I am spending the next 14 or perhaps the last 14 days of my trip in Spain as I had to get into the VTL scheme at the point in time to head back to Singapore. It wasn’t easy getting into Bilbao from Porto and there are a limited amount of flights. Most of them require routing back to Lisbon first and I did not want to waste precious time heading back there. Furthermore, there was also a time factor, I have to be out of Portugal and be in Spain by hook or by crook by 2359. As such the only flight that I could get on was on Volotea. I am rather sceptical of such airlines after my Ryanair incident but oh well here we go! It is after all nice to be checking out a new airline.
Booking Process & Checking In
When booking for my flights we got the combo which includes XL front row seats, Flex booking, priority boarding, checked baggage as well as one basic snack. The real value is the checked baggage since we have to have it. After calculating the price, it is actually the same as getting baggage on the side as such the combo was a better idea. For our flights, we paid 103 SGD each which is decent.
Do remember to check in online and get your boarding pass printed, if not you will have to pay a fee to do so at the airport. That goes with most budget airlines in Europe where they grab money for everything. I arrived around 9.20am, 3 hours ahead of my flight. This is despite the fact that the check in counters only opens 2 hours before my flight at 1225. I’m terrified of another Ryanair incident. I do try my very best to avoid budget airlines in Europe but sometimes only they operates the direct route. It’s really not about the cost-saving when, to be honest it is around the same after booking fees and baggage and you are 99% likely to have baggage given that you are travelling over from Singapore on a Europe trip. Volotea uses check in counters 61-62 which are located all the way to the right of the terminal at the far end. Check in finally starts at 1045, it took a while but was smooth at least if you have everything prepared. Get your Vaccination Cert, ART Test and PLF form ready. Security was crowded and took another 10 minutes. Porto airport is pretty decent airport and although the priority pass lounge was closed and I simply waited in a quiet corner. Just don’t do your testing at the airport.
Volotea A319 XL Front Row Seats
Boarding started on time and I was the first to board just as the passengers from the previous flight were deplaning. Yes, I was surprised too but well Volotea does not clean the planes between flights as expected! That was shocking, especially during these times. Do prepare some sanitizing wipes to wipe down high contact areas like the armrest and headrest. The previous pax barely deplaned before I boarded. Despite us having a gate, we got to board via stairs for reasons I can’t comprehend.
I was warmly welcomed by the staff. The service was warm and lovely. I love to hear a Hola. The crew looks sharp in their red uniform. Volotea seats are in a 3-3 configuration and I was seated in row 1 where the XL seats are located. I could choose these for free and the leg space is super awesome. They came in at almost 1.5 times the normal ones. They are excellent for stretching out and it is very luxurious for a flight of this distance. The flight was about half-full and funny enough 15 pax did not board in time.
I actually do like their seats and in fact, I will say that they are even more padded than those from Lufthansa / Swiss / BA. Much better than those slimline seats. Width wise they are around the same. We are the only ones in the row so it’s something like business and even better with the leg space.
Due to the missing passengers, we end up departing about 30 mins late and only push back at 1240. Upon levelling off, we are rather left alone and the staff appears to be having some sort of a party of their own with tapas. There is no service to speak of. I have to remind them about the snacks included and we got some peanuts and water. Why not?
It was a much better flight than expected. I was afraid that it would be a disaster like Ryan Air but it turn out to be much better. Everything was actually pretty good and the only dodgy part I was afraid of was the reputation and afraid that the flight will be cancelled. Getting the combo was a good idea since it was more worth it and we get to choose seats in advance as well as baggage. We landed roughly 30 mins late and by the time we deplane, it is already close to 3.10pm. Here comes the Spain part of my trip. Entrance into Spain regarding Covid regulations was fast all we had to do was scan the QR code upon arrival. One of my better Intra-Europe flights!