Iberia Business Class, Airbus A340, LHR-MAD
AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto
Air Nostrum Business Class, CRJ1000, MAD-IBZ
Ibiza: In Pictures
Air Nostrum Business Class, CRJ1000, IBZ-MAD
Madrid: In Pictures
British Airways Club Europe, Boeing 777, MAD-LHR
British Airways flight 460/461 between London and Madrid is unique in their network. As the flight is operated with a widebody aircraft, you will get a Club World seat, whilst getting a Club Europe service. In some cases, you can even grab a seat in First if the flight is sufficiently busy.
You may have noticed that in the first part of this report, I mentioned that I would be flying from Madrid back to London on the new Airbus A350. As it turned out, British Airways had other ideas. The night previously, the flighty app alerted me that the aircraft had been changed to the initially expected 777-300ER. British Airways said otherwise however. I messaged a contact at BA to see if they could delve any deeper, and they confirmed that it would indeed be operated by an Airbus A350, G-XWBB.
Fast forward to a few hours prior to departure. FlightRadar24 was still showing the 777-300ER, and had even assigned a registration. Upon checking the BA app, I noticed that my seat had changed and even they were now showing a 777. Oh well – no Club Suite for me this time.
As it turned out, economy was massively oversold, therefore they needed the bigger aircraft. However, Club Europe wasn’t overly busy. I spotted a few empty seats around when I was onboard. And when disembarking, I noticed that the First cabin was in darkness, meaning that it probably wasn’t used.
Back to Barajas
I arrived back at the airport around three hours prior to departure. Rather than taking the metro, it turned out I was nearer to the Chamartin train station. As this offers a direct link to Terminal 4, and at half the price, this is the option I went for.
From the train station to the lounge in T4S, it took round 25 minutes. This was without any hold ups at security or passport control too. This may seem a little long for most airports, but due to the sheer size of Madrid Barajas, this is about average.
I had planned on doing a full review of the Iberia lounge, but as it was a little busy, I decided to leave it for a future post instead.
Madrid – London Heathrow
Boeing 777-300ER G-STBE
Once I’d had my fill of the lounge, I made my way down to the gate area.
Boarding didn’t go quite as smoothly as anyone had planned. Due to the aircraft change, there were a lot of red beeps when scanning boarding passes – myself included. After waiting around for a while, I was told that I was now in seat 11A. Yes, I know.
Whilst the older generation Club World seat has its critics, I personally don’t find it too bad. Sure, it certainly ain’t a QSuite, but if you can nab yourself a window seat, it’s private enough.
As the 777-300ER is one of the more recent additions to the BA fleet, it features a pair of USB ports, mains power and a more recent IFE system.
One of the criticisms of the seat is the lack of storage for personal items. Whilst I agree that it isn’t too great, I’ve seen worse. The storage that there is can accommodate an iPad and some headphones. Much more would be a bit of a struggle however.
During boarding, menus were handed out.
Pushback came on schedule. We were allocated the take off runway nearest to our parking position, therefore we were airborne in a few minutes.
The service began with a round of hot towels.
This was soon followed by the main meal service. I must admit that when I saw the menu, I wasn’t particularly excited at any of the options. Although having paid for it, I went for the gnocchi, and it’s safe to say the whole tray went down very well!
The service was finished off with tea whilst getting through my latest book.
Unlike in days gone by, British Airways now have a license to switch on their IFE on European sectors. Although as per usual, I couldn’t really find anything too much of interest that I hadn’t already seen, with the exception of a couple of episodes of Family Guy. There was on film that took my interest, although the flight wasn’t long enough to see it all. So I figured there probably wasn’t much point in starting to watch it.
This aircraft was fitted with WiFi, and unlike previously, it would appear that the pricing is now inline with other short haul services.
With 20 minutes to go until landing, the first officer gave an update on our progress. She mentioned that it was likely that we would have to hold for ten minutes, although she wouldn’t know for sure until she had spoken to London air traffic control.
Sure enough, after making a few turns over my home town, I figured we were in the Ockham hold.
Once we had left the hold, there weren’t too many views to be had over London due to there being quite a bit of cloud cover.
Touchdown came, and a reasonably long taxi followed.
Arrival was made on to one of the few gates at T5B that has a ridiculously long jet bridge.
After taking the train over to the main terminal, it was through to the pod parking station.
A generally good flight with British Airways in their Club World cabin. Whilst the main course I had didnt look like much, it tasted just fine.
Seat wise, despite the British Airways old Club World cabin being one of the more densely populated out there, I personally find it fine. As I had a window seat and put the divider up as soon as I sat down, it was more than private. I did have a seat mate, although I don’t recall actually seeing them once! Whilst not strictly keeping in line with procedure, the fact the crew carried out the service by walking around the seat as opposed to passing meals/drinks through the divider mad things that much more civilised.