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
For my first trip of 2020, I would be flying mostly with Iberia with a single flight on British Airways. Being in need of a few hundred more tier points to retain British Airways Gold status, a Business Class trip was preferred.
There were a number of options available. I was close to booking Tirana with British Airways as that came in at just over £200 and yielded double BA tier points. However, somewhere (potentially) a little sunnier won out.
Remembering that Iberia generally have some reasonable Business Class fares to Spain, I studied those options. The most appealing was a combination of the evening departure to Madrid, coupled with a couple of Air Nostrum flights within Spain, followed by the British Airways evening departure from Madrid back to London. As both Heathrow and Madrid are IAG hubs, there are a couple of wide body long haul aircraft serving the route.
By being just a little creative, I was able to score the Iberia Airbus A340 flight on the way to Madrid and a British Airways Boeing 777 on the return to London.
The intermediate sectors between Madrid and Ibiza would be Iberia’s regional subsidiary Air Nostrum on a pair of Bombardier CRJ’s.
Arrival at Heathrow came a little earlier than needed. This week, the pod parking wasn’t too much more than the other options, so that’s the one I went for.
These days, Iberia have their own dedicated check in area at Terminal 5. Although like most of my trips, I didn’t need to pay a visit.
Security at the first wing was a little on the busy side. Therefore I was expecting the lounge itself to be a little busy. But it wasn’t too bad… for a Friday evening at least.
As I would be eating onboard, I opted for a late lunch in the lounge.
After around 45 minutes in the lounge, I did something that I rarely do in airports. I took a look around the shops! Not for the sake of it though. My trusty Apple Watch had given up somewhat, so I was in the market for something new. I figured buying at the airport, I’d at least get a few Heathrow Rewards points. Which in turn would lead to a money off parking voucher. It’s all about the points!
Once I was done, I made my way over to the Galleries B lounge for half an hour or so, in order to figure out my new purchase.
London Heathrow – Madrid
Airbus A340-600 EC-IQR
I made a point of arriving at the gate a little early. From previous experience, these Iberia flights are quite something when it comes to boarding. As such, I was near the front of the queue and was able to leave the chaos behind me.
As the aircraft arrived a little late on to stand, there was a bit of #boardingnotboarding going on.
The end result was a 25 minute wait in limbo, before being given the all clear.
Once finally on board, I took my assigned seat of 2L. A little further forward than I would have liked, but I was lucky to get this. When I booked there were no window seats left at all. It’s only because I set up an alert on expertflyer that I was able to nab this seat the second it became free.
As far as the Iberia long haul business class hard product goes, it’s a little dated. Whilst it is in a 1-2-1 configuration, it’s most definitely of the previous generation.
As far as personal storage goes, there is basically none other than a small-ish box next to the seat. Even the in flight magazines have to be left on the seat as the only storage is for the safety card.
The captain made his welcome speech a few minutes after we were due to push back. As I could still hear and feel the ground crew banging around underneath us, I figured we wouldn’t be going anywhere soon.
The news got worse. Due to a french ATC strike taking place, we hadn’t been cleared to depart for 2 hours. Ugh.
Although a few moments later, the captain was back on again saying he had negotiated a new route that would take us a little longer to reach Madrid, but was still a better option than waiting 2 hours for the direct routing.
We pushed back around 20 minutes behind schedule, and made it into the air around 15 minutes after that. A pretty quick taxi for Friday night at Heathrow. Although this was helped by getting a huge intersection departure from runway 27R. I’ve experienced this in the A320 series before but this was the first time I’d lifted off from quite so far down the runway in anything bigger. It was great fun, as obviously we needed that much more power.
Shortly after takeoff, the crew distributed menus. Nothing was too surprising here. Much the same was offered when I flew Iberia business on a regular basis over the summer of 2018!
Not too long later, the service started. I opted for the chicken, and as mentioned, it was much the same as what I’ve had on Iberia flights before.
The service was finished with a round of tea and coffee.
The full range of IFE was available on this flight. And as an added bonus, noise cancelling headphones were handed out soon after boarding was completed. Therefore the IFE is available from gate to gate.
The Iberia IFE isn’t the most comprehensive however. The one thing that did look somewhat interesting turned out to be in french, so it was a case of relying on my own once again.
WiFi was also available, but the pricing wasn’t that brilliant. Although there was a generous amount given for free to business class passengers.
I did attempt to connect, but I suspect I used my entire allowance just by logging on. I received a couple of notifications but after that, nothing much happened.
The sky map confirmed our slightly around the houses routing.
As it turned out, we were given a couple of short cuts to our scenic route. As such, we only touched down a few minutes adrift of schedule, despite the late start.
More often than not, the arrivals area of the airport is pretty quiet at this time of the evening. Therefore passport control is a fairly quick process. Although due to this particular flight arriving into T4S, it generally takes a good 20-25 minutes to make it from the plane to the front door of the terminal.
A good enough flight with Iberia. I would say that their A340’s are getting a bit long in the tooth now, but they were only refurbished in the early 2010’s. They also feature an identical hard product to their newly delivered A350’s.
The crew were friendly enough on this flight. Certainly not the worst I’ve experienced in Iberia!
The only minor niggle was the food options. They’ve been serving more or less the same options for years now! Surely it’s about time they mixed it up a bit?!