Iberia A330-300Back to Forum
Anonymous13 Jan 2016
I travelled from Madrid Barajas Airport to London Heathrow Terminal 5 on Iberia on IB3166 in business class on an Airbus A330 in mid January 2016. I travelled in business class on this leg on my journey due to a successful online upgrade bid, which was significantly cheaper than the originally quoted ticket price.
This was a connecting flight from Havana, for which I've prepared a separate review. Despite problems on my previous flight, the connection was a breeze. I had a security line to myself, although as I was travelling with a bottle of Cuban rum and some water, it was sent away for separate liquid tests and came back a couple of minutes later. The Velasquez lounge was fairly busy on arrival but I found a seat near the buffet area on the right hand side. I decided to prepare a mini indulgent lunch of smoked salmon, salad and crusty bread with water and a small bottle of cava. This was followed by Belgian Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, some tomato juice and a glass of Gran Duque de Alba (a new favourite, thank you Iberia!). Plenty of other hot and cold food and drinks were available. Maybe it's just me, but I've used this lounge many times and I often have problems with the wi-fi, either in connecting or retaining a strong signal. I'm always impressed how clean and tidy this lounge is kept and I think the lounge staff (who are always visible and cleaning/replenishing food) do a great job.
I left the lounge at around 3:10pm when my flight was already shown to be boarding. I arrived at the gate at about 3:20pm. Interestingly, I passed the LAN flight from Madrid to Frankfurt which I had read about on 'Business Traveller' and other travel websites. There was no queue for boarding at all and I was onboard the aircraft in literally a minute, after double checking that my suitcase was onboard. The aircraft was an Airbus A330-200, which was interesting as it was a long haul aircraft on a short haul route. I was sitting in seat 8L which is in the first row of the second 'mini' business class cabin. The scheduled departure time was 15:45. The screen had: 'Enjoy with us this flight to London', which I thought was a nice touch. Due to my previous poor (connecting) flight to Madrid I asked to speak to the pursuer to try to make this flight as smooth as possible!
The 'mini' cabin only had 2 other passengers, so there was plenty of overhead locker space (some of which was presumably being used by passengers in economy – there was a large musical instrument in the locker above my seat!). At 15:40, Iberia branded noise cancellation earphones were handed out as well as newspapers (there was a choice of the Daily Mail or FT in English). The in-flight entertainment worked throughout the flight. There was then a short boarding announcement – I love the expression they use on Iberia flights that 'You can rely on us for anything you need'.
I've commented on the Iberia A330 business class seat in separate reviews, however, in summary I like it. Great seat controls, it feels private with direct aisle access. The only criticism is that it lacks storage area for bigger items such as headphone cases, shoes, magazines and newspapers. Notwithstanding this was a long haul configured aircraft no blanket or pillow was provided (which is understandable on a 2.5 hour flight).
Push back was at 15:55 and at 16:10 the captain made a short announcement and said it would be another couple of minutes or so before take-off. The forecast was for a good flight with nice skies, but with the possibility of light turbulence. The slight delay in departure was due to 'meteorological issues' (sudden change in wind direction), although we should land broadly on schedule if there is minimal holding over London. Take off was finally just after 16:15. The flight map said the flight would be just under 2 hours and 780 miles to London.
Menus were handed out shortly after take-off. The food available was as follows:
Starter – Mediterranean Salad with olive oil.
Main course – choice of either: (I) Steer eye filet in a typical sauce from Córdoba served with stir fried courgette and plums; or (ii) pumpkin filled pasta in a ripened cheese sauce and rocket salad with olive oil. I opted for the filet, which was actually really tasty and filling.
The dessert comprised: (i) goat cheese from Garrotxa; and (ii) toffee delight. I found the cheese a bit bland and the toffee too sweet but it was good that both were provided rather than having to choose between them.
The meal came with extra rounds of the bread basket and extra miniature bottles of olive oil.
I had some white wine with my meal – Finca Valero Macabeo and sparkling water. The wine was fine, but unremarkable. On the second round of the trolley, I asked if the crew had any dessert wine onboard – they didn't – but came back a couple of minutes later with a small bottle of Alfonso Jerez Xeres Sherry in a miniature 50ml bottle they'd 'found' onboard from a previous flight (!) – I'm not sure I loved it but its great to try new things and I really enjoy Spanish alcohol and food. I was told the crew would be back later with coffee but eventually had to press the call bell – it was brought very quickly on request along with some Lindt chocolate. Just before 6pm the captain made an announcement to say that we would be landing broadly on schedule and the temperature would be about 5C on arrival in London.
On descent/approach there was great nighttime views of London on arrival, including of Canary Wharf and The City. Landing was broadly on schedule and disembarkation was from the C Gates at Terminal 5. The rest of the trip was all really smooth: the transit train arrived almost immediately; no queue at the passport e-gates and through in seconds and my luggage arrived within 5 minutes of being at carousel 10 with the priority tag intact.
In summary, this was a really good flight that restored my faith in Iberia. Travel isn't always perfect but there was a strong effort on this flight to provide good food, good drink and good service. Schedule permitting I will try and fly on Iberia long-haul aircraft on future trips to Madrid.13 Jan 2016