Trip Report: Volotea Economy Class, Naples – Marseilles

Luca Zocche

All photos by the author, unless otherwise noted.

Booking

Looking to get away from Naples to Southern France, there are two direct options: Easyjet to Nice, or Volotea to Marseille. As Easyjet is known as a low-cost carrier, it was shocking to see that Easyjet’s one-way ticket price was almost double of what Volotea was offering: €200 one way to Nice, versus €75 one way to Marseille. As a result, Volotea was an easy choice to make price wise, and surprisingly, the €75 included both carry-on luggage and seat selection. In addition, I was excited to fly Volotea, as it mainly operates a fleet of Boeing 717s and Airbus A319s, with the former quite rare in Europe.

At the Airport

As Volotea is a low-cost carrier, they encourage their customers to print their boarding passes at home; if you print it at the airport, there is an added fee, similar to Ryanair (Easyjet doesn’t even acknowledge an option to print out your tickets at the airport!). Pre-departure formalities were quick at the airport, with bag drop at the Volotea desk taking only two minutes, and the entire process being completed in around five minutes. As it is the middle of summer, and Naples is a popular destination for tourists, the airport was quite packed. However, security at the airport kept the lines moving, and I got through within 10 minutes.

The line for bag drop in Naples.

As Italy is known for its food, the airport did not disappoint: past security, Venchi operated a gelato stand, and the Duty-Free store dedicated half of its area to Neapolitan and Campanian food! The selection in the airport was quite impressive and is one of the best I’ve seen at any airport around the world.

Naples does not have any jetbridges; as a result, to board planes, you either walk from the main terminal or take a bus to your plane. Gate 17, used by my Volotea flight, is by the main terminal and accessible on foot. Our flight arrived 20 minutes late from Genoa unfortunately, however, incredibly within 15 minutes after its arrival, boarding started. I was expecting for it to take longer to deboard and clean the plane, however, I realized that Volotea’s model depended on these short turnaround times and for the employees on the ground, this was just like any other flight.

In-Flight

The boarding process; to board the plane, you walk down to the tarmac from the terminal, and then walk up the airstairs to the plane.

When I boarded the Boeing 717, I was welcomed by a Volotea flight attendant who greeted passengers in English and Italian. As I reached my seat 22E, a window, I saw one flaw of the quick turnaround time — a dirty seat. Without hesitating, I moved to sit in 22A, which I was only able to do as the flight was not at full capacity, with 88 passengers flying today.

Sitting in the seat and getting settled down, I was surprised that there was no safety card in the seatback pocket and no seatback pocket at all. The safety card was attached to the seat in front. However, possibly due to the lack of a seatback pocket, the legroom was surprisingly large for a low-cost airline. The recline of the seat was great as well, however, a flaw in this was that the legroom available to the passenger in the back was quite restricted. However, I was already liking the legroom and recline already, and out of all my seat experiences on a low-cost carrier, this was one of the best, especially compared to Easyjet’s and Ryanair’s seats.

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We pushed back and taxied to Runway 06 for departure. However, ATC allowed two aircraft to land before clearing us for takeoff, adding onto our twenty-minute delay. After takeoff, the aircraft turned left and flew right over Naples, giving passengers some beautiful views of the city.

As we reached cruising altitude, flight attendants passed out menus to passengers. This was the only print object given to passengers, with Volotea not publishing an in-flight magazine, and the safety card printed on the back of the seat.

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The menu was simple and mundane, with nothing out of the ordinary compared to other airlines. Given the airline’s brand, creative livery, and their business model, it was almost a disappointment to see nothing special. The menu items for purchase were not too expensive, however, I didn’t see a need to buy anything on such a short flight.

During the service portion of the flight, the crew was very attentive and had smiles on their faces the whole time — a great representation of the company. I talked with one of the three flight attendants on the flight and found that she was from Aruba — quite a surprise and something that you wouldn’t find every day on a smaller European carrier!

Flying over the Etang de on approach to Marseille.

After an hour and ten minutes of flying, we started descending into Marseille. On our approach to Marseille, we flew over the Etang de Berre, the famous lagoon near Marseille.

After landing, it was a quick taxi to the terminal to begin disembarking. Strangely enough, upon arrival in Marseille, all passengers had to go through passport control, even though this was an intra-EU flight. This seemed to be the case for all other EU flights arriving into Marseille but was a minor blip in what otherwise was a good experience.

Summary

Having flown other low-cost carriers throughout Europe, I would rate Volotea in between Eurowings on the high end and Ryanair on the low end. The seat’s legroom and recline was quite good for a low-cost carrier — something that is getting worse and worse on other carriers around the world. The only complaint was the dirty seat in the beginning, which seems to be a heavy price to pay for a quick turnaround. The price point for the service was quite good, and Volotea is definitely a good carrier to choose for where they fly and what they offer.

Featured photo by Volotea.

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