Vueling scraps ‘Excellence’ fares as it retreats from the business market

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Vueling, if you’re not familiar with it, is BA’s sister low-cost airline, operating primarily out of Barcelona and Rome.  There are a substantial number of services to the UK.  Full details are on the Vueling website here.

You may remember our failed attempt to review Vueling’s ‘Excellence’ business class service recently.  Anika ended up being shunted to a one-class charter aircraft and had to fight for her ‘Excellence’ benefits.

(We made an EU261 claim for a downgrade and we were, to be fair to Vueling, promptly repaid 75% of the fare as per the rules.)

It seems that Vueling has now given up trying to compete in the business market.  It has announced a new series of fare types.  As far as I can tell, unlike the scrapped ‘Excellence’ fares:

  • none of them get you an empty middle seat
  • none of them come with lounge access
  • none of them come with free food and drink
  • none of them come with two free checked bags
  • none of them come with guaranteed hand baggage storage
  • none of them allow you to change the name on the ticket
  • none of them allow you to refund your ticket

Vueling drops Excellence

Here are the new ticket types you can book:

TimeFlex – the nearest you can now get to a business class ticket, offering unlimited changes (you only pay the fare difference), same-day flight change free of charge, priority boarding, Fast Track security and exclusive check-in desks

Family – comes with seat selection at time of booking, hand luggage (10 kg), one checked bag per passenger, priority boarding with infants under 2, exclusive check-in desks in Barcelona and Roma Fiumicino

Space One (from €15.99 extra) – guaranteed front row seat with 20% more legroom, priority boarding

Space Plus (from €12.99 extra) – guaranteed row 2-4 seat with 10% more legroom, priority boarding

Space (from €11.99 extra) – rows 12-14 with 20% more legroom, priority boarding

Personally, this new set up makes me less likely to fly Vueling.  The old Excellence product, with lounge access and a guaranteed empty middle seat on the front row, was relatively attractive as low-cost carrier flying goes.

In terms of pricing, there is no longer the big gap that existed between Excellence and the other fare classes.  TimeFlex, for a random one-way from Barcelona to Gatwick in November, is as low as €48 one way.  This is VERY good value for a ticket which allows you to make changes (but no refunds) and comes with seat selection, priority boarding and fast-track security.

Vueling launches new ticket types

Earning and redeeming Avios on Vueling

It is worth a quick reminder of how you can earn and spend Avios on Vueling.

Vueling has its own Avios programme, Vueling Club.  We wrote a long article on how Vueling Club works here.  Vueling Club is operated via avios.com and you can log in on avios.com to manage your account and book redemptions.

Vueling Club is revenue based for earning and redeeming.  The number of Avios you earn is based on how much you spend, and the number of Avios you need for a free seat is based on the cash cost.

However, to confuse matters, you can also earn and redeem on Vueling via Iberia Plus using the standard earn / burn charts.  The only way to work out which route is the better deal on any particular day is to check both.

Vueling flights from the UK are also bookable via ba.com as a British Airways codeshare.  This allows you to earn Avios and tier points directly, although you may pay more this way than booking direct.

Want to learn more?

Vueling has a special page on its website dedicated to these new products which you can find here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. On Monday flew CDG-MAD on Vueling and an irate business class passenger was complaining loudly how because she got on the bus last there were no seats left. On board instead of just finding her seat she was walking up and down the aisle complaining loudly for all to hear how there was limited overhead locker space for her as a business class passenger. Both problems I feel could have been averted if she’d gotten there earlier. She had a point but the DYKHIA approach was lost on others around.

    Also the 10euros for a G&T ‘pack’ is just taking the pith!

    • Had a similar experience on BA this summer, there were CE passengers who didn’t need transfers complaining that Economy pax were getting priority transfer to T3 because the connecting flight was delayed! I wish people like that would read their Ts & Cs, I’m pretty sure there would be no mention of guaranteed seats on buses or overhead locker space ????.

      • the_real_a says:

        I agree, but considering the outrageous prices BA charge for CE not reserving locker space above your head is just petty. Especially since BA flatly refused to invest in the big bins during the recent refurb.

        • And the crew often use the row 1 lockers too..
          Plus the oxygen takes up another one..
          First world problems..

  2. I assume that the difference in ticket price more than covered the “free” stuff included in the fare. It should not have been logistically difficult to offer as it did not have special catering like BA Club Europe has.

    Am I missing something or are the “space” products only offering a reserved seat and priority boarding?

  3. Hey Rob, you have the ticket types all wrong. There are four ticket types – Basic, Optima, Family, TimeFlex. Note that the ticket type that is usually most expensive (TimeFlex) doesn’t come with included checked baggage like Optima does.

    Once you have chosen your ticket type, you can then choose seat type – and all ticket types can choose any seat type, there are no restrictions. You can choose Space One, Space Plus, Space as you outlined above.

    Your list of ‘none of them…’ is depressingly true! But don’t forget Vueling will allow you to buy lounge access for lounges that aren’t open at that time of day, or are in a different, unaccessible, terminal!

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