Review: Iberia Business Class A340 New York To Madrid

Filed Under: Iberia

I was excited to finally sample Iberia’s longhaul business class product. I flew American’s business class between New York and Madrid just a few months ago, so was curious to compare the two products, since I’d be sampling them both on the same route. Iberia is also the last transatlantic oneworld airline I’ve yet to review — I’ve already reviewed airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, and Finnair transatlantic business class.

Iberia 6250
New York (JFK) – Madrid (MAD)
Saturday, February 13
Depart: 5:35PM
Arrive: 6:40AM (+1 day)
Duration: 7hr5min
Aircraft: A340-600
Seat: 5L (Business Class)

I boarded through the forward door, where the head purser pointed me towards the right aisle upon presenting my boarding pass. Iberia’s A340-600s have one massive business class cabin, given the large area between the first and second doors of the plane.

Iberia’s business class cabin consists of a total of 46 seats, spread across 12 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration (the first row doesn’t have two seats in the center row due to the location of the galley).

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Iberia business class cabin A340

Iberia’s business class seats are staggered, and specifically the Solstys-style staggered seats. That’s to say that the seats are positioned differently in alternating rows. These are the same seats offered on airberlin, Alitalia, Etihad, etc.

For the window seats, one row has seats closer to the window, while the next row has seats closer to the aisle.

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Iberia business class window seats A340

The reason for this staggering is that the ottomans for seats are located next to the seats in front of them.

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Iberia business class A340, seat 5L

I assigned myself seat 5L, which is one of the “true” window seats. On Iberia’s A340-600, the “true” business class window seats are the odd numbered ones, so those are the ones I recommend selecting.

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Iberia business class A340, seat 5L

Since the seat is so close to the window, most of the seat’s functions are to the left, closer to the aisle.

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Iberia business class A340, seat 5L

That’s where the entertainment and seat controls are located.

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Iberia business class seat & entertainment controls

The seat controls were easy to use, and had several pre-set functions you could select from, in addition to being able to control individual aspects of the seats.

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Iberia business class seat controls

Then to the left of the seat in front of the controls was a small storage unit, perfect for glasses, a wallet, a camera, etc. Below that was the power port.

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Iberia business class seat storage area

To the left of seat was another storage unit, perfect for headphones or a book.

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Iberia business class seat storage

There was also a reading light in this area.

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Iberia business class reading light

The reason I prefer this type of staggered seat to the Vantage-style seats on Austrian, Brussels, Delta, Swiss, etc., is because the area for your feet isn’t nearly as restrictive. There’s not just a “cubby,” but rather you have an ottoman where you can extend your feet vertically as much as you’d like.

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Iberia business class legroom A340

Underneath the ottoman there’s storage for shoes or a small bag.

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Iberia business class ottoman storage

Then the tray table folds out from the seat in front of you, and can be released using a clip. Unlike the other style of staggered seats, the tray table in this type of seat is really easy to use.

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Iberia business class tray table

A pillow & blanket were waiting at my seat during boarding. While the blanket was fine, the pillow was extremely thin. I know that’s common in Europe, though personally it’s not my preference on a plane, especially if I only have one pillow.

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Iberia business class pillow & blanket

Also waiting at my seat were headphones, which were Iberia branded. They weren’t especially comfortable, though also weren’t the worst business class headphones I’ve had.

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Iberia business class headphones

For reference, the aisle seats in this configuration simply have their ottoman along the aisle. The downside of these seats, in my opinion, is that you have virtually no privacy — you almost feel like you’re sitting in the aisle.

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Iberia business class aisle seat

The center seats are also staggered. In odd numbered rows the two center seats are closest to the aisle, so you can’t even talk to the person seated in the other center seat.

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Iberia business class center seats

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Iberia business class center seats

Meanwhile in even numbered rows they have what are called “honeymoon seats,” where you’re seated really closely to the person next to you. This is great if you’re traveling with someone you really like, but otherwise I imagine it would be really awkward to end up in one of these seats next to a stranger.

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Iberia business class honeymoon seats

The flight attendants came through the cabin with amenity kits at 5:25PM, a full 25 minutes after boarding began. I guess I can’t blame them, given that the entire plane was boarded through the forward door, so the aisle was quite busy during boarding. The amenity kits were in a soft-sided purple pouch.

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Iberia business class amenity kit

The kit itself had a decent number of amenities, including socks, a shoe bag, earplugs, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a comb, and a shoehorn. Then there were a variety of amenities from L’Occitane, including hand cream, lip balm, shea butter, and a refreshing cloth.

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Iberia business class amenity kit contents

A few minutes later the cabin crew came around with pre-departure beverages, consisting of the choice between water and orange juice. There were no options with alcohol. I was offered another refreshing towel with the drink.

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Iberia business class pre-departure water and refreshing towel

I was also offered the menu and wine list for the flight, along with two other unique things.

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Iberia business class menu & wine list

There was basically the equivalent of a “do not disturb” sign, which you could hang on the knob of your tray table if you didn’t want to be disturbed.

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Iberia business class rest card

There was also a duty free catalogue which was available exclusively to business class passengers, apparently.

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Iberia business class duty free card

At 5:35PM the door closed, with the business class cabin about two thirds full. Of the 30 (or so) business class passengers, I’d say only about five or six were American, with the balance being mostly Spanish.

At this point the head purser came on the PA to welcome us aboard on behalf of herself, Captain Jorge, and the rest of the crew. She informed us of our flight time of a very short 5hr55min — you’ve gotta love the jet stream this time of year (or not, if you’re trying to get some sleep).

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Iberia business class cabin view

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Iberia business class cabin view

At 5:40PM we began our pushback, where I had a nice view of the British Airways 747 parked next to us. At this point the safety video was screened.

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British Airways 747

We taxied out to runway 31L as the sun began to set. As an aviation geek, there’s nothing quite like a sunset as you’re taxiing around JFK Airport.

We made it to our departure runway at 6:05PM, and after a Lufthansa A340 took off, we were directed to taxi into position and hold.

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Taking off JFK

Moments later we rocketed off thanks to the strong engines of the A340-600, leaving behind some beautiful city lights.

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View after takeoff from JFK

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View after takeoff from JFK

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

Less than 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, despite some light turbulence on the initial climb out.

A couple of minutes later Captain Jorge came on the PA to add his welcome aboard. He was extremely professional, and provided one of the most detailed announcements I’ve heard in English, despite his grasp of the language not being all that great. He informed us that we had a 160km per hour tailwind, and that we had a takeoff weight of 290 tons and would have a landing weight of 242 tons, thanks to the 56,000 liters of fuel we’d burn inflight.

He further explained that we’d progressively be climbing higher throughout the flight in order to maximize fuel efficiency and airspeed, and to not be alarmed if the engines get louder during the night as we climb.

I took the opportunity to head to the lavatory to change into something more comfortable. The business class cabin has three lavatories — two behind the cabin, and one in front. So naturally I went to the ones in the back, so I could get a good cabin picture from the rear. 😉

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Iberia A340 business class cabin

The lavatories featured an interesting floor pattern, though aside from that were unremarkable. They were on the small side and didn’t seem to be in especially good condition.

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Iberia business class lavatory

They did have a cute floral-style art arrangement, though.

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Iberia business class lavatory

Upon returning to my seat the head purser made her way around the cabin to welcome each passenger aboard and also take orders for the main course. She was very nice and seemed to take pride in the service, telling me that I should let her know if I needed anything from “her” crew.

She also handed out “free” wifi vouchers for business class, which is a lovely touch. Unfortunately the free internet vouchers were for 4MB of free wifi.

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Iberia free internet voucher

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Iberia free internet voucher

Four megabytes. For those of you who are like me, and aren’t really tech savvy, let me give a comparison. Calling 4MB of wifi “free wifi” is the equivalent of calling a free sample at Costco a “free meal.” By the time I connected and loaded my email once I had used my 4MB allotment.

Iberia’s wifi is provided by OnAir, and the pricing is obscene. Charging $20 for 22MB of data is ridiculous. I value wifi immensely, but even I didn’t find that to be worthwhile.

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Iberia OnAir wifi price

For context, Etihad and Lufthansa charge ~$20 for free wifi for 24 hours. On a typical longhaul flight I might use 200-400MB of data (depending in how long the flight is), so under this system that would cost me hundreds of dollars. No thanks.

Previously Singapore Airlines had the most expensive wifi of any airline I’ve flown, but Iberia’s wifi is even more expensive.

At this point I browsed the entertainment selection, starting with the airshow. Iberia uses the same airshow interface as many airlines, including most recently (for me) Air India.

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Iberia airshow enroute to Madrid

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Iberia airshow enroute to Madrid

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Iberia airshow enroute to Madrid

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Iberia airshow enroute to Madrid

I also browsed the entertainment selection. I was impressed by the selection, and especially impressed by the responsiveness of the entertainment system. As soon as I pushed a button the next page loaded, without the usual lag. Iberia also has no ads before their entertainment selection plays, which is nice. While the selection itself wasn’t the best in the world, it exceeded my expectations.

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Iberia entertainment selection

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Iberia entertainment selection

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Iberia entertainment selection

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Iberia entertainment selection

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Iberia entertainment selection

I decided to watch an episode of Modern Family which I don’t think I’ve seen before, surprisingly enough.

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Iberia entertainment selection

About 40 minutes after takeoff the crew began the meal service.

The menu read as follows:

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The coffee & tea menu read as follows:

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The liquor list read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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Service began with distributing hot towels. While the towels themselves felt quite cheap, they were served on nice plates.

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Iberia business class hot towel

Then the crew came through the cabin with a drink trolley. I ordered a glass of champagne, which was possibly the least generous pour I’ve ever been offered. On top of that I was offered my choice between olives or mixed nuts — I asked if I could have both, which the flight attendant agreed to.

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Iberia business class drink service

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Iberia business class dinner starter — champagne, olives, and nuts

After the flight attendants finished their drink service they came through the aisle to clear drinks. Rather than offering drink refills they just cleared the glasses, which seemed a bit odd.

About 15 minutes later the crew rolled out a cart with the starters. This consisted of a tray with an appetizer, soup, and cheese.

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Iberia business class dinner starter

The starter consisted of salmon and some sort of pasta salad, and was surprisingly tasty.

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Iberia business class dinner starter — marinated salmon and salad

The veal consomme was very nice as well.

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Iberia business class dinner soup — veal consomme

And then there was also a cheese plate, which was basic though good.

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Iberia business class dinner — cheese plate with grapes

I was offered drinks as the course was served, and selected a glass of sparkling water and also the drier of the two white wines on offer.

For the main course I ordered the prawns, which were… fine. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call them “king prawns,” but the dish was decent enough, even if the presentation was lacking.

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Iberia business class dinner main course — king prawns with steamed baby potatoes

About 20 minutes later the crew came through with the dessert trolley. I asked if I could have both the cake and ice cream (only because I wanted pictures of both), and the crew gave me the cake and said they’d come back if they had leftovers of the ice cream, which they did.

The cake was sinfully decadent.

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Iberia business class dinner dessert — chocolate and fudge cake

The ice cream was good as well, though mainly I just liked the presentation, rather than most non-US airlines, which just serve ice cream in the original container.

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Iberia business class dinner dessert — vanilla ice cream

Interestingly coffee wasn’t offered on the dessert trolley, but rather was brought out separately. I had a cup of coffee, and also was offered either some milk or dark Lindt chocolate to go along with it.

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Iberia business class dinner dessert — coffee and chocolate

Lastly I was offered a bottle of water to finish the meal.

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Bottled water in Iberia business class

The entire meal service took about 1hr45min, which seems fairly long for a sub-six hour transatlantic redeye. That being said, the crew did seem quite efficient, so with their setup I guess that’s just how long it takes.

As far as the crew goes, I don’t have anything bad to say about them… but I also don’t have much good to say about them. They were efficient and got the job done, and were nice enough. They seemed neither engaged nor disinterested, but rather like they were on a mission to carry out a decent service, and they succeeded at that. But I was never addressed by name (aside from the purser), never offered a drink refill, and smiles seemed to cost extra.

After the meal service the cabin lights were dimmed, and I tried to get some sleep.

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Iberia business class cabin after dinner

I reclined the seat into the fully flat position, though the pillow didn’t help much in the way of providing padding, so I simply didn’t recline the seatback all the way.

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Iberia business class bed

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Iberia business class bed

Aside from that, I find this to be a fairly comfortable seat, thanks to the ample legroom and privacy. Unfortunately I couldn’t really sleep, which wasn’t because of the seat, but rather due to the early departure out of New York. Furthermore, I had booked a day room in Madrid, so figured I’d stay awake so I could sleep there.

With just under four hours to go to Madrid, I decided to watch a few more TV shows.

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

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Watching TV in “bed” on Iberia

After watching an episode of Modern Family I watched a National Geographic documentary called YouTube Revolution, which was fascinating. I was a huge fan of YouTube before (I always annoy people by making them watch videos), though had no clue just how much it has changed society. If you’d like to see the show, here it is:

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Iberia entertainment selection

It’s worth noting that the cabin got pretty warm during the night, and unfortunately Iberia doesn’t have individual air vents on the A340.

Before I knew it we were 75 minutes out of Madrid, and the cabin lights were slowly turned up in anticipation of arrival.

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

Hot towels were distributed, and shortly thereafter the meal service began.

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Iberia business class hot towel

The breakfast menu read as follows:

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Given the short flight, the breakfast service was quite simple. Everything was served on one tray, and there was blueberry yogurt, fresh fruit, a croissant, and a slice of toast. I was also offered some coffee.

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Iberia business class breakfast

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Iberia business class breakfast — fresh fruit

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Iberia business class breakfast — croissant and toast

As an afterthought the crew brought around orange juice. They didn’t actually ask what beverage people wanted, but rather just plopped down an orange juice on everyone’s tray.

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Iberia business class breakfast — orange juice

15 minutes before landing the captain came back on the PA to advise us we’d soon be landing and to thank us for flying Iberia, anticipating we would touch down at 5:50AM.

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

Moments later an arrival video was screened with information about Madrid Airport, including tips for connections.

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Airshow enroute to Madrid

As we began our final approach the head purser once again came through the cabin to thank everyone for flying Iberia and to ask how their flight was. She was clearly rushed for time, and simply said “thanks for flying Iberia… everything was okay?” Usually I’d find that to be a pretty bad metric of determining customer satisfaction, but given the limited time she had and effort she put in, I’ll give her a pass. 😉

Sure enough we had a smooth touchdown at Madrid Airport at 5:50AM, and then a five minute taxi to our arrival gate.

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Arrival in Madrid

While Madrid Airport is beautiful, it’s extremely impractically designed, as walking between gates and immigration can take 20+ minutes. After taking the train and clearing passport control I headed to the Iberia arrivals lounge to check that out, before heading to the Hilton Madrid Airport for some rest.

Iberia business class bottom line

I’ve long said that business class is all about the seat, and Iberia does fairly well in that regard.

While my two favorite business class seats are reverse herringbone and the “sky suite” offered by JAL and Oman Air, this is probably my third favorite kind of seat. You have a good amount of privacy and plenty of room for your feet, which is where most other airlines don’t do so well.

I thought the food on this flight was quite good, better than I’ve had on many other airlines. The service was definitely focused on efficiency, and I can’t say it was friendly or rude. I realize flight attendants are rushed on these short transatlantic flights, and that was pretty apparent here.

If Iberia had reasonably priced wifi I’d be an even happier camper. Offering 4MB of free wifi is basically useless, and their pricing otherwise is exorbitant.

So overall I give Iberia pretty good marks. I definitely prefer them to British Airways business class, and also prefer them to Finnair’s A330/A340 business class (though I prefer Finnair’s A350 business class, which they don’t typically fly to the US).

Ultimately my favorite way to travel on oneworld in transatlantic business class continues to be American’s reverse herringbone seats.

If you’ve flown Iberia’s business class, what was your experience like?

  1. Can you typically order airline food on Business and First done a certain way?

    Or is the food basically already prepared?

    I’m picky on how I eat things, for example, I don’t like Sauces, Dressings or Creams.

  2. “It’s worth noting that the cabin got pretty warm during the night”

    This is unfortunately a deal breaker for me – I am not sure if it applies to other people but I can’t really sleep well unless the cabin is on the cooler side.

    Same thing happened on JAL First – the cabin was so warm that I could hardly get a wink on a 14 hr flight (and I was super tired).

    Again, I’m not sure if this is standard for JAL or Iberia – but I haven’t experienced this issue on United/BA/Cathay/AA/LH (to name a few other airlines I flew J/F on)

  3. Seems like the crew were similar to what you get in KLM in World Business. They’re usually fine, but that’s about it. Food is unremarkable, but very edible. KLM tend to be good with the booze, but nothing like Air France. Even in economy you feel like you’re letting them down if you decline a drink. 🙂

  4. Looks nice, which brings me to an issue I am having right now. I booked an American award for my parents. The plane was suppose to be the same you are flying but it has now been swapped to their old angle flat on a 2-2-2 configuration. I’ve called American three different times and they keep claiming that because it was an equipment change on Iberia and not American that there is nothing they can do other than cancel the award. The routing is BCN-MAD-ORD. I’ve told them that they could put me on BCN-LHR-ORD on American metal in the long haul which is serviced by a 77W. Obviously they say they don’t have any space at the saver level. Flight is at the end of December. There hasn’t been a single seat sold on that flight. Not even in economy. Is asking them to move my parents to that option out of line? Should I write onto advantage customer service? Or is one of those cases that I’m SHit out of luck…. Let me know your thoughts.

  5. Free WiFi on A350 in business class and you said it was fairly fast, along with good reverse herringbone seats – do you think the American 777-300ER is superior to that (yes, I get they’re not flying it to the U.S., but for those of us in Asia)?

  6. I’m pretty sure this version of staggered seats had more room than vantage style is these seats and seat shells are much wider, on the vantage style it is 2-2-1/ 1(throne)-2-1 on an a330/a340, with this, it is only 1-2-1 with NO “throne” style seats.

  7. @Wildsman — same here, to the point that we politely requested JAL FAs to turn down the temp in the F cabin. They adjusted but we could not feel the difference at all. Still a great product with tremendous service, IMO — just a very warm cabin.

  8. @Serge iberia flies to ORD 99% with A333 or A340-600 (all with new product) so my bet is that you can expect a new swap

  9. @Serge –
    yes – I know what you’re saying about AF crews in Y. I first flew AF when I was 15 from EWR to ORY (back in 1994 when they still flew EWR – ORY). The flight attendants really couldn’t comprehend that I didn’t want champagne or at least wine with my meal. Again, I was 14. Nowadays, I enjoy the champagne on AF in all classes with abandon.

    Great report, Lucky!

  10. Love how the first screen shot of TV Shows offered features a mug of Ronaldo – front and center!! There ya go!! Great job and good eye!

  11. Lucky, isn’t Korean Air’s Prestige Suite the same as the JAL Sky suite and Oman Air 787 product. You should include it in your favorite style of seats

  12. @Alex,
    When I first booked it showed 346 1-2-1. The day after when I went to choose seats it said aircraft swap in progress. Couple weeks later now it shows 346 but 2-2-2. I know it’s a long way ahead. And probably more aircraft swaps will happen. But shouldn’t there be a protection?

  13. @Alex
    Actually starting October 31st it goes to angled flat for the rest of the year. Sounds like a permanent move to me instead of a one off. No?

  14. “For context, Etihad and Lufthansa charge ~$20 for free wifi for 24 hours.”

    Personally, I like my free wifi to cost $0 😉

  15. I flew on the IB A340 old business class, and while the seats/cabin are worlds apart, i’m glad to see your review of the food and overall feel being quite similar to my own.

    Iberia has a poor rep for OW carriers, and I’m not exactly sure why. IMHO i preferred their food in J over AA, BA, and Cathay (although behind QR). And in my own experience the crew has been pretty good, although their command of the english was surprisingly poor for a Euro carrier flying to JFK…

    Oh, and they’re arguably one of the best ways to get to Europe while avoiding those terrible BA surcharges.

  16. Thanks, Ben. Hubby and I are booked in Iberia business class ORD to MAD. I’m sure it will be similar to your experience, but with a little more time to sleep. Nice to know about the arrivals lounge, too.

  17. Just a reminder that the “sky suite” offered on JAL and Oman Air is also available on Korean Air’s 748i’s and recent deliveries of the 77W 😉

  18. Please review the Korean Air 747-8: they have an evolved first class seat and in business they’re now using the JAL & Oman Air style seat.

  19. The cabin itself is rather drab, and it’s always disappointing to hear about apathetic service when people are sometimes spending upwards of 5K for a ticket. My best business class service actually came at the hands of LH on their 744 on the upper-deck. My boyfriend and I had superb service, despite the food being uninspiring…I’ll never forget the flight attendant shouting, “Keith! Have a great Thanksgiving,” down the stairs as we were deplaning. AF also has terrific service transatlantic, in every cabin. Sounds like the service on this particular flight was rather depressing.

    Anyway, Ben, did you ask for another pillow? I always ask for another pillow when flying as I like to have one over my head as to block out as much noise / light as possible…

  20. Pretty standard food, though the dinner portions I thought were tiny, especially by Spanish standards.

    Personally, I think this is a lousy flight option. I say that because (1) the flight leaves too early to sleep, unless you get drunk and (2) even if you could sleep, you’d only be able to get at the most 2 1/2 hours of sleep due to a nearly two-hour dinner service and them turning the lights on 75 minutes before landing. I’d say the sweet spot for a flight is 7 to 8 p.m.

    What was the airfare? I don’t think I’d pay more than $3,000 for this

  21. @Serge: You’re complaining about your parents having a daytime flight to Chicago from Spain? That’s stupid. Especially since your parents will sit next to each other, which I’m sure they’d rather do than sit across from each other and have a random person in the other middle-seat.

  22. Thanks Ben, I’m flying MAD-ORD in June on their A330 and reading this is cheering me up no end. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s an difference in the service on a day flight with a much longer flight time. Paid £90 English one way and 34,000 miles with Iberia plus, which seems an absolute bargain when compared to 50/60,000 plus over £300 flying from London with BA/AA. Especially as I’m already in Spain at that point 🙂

  23. Flew ORD-MAD and back on their 333 with the same cabin last summer. I found the service very good, but my kids and I speak a little Spanish which I think helped. It’s amazing how something as small as trying to speak their native language goes. Our FAs kept checking on us to make sure we had everything we needed.

    I think Iberia is a good way to do TATL on points especially if you have activity in your IB and BA accounts and can easily move Avios back and forth. The lower taxes and fees vs BA are quite nice.

    Totally agree with your assessment of MAD. Very beautiful airport, but you’re in for a walk. Luckily MAD was our destination.

  24. I love Madrid. Is there a better drink in Europe than a Gin & Tonic in Madrid? Even at my favorite little café, they serve the G&T with style and flair. I have flown three times from LHR to MAD in the past two years. Another trip in a few months. A few thoughts.
    Unffortunately, I hate MAD and specifically T4S. Arriving and departing, I have had nightmare experiences at this bizarre airport. Arriving is pure torture. You have to walk UP ramps, walk miles to passport control, escalators or elevators to the train to baggsge claim, etc. etc. A friend in Madrid offered this simple explanation (and he hates T4S too): They were trying to get the Olympics and thought it was impressive.
    One good thing is the Duty Free shop in the immense baggage claim. Second good thing is the €30 flat fare for taxis to the city center. Or the €5.00 bus to central Madrid, if your hotel is nearby on Gran Via.
    On a recent departure, there was a gate change for my BA flight to LHR but, it was not announced at the original gate, where a couple dozen passengers were waiting for the flight. Nor was it listed on the board. Honest! No one could tell us which gate was the BA departure gate. And then, after prolonged chaos, in this HUGE terminal, you have to take a bus to the plane.
    On another occasion, I was refused acess to Fast Track because my boarding card was not properly stamped. Yes, it was missing a rubber stamp. The card clealy showed One World Emerald but that did not matter. “Go back and get it stamped!” Unbelievable!
    One good thing: I have access to the Iberia lounge and I find it is an excellent lounge. Connecting to WiFi is confusing but the comfort, seating, food and drink is very good.
    Again, I love Madrid but I find MAD to be a major irritation.

  25. I’ll be flying on IB from MAD to MEX in June, 2016. Leaving MAD at midnight and connecting on AA leaving at 0740 MEX to DFW. Any idea what kind of aircraft and seats in Business Class? I can’t imagine what food service at that time-maybe only breakfast.

  26. It’s Friday so, let’s play a game. When I saw the picture of the BA 747 above I realized that whenever I think of a 747, BA comes to mind. So, which is the one airline that immediately comes to mind when you see different types of planes? I’ll put my answers below.

    B737: Ryan Air
    B757: American
    B767: American
    B747: British Airways
    B777: Emirates
    B787: Qatar

    A320: Aegean
    A330: Swiss
    A340: Lufthansa
    A350: Finnair
    A380: Emirates

    and Ben, what are yours??

  27. Having recently flown both BA and Finnair biz, I prefer the BA upper level 744 cabin 60 series seating with ottoman.
    Over the coffin like foot space single Biz class seating of AY…
    I would literally prefer exit row seating in Y on the 340 to this particular J version of business class seating…
    I am booked on IBERIA MIA > MAD and look forward to experience IB J product.
    Found a marvelous cigar selection @ MAD. On a recent trip.
    Enjoyed your ‘heads up’ IB J presentation.

  28. @JerryMandel. We just flew the MAD-MEX two weeks ago in this same type of metal (340-600) but do double check as there is an early afternoon flight to MEX I believe on the old 340-500.
    We got served a full dinner after takeoff and the same breakfast as listed an hour and a bit out of MEX, with plenty of time to sleep inbetween.
    The strangest of this flight though is that they went over Canada, Chicago, and down the Missisipi over Houston to MEX.
    I also flew the 340-500 a few times earlier this year between Madrid and Buenos Aires (13hrs) and found this cabin to indeed be very comfortable to spend a significant amount of hours.
    Ben seems to have had bad luck, as I’ve had much better food than what he got. Food that would have made me very happy even in a nice restaurant. Slow roasted pork shank with red wine sauce and truffled potatoes, fresh sardines with wild strawberries and balsamico come to mind. But I have to say that eventhough the wines are excellent, the cava is disappointingly sharp. I’d stick to a gin tonic or maybe a sherry? Do try the old sherries after dinner, something you won’t be able to get outside of Spain.
    But definitely re-check your flight, as both on the MEX as on the BUE flights, IB alternates flying this very comfy A340-500, with their 1980’s style A340-500. It has hhhhhyyyyuuuuuuggeee pitch, but only angled, a crappy IFE and no privacy at all. Would be fine for a day flight if you bring your own media maybe.

  29. I just got myself a bottle of Segura Viudas brut reserva at my local supermarket for HK$99, which is about US$12. I don’t think it’s appropriate to serve Cava in International business class.

  30. “Moments later we rocketed off thanks to the strong engines of the A340-600”

    Said no one, EVER. From my front porch, I often watch the IB A340 flying the SJO-MAD sector take off — those little hair-dryer engines sure don’t manage a very robust rate of climb!

    Meanwhile, nice to see IB has Flor de Caña — one of the best rums on the planet.

    Gracias for the review.

  31. “I’d say only about five or six were American, with the balance being mostly Spanish.”

    Based on what? How they spoke? (Could you hear them?) Or what they looked like? (What’s an American or Spaniard look like?)

  32. I’m glad you liked the seat, though I was sad to hear that the service wasn’t that great. I usually fly Iberia’s business class to the U.S. as I live in Madrid, and most of the time the service is the best part, because they’re very attentive to your needs, always offer to refill your drink, and I always like to say that they’re overly generous when they pour you a drink! So I was definitely disappointed to see you didn’t get that kind of service on this flight. Do you plan on flying them again soon?

  33. Hi,

    This November, my husband and I are flying to Malaga. Our first trip to Europe and we booked through a third party travel agency. Our flights will be with American Airlines from Orlando to JFK and then Iberia from JFK to Madrid and Madrid to Malaga. The same on the way back. I was going to ask you how do you use points or miles to upgrade your seats with Iberia?.

    We have a lot of points with American Express, and due to my husband’s recently lower back issue we are trying to upgrade our longest flights JKF-Madrid/Madrid-JFK so that he can be more comfortable and hopefully with less pain.

    If you or any other reader could give me some tips or advices it would be so helpful and very appreciated.

    I spoke with Iberia already and they said I have to ask for upgrade with the agency. But I would like to know if anybody use points from Amex or other credit cards for this upgrades and how?.

    Thank you in advance.


  34. Did you try Emirates or Qatar Airways business class? I use them a lot, and they appear to be far superior to Iberia. I’ll find out next month when I take Iberia to Ecuador.

  35. Stay away from IBERIA – especially if you’re a senior citizen.
    My mother, who turns 85 this year, suffers from arthritis, impaired hearing and other ills of age, had the bad luck to fly with this company to visit my brother last month. She went “business” and that’s precisely what she got. She paid for assisted mobility, meaning a wheelchair, but when we got to the checkin, there was none. I walked up to the shift manager, got a blank stare and was dismissed. Luckily, one of the counter attendants – not an Iberia employee but rather a local handling agent rep – took it upon himself to get up and hunt down a chair for us.
    They took her to the Business lounge and left her there. When boarding time came around, not a chair or rep in sight. Again, luckily, the attendant at the lounge volunteered to help my mother along as they walked to the gate – the attendant holding her bag. Of course, the attendant couldn’t accompany her into the jetway from the gate to the plane, which was quite a long one. My mother told the Iberia people at the gate she wouldn’t be able to walk all the way in holding her walking stick and bag. She had already walked the entire distance (not short even for a non-octogenarian).
    Once again, one of the attendants volunteered – the same as before and (I stress) not an Iberia employee – to help her walk into the plane.
    But at that point, the shift manager I mentioned before went ballistic. She stopped the poor kid, grabbed my mother’s bag, tossed it halfway back up the jetway and screamed that she would prevent mother (who must be all of 5’3, thin, retiring and prone to shaking like a leaf when attacked) from boarding since she endangers the flight.
    By now, my mother was in tears and the flight attendant – drawn by the noise – looked out and took refuge in the cockpit. My mother decided to take a stand and continue on her way. At that point the flight attendant came back out and informed the shift manager that the pilot demands that my mother be allowed onto the plane.
    Once aboard, both the pilot and the flight attendant swore they would report the matter to management. But things didn’t end there.
    Upon arriving in Madrid, my mother and 5 other wheel-chair bound passengers were simply left to fend for themselves, sitting around, waiting for help. One of them actually missed her connection. My mother’s connection, thank god, was with American Airlines. However, one of her suitcases came late – it had been delayed for “security” reasons …
    We have since received apologies from American Airlines, through whom the flight had been booked, and British Airways, which handles Iberia in Israel.
    A month or more has gone by and not a word from Iberia.

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