Flying to South AmericaBack to Forum
I have a question relating to Iberia vs Avianca. I live in the UK and will be flying to various destinations in South America in the near to mid future. Having recently flown Avianca and found their service to be okay, I am curious as to whether the terrible reviews of Iberia on the internet are warranted?
Do any of the forum members have other suggestions for carriers?
Many thanks in advance!
1 user thanked author for this post.22 Jun 2022
Having lived in Spain for 6.5 years, now back in the UK, I used Iberia quite a few times to the USA, cabin crew generally disinterested ,but primarily Air Nostrum to connect with CX at Madrid. Customer Service at Iberia I would rate 3/10 and if things go wrong I found total apathy in resolving problems. A case in point over 18 months of returning to Alicante from SIN via HKG and Madrid to Alicante my bag was delayed 4 times out of 7/8 trips. Each time CX were able to tell me the bag arrived in MAD. Whilst this may have been a ground handling problem at Madrid Iberia´s attempts to assist in locating and reuniting me with the bag were lamentable. They couldn´t care less. By comparison Air Nostrum crew and punctuality were very good- How a sister airline can function well but its parent perform abysmally I do not know.23 Jun 2022
I flew to South America from the UK in December with Air Europa and last month again with Klm. I prefer Klm because the connection is Ams is so smooth, just changing gates, no scanner and very easy to follow. The connection in Madrid is a bit messy, sometimes there is no staff (and poor signage at least in T1) to guide connecting passengers so a lot end up in the immigration line but other than that it’s fine. They charge you for headphones (just bring your own standard ones) and for breakfast (dinner is provided), still I would choose them again before BA which I will avoid as much as I can. Just adding to the previous comments about Iberia, they have one of the worst records for lost baggage!23 Jun 2022
Latin America has been one of my work areas over the past 30 years or so and Avianca was a class act back in to the ‘90s / early ‘00s since when there has been a gradual deterioration to the extent that it had almost reach rock bottom prior to the pandemic. Since then when Avianca came out of Chapter 11, it is now an airline I will avoid even if it means having to make a detour to do so. In March of this year, I used Avianca on four occasions – a domestic flight, a cross-border flight and a return regional flight to / from Mexico from Bogota in Business. So far as the first two flights were concerned, there was no inflight service at all – not even water was available – with no visibility of the cabin crew in-flight. Of the two regional flights, lunch / dinner comprised a cardboard box containing a sandwich, a biscuit and a bottle of water. One round of coffee or tea was offered, I was informed that neither alcohol nor soft drinks are no longer carried, not even water other than that within the box. And it’s not only the inflight catering, there were technical issues with two of these flights, one of which almost caused me to miss my European connection out of Bogota, notwithstanding the almost three hours connection time. I now understand that Avianca shall be removing Business Class from its narrow-body fleets later this year when the model will become LCC or even perhaps ULCC. As someone else has indicated, LatAm is really now the only regional option in Latin America. On the matter of Iberia, again as mentioned on this thread, Iberia’s hard product is fine – the A350 in Iberia guise is a nice place to be but the cabin crew / service can be a bit hit and miss, more the latter unfortunately.24 Jun 2022
Thank you for sharing your experience with Avianca. I noticed the long-haul aircraft is a 787-8, which is fine. The crew were a bit slow, the IFE selection was lamentable, and the food out of LHR was a box with a hot option and bits and pieces brought from Bogota. They offered alcoholic and soft drinks and did two rounds with the drinks, once when serving the meal and once when clearing away.
On the positive side, my bags arrived in Lima and were on the belt quickly. The flight in economy got me to Star Alliance Silver with Aegean Miles and Bonus (a gem of a FF program).
I will undoubtedly try KLM next time, as their UK regional connectivity shames BA.24 Jun 2022
I believe that Avianca are attempting to operate a form of legacy airline on their transatlantic routes but certainly, the model changes as from October 2022, I believe, to a LCC or ULCC on regional (Americas) routes, certainly where narrow body aircraft are concerned. I’m not sure how this will affect regional flights where the B788 is operated24 Jun 2022
KLM would be my first choice for South/Central America every time. usually easy and smooth connections at AMS. Air Europa second choice but connection at Madrid not as smooth as at AMS. Don’t even think about IB!
1 user thanked author for this post.24 Jun 2022