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- Tried & Tested
I fly between Madrid and Jerez, Spain, quite often and usually in business class since most times it is an internal flight tacked on to a transatlantic. This four or five times a day service used to be provided using light and airy Airbus 319s or 320s. Iberia has now taken to using poky, narrow CRJ900s badged by their regional subsidiaries on some of these flights.
Using the previous equipment meant business passengers benefitted from the normal European airline practice of leaving the middle seat vacant in what is a 3-3 arrangement in the premium cabin.
They could also use their carry-ons as they are meant to be i.e. carried on. This is not possible with the tiny overhead bins in a CRJ and they have to be checked at the bottom of the stairs. Since Iberia staff do not seem to care whose bags they are handling this means they are tossed in the hold in the order they arrive.
Business passengers supposedly get priority boarding – though at Jerez the gate staff do not announce this – and the inevitable result is their carry-ons come off LAST at the destination meaning a wait while economy passengers head into the terminal.
Given you seem to get no more on-board space than in economy and there is this baggage problem it does not seem worth paying the premium for business. This was even more the case in my most recent flight since the airline forgot to load the business cabin catering!
The problem is compounded by the fact the choice of equipment seems quite arbitrary, according to the check-in agent that is. When asked she said she never knew what was going to show up.
This is only an hour long flight so it is not a huge deal but it is another example of the continuing erosion of airline standards. Jerez may not be a big place but it is the undoubted center of the hugely important sherry industry and I would have thought justified better. Do not pay extra for business class.