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. Millenials have a lot to answer for. In addition to tiny typefaces on apps, their constant moaning and whining, their insistence on the latest gluten free or whatever fad diet, plus general pretentious attitude, I’d like to divide a Club Europe ciabatta into three and slowly shove it up their collective .a…

    • I have a LEVEL flight to Vienna next month thanks to the €1 flights on here. Presume I can credit to Iberia? Otherwise do I need to open a vueling account? All the booking etc. Is via the vueling website.

    • Jane’s having a normal one

    • +1

    • the_real_a says:

      No joke, on a recent visit to a US college campus to organise a conference the risk assessment required the provision of a separate area called a “safe space” in case students became offended at the speakers and presumably cuddle kittens… I am still bewildered today how some of this lot coming through colleges and universities will cope with the real world. And I still marginally qualify as a millennial myself!

    • The feeling is mutual.

  2. Oh… plus the fact that Curve cards now have no embossed numbers, replaced by the tiniest numbers on the reverse of the card plus room for half my signature… My Curve card has been cut into two as a consequence.

    • Tiny typefaces, tiniest numbers, perhaps a trip to Specsavers is in order.

    • +1 Jane is the voice of reason

    • I a glad o see the back of embossed numbers although I can remember when the card machine pressed the multiple sheets of the credit card voucher down onto them to get the number. They are not easy to read for older people especially on Amex Platinum.
      But I agree with the general sentiment.

    • I think this is a security issue, as with Amexes, that all the numbers you need to make an online purchase are all visible on the same side of the card.

    • My new curve didn’t have CVV code of 3 digits. Only realised when I making a payment online.

  3. OT:
    I changed my date of travel on an IB avios redemption on a BA flight the original date was peak 120,000 avios but the new date is off peak102,000 avios.Will IB recredit the 18,000 back to my
    IB account ?

    • No unless you remind them.

    • Yes they will. You just need to repeatedly ask the same question 47 times on the Internet and Iberia’s magic web trawler picks it up and deals with it. Just sit back, relax, and the Avios will reappear on the 49th of Octobary.

  4. Reeferman says:

    Well that’s me done with Vueling in light of these changes.
    I used to fly a couple of times a year between AGP and AMS. The “Excellence” fare was great – no-one in the middle seat, “free” food/drink, guaranteed over-head luggage space (monitored by the flight attendants) and lounge access.
    Will now switch to Easyjet on this route as Vueling has managed to get rid of all its USPs.

  5. A LEVELisation of vueling like LEVEL Austria?

  6. Does Vueling flight count as BA tier eligibility flights?

    • It used to when you could book via BA. But I have not been able to book via BA for sometime. So don’t think so anymore.

    • Booked with a BA flight code I think it would, yes. I won’t under a Vueling flight code.

  7. The key here is that they sent the former Optima fare to the butcher. The reason is the former Optima fare did include the most valuable benefit: “Bring your flight forward” for free on the same day. Essentially, this was the benefit business travellers focus on. Excellence had only 4 seats per plane, while with Optima, it´s pretty much the same. It was pointless to book Excellence, then meeting finished earlier, but there was no first row seats available on earlier flights…
    Now they created TimeFlex specifically for that benefit “Bring you flight forward” while it doesn´t include luggage in hold. The new Optima fare now does not include “Bring your flight forward”.

  8. Very sad about this! I will miss the empty seat next to me in row one. The rest of the things can be bought as extras, but having a guarantee of no-one spilling over onto me was always worth paying a little extra. Looking at my already booked future Excellence flights, they seem to have blocked the seat next to me, so I’m hoping they deliver what I have already purchased.

  9. It’s a shame that Vueling couldn’t make a 4 seat ‘business’ cabin work – are there any other airlines that make a (kind of) business class work from the secondary type cities? This was the only one I knew of in Europe.

  10. “(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.)”

    I’m glad you were – I fought with Vueling for close to 2 months to be repaid £5 for a Pret meal when I was delayed going to Rome.

    The one Excellence fare I’ve ever done (BCN-MAD) was fairly rubbish, ordered the entire breakfast menu (in my mind I was ‘maximising value’) and it was like eating greased up cardboard.

    Level in my experiences with them have been a much better airline (although they should sort out their Avios earning)

  11. The best value fare on Vueling is not to fly Vueling at all. It’s only good value if it’s reliable and give you what you aim for, and it even at its basic level it frequently fails at. This airline is also an appalling indictment on the lack teeth in consumer law. Really terrible airline, I really wish it wasn’t promoted as good option here. For all the criticism of Ryanair, it isn’t the worst airline in Europe…

    • Definitely. I last flew them in February as part of a AMEX travel £50 off spend £200 deal to Rome with 2 nights in a hotel and the legroom on the way back meant I could barely walk when we landed at Gatwick. I’d choose Ryanair over them in a heartbeat of the price was equal

  12. 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..

  13. 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?

  14. 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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