Old Jul 4, 2016, 9:44 AM
Alex Bellars Alex Bellars is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 1
Angry Vueling flight VY8773 cancelled

I booked a flight with Vueling from London Gatwick to Paris Charles de Gaulle (flight number VY8773). Flight departure was scheduled for 21:20, arrival in Paris for 23:35). I received a confirmatory email on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 10:06, with the confirmation number PH5W6B.

I was on the train to Gatwick, and happened to be checking my emails when I saw an email from Vueling, as follows - including all unclear language:
__________________________________________________ _______________
Last update

We're sorry to because your flight flight will not operate, but we have changed you onto the next available flight.

You can consult the new flight by visiting "Your reservation" section on our Web or App, or calling our Client Attention Centre.

Booking number:

Please contact Client Attention Centre for changes or refund.

You can contact our special telephone number +34 93 122 08 51 from Barcelona ,+34 902 808 009 from Spain, +33 184 884 814 from France, +39 0694 801 256 from Italy, and +34 93 122 00 55 from other countries.

We're sorry for the inconvenience caused.
__________________________________________________ _______________
The "next available flight" to which they referred was a Vueling flight leaving at 19:35 to Barcelona, followed by an 8 hour 40 minute stopover and then a flight to Paris the following morning, arriving at 09:40. As my train to Gatwick was scheduled to arrive at 19:08, but was running a few minutes late in any case, I had technically already missed check-in time for this "next available flight" before I had even arrived at the airport... (Even if I HAD been able to get this flight, it would mean that I would miss the event for which I was travelling to Paris in the first place.)

On arrival at Gatwick, I spent the next few minutes assessing my options, and calling friends to see if they had any ideas. I was told by a customer services representative in the queue of people trying to sort out an alternative option that I would not get on a Vueling plane that evening, and recommending that I ask for compensation, which they indicated would be at least €250.

I then managed to arrange to stay with a friend near Gatwick, which allowed me the time to further assess my options. Following a lengthy online search, I found a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle on Saturday morning which would get me to Paris - too late for the beginning of the event I was due to attend, but better than nothing. I decided to book a return flight, by now having lost all confidence in Vueling. (See email exchange below*.) I also contacted the Vueling complaint line via their website, and sent my initial request for compensation.

My British Airways flight was considerably more expensive than the Vueling one had been (£349.91 in total). I was also obliged to book a coach ticket home from LHR to Ringwood on the Sunday evening, as I would no longer be able to use the return part of the rail ticket I already had, from LGW. This ticket cost me £28.70.

Following my complaint to Vueling via their Customer Services website, I received this email from the Solicitud section of their operation:
__________________________________________________ _______________

Dear customer,

Thank you for contacting Vueling’s Customer Service Centre. We are processing your request and we will be in contact with you.

Because of an unexpected increase in activities due to extraordinary circumstances beyond our control, we regret not being able to give a prompt reply as usual. Please accept our apologies and we assure you that we will answer your request as soon as possible.

We would like to take this occasion to send you our warmest greetings and thank you for the trust you have placed in our company.

Best regards,

Customer Service Department
Vueling Airlines, S.A.

Your reference number is:
[SR_Number: 1-6599342546]

Please use this reference for future queries about your case, or click reply on this email.
__________________________________________________ _______________
I responded as follows:

Dear Vueling,

1) I have already processed a demand for compensation via your website for the cancelled flight on Friday.

2) I have no trust in your company as a result of the chaotic way in which the situation was handled

3) I have been obliged to cancel my return flight with you. I have had to book a flight with another airline instead, to Heathrow instead of Gatwick. As a result I have also had to book a coach home instead of the return train ticket I had already purchased. I will be expecting compensation for both of these.

Alex Bellars

I have not heard from that branch of their operation since then.

I proceed to have an excellent flight with BA, and a wonderful - if rather curtailed - weekend. I contacted Vueling, again via their Customer Services website, to inform them that I would not be using the return part of my ticket.

Despite this fact, I received a series of emails about the return flight, as follows (I have numbered them in the order received):
__________________________________________________ _______________
1: received Sunday 3/7/16 at 18:25

Last update

We regret to inform you that, due to restriction in air traffic control, your flight may be delayed.

We will keep you informed by SMS and push messages.

Sorry for the inconveniences

Please check your new departure time clicking at "+Info".
__________________________________________________ _______________
2: received Sunday 3/7/16 at 19:22

Last update

We're sorry for any inconvenience caused by your late departure.

You can request a change of flight if you wish.

Please contact to our airport staff in case you want to change your booking.

Please bear in mind that if you wish to change your flight and you have checked in your baggage, you must inform the staff at the boarding gate in order to recover it.

If you have a connecting flight that is affected, you must contact Transit to see the options available to you.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Please check your new departure time clicking at "+Info".
__________________________________________________ _______________
3) : received Sunday 3/7/16 at 19:59

Last update

Your flight is due to depart shortly.

Please check the airport displays to find your gate number and make your way to the boarding gate.

Please check your new departure time clicking at "+Info".
__________________________________________________ _______________

It is now 10:38 on Monday 4/7/16 and I have had no further communication from either the Communication branch or the Complaints branch of Vueling.

Alex Bellars
cancelled flight, communication failure, compensation, complaint, vueling

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