Review: Iberia Business Class Airbus A330 (MIA-MAD)

Review: Iberia Business Class Airbus A330 (MIA-MAD)

More From This Trip
FROM: MIA
TO: MAD
CABIN: Business
DATE: February 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: While not industry leading, Iberia offers a solid business class experience, with comfortable seats, excellent and reasonably priced Wi-Fi, and good enough food and service. I wouldn't hesitate to fly Iberia again if the price is right or the schedule is ideal.
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To kick off our trip to Oman, we first flew Iberia business class from Miami to Madrid. I went into the flight with fairly low expectations, and I’d say my expectations were exceeded… somewhat. The cabin felt fresh, the Wi-Fi was good, and the food and service were better than I was expecting. Given the value we got, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with Iberia gain.

How I booked our Iberia business class tickets

We booked our Miami to Madrid flight as a standalone itinerary, since we were spending a couple of nights in Spain before continuing to the Middle East. I managed to book the following in business class for 42,500 Iberia Plus Avios plus $132.60 in taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges, per person:

02/13 IB6118 Miami to Madrid departing 10:45PM arriving 1:15PM (+1 day)

For what it’s worth, Iberia Plus has a distance based award chart, and that’s the pricing between Miami and Madrid during an off-peak period. I acquired these Iberia Plus Avios by transferring them from British Airways Executive Club, which is possible as long as both accounts have been open for at least 90 days. Alternatively Iberia Plus is transfer partners with both Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

While I could have booked this flight directly through British Airways Executive Club, that would have come with $700+ in carrier imposed surcharges. Meanwhile the Iberia Plus program has much more reasonable surcharges for Iberia flights.

Iberia business class check-in

We arrived at Miami Airport at around 8PM for our 10:45PM departure to Spain. Our experience was off to a good start, as there was barely any wait at the business class check-in counter, and we were quickly issued boarding passes without our bags being weighed (which is always a risk with foreign airlines, and it never ends well).

Iberia business class check-in Miami Airport

Unfortunately, it pretty quickly went downhill from there. As it turns out, Iberia doesn’t participate in TSA PreCheck. Wait, say what? In 2022?! I hadn’t bothered to check the TSA’s airline list before our trip because I don’t remember the last time I flew an airline that didn’t participate in it. Heck, there are airlines that participate in TSA PreCheck that I’ve never heard of (what’s Key Lime Air?), yet somehow Iberia doesn’t?!

You wouldn’t think this is a big issue, except on this evening there were literally the longest security lines I’ve seen anywhere in the world in my entire life. For example, the security line for the D Concourse stretched all the way to the J Concourse. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve never even seen a security line half this long before. I can’t help but wonder what exactly happened here?!

Miami Airport security line
Miami Airport security line

Fortunately there was a CLEAR checkpoint. I was no longer enrolled in CLEAR since I don’t remember the last time that I was at an airport where CLEAR actually saved any time. Fortunately Ford and I both had our Amex Platinum Cards on us, which offer a CLEAR credit, so we could sign-up on the spot. Despite having CLEAR, it still took 45 minutes to get through security.

Miami Airport CLEAR security line

In this part of the terminal there was a single checkpoint open… makes sense, eh?

Miami Airport security line
Miami Airport security checkpoint

Iberia Lounge Miami (American Flagship Lounge)

Premium Iberia passengers at Miami Airport can use the American Flagship Lounge, located in the D Concourse. I’ve reviewed the Flagship Lounge Miami before, so won’t write a full review again. However, this was my first time visiting since the lounge reopened, so I’ll just share a few thoughts.

Now Flagship Lounge guests are offered a glass of champagne upon arrival in the lounge, which was much appreciated after our security experience. In this case it was Piper Heidsieck being offered.

American Flagship Lounge Miami champagne welcome

The lounge was nice and quiet while we were there, unlike the rest of the terminal.

American Flagship Lounge Miami
American Flagship Lounge Miami
American Flagship Lounge Miami

I was also impressed by the food selection, which was every bit as good as when Flagship Lounges first opened.

American Flagship Lounge Miami buffet
American Flagship Lounge Miami food selection

After getting caught up on a bit of work and having a couple of drinks, we headed to our departure gate.

Iberia business class boarding

Our flight was departing from gate E21, and according to the boarding pass, boarding was scheduled to start at 9:45PM, an hour before departure. Getting to gate E21 requires taking the train.

Miami Airport train system

As is the case with so many airlines, it appears that the boarding time posted on boarding passes isn’t actually the time that boarding is intended to start, which sure is frustrating. Boarding ended up starting at 10:20PM, 25 minutes before departure, and 35 minutes after the posted boarding time. Business class passengers were invited to board first.

Miami Airport departure gate for Iberia

Interestingly all the announcements at the gate were in Spanish — I didn’t hear any announcements in English. Then again, that’s kind of fitting for a flight between Miami and Madrid.

Iberia Airbus A330 business class cabin & seats

We boarded through the second set of doors on this Airbus A330-300, and turned left into the business class cabin. Iberia’s A330-300 business class cabin consists of 29 seats, in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. As you’d expect, each seat features direct aisle access and is fully flat.

Iberia A330-300 business class cabin
Iberia A330-300 business class seats

Along the windows, seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and closer to the windows, and if possible you’ll want to select one of the seats closer to the windows, as they’re much more private and cozy.

Iberia A330-300 business class seats

I selected seat 6L, a “true” window seat toward the back of the cabin (Ford was seated immediately behind me).

Iberia business class seats A330
Iberia business class seats A330

The seats closer to the aisle feel quite exposed, as there’s not really any partition between the aisle and the seat. In particular, when sleeping many people in these seats have their legs just kind of spill over into the aisle, given the lack of a partition, which can be tricky.

Iberia business class seats A330
Iberia business class seats A330

In the center section, seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and closer to the center. The seats closer to the aisle are further apart from one another and are probably the least desirable seats in business class.

Iberia business class seats A330

Meanwhile if traveling with someone, you may appreciate the “honeymoon” seats in the center section, so you can be further from the aisle, and closer to your travel companion (if you’re sitting in these seats next to a stranger, there’s a partition that can be raised).

Iberia business class seats A330
Iberia business class seats A330

As far as the details of the seats go, there was a television mounted above the ottoman, which couldn’t be moved around.

Iberia business class seat TV & ottoman

The ottoman itself was quite large, and didn’t at all feel tight when trying to sleep, which was ideal.

Iberia business class seat ottoman

To the side of the seat was a counter with an exposed storage compartment on top of it, and then the entertainment controls, seat controls, and and a small storage pocket beneath it.

Iberia business class seat storage
Iberia business class seat controls

Underneath that were the AC power outlets, USB outlets, and headphone jacks.

Iberia business class seat outlets

The tray table folded out from the side of the seat in front. You simply had to unlatch the tray table, and could then move it down.

Iberia business class seat tray table

Each seat also had two overhead reading lights, though unfortunately there were no individual air nozzles.

Iberia business class seat overhead console

As far as lavatories go, there was one bathroom at the front of the cabin and one at the back of the cabin, right in front of premium economy. The lavatories were pretty standard, and weren’t kept particularly clean.

Iberia business class lavatory
Iberia business class lavatory amenities

Iberia business class amenities

Waiting at each seat upon boarding was a pillow and blanket. The bedding was decent but nothing special — the blanket was soft and wasn’t too warm, while the pillow wasn’t too thin. There’s certainly better bedding out there, but this wasn’t bad.

Iberia business class pillow & blanket

Shortly after boarding, each passenger was offered headphones. Again, decent but nothing special.

Iberia business class headphones

Then amenity kits were distributed, which contained earplugs, eyeshades, socks, a comb, a dental kit, and some lotion and cream.

Iberia business class amenity kit

Disinfecting wipes were also distributed.

Iberia business class sanitizing wipes

Lastly, pre-departure drinks were served in proper glassware, with the choice of water or orange juice.

Iberia business class pre-departure drink

Iberia departure from Miami

Despite the later than posted boarding, the main cabin door still closed at 10:45PM. The flight was fairly full. In business class, 23 of the 29 seats were taken, and economy seemed to be reasonably full as well.

At 10:50PM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video was screened. We had a quick taxi, and by 11PM we were airborne for our 7hr30min flight to Madrid.

Iberia business class entertainment & Wi-Fi

After takeoff I took a look at the inflight entertainment selection. While the selection as such was pretty good, the system was somewhat slow to respond. There were dozens of movies and TV shows to choose from. While not as good as Emirates ICE, for example, it was still solid.

Iberia business class entertainment system A330
Iberia business class entertainment system A330

There was also a map feature, which is the main way that I use inflight entertainment.

Iberia business class entertainment system A330
Iberia entertainment system map
Iberia entertainment system map
Iberia entertainment system map

Much more impressive to me was Iberia’s Wi-Fi situation. The last time I flew Iberia, the airline charged for Wi-Fi based on data usage, with absolutely outrageous costs. That’s no longer the case. On this flight Iberia charged €20.49 for a full flight Wi-Fi pass, or €13.49 for a four hour Wi-Fi pass, all with no data caps.

On top of that, Wi-Fi speeds were excellent. While not as valuable on an overnight flight where you might be trying to sleep, for many the better pricing may be a game changer on a daytime flight, where you can stay productive without paying a fortune.

Iberia business class dinner

Since this was a late night flight, most passengers opted to go straight to sleep. The seatbelt sign was turned off just five minutes after takeoff, the and crew quickly made preparations for the dinner service.

Iberia business class cabin after takeoff

By 11:35PM the flight attendant was at my seat to offer me dinner. Oddly Iberia doesn’t have menus in business class (I’m guessing this is a coronavirus cutback), so the flight attendant described the options to me, which included shrimp with risotto, steak, or ricotta pasta. Everything was served at once, and each individual item was covered.

Iberia business class dinner service

To drink, I had a glass of red wine and some sparkling water (I actually thought I ordered white wine, but I was served red wine, and it tasted good, so I didn’t send it back).

Iberia business class drinks

I’ve gotta say, the meal itself was quite good. The shrimp with risotto was flavorful and somewhat original, though not the best airline meal I’ve had. Then there was some sort of a red pepper spread (at least I think that’s what that was?) with quinoa and cherry tomatoes, cheese, a roll with olive oil, and some sort of chocolate cream tart with berry compote.

Iberia business class dinner

I appreciated how quickly the meal was served, as it was cleared within 50 minutes of takeoff. On such a late night departure, having a quick service is important. At the conclusion of the meal I was offered a bottle of water.

Iberia business class bottled water

Iberia business class bed & sleep

After dinner I made my bed, which was quite comfortable. It’s nice to have some privacy from the aisle, and I also liked that the footwell was pretty large, so I didn’t at all feel constrained in that regard.

Iberia business class bed
Iberia business class bed
Iberia business class bed

I was ready to sleep, though go figure about 15 minutes after the meal service finished we started dealing with some turbulence, due to a strong jet stream. It continued to be bumpy for several hours. Nothing scary, or anything, but there was enough turbulence that it prevented me from sleeping. Wearing a mask and the lack of an individual air nozzle also didn’t help with creating a good sleeping environment.

While I tried to rest for a few hours, I don’t think I ended up getting even a minute of sleep. At some point I decided to get up. I got some work done on my laptop, and the fast Wi-Fi made that pretty productive. I was also treated to a beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise enroute to Madrid
Sunrise enroute to Madrid

Iberia business class breakfast

About two hours before landing I ordered a cup of coffee, which a crew member gladly served me. Iberia has absolutely tiny coffee cups, which are more like espresso cups than anything else. I can appreciate wanting to save galley space, but these are frustratingly small, especially when you’re trying to avoid spills.

Iberia business class coffee

Just under 90 minutes before arrival the breakfast service began.

Map enroute to Madrid
Map enroute to Madrid

Breakfast options were described as a ham and cheese sandwich or an omelet. I don’t eat pork (pigs are cute and smart!), so I selected the latter. Much like with dinner, this was served fully covered.

Iberia business class breakfast

Breakfast was served with a roll and some fresh fruit, and the omelet came with sausage and hash browns. When I cut into the omelet I realized that it was filled with… ham.

Iberia business class breakfast

A ham and cheese sandwich or a ham omelet, what a choice! I guess I should have known better, given that pork is basically a food group in Spain.

Iberia business class service

Service in Iberia business class was frankly better than I was expecting. The flight attendants were by no means proactive, in the sense that they weren’t constantly passing through the aisle to see if anyone wanted anything. I was also never addressed by name, thanked for flying Iberia, etc.

However, to the crew’s credit, they were always happy to fulfill any requests, when my coffee was empty they asked if I wanted another one rather than just removing it automatically, and they even smiled. There was nothing at all bad about the service, but nothing great either.

Iberia arrival in Madrid

About 45 minutes before landing the captain announced that we’d soon start our descent, and that we should be arriving early thanks to a strong jet stream. About 15 minutes later we began our descent, and shortly thereafter the seatbelt sign was turned on. It was a beautiful day in Spain, and I enjoyed gazing out the window.

View approaching Madrid
View approaching Madrid

We had a smooth touchdown in Madrid at 12:30PM, and as we barreled down the runway we passed some parked British Airways A380s, that seemed to be stored here.

View approaching Madrid
British Airways A380s parked in Madrid

We were at our arrival gate at Terminal 4 just five minutes later, roughly 40 minutes early.

Arriving at Madrid Airport Terminal 4

Unfortunately it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, as I’ll cover in the next post.

Madrid Airport Terminal 4

Bottom line

I came into my Iberia flight with low expectations, and they were (moderately) exceeded. Iberia’s A330s have solid staggered seats in business class, with excellent Wi-Fi and good entertainment. On top of that, the food was pretty good, as was the service. The flight even arrived 40 minutes early.

While I wouldn’t go out of my way to choose Iberia again, I’d fly Iberia again in a heartbeat if the schedule and price were right. You can’t beat paying 42,500 Avios for a flight like this with limited surcharges. While Iberia sometimes has a not-great reputation, in this case I felt like that wasn’t warranted.

If you’ve flown Iberia’s A330 business class, what was your experience less?

Conversations (53)
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  1. Tomas Guest

    Longest lines I've ever seen EWR Hands down

  2. AW Guest

    I don’t remember the last time that I was at an airport where CLEAR actually saved any time.
    ---------------------------
    You and I must never travel to the same airports (although I admittedly fly domestic 90% of the time). With Clear and TSA Pre I'd guess it hasn't taken me more than 10 minutes to get through security in the last 5 or 6 years. Usually it takes much less, sometimes as little as a minute.

    1. Chris_ Member

      Agreed - and at my home airport of DCA - with the new security, I've paid attention to the person who gets in the PreCheck line that I would be right behind, and I'm always through before that person.

  3. Roamingredcoat Gold

    Flew them pre-Covid and they didn't have menu's either. Crew came around and verbally explained choices. Guessing some outstations do not have consistent meal choices.

  4. Nannie McMartin Guest

    I have to DISAGREE with just about EVERYTHING you have said...are.you getting paid for this? OK you travel for free? We have had goos experiences with IBERIA before. The last one. ast month from Miami to Madrid is the WORST Business class experience EVER! The flight was an hour late leaving, surely mot their fault, but then the RUSH, PRESSURE, QUALITY OF THE FOOD.....awful! Maybe it's some kind of "union" thing...but we could NOT have...

    I have to DISAGREE with just about EVERYTHING you have said...are.you getting paid for this? OK you travel for free? We have had goos experiences with IBERIA before. The last one. ast month from Miami to Madrid is the WORST Business class experience EVER! The flight was an hour late leaving, surely mot their fault, but then the RUSH, PRESSURE, QUALITY OF THE FOOD.....awful! Maybe it's some kind of "union" thing...but we could NOT have a drink bwfore departamento...they said something about US regulación...fine maybe again MOT their fault...but when ww were arbórea they came around ALREADY with meal trays...NO MENU, NO CHOICES...I said I would like -if it was possible- to have a glass of cava....meantime here comes RUSHING the meal cart!!! I was a bit confused....they offered two choices of meal.and WHAT wine would I like with that! I chose and before I know I have a glass of cava and not one but TWO Red wines...all at once! My husband and I eat slowly and enjoy our meals....we were but starting our meals.when they are again RUSHING around with coffee! I had to call to their attention that we had JUST received (an untimely meal mind you!) ans hiw could we possibly want coffee when we had not even been able yo finish our CAVA! No attention to that whatsoever...I thi k if those giels could have drugged us to put us ALL to sleep they would have done just that! Amazing! Gossipping between then constantly...there seemed to be plenty of time for THAT! Will make sure NOT to fly business with them again! It's strange because we have had good travels with them and enjoyed their food and wines better than with American before...this time the roles were absolutely reverse! American was amazing! Great menu, service, and attention to detail....something has happened during Covid? They better get back on track...that was basic cabina service in Iberia at best! A shame!

  5. Cef Guest

    Hi Ben,
    We were in that same flight. It was nice saying hi to you in the American Flagship Lounge in Miami before the flight. As I mentioned then, I've been reading your blog for years, it was quite nice to finally meet you.

  6. Alexf1 Member

    Nice review, thanks. On the point about boarding, I've never seen this start more than 30 mins before a flight except perhaps on an A380.

    Airports like Istanbul and Singapore indicate boarding as starting 1 hour before departure. Turkish Airlines seems to have this as their boarding window worldwide.

    So, irrespective of what the boarding pass says, I never take these times too seriously as realistically you can't be denied boarding if you're at...

    Nice review, thanks. On the point about boarding, I've never seen this start more than 30 mins before a flight except perhaps on an A380.

    Airports like Istanbul and Singapore indicate boarding as starting 1 hour before departure. Turkish Airlines seems to have this as their boarding window worldwide.

    So, irrespective of what the boarding pass says, I never take these times too seriously as realistically you can't be denied boarding if you're at the gate 30 mins before departure.

    But... my approach does have its risks. So please don't try this without speaking to your doctor first.

  7. LAX Guest

    Ben…maybe unrelated.

    Got an email from TSA saying I can renew without the process. Is that true???

    Also have CLEAR and Global Entry with my Amex Platinum.

    Do I need to bother with TSA?

    All advice welcome!

  8. AZTravelGuy Guest

    So not like this guy's Iberia flight? I can't imagine the germaphobe in you handling this well.

    https://youtu.be/ViAa74S_hY8

  9. Paul Pine Guest

    I flew MAD-SDQ business class and it was absolutely terrible . Cold food and one glass of wine only. Dismissive aircrew , never again. Iberia is definitely one of the worse european services . Worse than American frankly

  10. Vancouver - Char Gold

    Happy to read your review of Iberia after that long, long wait at Miami's security lines - i appreciate your honest reviews; pity the menu was not there as I like collecting those menus. Looking forward to reading about the coming Qatari flights

  11. richyjoye New Member

    With expectations set low... they you would indeed be positively impressed. Not a great cabin for sure, so-so service, but at the end I would favour this over any of the US airlines on this route.

  12. Emily Guest

    It always surprises me how aged and dilapidated the airports in the US appear. A wonderful welcome to the so called superpower.

  13. Khatl Gold

    MIA is horrible for the lines and how slow they move, and the lack of TSA-pre came as a shock to me too. I've found the Iberia staff generally very good on ORD-MAD and MIA-MAD routes, often providing me two glasses of wine if I indicate I don't know which one to have. And generally regular refills without being asked. Though I agree it's not that proactive, and more of the team following a script...

    MIA is horrible for the lines and how slow they move, and the lack of TSA-pre came as a shock to me too. I've found the Iberia staff generally very good on ORD-MAD and MIA-MAD routes, often providing me two glasses of wine if I indicate I don't know which one to have. And generally regular refills without being asked. Though I agree it's not that proactive, and more of the team following a script (e.g. refills during dinner service, but not after). The true window seats are by far the best, giving ou a real sense of privacy, and certainly better for an overnight flight. Agree that the IFE is solid, and the food is also generally good, and even better on flights departing MAD. As for T4 in Madrid, it would be so much better if there was decent signage, particularly when wanting to connect. The Iberia lounge in MAD, and the flagship lounges in ORD and MIA are definitely a plus

  14. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    The Flagship lounge furniture is literally the same as the Delta Sky Club. I hate those lounge chairs as they are too low and the small table isn't big enough to eat off or do work with a laptop. But kudos to American for serving real champagne, unlike Delta.

  15. Adrian Guest

    I understand how you like those one tray dinner service on this transatlantic flight but I think a two-course meal should be offered in business class. While the one tray dinner service looks better than the current Club World offering by British Airways, it is still sad to offer a "premium economy" meal to your business class passengers. The main course portion can be larger. On the other hand, breakfast looked good and I appreciate...

    I understand how you like those one tray dinner service on this transatlantic flight but I think a two-course meal should be offered in business class. While the one tray dinner service looks better than the current Club World offering by British Airways, it is still sad to offer a "premium economy" meal to your business class passengers. The main course portion can be larger. On the other hand, breakfast looked good and I appreciate a full hot breakfast service being offered.

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward reading the rest of the trip report especially the Qatar's experience on the 787-9.

  16. OliverBoliver Guest

    Good the wifi has been improved. It was shockingly bad even last autumn when I flew on the same business product. Also service was truly terrible, to extent of being comical. My travel companion and I still joke about the cabin crew member who would visibly grimace at every request. The worst part was I think she was the purser!! I have had great service experiences with business on Iberia, but it is very hit and miss.

  17. Ted Guest

    Curious how long we expect the covered food practice to persist? It’s unsightly and wasteful. I get it two years ago when we just weren’t sure how the virus spread. But why are airlines still doing this in 2022? Purely for optics, science notwithstanding?

  18. S Member

    Why is Miami airport so bad? I've never been but I know it's considered to be easily the worst of any major US airport. It's not even a top 10 busiest airport yet it's a clownshow. How is it this bad? Just bad design? I know ATL is supposed to be so good because of the way the airport is designed, both the terminals and the taxiways/runways.

  19. LB Guest

    Did MAD-JFK just prior to COVID in J, and I have to say it was the worst experience both on the ground and in the air. Their lounge in Madrid is third-world, and ended up going to the gate early. In the air, their flight crew did the bare minimum and asking for a drink was like I had pulled a knife on them - terrible - and they routinely ignored call buttons from other...

    Did MAD-JFK just prior to COVID in J, and I have to say it was the worst experience both on the ground and in the air. Their lounge in Madrid is third-world, and ended up going to the gate early. In the air, their flight crew did the bare minimum and asking for a drink was like I had pulled a knife on them - terrible - and they routinely ignored call buttons from other passengers. The only thing going for the flight was the hard product. IAG should either retrain or retrench most of their flight crew, beyond salvageable...

    1. Aaron Guest

      Third world, lets not be overly dramatic now...

    2. Bagoly Guest

      you mean Cabin Crew?

  20. Matt Guest

    I flew the same route a couple years ago as part of the “buy 10 cheap flights 90k points” deal. So all in, I think it cost me about $600 for 2 tickets after taxes for this route in biz class. So whatever was the experience, I couldn’t complain. So I was surprised when it was slightly above average. Wine very good and fell asleep soundly. All I could ask. The attendAnts were not pro active but that’s ok. While I paid only $300, I would fly IB again in a heart beat.

  21. Alonzo Guest

    Wow, that security line. Jeez!

  22. Gene Chan Guest

    Ben, if you're a seasoned traveller as you claim you are, how can you not know that CLEAR does not give you expedited security???

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Gene Chan -- It's supposed to give you expedited security to the actual security line, by allowing you to bypass the standard ID check. I was a member for years. What am I not understanding?

  23. David Guest

    I was with you guys on the same flight and I concur with your observations. As a regular IB flyer, I would say this was a slightly above average flight. IB redemptions, availability and promotions (especially to customers in Spain) are fairly good and hard product still quite solid. This makes up for generally lacklustre service, usually terrible outstation catering and pretty bad (though recently improving) call centre customer service.

  24. Dave Guest

    Key Lime Air is a charter/commuter airline based out of Denver- Centennial (KAPA). Denver Air Connection is a part 121 subsidiary of Key Lime Air, operating out of KDEN (and other airports). I am guessing Denver Air Connection participates in precheck.

  25. Jack Guest

    We've flown IB between MIA and MAD quite a few times. As you say, it's not the best J product out there but it compares favorably with any US carrier. The seats are fine, the food is generally good. IB crew can be a bit disinterested, though they are generally much nicer to my Spanish-speaking husband than me even when I make an effort to speak a little Spanish. My biggest complaint is they often...

    We've flown IB between MIA and MAD quite a few times. As you say, it's not the best J product out there but it compares favorably with any US carrier. The seats are fine, the food is generally good. IB crew can be a bit disinterested, though they are generally much nicer to my Spanish-speaking husband than me even when I make an effort to speak a little Spanish. My biggest complaint is they often seem to guard the wine like it's their personal supply! And to your point about boarding, in my experience it's always a free-for-all on IB, either in MIA, MAD, or any other station.

    In terms of product and convenience for getting to Spain, I definitely think IB is the best option. And despite it's mega size, I'm a big fan of MAD-Barajas.

  26. Matt Guest

    I’ve flown this product a number of times out of NYC and think it’s great! I just wish IB flew a nonstop JFK-BCN with their business class product instead of just the low-cost “Level” brand that’s all-coach. Why don’t they? Surely BCN must have as much demand as MAD.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      @Matt
      BCN is served by a lot of foreign airlines as well as local ones, but is primarily a destination or commencing point. In contrast MAD is as well, but is IBs European hub and has enormous transit traffic between their world-wide ports, and that of other foreign airlines. The 'hub and spoke' model is the way they operate, so don't expect too many direct IB flights bypassing MAD!

  27. Stuart Guest

    That line is incredible at Miami. It's usually bad but that is appalling. Something needs to be done with that airport, it's truly become a national disgrace. With that said, Ben is probably too young to remember the lines after 9/11. They were that bad if not worse. I recall LAX and lines that ran outside from one terminal to the next. And at Dulles snaking around the main terminal in two circles. This was...

    That line is incredible at Miami. It's usually bad but that is appalling. Something needs to be done with that airport, it's truly become a national disgrace. With that said, Ben is probably too young to remember the lines after 9/11. They were that bad if not worse. I recall LAX and lines that ran outside from one terminal to the next. And at Dulles snaking around the main terminal in two circles. This was after you waited some time to go through checkpoints on the access roads to look in the vehicle dropping you off.

  28. HawaiianFlyer Guest

    Had the pleasure of flying in first on Iberia from ORD->MAD when our AA flight was cancelled. The food, entertainment and service were excellent, but what wowed me was the flat-reclining seat. It was so long that my long frame would not even reach the end. What a luxury to fully extend.

  29. Klaus Guest

    TSA Pre: another option would’ve been booking an AA ticket with TSA Pre and canceling it once inside.

  30. Daniel from Finland Guest

    I don’t really understand the star rating system here. I’ve flown Iberia business class, and my experiences are very similar to yours. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing particularly good, either. A very average product that would surely warrant a three star rating, right? If this is four stars, then what is five and how far above five is Qatar or Emirates? Six, seven?

    Glad to hear they’ve improved the WiFi. Last month, it was...

    I don’t really understand the star rating system here. I’ve flown Iberia business class, and my experiences are very similar to yours. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing particularly good, either. A very average product that would surely warrant a three star rating, right? If this is four stars, then what is five and how far above five is Qatar or Emirates? Six, seven?

    Glad to hear they’ve improved the WiFi. Last month, it was still per MB on an A330. I used up the free voucher in less than ten minutes.

    1. MKLDH Member

      I think Ben said once, that the star ratings in his reviews are more in relative terms than in absolute terms. So prior expectations seem to play a big role. I do believe that Ben could make this concept more clear by putting a short explanatory note under each rating.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Daniel from Finland -- MKLDH's explanation is correct, I will try to add something that makes it clear how I come up with a rating. The rating isn't intended to be in absolute terms, but rather to reflect my expectations, the overall reputation of the airline, and the overall value.

      It's the same reason that a three star hotel could get a five star rating for me, and a five star hotel could get...

      @ Daniel from Finland -- MKLDH's explanation is correct, I will try to add something that makes it clear how I come up with a rating. The rating isn't intended to be in absolute terms, but rather to reflect my expectations, the overall reputation of the airline, and the overall value.

      It's the same reason that a three star hotel could get a five star rating for me, and a five star hotel could get a three star rating. It's all about expectations vs. what the experience is actually like.

    3. Daniel from Finland Guest

      Fair enough. When I write reviews on Trip Advisor, I compare the star rating and price I paid with my expectations and experiences. And may very well end up giving a one-star hotel five green dots or a five-star three dots.

      But airlines don’t have a star rating (apart from the Skytrax scam). I think it would be helpful if you wrote a post where you list some 20-30 airlines by category, so that...

      Fair enough. When I write reviews on Trip Advisor, I compare the star rating and price I paid with my expectations and experiences. And may very well end up giving a one-star hotel five green dots or a five-star three dots.

      But airlines don’t have a star rating (apart from the Skytrax scam). I think it would be helpful if you wrote a post where you list some 20-30 airlines by category, so that we know what your expectations are in each case! Like a high-end category for Qatar, an average category for Iberia and a low-end category for TAAG etc.

  31. MRL Guest

    This is somewhat random, but you alluded to it in the review: do you know why foreign airlines care how much your carry on weighs (and have absurdly low limits even in premium cabins), while US carriers couldn't care less?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ MRL -- I think it just generally reflects a different culture around bringing bags onto planes. In the US, airlines are definitely more lax with carry-on size and weight, while non-US airlines aren't.

      Why is that? I think there's probably a historical reason for that. Maybe it's because US airlines have been charging for checked bags more consistently for so many years, leading to customers progressively taking more and more items onto planes. I...

      @ MRL -- I think it just generally reflects a different culture around bringing bags onto planes. In the US, airlines are definitely more lax with carry-on size and weight, while non-US airlines aren't.

      Why is that? I think there's probably a historical reason for that. Maybe it's because US airlines have been charging for checked bags more consistently for so many years, leading to customers progressively taking more and more items onto planes. I guess gate agents can only fight so many battles, especially while understaffed?

      It's an interesting question...

    2. Philippe Guest

      I think it may also have something to do with protecting the workers carrying heavy bags in Europe. Then the cheaper airlines saw the money in this and started to sell bags by the kg (like Ryanair).
      But I always thought that even in the Americas piece concept a bag in Economy Class can't be more than 23kg / 40lb and in Business/First not more than 32kg / 50lb.

    3. Bagoly Guest

      I think the point here was about weighing carry-on, rather than checked bags.
      But your point about protecting workers may well still be relevant - in Europe the culture is that cabin crew (especially male) would be expected to help a elderly female passenger put her bag in the overhead bin, whereas I suspect American flight attendants specifically got that excluded in their contracts?
      Interestingly BA's hand carry limit is 23kg, and Easyjet...

      I think the point here was about weighing carry-on, rather than checked bags.
      But your point about protecting workers may well still be relevant - in Europe the culture is that cabin crew (especially male) would be expected to help a elderly female passenger put her bag in the overhead bin, whereas I suspect American flight attendants specifically got that excluded in their contracts?
      Interestingly BA's hand carry limit is 23kg, and Easyjet used not to have a limit (it's now 15kg).
      Perhaps more likely, the BA and US attitude may date back to when checked bags were included in all fares, and it was cheaper, even quicker, for the airline to have the passenger load their carry-on themselves ("self-loading ancillary luggage"?!) rather than pay airport staff to load into the hold.

      BTW 23kg = 50lb, 32kg = 70lb.

  32. ECM New Member

    Lucky,
    I regularly fly this route, as I am based on Miami and my parents live in Madrid! Iberia over AA any day of the week, and the award availability is always good with AA miles at 57.5k. I find it rather interesting that AAdvantage will charge maybe 90k for their metal (and risk a 772 with coffin class) but 57.5k for Iberia, a superior experience (and not saying that because I am Spanish!)

    ...

    Lucky,
    I regularly fly this route, as I am based on Miami and my parents live in Madrid! Iberia over AA any day of the week, and the award availability is always good with AA miles at 57.5k. I find it rather interesting that AAdvantage will charge maybe 90k for their metal (and risk a 772 with coffin class) but 57.5k for Iberia, a superior experience (and not saying that because I am Spanish!)

    It's even better on the return flights, as Iberia considers this one their "flagship" routes (up to 3 flights a day) and are departing from their hub (catering above all). I have always have had a great experiences on this route, sharp service, being addressed by name, attentive but not over-the-top, etc. and the private seats (like yours) are also a winner in my book, especially for the Westbound flights.

    Finally, the later flight (9 or sometime 11 pm) is known as the "fast service" flight, since they know that people are going to try and get shut-eye as soon as possible. The 4 or 7 pm flights the dinner is more what you would expect in a premium cabin, at least pre-COVID. I'm flying the route twice this year and taking both the 7 and 10/11 pm flight in consecutive months during the summer (wedding season!) and I'll keep an eye out with the service and report back!

    P.S. This is one of the reasons I read the blog! I always forget that Iberia's chart is peak and distance-based, so sometimes you end up paying up to 15k points less! Need to log in to my Iberia account more often jaja

  33. Creditcrunch Gold

    Thanks for the review, and nice to see it looks like the cabin has been deep cleaned, a few reviews over in YouTube recently have not been very favourable with dirty cabins and poor food.

  34. Puntentrotter Guest

    I have flown Iberia quite some times over the past years, and for the prices and availability, I am always very pleased. Especially the food by Do&Co you get on outbound flights from Madrid, intra-European flights and in the Madrid lounges is excellent! Service is a bit hit/miss, but nothing terrible.

  35. Nelson Guest

    IB isn't known for it's cleanlyness. But those restrooms looks so disgusting. Fairly, in Europe you can't have worst Carriers then IB and AZ. The only plus point is that usualy they are cheaper than the others but there it ends. I avoid them at any cost.

  36. Aaron Guest

    Any idea what's going on with AAdvantage redemptions on Iberia? Earlier this week, I tried to book a Iberia J award DFW-MAD with AAdvantage, and the total fees were over $700 like flying BA. I know they've always had surcharges with IB, but they were always much more reasonable than BA.

    1. Tri N Guest

      Agree. I’m seeing the same. Wondering if it’s an error or distance based surcharge is making its way through… dfw to mad > greater distance than mia to mad, but serious nearly $600 more?!

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      Curious about this too. Lucky?

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Aaron -- I'm working on investigating, but my gut says that it's some sort of a glitch.

  37. Thomas Guest

    The WiFi price must have changed very recently then. As on my MAD-ORD flight end of January it was still charged per MB…

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Thomas -- Interesting. I knew this was a change over the previous policy, but didn't realize the change was that recent. That's good then...

    2. thomas199023 New Member

      Just looked it up, 27 January.
      Plan: Surf 3 hours (100 mb) Price 15 euro.
      That 100 mb lasted me 30 minutes haha.
      So this is a big improvement.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

MRL Guest

This is somewhat random, but you alluded to it in the review: do you know why foreign airlines care how much your carry on weighs (and have absurdly low limits even in premium cabins), while US carriers couldn't care less?

2
Emily Guest

It always surprises me how aged and dilapidated the airports in the US appear. A wonderful welcome to the so called superpower.

1
Adrian Guest

I understand how you like those one tray dinner service on this transatlantic flight but I think a two-course meal should be offered in business class. While the one tray dinner service looks better than the current Club World offering by British Airways, it is still sad to offer a "premium economy" meal to your business class passengers. The main course portion can be larger. On the other hand, breakfast looked good and I appreciate a full hot breakfast service being offered. Thanks for sharing and I look forward reading the rest of the trip report especially the Qatar's experience on the 787-9.

1
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