The other week I went to Spain via flights from Vueling. Spain was fantastic! Vueling however, have gone down in history as operating the most horrific planes I've experienced, and frankly, I get on a lot of planes. I'd never flown with then before (hell, I never even heard of them before), and having now done so twice the idea of a third flight is about as appealing as a romantic evening with Fred and Rose West.
So, once I was back I decided to mention this on twitter, to which they replied and suggested I send them an e-mail with more details. I did. They ignored it completely. I can't imagine why. It's almost as though they might not like having to answer some of the questions I posed to them. Interesting.
So, for posterity, for their own publicity, and frankly as a guide to the world for how to write a complaint letter, here's what I sent to Vueling. Who knows, maybe they'll even have the common courtesy to reply once it's public.
"Last weekend I had the misfortune of getting my first flights with Vueling. On getting on the first place I discovered that not only could I not physically fit in the seat, but due to the position I would need to contort myself into to even come close to sitting down it meant that the customers either side of me were completely unable to use their tray tables for the entire flight. At fact that was quickly established once one of them rammed the metal bracket into my knee while trying to do so.
On my return flight the situation was so bad that I ended up sitting on the arm rest of my chair for the entire journey back to London. The crew were well aware of this, having already had struggled to get passed me with their trolly only to find that it was a physical impossibility for me to move out of their way, and gave me many apologetic looks.
Apparently though, the complex task of moving me to sit in one of the many free seats with extra legroom was "completely impossible" as I hadn't offered to pay an additional fare for the privilege of basic comfort.
Allow me to put this VERY simply. My height is genetic. Genetic in the same manner that my gender is. In the same manner that my skin colour is. In the same manner that any of countless disabilities are. They are not a choice. They are not a result of lifestyle choices. Your "kind offer" for me to pay more to have a basic level of comfort is discrimination. And no, before you attempt it; "common practice" amongst airlines does not prevent that statement from being true. I do however look forward to, and will expect you to explicitly address it in your response, lest this become a significantly more public blog post rather than an email, your explanation as to why you consider this to be acceptable.
Finally, you may have noticed that I've ignored the basic safety risks of being unable to sit on your planes. What would have happened had there been sudden turbulence (or worse) and I was injured due to the embarrassing state of your aircraft? Were I at my seat with no belt on then it would have been my fault. When your staff are repeatedly shrugging at me as they struggle to get passed me, it doesn't take an intellectual to establish that the blame would be entirely yours."
It's been 10 days, at the time of writing, that they've failed to reply. If Vueling ever do reply I'll be sure to update this and let you know how it goes.