BCN - BRU VY8988 Y / AIRBUS A320-200 - 08/10/2015: HERE AMS - BCN HV5133 Y / BOEING 737-800 - 10/10/2015: Yet to come
Preface: I wanted to visit a couple of universities in the Netherlands where I am considering continue my further studies. Maastricht was one of the places we had to go so we had three options to get there, fly to Düsseldorf, Brussels or Eindhoven. Vueling seemed a good choice too and fares to Brussels were quite good. Additionally, by booking this flight we would be able to have nearly a full day in Maastricht which was a plus taking into consideration we had an appointment the following day and we were not actually expecting to have a full day in Maastricht. Therefore, we booked this flight to Brussels as one way. On Saturday 10th, an Open Day was held in Rotterdam so for our return flight we would have to fly either from Rotterdam itself or Amsterdam. The only available flight from Rotterdam to Barcelona was an early departure so we ruled out this option. Thus, our only option was to fly out of Amsterdam which left us with three possible airlines: KLM, Vueling or Transavia. There was a good-priced Transavia flight that departed AMS at 19:00, this timetable would work for us so we'd be able to spend the morning in Rotterdam so we decided to go for it. Our routing was then completed.
Our flight departed Barcelona at 06:55. Having checked-in online previously, we drove to the airport at around 05:00 arriving there at approximately 05:30. The airport was empty as there weren't many flights departing at that time. Our flight was supposed to be leaving on time.
We cleared security controls in 5 minutes, the line was very short and we were soon wandering around the Duty Free. Take a look at how empty the airport was!
We didn't have a lot of time before boarding for our flight so we decided to walk to the gate which was B40 today. Here is a picture of our airplane EC-HQJ (an ex-Iberia and Clickair 15-year-old Airbus A320-200). A huge queue had already been formed when we got there but there was nobody from Vueling in the gate which was rather weird taking into consideration boarding should have had already started. I then decided to check our flight's status online and was found out we were expected to have a two hour delay. Not a good start.
A Vueling crew member announced we were delayed because of lack of personnel and French air traffic controllers strike so we decided to go for a walk around the airport. It was surprising that the screens in the airport were not showing the delay. After half an hour, we were told we were going to start boarding in about half an hour which would result in a one hour delay instead of the two-hour delay previously announced. Time to board the plane!
We were offered some Spanish local newspapers.
My seat today was 08F, here is a picture of the view from my window.
The pitch was really tight, one of the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced. I suppose all of Vueling's planes have the same pitch but to me, it looked like this plane's pitch was worse than the Vueling plane I flew about a month ago from Paris to Barcelona.
Pushing back at 08:10. Another Vueling Airbus A320.
Views of Terminal 1 during our taxi to the runway.
Taxiing towards runway 25L.
Iberia Airbus A321 for Madrid.
Takeoff runway 25L at 08:20.
V1, rotate. Positive climb, gear up.
Views of the Catalan coast climbing shortly after takeoff.
Views of Montserrat mountain.
We soon reached our cruising altitude which was 36000 feet during this flight.
Here you can see the interior of the plane, typical configuration on a LCC A320.
Vueling's magazine Ling
We had a very smooth flight with clear skies and no turbulence at all. After about 1h 15 minutes of flight, we started our descent.
It seems like we were going to have a cloudy day in Brussels.
Flaps full, landing gear down. Cleared to land.
Touched down at 10:00 AM. Spoilers deployed, reverse thrust.
Taxiing to the gate. I experienced one of the longest taxis ever, not because the gate was too far, it was because we stopped for 5-10 minutes before continuing to our gate. I would have liked to know why.
We landed in the right place, Brussels Airport :D. Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100.
Many Brussels Airlines Airbuses A330 were there. Probably for their African destinations or New York/Washington.
We parked right next to the gate from where my flight to NY in August departed from. What a coincidence!
Some pictures of a Brussels Airlines A320 with the Red Devils livery and the airport.
Bonus: To get to Maastricht, we had to change trains twice. First we changed train in Leuven.
Once in Leuven, we got on a train to Liège. Pictures of Liège's modern train station.
Finally, in Liège we got on the last train to Maastricht.
We arrived in Maastricht at 12:15, Maastricht's train station was very beautiful and old.
Barcelona - BCN
Brussels - BRU
Vueling is known in Spain for its endless delays. Their pitch is very tight and the seats aren't too comfortable at all. They are successful because of their cheap fares but if you're expecting something more, you should avoid flying with them. Our flight was delayed as practically always with Vueling, don't know who's fault was because we were told it was because of French ATC strike but also because of lack of personnel. I would recommend Vueling only if it is your only choice and the fare is reasonable, if not, go for another option. For a short flight like this one Vueling is bearable, but I would not like to find myself on such a tight Vueling plane for 4+ hours in their new routes to Istanbul or Accra.
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