In March, British Airways (IAG) announced a new discount airline with direct flights to Barcelona from Oakland International Airport. I managed to snag a pair of roundtrip tickets for $300 each, though I heard others were able to book for an even lower price. The dates June 2-6 looked like a good weekend to take advantage of this cheap flight opportunity and I am so glad my boyfriend was up for the quick adventure.
As someone who was royally screwed by WOW Air, another discount airline, I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to my destination. Here’s my experience flying with LEVEL–
Online Check-In: We ran into errors checking in on the Iberia website the day before our flight. The error we got was vague but thankfully it worked the morning of our flight. If you encounter these errors, don’t stress. We couldn’t check in for our flight back to OAK but checking in at the BCN airport was super quick.
Luggage: LEVEL has a 1 carry-on policy as is typical with discount airlines and they were not strict on size at either airport. I even saw plenty of people with a personal bag and a carry-on.
Boarding: When we got to the gate, it became clear that we were the very first OAK-BCN flight for LEVEL (they don’t even have a Twitter handle yet!) At the gate, we found a full press event with LEVEL corporate employees, photographers, banners, and even free paella! So far, LEVEL is awesome!
There was a slight hiccup with many people’s passports not being checked in properly. This caused a slow down when boarding but ultimately we were on the way with only a 30-minute delay!
The flight: I loved flying a brand new airplane, an Airbus A330. The seats were thin, like the new United planes, but the cushions are comfortable. Each seat had full entertainment (free movies, TV shows and music) and equipped with in-seat payment for food and additional amenities. As expected, everything came at an additional cost including pillows, earphones, etc. They don’t offer any complimentary beverages at your seat but I found that if you went to the back, the attendants would pour a cup of water for you. Plenty of lavatories in the middle of the plane was very useful.
We didn’t pay extra to choose our seats but the seat layout is 2-4-2 which makes it easy to get a “good seat”. My boyfriend and I weren’t even assigned to seats next to each other, we both had aisle seats 2 rows apart on the right section. The guy in the seat next to me was very kind to switch seats. I imagine a lot of people traveling together are in the same predicament. On the way back, we were seated next to each other in the middle section with 1 of us in the aisle. Neither flight was completely full but I suspect this will change soon.
The route to Barcelona is often turbulent, but we got there in one piece! I didn’t interact with the attendants too much but they seemed very chill with everything – barely checking for seat belts or luggage under the seat.
Before my flight, I also read this thorough review of LEVEL which I found to be fairly accurate about the flight experience.
Overall, I would recommend flying LEVEL. Though the website has a ton of glitches, the experience after getting your tickets and getting on the airplane is smooth sailing. Both of our flights arrived on time and the 11-12 hours we spent on the plane were a pleasant, non-problematic experience. I anticipate more discount airlines coming and I’m pleased to see that LEVEL operates smoothly, even on their inaugural flights!
If you have more questions about my experience, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, onto the Barcelona adventure…