Air Europa’s Impressive Short Haul Business Class

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

After flying WestJet’s 787-9 from Calgary to London, I made my way back to Miami on Air Europa, flying from London to Madrid to Miami (I booked this using Flying Blue miles).

Here’s the thing about Air Europa:

  • Seemingly almost no one outside of Spain has heard of them, and usually when I talk to people about Air Europa I get a blank stare in return
  • They’re Spain’s second global carrier after Iberia, and it’s not like Iberia has a great reputation…
  • For the above reasons, I think most people assume they’d be a pretty bad airline, and I was among those people

Well, much to my surprise Air Europa was actually sort of great. Who knew?

My 1hr50min flight from London to Madrid was operated by a new 737-800.

While it was still only your typical intra-Europe business class with a blocked middle seat, the cabin was at least fresh and modern, with the Boeing signature interiors.

Air Europa has streaming entertainment on the 737, though unfortunately this plane didn’t have wifi or power ports, as I find to be the norm on intra-Europe flights (unfortunately).

What impressed me about Air Europa was the food and service. The entire crew was extremely professional — their announcements were clear, they took pride in their appearance, and they smiled and were friendly while interacting with passengers.

I was offered a pre-departure drink of choice, and was even offered a refill on it. Most airlines don’t offer any sort of pre-departure drinks in business class within Europe.

Then after takeoff there were drinks, which were refilled several times. I was even offered a chocolate with my coffee.

The meal was presented on a single tray, and the hot portion of the meal was in a skillet, which was cute presentation.

There was even a menu describing everything on the tray.

Anyway, I’ll have a full review soon, but suffice to say that Air Europa greatly exceeded my expectations. Was it the business class experience you’d find on Aeroflot or Turkish?

No, but it was an above average intra-Europe business class product, and that’s a lot more than I was expecting from Air Europa.

Stay tuned for how the transatlantic flight compared…

If you’ve flown Air Europa’s short haul business class, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. The word ANOS on the fuselage looks somewhat *funny* due to its positioning vs windows. 🙂 Of course, everything is perfectly fine actually.

  2. AirEuropa is the worst transatlantic carrier. I would prefer norwegian or level, because then you can bring your own food with yourself.
    (yeah I often travel economy).
    My worst ever airline meal was on Air Europa. Truly inedible.
    The only good thing is that they are an alliance member (skyteam), so I could fill myself up in the lounge and didn’t have to eat what they call meal service.
    I am glad that on business class they impressed you.
    Also they use the shittier terminal in MAD.

  3. If it wasn’t for the fact that Rafael Nadal promotes them a lot on his Instagram, I would literally never have heard of them (and I live in London).

  4. “….I think most people assume they’d be a pretty bad airline, and I was among those people.”

    So basically speaking, just because you never heard of or knew few about an airline, so you just believe it is a bad airline?

    Excuse me?!

  5. @e30st
    I prefer that terminal at MAD. It is smaller and emptier – and you don’t have to walk 2km to get anywhere.

    @Lucky
    “Signature Boeing interiors”? What on Earth are they? It looks like a typical short haul plane interior to me, with little noticeable difference between Airbus and Boeing. Or does that irritatingly over-used word “signature” now just mean “typical”?

    It’s almost as irritating as Air Europa’s overuse of the meaningless “ecological” on its menu. “Ecological eggs”? WTAF??

  6. @ Kobe Bryant — You’re selectively quoting. Iberia has a pretty bad reputation, and this is also a Spanish airline that few people have heard of, so that’s why I made that assumption, or at a minimum feared that. For example, if Angola had a second major international airline, I’d probably assume they weren’t great either. 😉

  7. @ Kobe Bryant

    +1. They also seem to have a relatively high profile in Latin America (at least, among the people I work with. My boss flew them J class from LA to Europe only last month).

  8. Hi Luke.
    Good post.
    Kind of funny: I flew them recently in BC between BRU an MAD, connecting onto Aeromexico.
    Well, I was really impressed (with Air Europe, not really with Aeoromexico) and I was planning to ask you to try and review them.
    You did.
    Well, I am flying the same route again next week, but if I could, I would have swapped Aeromexico between MAD en MEX for Air Europe !!

  9. Sad that we feel “impressed” by this business class that looks like what economy used to be (and still is in some places). Standards have obviously gone downhill in aviation.
    On another note, I flew Air Europa from Madrid to Rome once and I found the flight attendants very grumpy (along with the test of the passengers incidentally) Overall it was not a great flight. But that is my only experience with them. I’m looking forward to your Madrid to Miami review!

  10. Air Europa flies their A330’s and 787’s to various European destinations such as Amsterdam so they also offer lie-flat seats on these intra-Europe flights. Having said that, I’d rather fly KLM Business Class from Amsterdam to Spain (with the standard blocked seat in the middle). Better service and food than AE. On my last flights with them to Gran Canaria via Madrid and back, service was grumpy and the food was mediocre at best. Like one of the commenters above, I stuffed myself at the lounge before boarding my flight home.

    Though, if I had to choose, I’d pick AE over IB any day!

  11. “Ecological” is how “organic” gets translated from other languages into English. “Organic” doesn’t have an equivalent in many languages, so this is what it ends up being. I would suppose most people could make sense of it when reading it in an environment where English isn’t first (i.e., Spain).

  12. UX is a skyteam member and with an extensive Latin America network complementing Air France and KLM

    Am not sure what people expect within Europe on flights mostly under 3 hours In the end I believe it’s the staff that can make or break a flight

  13. I can’t speak to their short haul biz offering, but I flew them last year MAD-ORY. As a Delta elite+, booking on AirEuropa’s site, I was able to select an exit row seat (but be warned, once selected, it cannot be changed except at the airport). Bag allowance also carried over. And the most pleasant surprise: lounge access at MAD. Which turned out to be even more useful, as in main cabin, nothing was free. I think maybe a small cup of water from a pitcher might have been, but I didn’t ask.

    Elite+ also meant premium check-in, and though a bit hard to find, an entirely separate entrance to security screening, where I was basically alone and through in about 90 seconds.

    I found the airline to be quite acceptable, but I also agree with Ben that before making my travel plans, I was pretty much in the “who are they, is it a cramped low service ULCC?” camp. Having flown them, I’d be fine with using them again for short haul.

  14. I’ve only flown them a couple of times inter-Europe, and I have to say my experience was close Lucky’s. And they do seem to enjoy serving food in skillets, which does make for a nice presentation.

  15. It’s quite a well known airline in Brazil, as they offer flights from GRU to Europe.

  16. @m747

    So what? It doesn’t matter which political-administrative division a UK airport is located: it’s all about access.

    For many purposes, Gatwick is faster and easier to access from parts of central London than Heathrow (and at least until Crossrail opens I’d say it was more convenient/ faster to reach for more people than Heathrow).

    Are you arguing Gatwick shouldn’t have the word “London” in its name?

    Presumably London Stansted should be renamed Uttlesford;
    Southampton should become Eastleigh;
    Glasgow should become Paisley;
    etc.

  17. Coffee in a paper cup would disappoint me in Business class – even intra-european.

  18. m747…
    Heathrow is in Middlesex, a different county.
    Stansted is in Essex, a different county.
    Luton is in Bedfordshire, a different county.
    Hooray – London City is actually in London. Presumably in your mind the only one qualified to call itself a London airport !!

  19. Oh dear, m747 – you’re showing a lack of understanding of counties, London addresses and local boroughs. Apart from the fact that Hillingdon is ALSO in Middlesex, the official postal address for Heathrow is actually Hounslow, Middlesex, and not Hillingdon. The postcode for each of the terminals is TW, for Twickenham in Middlesex, as is the HAL head office on the Bath Road. Hillingdon is just one of the surrounding boroughs, along with Hounslow, Windsor and Spelthorne (which is why the VIP suites in the various terminals are named after the geographical boroughs they are closest to). Apart from Windsor, all of them are located in the county of Middlesex, whether you like it or not…

  20. @ Gomez

    Thanks for the translation of ecological=organic

    I am such an old fart that that never occurred to me. I’m sure you’re right.

    @m747

    And Gatwick is in East Sussex.

    I’m sympathetic to the idea that Luton is stretching it a bit by putting “London” in its name, but the rest seem reasonable to me, based on ease of access/time to London. It helps people not so familiar with England’s geography to understand that they have options if they want to go to central London. What is wrong with that? Or do you think the “LON” code should be abolished, too?

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