My outbound flight was bad. The flight was completely full and most passengers had lots of hand luggage. The crew moved things around in the overhead lockers and handed smaller bags to passengers to make room for the larger bags. Unlike most airlines though, they alowed passengers to pile these bags up on their laps rather than ensuring they were properly stowed under seats. If there had been an emergency, this stuff would have gone flying everywhere and blocked passengers' exit routes. That said, I'd probably have gone flying everywhere too as my seatbelt was badly worn. If that aircraft had have been a car I'm sure it would fail it's MOT.
Despite flying between UK and the Netherlands, all announcements were made primarily in Spanish with only broken English summaries. OK, this is a Spanish airline but I'm pretty sure that English is the primary international language for the aviation industry. This might be why I was unable to buy snacks or drinks onboard. Some people seemed to receive an at-seat service quite late into the flight so this may have been announced only in Spanish.
On arrival, it transpired that my bags hadn't been loaded on the flight, despite me checking in well ahead of time. It looked like this flight was destined for Spain with LTN and AMS being stopovers for most of the Spanish passengers so I suspect that they simply didn't want the hassle of loading and unloading bags at these airports. It took them 3 days to get my bags to me.
The return flight looked like it might get off to a beter start as I was offered a complimentary exit row seat on check-in. I was also invited to check in my cabin bag for free too. I took up these offers but, as I had not planned to check in my cabin bag, forgot to remove a detachable phone charger that slots into the case. On boarding, having bought a bottle of wine at the airport, I was told by the crew to place this under the seat in front of me rather than overhead. As a frequent flier I'm aware that nothing can be placed on the floor in exit rows as it may obstruct the exit so pointed out that I was in an exit row seat and asked the crewmember if they were sure they wanted me to place my bag on the floor. They confirmed that this was what I should do. Once in my seat I remained unhappy with this so asked another crewmember. She confirmed that nothing should be paced on the floor and blamed her coleague's error on "language difficulties". As with the flight out; bags on laps, people with seatbelts undone and blinds closed at take-off and landing. the crew didn't check diligently and I'm glad we didn't need to rely on them in an emergency.
There were several delays prior to take-off, which seemed to be due to Vueling's inability to board passengers effectively. We took off more than half an hour after the scheduled time. On landing, the Captain's watch must have been slow so, despite the wheels touching down at 1903hrs, he announced that it was1900hrs - bang on time would you believe? Not a huge issue but possibly indicative of the integrity of Vueling staff.
The late arrival meant that we had to wait about 20 mins before being able to disembark and then clashed with other flight arrivals at Border Control, meaning huge queues. However, at least my bags were there when I reached the reclaim. On collecting my cabin bag though (the one I hadn't intended to check in) I noticed that the flap covering the slot for my battery pack was open and the pack was missing. I tried to report this to the ground handling staff but they would not even discuss the matter, pointing out that Vueling policy is that they take no responsibility whatsoever for items that go missing whilst in their care. I insisted that I wanted to record the matter before leaving the baggage hall and was eventually directed to call Vueling. On doing so, I was dismissed by a Vuelling representative who reiterated that they take no responsibility for missing items and hung up on me! Regardless of any internal policy, all ailines have a responsibility to take care of passengers' belongings and are bound by EU and international laws to do so. Any company that cites policy (which is subordinate to law and therefore irrelevant) that undermines this is clearly unscrupulous. Are Vueling giving handling staff a free reign to steall from baggage and trying to cover this up with their "policy"?
I'm waiting to hear back from Vueling regarding my complaint and wil update this post accordingly if they do.
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