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My failed attempt to review Vueling’s short haul business class

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This was meant to be my review of Vueling’s Excellence business class service.

In October 2017 IAG’s low cost carrier Vueling joined Avios with a rather complicated way of earning and spending points.  Rob’s article explaining how to earn and spend Avios on Vueling is here.

Over the last year we have been trying out Business Class seats on the other IAG airlines apart from BA:

That just left Vueling.

We thought it would be interesting to try Vueling’s business product, which is called Excellence.  Head for Points spent £185 on my one-way flight from Gatwick to Barcelona – it turns out this wasn’t the best ever use of company money …..

What is Excellence?

Vueling is a low cost carrier and their planes are not set up to accommodate a proper business class. Instead the airline has decided to sell the four front row seats at a premium o rice, keeping the middle seat free (like BA) and offering free food and drink.  Excellence passengers also get fast track, lounge access and priority boarding.

With just four seats per flight, you can’t argue that it isn’t exclusive ….

The lounge

Vueling operates from the South Terminal at London Gatwick, alongside British Airways.

Vueling uses the No 1 lounge.  This is a bit odd.  IAG paid No 1 Lounges £10 or so to look after me when it has a perfectly acceptable – and rarely packed – British Airways lounge about 30 seconds away …..

If I had British Airways Gold status, and my Vueling ticket had been issued by BA with a BA flight number, I could have used the BA lounge.

My flight was on a Wednesday morning which apparently is peak time at Gatwick. The queue for the No 1 lounge was very long, but staff went along the line to let guests who had access via their flight ticket skip the queue.

I reviewed the No 1 lounge at Gatwick South here and Rob reviewed it here, so I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say it was very busy and I ended up sharing a table with four other travellers, which wasn’t ideal.

Vueling Excellence business class review

I left the lounge when the screens told me to go to the gate as I didn’t know how far I would have to walk. It was just around 10 minutes in the end.

Vueling Excellence business class review

There was a desk where my ticket and passport were checked and I was told that my seat had changed. Instead of 1D I was now in 2D due to an aircraft swap. I asked if the 2nd row is still business class with extra legroom and was assured that it was.

Weird, but I thought I’d wait until getting on the plane to find out what my seat change was about.  It was possible they might not have a row 1 on the new aircraft – some short haul British Airways planes are missing half of Row 1, after all.

We all had to wait in this toilet-less area.  Looking out of the window, I couldn’t see a plane by the gate …..

Vueling Excellence business class review

After half an hour or so a plane appeared – but it was not a Vueling plane. Instead it was a Privilege Style Boeing 757.

I thought this aircraft might have a proper business class seat and that’s why they changed mine ……

Vueling Excellence business class review

….. but it didn’t.

I was supposed to sit in row 2 with almost no legroom at all and must have looked very irritated as one of the cabin crew came up to me and asked if everything was ok.

It wasn’t.  I told him that I paid a higher price for Excellence to sit in row 1 and had been moved to row 2. He checked his list and said no one was sitting in row 1 so I could of course sit there.

Vueling Excellence business class review

The seat was nothing special but I did have legroom and a free middle seat where I stored my backpack. On the other side of the aisle were two passengers who also booked Excellence.

I was sitting on the aisle seat but was pretty much forced to move to the window seat later on.  Passengers using the front toilet were happily standing in between the wall and my legs, bumping into me ….. I unbuckled and sat on the window seat – which invited the passengers who were waiting for the toilet to sit down on the aisle seat.

Vueling Excellence business class review

Food and drink

After pretty much everyone on the plane had used the toilet, cabin crew started the on board service.  The cabin crew was not a Vueling crew. They came with the aircraft and didn’t know much about the Vueling service.

There was no food menu in my seat pocket and I didn’t know what was included in my ticket.  It turned out that the cabin crew thought nothing was included in my ticket.

The two other passengers in row 1 were handed two menus and ordered some food and drinks. I was not given a menu and when I asked to see one they said that they had coffee, soft drinks and snacks.

I felt like testing them so ordered a coffee for a start – and was told to pay something like €2.60. That’s when I got the confirmation that they didn’t know I was Excellence. I showed them my ticket for a second time and they apologised and said as I changed from row 2 to 1 they thought I was not Excellence.

I was then finally handed the menu and told I could have whatever and as much as I wanted.

I’m not sure if this is how it normally works but I decided to have prosecco, the coffee, water, olives and a toastie.  If I had more time to look at the menu before it was taken off me I could have probably found a better sandwich.

Vueling Excellence business class review

The toastie was wrapped in plastic and had obviously been heated inside the foil. The plastic broke when I tried opening it and I do not know how how much melted plastic had entered the toastie. To make it even worse, it didn’t taste that great.  See below.

But I did like the prosecco ….

Vueling Excellence business class review


As my aircraft including crew had been swapped, this is obviously not a proper Vueling Excellence review.  I also didn’t have time to properly look at the menu before I forced to hand it back and couldn’t figure out the maximum value I could have got from the food and drink available.  I also don’t know if, on a proper Vueling flight, Excellence passengers can actually order everything and as much as they like.

If you want to book Excellence on Avios, it is a little complex.

There are usually two ways of booking Vueling seats with Avios points.  You can book via Iberia Plus on the Iberia website, which charges you based on the standard distance-based redemption chart.  Alternatively, you can redeem your Avios using the Vueling website by moving your points to Vueling Club /  This scheme is revenue based so you won’t get great value for your points.

However, if you want Excellence, this cannot be booked via Iberia Plus.  Your only choice is to use Vueling Club and do a revenue based redemption.  My one way flight would have cost roughly 30,000 Avios based on 0.6p per point.

You do this by opening a Vueling Club account on the Vueling website and then using ‘Combine My Avios’ on to move your points to – which is your Vueling Club account in disguise.

Please let us know in the comments if you’ve booked Vueling’s Excellence seats before and what to really expect because we still don’t really know ….


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (61)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nori says:

    The biggest problem I find with Vueling is that they’re unreliable.

    I’ve booked with them twice but never managed to fly. First flight – cancelled. The second flight from London to Vienna re-routed va BCN with an overnight stopover. That’s a bit mad so I cancelled it.

    They’re probably good when they fly but if things go wrong you wish you booked with someone else. A bit like Ryanair I suppose.

  • Ben says:

    Re: Guesting, I think the rules are that a BA Gold can use the BA lounges when flying on Vueling only if ticketed by BA. One guest is allowed, if they are on the same flight only.

  • david devine says:

    I will never fly vueling again, horrible

  • John says:

    I had a similar experience recently on Eurowings in their BIZclass seat, having had to rebook due to being stranded by Ryanair (long story). Business class was the only seating available and was supposed to come with lounge, fast track security, priority boarding and inclusive food & drink. They’re part of Lufthansa and use the Lufthansa lounge at HAJ, except if your flight is from another terminal at HAJ, as ours was, you get no lounge. There’s no fast track at HAJ as far as I know so that didn’t matter.
    At the gate was an ex Air Berlin plane being operated by TUI. No priority boarding in place for business class pax. On board I only actually wanted a bottle of water. €3 Euro. Several of us who had been stranded by Ryanair were on this flight, all in business class. All were charged for drinks & snacks. It was definitely not a business class experience. Thanks god the flight was short and I was too tired to bother doing anything and just glad to be on my way home after a 24 hr delay.

  • Jan says:

    I recently had a flight BCN-ORY in Excellence.

    In Barcelona, there are just the AENA lounges, which every airline uses. The T1 lounge is quite decent with hot food at lunch time, plenty of seating and a good variety of food, snacks and drinks.
    It’s quite open and does get crowded from time to time though.

    The plane was on an apron position, so we all had to take the bus. This eliminates the priority boarding factor almost completely. I was lucky enough to guess which side of the bus would face the plane and stood by the correct door, but there is no way to know.

    I was the only passenger who had booked Exellence, sitting in 1A and the other 3 seats in the row were filled with Optima fare passengers, the plane was fully booked. Before taxiing, I was offered a complimentary glass of water which must have looked very odd to the passengers next to me.

    Once we were on cruising altitude, I was informed that I could choose whatever I want from the menu and get it for free. I decided to push my luck and went for the “fancy” Schweppes raspberry tonic and Bombay Sapphire Gin package.
    There was also a cheaper gin and tonic on offer, but I wanted to see if they would also give me the fancy one for free. Turns out they did.
    I also picked a Coke and some crisps to eat. I was asked if I’m sure that’s all or if I maybe wanted a sandwich as well. There does seem to be quite a bit of room for actually getting “anything you want for free”.

    Over all, it’s not something that is worth paying so much more for. If you need a flexible fare, it’s the way to go, but in terms of comfort, the seats are the same as all the others and the Optima fare also gives you seats at the front to choose.

  • Jamie Knight says:

    Vueling is an horrendous airline and i would never use them again and advise everyone else to use an alternative airline. The customer service is non existent and so unreliable. Don’t expect your flight to actually go ahead

    • vlcnc says:


    • Pauline Hanson says:

      I absolutely agree with Jamie Knight. I had a horrendous experience with them returning from Rome last weekend. Customer service simply does not exist and despite booking a flight with a BA flight number – which turned int a VY one at the airport, BA were unable to assist. Long story but avoid this airline.

  • Bails from Oz says:

    Slightly OT, you mention that the Vueling Excellence is not bookable via IB+, but do you know whether or not it is IB+ policy to not allow awards booking on BA business class seats within the UK. Or also business class domestic seats on Qantas. These seats are readily available on other FF programs but for some reason IB+ seems to exclude them even though they use Avios and are part of IAG.

    • Rob says:

      Interesting. Could be that IB didn’t update their systems when BA launched domestic CE?

  • AAlsc says:

    I think the clear and obvious error here is booking a Vueling’s short haul business class flight and expecting to get anything remotely related to short haul business class! The clue was in the word ‘Vueling’.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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