salzburg, Austria.

Vueling footprint

Vueling started flying in 2004 and is based in Barcelona, Spain. It serves 145 destinations in 47 countries.

Vueling’s focus airports are in:

  • Alicante, Spain.

  • Bilbao, Spain.

  • Florence, Italy.

  • Gran Canaria, Spain.

  • London-Gatwick.

  • Malaga, Spain.

  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

  • Paris-Orly.

  • Rome.

  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

  • Seville, Spain.

  • Tenerife, Spain.

  • Valencia, Spain.

» Learn more: Is Ryanair safe?

Airline rewards programs

Winner for earning and using miles: Vueling

Considering Ryanair doesn’t yet have a frequent flyer program — and thus no mechanism to earn or redeem miles — Vueling wins here. As an added bonus, Vueling flyers earn Avios, which can be redeemed on other airlines.


Unfortunately, Ryanair doesn’t offer a loyalty program. However, those who create a myRyanair account — which is free and required for anyone booking a flight — receive access to special deals and advance notice of flash sales. Additionally, myRyanair members receive 5% of any hotel booking made through their account as a redeemable credit on international Ryanair flights.

Vueling Club

On the other hand, Vueling does have a loyalty program called Vueling Club, which earns Avios at the following rates:

  • Basic fares earn 2 Avios per 1 euro spent (2 Avios for every $1.00-$1.20 spent, depending on the exchange rate).

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

  • Premium members of the Vueling Club earn Avios at double the normal rate.

You also can choose to credit your Vueling flights to Aer Lingus AerClub or Iberia Plus and collect Avios on those sister programs instead of Vueling Club.

Finally, Vueling offers its customers who are Spanish residents two co-branded credit cards: the Vueling Visa and the Vueling UP! Visa. Both earn Avios on everyday purchases.

Fare types

Winner for fare type variety: Tie

The bread and butter of low-cost carriers is the upsell at checkout, which includes anything from additional carry-on bag fees to airport check-in costs. Some add-ons are sold separately, and others are bundled into different fare types.

When comparing Vueling versus Ryanair fare types, both offerings are similar for most passengers. However, if you’re traveling with children, Vueling’s family fares might make your life easier.


When you fly Ryanair, the fare types you’ll have to choose from are Value, Regular, Plus and Flexi Plus. Here’s what you get with each fare type.


  • One small bag (must fit under the seat).


  • Priority boarding.

  • Two cabin bags, one up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) and one small bag.

  • Reserved seat in specific sections.


  • One small bag.

  • Reserved seat in specific sections.

  • One checked bag, up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms).

  • Free check-in at the airport.

Flexi Plus

  • Priority boarding.

  • Two cabin bags, one up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) and one small bag.

  • Reserved seat in any section.

  • Free check-in at the airport.

  • No flight change fee (just pay the fare difference).


Vueling has the same business model as Ryanair and provides multiple fare options when you book a flight on its website: Basic, Optima, Family and TimeFlex. Here’s what you can expect from each fare type.


  • One small bag (must fit under the seat).


  • One small bag.

  • One checked bag, up to 55 pounds (25 kilograms).

  • Seat selection.


  • One small bag. 

  • Seat selection.

  • Priority boarding (with children under 2).

  • Dedicated check-in lines (at main airports). 

  • One 55-pound checked bag (25 kilograms) per passenger, excluding infants.


  • Two cabin bags, one up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) and one small bag.

  • Seat selection.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Unlimited flight changes.

  • Dedicated check-in lines (at main airports).

  • Fast track through security.

  • Free cancellation.

Both airlines allow you to add just the items you want, such as one checked bag without a seat selection, which may be useful if the flight is short and you don’t care where you sit.

Luggage allowance

Winner for baggage allowance: Vueling

Both airlines are going to charge you to check bags, whether it’s bundled into your fare type or paid for separately. When it comes to luggage allowance, Vueling offers more options — so you only pay for what you’re checking. It also allows for slightly larger bags in the cabin.


When you pay an extra fee for the privilege, Ryanair allows you to check bags of the following sizes:

  • 22 pounds (10 kilograms) with the following dimensions: 22 x 16 x 8 inches.

  • 44 pounds (20 kilograms) with the following dimensions: 47 x 47 x 32 inches.

The small carry-on bag that fits under the seat can’t be larger than 16 x 8 x 10 inches.


When you purchase a ticket with Vueling, you can add on a checked bag. Fees vary depending on the weight of your bag. The weight categories are:

  • 33 pounds (15 kilograms).

  • 44 pounds (20 kilograms).

  • 55 pounds (25 kilograms).

  • 66 pounds (30 kilograms).

You’re also allowed a small carry-on bag that fits under your seat. This bag can’t be larger than 16 x 8 x 12 inches (40 x 20 x 30 centimeters).

Extra fees

Winner for lowest fees: Tie

As mentioned, extra fees are where most of the low-budget airlines’ revenue comes from, so you’ll be expected to pay for most things on your flight. It’s worth mentioning that many of these extras cost less when you prepay for them online instead of at the airport, so plan ahead if you want to save money on your upcoming flight.

  • Small bag: Free.

  • 22-pound checked bag (10 kilograms): $13 to $39 (12 to 36 euros).

  • 44-pound checked bag (20 kilograms): $19 to $65 (18 to 60 euros).

  • Extra legroom seats: $14 to $32 (13 to 30 euros).

  • Front seats: $6 to $20 (6 to 19 euros).

  • Standard seats: $2 to $16 (2 to 15 euros).

  • Mandatory family seats: $4 to $6 (4 to 6 euros).

  • Boarding card reissue at the airport: $22 (20 euros).

  • Airport check-in fee: $32 to $59 (30 to 55 euros).

  • Infant fee: $27 (25 euros).

  • Infant equipment (booster seat, stroller): $16 to $22 (15 to 20 euros).

  • Flight change fee: $49 to $65 (45 to 60 euros) plus fare difference.

  • Name change fee: $124 to $173 (115 to 160 euros).

  • Airport booking fee: $54 (50 euros).

  • Missed departure fee: $108 (100 euros).

  • Bike: $65 to $81 (60 to 75 euros).

  • Sports equipment: $38 to $43 (35 to 40 euros).

  • Large sports item: $59 to $70 (55 to 65 euros).

  • Ski equipment: $49 to $54 (45 to 50 euros).

  • Golf clubs: $32 to $43 (30 to 40 euros).

  • Musical instrument: $54 to $70 (50 to 65 euros).

  • Small bag: free.

  • 22-pound checked bag (10 kilograms): $11 to $81 (10 to 75 euros).

  • 44-pound checked bag (20 kilograms): $12 to $82 (11 to 76 euros).

  • 55-pound checked bag (25 kilograms): $15 to $119 (14 to 110 euros).

  • 66-pound checked bag (30 kilograms): $28 to $86 (26 to 80 euros) + $13 (12 euros) each additional kilogram.

  • Extra legroom seats: $11 to $30 (10 to 28 euros).

  • Front seats: $6 to $13 (6 to 12 euros).

  • Standard seats: $2 to $11 (2 to 10 euros).

  • Infant fee: $16 to $167 (15 to 155 euros).

  • Flight change fee: $54 to $65 (50 to 60 euros) plus fare difference.

  • Name change fee: $54 (50 euros) plus fare difference.

  • Airport booking fee: $11 (10 euros).

  • Special luggage (bicycle, skis, surf board, golf clubs, etc.): $49 to $59 (45 to 55 euros).

  • Pet on board (domestic): $54 to $65 (50 to 60 euros).

  • Pet on board (international): $65 to $76 (60 to 70 euros).

Ryanair vs. Vueling, recapped

When considering flying Vueling versus Ryanair, Vueling has the edge.

Its route map reaches more destinations, it has a loyalty program with an easily transferable currency and its luggage allowance is more generous than Ryanair’s. Still, both carriers charge additional fees for even mundane travel amenities.

At the end of the day, choose the airline with a better flight schedule that charges you less for the airfare — after you add up all the extras.

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