- Introduction: An Open-Ended Journey To Oman
- Review: Iberia Business Class Airbus A330 (MIA-MAD)
- Our COVID-19 Testing Mess At Madrid Airport
- Review: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid
- Review: Iberia Lounge Madrid Airport (MAD)
- Review: Iberia Business Class A320neo (MAD-MXP)
- Review: Sala Montale Lounge Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
- Review: Qatar Airways Business Class Boeing 787-9 (MXP-DOH)
- Review: Qatar Airways A320 Business Class (DOH-SLL)
- Oman Entry Requirements: My Experience
- Traveling As A Gay, Married Couple: My Philosophy
- Review: Alila Hinu Bay, Oman
- Review: Oman Air Lounge Salalah Airport
- Review: Oman Air A330 Business Class (SLL-MCT)
- Review: W Hotel Muscat, Oman
- Review: Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
- Review: The Chedi Muscat, Oman
- Review: Primeclass Lounge Muscat Airport (MCT)
- Review: Turkish Airlines A321neo Business Class (MCT-IST)
- Review: Turkish Airlines 737 MAX Business Class (IST-CPH)
- Review: AC Hotel By Marriott Copenhagen Bella Sky
- Copenhagen Airport’s Awesome COVID-19 Testing Center
- Review: SAS Lounge Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
- Review: Eventyr Lounge Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
- Review: SAS Business Class Airbus A350-900 (CPH-MIA)
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).
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?!
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.
In this part of the terminal there was a single checkpoint open… makes sense, eh?
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.
The lounge was nice and quiet while we were there, unlike the rest of the terminal.
I was also impressed by the food selection, which was every bit as good as when Flagship Lounges first opened.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I selected seat 6L, a “true” window seat toward the back of the cabin (Ford was seated immediately behind me).
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.
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.
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).
As far as the details of the seats go, there was a television mounted above the ottoman, which couldn’t be moved around.
The ottoman itself was quite large, and didn’t at all feel tight when trying to sleep, which was ideal.
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.
Underneath that were the AC power outlets, USB outlets, and headphone jacks.
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.
Each seat also had two overhead reading lights, though unfortunately there were no individual air nozzles.
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 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.
Shortly after boarding, each passenger was offered headphones. Again, decent but nothing special.
Then amenity kits were distributed, which contained earplugs, eyeshades, socks, a comb, a dental kit, and some lotion and cream.
Disinfecting wipes were also distributed.
Lastly, pre-departure drinks were served in proper glassware, with the choice of water or orange juice.
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.
There was also a map feature, which is the main way that I use inflight entertainment.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Just under 90 minutes before arrival the breakfast service began.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We were at our arrival gate at Terminal 4 just five minutes later, roughly 40 minutes early.
Unfortunately it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, as I’ll cover in the next post.
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?