Vueling Airlines Honeymoon Horror Story - DO NOT FLY THEM EVER

SUMMARY OF VUELING AIRLINES HORROR STORY
- flight cancelled with no notification by Vueling
- bags lost (11 days and counting)
- Vueling is impossible to reach and phone system and reps hang up on you when you do (sent literally a hundreds messages/calls as well as e-mails/Linkedin to senior execs, customer service and marketing people
- We've received no compensation and told we will get none

I have taken hundreds of flights (both business and pleasure) with tons of airlines but never knew that in the 21st century, there were still airlines with practices like Vueling. Their business practices are truly remarkable and in my mind, downright illegal. My wife and I took a Vueling flight from Dubrovnik to Santorini connecting in Rome on August 22nd. When we arrived in Rome around 4pm, we were informed that our 6:55pm flight to Santorini no longer exists (it is now a 12:45pm flight which we had already missed). Vueling didn't notify me or our travel agency Classic Travel and we were left stranded.

Our travel agent rebooked us on a flight to Athens that night with a flight to Santorini the next morning (already missing a day of our honeymoon). I went to Vueling's baggage desk in Rome (which also runs 10 other airlines) and was informed it was impossible to get our bags there since they were already checked to Santorini and that they "100% would arrive in Santorini on the next flight out tomorrow". After pleading and begging to get our bags, he said it was impossible. I asked about filing a claim and he advised not to since we were not at our final destination and it could just delay our bags from getting their tomorrow. We arrived the next day at 9am, our bags were supposed to be on a flight landing at 4pm so we went to the hotel (again couldn't file a claim as our bags were coming on a later flight).

Now it is 11 days later and counting, still on our honeymoon and no bags. The airlines denies any compensation (the only offer a measly 50 Euro a day anyway) because we didn't file a claim at the airport. Of course we didn't file a claim per the advice of their rep. And, we couldn't as we weren't at our final destination in Rome and in Santorini, we arrived before our bags were supposed to arrive.

We have spent countless hours trying to get ahold of someone at Vueling Lost Luggage Dept which is nearly impossible. We were hung up on every time we tried to connect to a person, then when we finally reached one, she hung up on me on purpose after she could not give us answers to anything. We've also posted all over twitter, facebook, messaged the CEO on LinkedIn, e-mailed 50+ company executive (can provide e-mails to others who need them) and haven't heard a word from them. It's truly remarkable how a business can operate like this in the 21st century.

All I can say is truly do not ever book a flight on Vueling. It is worst than this story even sounds and they truly are not an airline with any care for their customers, even those on their honeymoon. I hope I can save others from the experience my wife and I have had on Vueling. DO NOT FLY THEM!!

Posted by brandone2525
5 posts

Thanks Carol, it truly is unfortunate, especially on a honeymoon. I have never had a flight changed without notification nor have I had my bags lost for more than a couple days. In both cases, it shows poor business processes but it's really the way they have treated me and seemingly many other customers if you read their Facebook and Twitter which is completely unacceptable. A simple call or something more than than pointing me to a link that says "No info, check back later". They really need to be forced to change their practices as I can't imagine how many people like me have spent a lot of money and had vacations ruined, valuables and sentimental things lost and tons of frustration with zero response/care from Vueling.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1512 posts

Advisable to never book especially a low cost carrier via a travel agent. It confuses the chain of communication.

What I don't get with this one though is why the bags were through checked from Dubrovnik onto a flight that no longer existed ... all very odd.

I suggest you claim off your travel insurance and let them sort it all out as they will carry more clout. Presuming you had some of course.

Posted by brandone2525
5 posts

Marco, the flight we booked was cancelled without notifying us so we were stranded in Rome. You do bring up another good point though as the Vueling agent in Dubrovnik checked us through to Santorini without telling us of the change. She just told us we needed to get our connection tickets in Rome and when we arrived, we found out the flight was changed to 3 hours before we arrived so we could never have gotten on it.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1512 posts

So what did your baggage receipt say regarding the connecting flight?

Posted by Bob
Bristol, UK
319 posts

I assume that Vueling thought you would be flying on that 12.45 flight the next day. When you didn't show up at the gate, they took your bags out of the hold, as is standard practice in airlines all over the world. Your bags might have contained explosives. Why was it so important to arrive in Santorini at 9 a.m. after an overnight break in Athens, rather than take a direct flight arriving at 4 p.m.?

As to the poor response from Vueling, I would imagine that they are now frightened to say anything to you for fear that it will be misconstrued and used against them. You are going way over the top, and could be described as a vexatious litigant.

Apart from this little incident, how's the honeymoon going?

Posted by Mary
Boston, MA
126 posts

I am sorry that you are going through this ordeal. I sympathize with you as I went through a somewhat similar situation in 2007. I flew from Boston to Barcelona on Aer Lingus with a layover in Dublin. The first flight was late so my layover became very short and my bag did not make it to Barcelona. A third-party baggage handling company deals with lost luggage for Aer Lingus in Barcelona. I filed a claim and they assured me my bag would be found and delivered to my hotel within 24-48 hours. Of course this did not happen. I called them probably 10 times a day to check on the status of my bag. There was either no answer or if someone did answer, they would just hang up on me. I was courteous when I spoke to them but I think since they could not locate my bag, they would just hang up. Thankfully, I had an extra set of underwear and change of clothes with me, as well as my essential toiletries and camera. After a while I just gave up and decided to enjoy my trip. By the way, my bag arrived three weeks later.

Posted by brandone2525
5 posts

Bob,
We do not like when large companies take advantage of their power as often people won't or can't stick up to them. What we have experienced is something no traveler or customer should have to experience and was completely avoidable or at least could have been handled in a much more professional and more customer service friendly way. Clearly having to spend your honeymoon shopping and trying to track down your bags puts a major damper in it. We tried to forget about it for a few days but it's now 11 days and counting and nothing, plus the way that we have been treated every step of the way by Vueling's awful customer service and processes in place just gets you even angrier. In any case, really hope that others don't have to experience what we have and that Vueling implements major changes to their practices soon as I truly couldn't imagine that their would be an airline operating as they are in this day and age.

Posted by brandone2525
5 posts

Thanks Mary, your story at least gives us some hope of seeing our bags again. Can't imagine where your bags were for those 3 weeks and how they located them then but couldn't within a few days if they had put in some effort.

Posted by asps2
216 posts

Well, I am sort of collecting horror stories about Vueling. I live in Florence where Vueling has many services to/from the airport - in good weather, as troubles begin with even moderate bad weather. Personally, I was on a Barcelona - Florence flight were Vueling did not load any baggage leaving - I do not know why, maybe because the precedent flight was slightly delayed or maybe because there was some wind landing. People at Florence airport told me this is a relatively frequent problem with them as they need to keep airplanes light. Later in the year, my brother was on a Florence to Paris flight scheduled to take off in rain; Vueling first declared baggage was not leaving, then decided that only the first 70 people or so at check-in would leave, again to keep the airplane light as the Florence runway is so short. So some people were laid off in spite of having already checked in. - Most companies have airplanes that have no problem in landing/taking off from the short runway even in bad weather.

Only in the last few weeks there was a small fire on on a Vueling flight arriving in Florence, so that the airplane had to be evacuated by slides. And on Aug. 17 a Vueling flight to Florence was diverted to Bologna on a windy day, but due to indecision about the alternate airport, no bus service was organized from Bologna and travellers had to reach Florence on their own.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8552 posts

Well that sucks. I have flown with Vueling three times now and no problems.. but I have always booked direct flights.. too much can go wrong with connections on those lo cost airlines ( as you know now!)

I would contact the airport in Rome and ask if they have an unclaimed baggage department.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
2604 posts

Back when Delta and Northwest merged, we had a similar problem because computers didn't connect, phone numbers were false, nobody had a clue who was handling luggage, etc. I understand what a horrible experience it can be and think you have been very patient. Delta got their systems straightened out after a few months, but it doesn't look like this will go anywhere soon with Vueling. Thanks for the warning.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10885 posts

It has been my experience that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I'm sorry that you had your experience, and I hope that your honeymoon and marriage go from strength to strength.

Nevertheless you don't sound like somebody it would be much fun to be on the phone with.

You say,

she hung up on me on purpose after she could not give us answers to
anything. We've also posted all over twitter, facebook, messaged the
CEO on LinkedIn, e-mailed 50+ company executive (can provide e-mails
to others who need them) and haven't heard a word from them

The woman who hung up on you after she could not give you answers to anything isn't the one who lost the bag, she probably doesn't know you from Adam. If you were rude and demanding to her (were you, or were you quiet and polite?) you shouldn't really be surprised when she put the phone down.

If you have emailed 50+ company executives (that will cut into your honeymoon, I would have thought) and the CEO, and all over twitter and facebook you shouldn't be surprised at being ignored. You're not giving them a chance to do anything for you.

This is your first and only post here, and I bet we aren't the only forum and website you have posted to.

What is it you would like from the Forum here? Are you looking for sympathy? Or a resolution to your problem? Or are you just shouting as loud as you can to drag their name though the mud and get revenge?

Posted by Terri
Colbert, WA, USA
25 posts

Well, I, brandone2525, do appreciate your heads up about this airline. If I did not have my luggage after 11 days, I would be equally upset. Consumers have so little protection and have suffered so much aggravation due to air travel these days that I believe the use of social media to bring to light appalling customer service is quite appropriate (and welcome in my opinion).

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3042 posts

Bob is probably right: your bags were probably pulled from the flight when you failed to check in for it. Pretty standard security procedure. But that doesn't explain why Vueling wouldn't release the bags to you when you asked other than it would take considerable manpower/time for someone to go and find them. But changing your flight to another airline likely complicated your efforts to get your bags, file claims and deal with them.

A few lessons:
Budget airlines are notorious for their poor customer service. And the standard airlines aren't exactly known for their customer service either.

Working through travel agents nowadays can actually complicate things with airlines. Airlines are geared, in sofar as they have customer service, to work directly with their customers, not through travel agents anymore.

Budget airlines are notorious for their luggage policies. Not just being strict to their rules but they just don't want to deal with checked bags (as some of the above examples show). If taking a budget airline, it really is best if you can meet their carryon requirement without checking a bag.