Flightreview: Iberia’s newest business class in the A330 and Iberia Express Business
Flight: IB 3673
Date: January 8th 2015
Perfectly suited for: direct connections from Germany (HAM, HAJ, TXL, DUS, FRA, STR, MUC) to Madrid and to south America
Business or private: business, because long distances come with WiFi by onair.com
Privately Iberia flies to more than 15 (holiday) destinations in South America
Bonus program: Iberia Plus in alliance with Oneworld
Feeder flight (short distance) Berlin (TXL) to Madrid (MAD)
It started quite early for me today. My alarm rang at 4:45AM in the Grand Hyatt Hotel Berlin, my flight took off at 7:20 towards Madrid. So I took a rental car to Tegel, where you can give it back quite uncomplicated. Iberia is at Terminal C, more specific Gate 66 today. This also means no lounge for me and since I checked in already I used British Airways’ lounge in Terminal A to get some breakfast in.
The BA terrace lounge is something like my living room in Berlin. I’m here more than forty times a year, maybe more. So I get in breakfast and go to Terminal C.
Gate 66 is located at the back end of Terminal C and has it’s own security control, which is quite empty, because there is no FastTrack or such. I’m at the Gate in less than 5 minutes, where the machine is already waiting. Berlin – Madrid is being transferred by Iberia daughter company Iberia Express with an A320. Boarding is fast and uncomplicated, so we take off on time at 7:20AM.
The short-distance business class is set up in the first three rows of the machine and is distinguished from Economy by a left-out middle seat, warm breakfast, Prio-boarding etc. Quite uncommonly but comfortably the crew offers pillow and sheets before takeoff, even though the flight is short with about 3 hours.
As soon as we’re up in the air we get orange juice or another beverage, followed by a warm breakfast. The omelet was nice. We also got greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and pastry of course.
We land on time at T4 in Madrid and have to change to T4S for the connecting flight now. The distances are long in Madrid, even though there are FastTracks everywhere.
After the quick flight we land earlier than expect at T4 in Madrid. After a passport control, but no new security control which is quite comfortable, we take the train to a 3 minute ride to T4S, where we take off from area U.
The Iberia lounge “Salas VIP” is also located in T4S and can be reached through a duty free shop. That could have been solved a little more efficiently.
This morning the lounge was relatively packed, because many flights to North and South America took off almost at the same time, but the offer of food and beverages was generous, containing several options for breakst (cereal, wraps, sandwiches, cheese, etc.) and it was replaced and cleaned up quickly.
What I found a little annoying were the announcements in the lounge. With so many flights and announcements in Spanish and English, it gets quite noisy quickly. So I went to my gate a little before the announcement, where the machine was waiting already.
Flight: IB 6251
Airplane: A330 (given name: Madrid)
Date: January 8th 2015
As with all flights to the USA, of course we have to go through a quick check of documents, passport and boarding ticket before going to the gate. Boarding took place shortly after I arrived and started with handicapped people, strollers and premium guests from business class.
We get in at the front (door 1L) and immediately notice the new big cabin of business class. The disadvantage of boarding firsthand is simply that everyone has to step through the cabin and it gets quite tight when someone is still tucking his luggage, but this morning it all goes well.
The cabin is kept in slight colors and offers space for 78 passengers in business class. The complete seating plan can be found at seatguru.com. As in the new BusinessClass of Airberlin, at Finnair or American Airlines it comes in a 1-2-1 order. Because of this setting every second row (2, 4, 6) has single window seats, and every other one “cuddle seats” (row 1, 3, 5, 7)
Since I was travelling alone seat 2A was suited perfectly for me, because of the view, it’s up front in the cabin and has maximal private sphere.
As you can see on the top left picture, the try is facing the corridor, so I have my own private little cabin with three windows to look outside.
(Window or corridor, where do you sit?)
Besides the tray with amenity kit, headphones and other little stuff, you find further shelves: one below the arm rest on the left, just enough for an Ipad mini, one below the foot rest for shoes and one extra tray for newspapers and magazines a
nd one besides my seat on the outer board for pillows and sheets. On side you find some well-placed plugs for headphones and audio, but also international power sockets and USB port, so you can recharge your devices.
The beverage shelf on the bottom is a reasonable place to put your water bottle, or Coke like I do. All together a well thought-through and comfortable seat. The warm and sufficiently big sheet and a big pillow are waiting right there at arrival, as are headphones.
Just for comparison: the seats at the corridor are identical of course, but offer way less private sphere.
If you like to be on your own even more when sleeping, you can flip the table to a wall and “hide” behind.
Even when the table is unfolded and covered, it’s no problem to get up and move around, go to the restrooms or take something from the tray, because you can simply turn it aside. This is a big advantage, because you don’t have to wait until things have been taken away. The screen has just been installed and can be used at start and landing, provides enough light, but cannot be adjusted and mirrors a little.
the inflight entertainment system comes with a broad choice of games, movies, tv shows and more, so you won’t be bored during the flight. It’s being controlled via remote that display all functions, is easy to handle and even comes with its own little display.
You can book internet and a phone connection via onair.com, but it’s not cheap nor too fast. For guests in business class there is a voucher for a free data package, on request even another one wasn’t a problem. It’s not sufficient to work, but enough to keep you up to date via Twitter and Instagram.
After a drink before takeoff we immediately got the menu. I made a couple of pictures so you can take a look.
And of course the wine menu…
The potato salad (on the left) wasn’t my cup of tea, but the shrimps and soup were great. It was now time for the main course, for which I had pork. The first optical impression was not so good, but taste-wise it was a good choice. The pork as well puree were very good.
As dessert I got ice cream and a “try out sip” of the dessert wine, since I still do not drink, but often taste. If you like sweet wine, it’s a good choice.
Because of the long flight time we got another snack that was quite delicious. We got it about 1,5hours before the arrival in New York: warm buns, olive oil, ham and cold cuts.
During the meals I enjoyed the beautiful view, but take a look yourself.
I should mention the amenity kit, which consisted of two parts: in the bag you find usual utensils like tooth brush, comb, shoehorn etc. but also a bag for shoes. Cosmetics followed in a separate small bag, which looks like that:
Since the flight was long enough I had time to try the bed, which was sufficiently long, a little narrow at the end, but that was fine.
All together it was a comfortable flight with a great product and appropriate flight time, which will make me use it again. Arriving at T7 at JFK I changed to T8 and went on with American Airlines in the A321 Transcon.