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First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

Rugby, United...
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First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

Last week my wife and I went to TG and used Vueling via Barcelona, with a 1 hr stopover each way.

The trip out wasn't bad, though the seats are tight, but otherwise everything went fine. Be warned though that if after going through security at Gatwick you buy any bottles or other restricted items, they will be taken off you at Barcelona, despite the fact you have always been in a security area.

Coming back was a different story . . .

As it is out of holiday season the majority of passengers were Gambian. As many gambians are tall, the seat spacing is totally inadequate. On arrival at Barcelona we were held up for ages whilst every Gambian passport was scrutinised with a magnifying glass. Non-Gambians just had to wait their turn. Then the transit security seemed to be understaffed and the jobsworths there made no attempt to get us through to our connection. This meant that of the 19 people doing Banjul - Gatwick only 6 made it in time and the rest of us watched the plane go. No-one would do anything to get us on it.

After a number of heated discussions with arrogant and unhelpful Vueling staff we were eventually rebooked. No-one even apologised. We then had a 5 hour wait for the next Vueling flight as Vueling won't put held up passengers on a British Airways flight which would have meant only a 2 hour wait. We were given a voucher for a snack and a drink, but that's not much for a 5 hour wait. The final straw came at Gatwick when we found that none of our luggage had arrived and we have just got it back after 3 days. Of course we all lost money in the UK on wasted tickets and taxis which had been booked assuming we would get back on time (our replacement train tickets cost us £128!!) - I suppose we may eventually get some recompense from Vueling . . .

Be warned - if you want to use Vueling (which is cheap!) don't attempt to come back from TG with only an hour between flights - it isn't possible.

We won't use Vueling again!

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Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Banjul
Banjul
Banjul Division, Gambia
North Pole, Alaska
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1. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

Thanks so much The canalshopman!!

Although it sounds like a truly rotton, awful experience and an expensive do too!!! It's brilliant that you can take the time to write about your experience our fourm and...... I praise you for explaining it all in such great detail!!

Although many people think, that think like this are generally "one off experiences" they seldom are but I guess not many people post on these forums and I guess that many people think that it won't happen to them!!

But it can and it may as can be seen by your report!!

Many thanks for taking the time to post your experience, I do beleive that "we live and learn" but hopefully we hear it first hand from this and other forums so..... if it does happen it not a great big shock to us... but it not a nice way to end your holiday!! And by all accounts your purse and wallet sound sad too!!!

Great post!

Many thanks Breeze

Edited: 15 June 2014, 20:03
London, United...
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2. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

i had actually looked at vueling via barcelona. i did think that a hour transfer was a bit tight. sometimes cheaper things doesnt pay as you have found to your cost. many thanks i wont be using them.

London, United...
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3. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

Had a similar issue with Vueling on my return journey in May.

There was only an hour between my connecting flight back to London.

I thought this was a bit tight, but as Vueling sold it as a viable connection I went for it, knowing it was Vuelings responsibility to get me home should there be any problems.

The flight left Banjul about 45 mins late, which meant we didn't land in Barcelona until 15mins before my connecting flight was due to leave.

There was no announcements on board to guide connecting passengers, no transit ground crew about to point us in the right direction.

So we too ended up in a huge queue whilst all Gambian passports were checked. When I eventually got to the front, they weren't even worried about checking my passport and I was waved through.

So by the time I got to the transit gate, my flight had gone.

I was then sent back landside and was put on the next flight 5 hours later. Luckily my luggage was found and put on the same plane so I had no luggage troubles at Gatwick.

I too got the voucher for a snack, but agree it's small recompense.

What annoyed me was that on checking afterwards my connecting flight taxied early, so clearly they had no intention of waiting. Vueling knew the Banjul flight was going to arrive late. They also knew there were connecting passengers. We actually landed before the connecting flight had departed, and if they had ground crew to meet us, we could have made the plane. But they weren't bothered.

When this has happened before to me with other airlines, they have actually held the plane for the connecting passengers to board.

One other gripe I have with Vueling is that in the two times I have flown with them, I have booked and paid for the extra leg room seats, but neither time have I got them. Their excuse was the plane has been switched so the row numbers are different. Luckily the last time I had 3 seats to myself, so wasn't too bothered.

I certainly would only fly Vueling in the future as a last resort.

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England, UK
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Banjul Division, Gambia
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4. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

Plain daft to only allow 1 hour between your flights. Just asking for trouble given how often flights out of Gambia are delayed. I have used vueling on numerous occasions. The seats are cramped, service is poor but you get what you pay for less than £100 Banjul/Barcelona. Recently i have been using Gambia Bird £250 return which gives me a nice week break in Barcelona and an opportunity to stock up with some foods I can't buy out here.

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Banjul
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Banjul Division, Gambia
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Province of Barcelona, Spain
Liverpool, United...
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5. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

We have also used Vueling for 2 return journeys and had no problems whatsoever with them. Having said that we arranged a different airline Easyjet to get to and from Barcelona leaving enough time in between to catch the flight.

One hour is not enough between connections and far too risky, Vueling should not advertise it the way they do as people then assume they are likely to be able to make the flight and become disappointed/out of pocket as a result.

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WESTBURY, WILTSHIRE
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6. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

I had a similar experience on the 9th june, just managed to catch flight by running frantically through transit lounge. However, cases did not arrive till two later. Due to my experience have booked my husband on the flight to barcelona but the connecting flight by easyjet. Just one more observation I found seats fine and staff kind and helpful. Will use again but return at Barcelona will be via Easyjet, for not a lot more cost

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Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Wells, United...
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7. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

I just to echo the thoughts of others earlier- I had booked Veuling but chose to book easy jet myself to Barcelona as it offered me the flexibility to travel from Bristol as opposed london - and to be honest, all told this worked out cheaper. Unfortunately I had to cancel the trip due to personal circumstances, but the one thing I had ensured was a minimum of 4 hrs gap- given the OP's problems I will ensure this in the future too.

I shall certainly not be tempted to book veuling from London following these comments - so thank you for the warning

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London, United...
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8. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

I agree Bert, it is plain daft to only allow 1 hour between flights, that is why Vueling should not offer it as a valid connecting flight.

But the fact that they do means they should be prepared by having ground staff ready to meet connecting passengers and fast track them through to the connecting flight, rather than being left in the dark and having to join the free for all while all Gambian passports are checked by the police.

The trouble with leaving a 4 hour gap between connections means a very long journey.

Personally I now prefer Gambiabird out of season, as if you pick the right flight you stay in the same plane when flying via Freetown. The flight has always been pretty empty on the legs from Banjul to Freetown both ways, which means much more relaxed boarding and disembarking.

It also means hardly any waiting on arrival at Banjul at passport control and baggage reclaim, although it does give customs more time to be fussy about searching your bags in the hope of extorting money from you!

Edited: 21 June 2014, 11:23
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9. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

I think the problem is that Vueling are a budget carrier but connecting flights are the domain of the mainstream carriers. That is why Easyjet, Ryanair etc do not offer the opportunity of linking flights. I use Ryanair or Easyjet to get back to Uk from Barcelona but because I find Barcelona such a great place I don't mind the odd overnight stay.

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10. Re: First and last flight with Vueling - be warned!

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