My wife and I just returned from a short trip to Portugal and Spain .Booked a flight from Porto to Granada via Barcelona , flying with Vueling . # 1 The flight was delayed five hours in Porto , therefore we missed are second flight from Barcelona to Granada . Finally found someone to help us re book the missed flight .# 2 Second flight was delayed five hours , they couldn't find a plane instead everyone had to fly with a different company . # 3 Just as the plane was entering Granada , the pilot announced that Granada airport was closed and he had to fly to Malaga instead. # 4 Two in the morning we arrived in Malaga we asked the airline rep to find a hotel for us , this was rejected . Two hours later everyone was put on a coach which dropped everyone down town early in the morning . Never again . During each section of the trip , there was no one to help , the service was terrible .
That can be a serious problem with the discounts airlines. Lack of service simply because they do not have the personnel necessary. You tend to get what you pay for. We were just having that discussion about dealing with problems when things go wrong. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/how-to-feel-better-when-things-go-wrong
Yours is better story 'cause it really went wrong. The mark of a good traveler is how they deal with challenges.
Agreeing with Frank, that's one thing I've noticed about European travel: you tend to get what you pay for, or let's put it this way, you rarely get what you don't pay for.
Really sorry about your experience but I tend to agree with Frank. Although Vueling usually gets pretty good reviews it is a budget airline and you do get what you pay for. I'm sure if you read the fine print on the ticket (or on their website) it spells out what their responsibility is in cases such as this. One thing in particular was not the airlines fault (the Granada airport being closed) unless that airport is always closed after a particular time at night, in which case the Vueling flight being late would have triggered that problem also. But, in the end, they got you to your destination - albeit a bit delayed (understatement) - so they probably fulfilled their responsibility. It's one thing to consider when booking a flight on a budget airline to save $$.
For myself and my wife , it was all apart of the adventure . Being seasoned travelers , and living in numerous countries . presently residing in Brazil and Seattle , I just wanted people to beware of our experience , and just keep it in mind when choosing a airline.
You should be looking at an EU261/2004 claim if the flight delays were not outside the control of the airline.
It can happen on a well-considered airline too. Just happened to friends of ours on Austrian Airlines--not a discount--but they didn't even get to their destination with the airline the next morning. After six hours of no news, no offer of a flight anywhere, they bought train tickets at CDG to get to Vienna. Now they are appealing to the EU 261 commission to get reimbursed because Austrian says they aren't responsible, that United issued the tickets. By the way the flight wasn't delayed; it was canceled. They were never told why, never told their rights, never offered food or lodging--all required by EU 261. So you've got company in this miserable situation.
Bets' comment about the United/Austrian flight raises an interesting point about codeshares. I had a similar experience on a Delta/KLM codeshare – because my ticket was purchased through Delta, KLM handled a flight-related problem differently… I wasn't treated as one their customers.
It's getting harder to avoid codeshares, but I'm going to try for that on my next trip. When problems occur, resolution seems to be better if you paid that airline for the ticket.
We also had a problem with Vueling. Our itinerary consisted of three flights--Barcelona to Geneva, Geneva to London and London to Phoenix. The Barcelona-Geneva leg was on Iberia (according to our tickets), but operated by Vueling, and the other two flights were on British Airways. Our Iberia/Vueling flight was 30 minutes late due to a mechanical problem and we missed our connection in Geneva. British Airways refused to honor our tickets because Vueling was the contractor, even though Iberia is one of their partners. Therefore, we had to buy new tickets on KLM/Delta to get home. We made the reservations on Expedia. So, we've contacted our credit company and asked them to reverse the charge since we didn't get what we paid for, and have filed a claim with Allianz (travel insurance). We've also sent complaint letters to the CEO's of Vueling, BA and Expedia.
Connections can be hard to avoid, but they dramatically increase your risk of missing flights because of delays in the first flight. You have to be prepared for that and try and schedule flights with enough connection time to absorb at least a 30-60 minute delay. And just go with the flow if you miss your flight (stressful I know but out of your control). Codeshare flights are also risky in that the alternate airline has less interest in satisfying your needs when things go wrong. And budget airlines are cheap in part because they have very limited staffing and customer service. You really get what you pay for with them.
As someone else noted, you are entitled to compensation per EU regulations for the delayed flights. There are online services that will pursue your case for you for a percentage of the reimbursement. Save all documents.
To add to some of the comments here regarding code share, etc., for this reason I always, or at least try to, book my flights and hotels directly with the provider. I know this costs a premium and I'm probably missing out on all sorts of great deals from online retailers, but to me, the added cost is worth the peace of mind and hopefully, the performance of said provider. So in the end if something does go wrong, the provider will likely have no other party to blame (i.e., travel agent, online retailer, partner airline) but themselves.
John, did you try contacting Vueling directly? We had a similar problem with them a couple of weeks ago. Our flight was delayed due to mechanical problems and that caused us to miss our connecting flight on British Airways. British Airlines refused to honor our tickets and ultimately cancelled them. They pointed the finger at Vueling, Vueling blamed British Airways, and both blamed Expedia (i.e. where we booked the tickets). We had to buy new tickets on KLM to get home, which cost us US$5,700. We sent a chronological account of the entire experience to all three companies along with copies of our original itinerary and receipts for the new tickets. Vueling contacted us and said they'd reimburse us. So, you might be able to get them to reimburse you for the flights you missed or the hotel.
I had a bad experience with them as well. We arrived an hour (this is our fault) before our flight. Checking in was slow as seemingly everyone in line had an argument over checked baggage fees (additional 40 Euros.) The gates close 30 minutes prior to take off and we did not make it. They are strict about the gate close time. They charged us an additional 130 Euro per person "rescue fee" to book another flight the following morning. The ticketing line is full of angry people and the people who work there are fed up as well. It's just a situation to avoid.