Just as Ryanair is trying to lose its bad customer service reputation, it seems that Vueling is trying to take its place, with a website that rarely works like it's supposed to.
I have flown with Vueling twice this year and both times it was a catastrophe.
The first time, an email from Vueling told me I could check in 'up to four hours' before my flight. Except this is not possible - in fact, Lisbon requires that you check in 24 hours in advance. Not only was this not made clear by Vueling, it actually seemed like their system didn't even know why I couldn't check in, coming up with a different error message each time I tried.
As a result, my wife and I were forced to get up an hour earlier to check in at the airport. The ground staff there said they had heard about this problem numerous times and had told Vueling but the airline had done nothing about it.
Flying again with Vueling yesterday, I made sure to ignore the airline's advice about checking in up to four hours in advance, just in case they were wrong again. But this time I had other difficulties. Check out this screenshot: Vueling Check-In Problems. Where is the explanatory text? What am I selecting? I had the same problem in Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The only way to fix the problem was to check in using the Spanish site.
The problems didn't end there. I decided that rather than looking for a place to print in Bilbao, I would try their mobile phone boarding pass instead. However, Vueling will only provide you with a link to an online version of your boarding pass. I don't have mobile data on my phone at present. The only way to show this boarding pass would be to have an active internet connection at the airport, or to hope that your web browser doesn't lose your pass (it lost mine). Vueling will email you a pdf of your normal boarding pass, but it doesn't send your mobile boarding pass.
So what are the solutions to these Vueling check-in issues? I don't know how many more problems might exist with Vueling (the email I received today about yesterday's flight suggests there are many more problems with Vueling that I've, fortunately, not yet encountered) but here are my solutions to the problems I have experienced so far:
- Check-in at least 24 hours before your flight is due to take off, not 4 hours Maybe Vueling can get in touch and say which airports don't allow check-in four hours before flying, but until they do, err on the side of caution and check-in early.
- Use the Vueling app for Android and iOS Not possible for everyone, I know, but I had an excellent experience with the Vueling app. You can check in on the app and save your boarding to your phone or tablet's photo gallery.
- Use the Spanish version of the site (perhaps using Google Translate) This tip works best if you do speak Spanish, as Google Translate doesn't normally play nicely with online forms, but it does seem that Vueling tries harder with its Spanish site than with other languages, so if you can use the Spanish site, you should.
Neither solution is ideal and there may be other problems with Vueling's check-in system, but these two tips may help you if you are having difficulties getting your Vueling boarding pass.