The Madrid – London route is highly frequented for British Airways and Iberia. Because of this, once a day Iberia flies this route with a long-haul Airbus A340-600 aircraft. That means that there’s also a fully equipped long-haul business class on this 2-hour flight. A good opportunity to quickly test Iberia’s product:
Check-in & Lounge
Travel-Dealz founder Johannes started in Düsseldorf. There, the check-in worked without any problems. In Düsseldorf, he could use the Hugo Junkers Lounge as a Club Europe passenger. In London-Heathrow, he could have used British Airways’ Galleries Lounges in terminal 5, but due to the delay of his feeder flight, he didn’t have the time.
The Iberia Lounge in Madrid’s terminal 4s is quite a highlight, however, if you fly this route starting in Madrid. We’ll have an extra review for this soon.
As the first feeder flight had been canceled, and the replacement flight with an expected 2 hours of layover time in Heathrow also had a delay of over an hour, he just arrived 20 minutes before the official take-off time at the gate in terminal 4, satellite C.
He missed the priority boarding and had to wait in line with the economy class passengers. Boarding was made using only one gangway.
The business class cabin in the Airbus A340-600 has 9 rows with four seats each. That means that there are 36 seats in total, which is a rather small cabin for an A340-600, which after all is the longest plane in the world. On this plane type, Lufthansa uses 56 business class seats.
The seats are in a 1 – 2 – 1 formation and all face straight forward. However, the seats are shifted in each row, meaning that while every seat has direct access to the aisle, the seat’s privacy varies a lot for each seat. This is especially an issue with the seats that are placed directly at the aisle.
The seats that are shifted towards the middle or window, however, offer a lot of privacy. At least Iberia doesn’t charge any money to reserve seats in business class, regardless if you own a status or not.
For couples, the middle seats that are shifted towards the middle (E or F) are a particularly good choice. If you’re flying alone, we’d recommend one of the seats directly at the window (A or L).
The overhead bins in the middle are rather small, which makes the cabin seam bigger, which is nice.
The seats are lie-flat-seats, which can be converted into a 180° bed by pressing a button. At the end of the seat, there’s a footrest which becomes part of the bed. With a height of 1,80 m, it was possible to lie stretched out comfortably. The flight, however, was too short to test out how well one can sleep.
It is possible to change the hardness of the seat and other settings with the panel on the side. There’s a power socket and a USB-port to charge your devices.
The seat does not offer much space to stow your belongings. Under the “bed”, you could stow away a handbag, which can also stay there during take-off and landing. Other than that, there’s also a compartment under the armrest, in which you could put your cell phone.
There is, however, quite a lot of space to place your objects on, thanks to the platform in the middle. Without any problems, you could place your drinks there without having to use the seat’s table, and can even use it for a baby bassinet.
The table is adjusted to the seat in front of you. It is possible to stand up without any problems while the table is in use.
The service started roughly 40 minutes after take-off. Sadly, no drinks were served before. Food and drinks were given out at the same time. Drinks were served in glasses and the warm food was also served on china.
The choice was between a veal burger and walnut stuffed pasta in a tomato, aubergine and thyme sauce. Already a few rows earlier (Johannes was seated in the last row) it was said that they were out of burgers. At least one passenger didn’t want or couldn’t eat the pasta and had to settle for the below-average salad.
Johannes was satisfied with his choice, which hadn’t really been a choice. The sauce with the walnuts was really delicious, the bread, however, was sadly very dry. Apart from the salad, there was also a selection of cheeses, which he didn’t eat, and yogurt as dessert.
For a 2-hour flight, the food was surely adequate. When clearing the trays, the cabin crew also offered more drinks. Nevertheless, it really would have been nice to get a drink shortly after take-off.
The crew was friendly, but not incredibly committed. Things could also have been a bit cleaner. At boarding, there were very clear red wine marks on the seat from the previous passenger. They could have easily removed this when checking the cabin.
Due to the short flight, there really wasn’t much time to test the inflight entertainment system. The selection, however, seemed good: Many current movies that were recently in the cinema, available in many languages. There are advertisements before every movie, but they can be skipped by fast-forwarding.
You can use the entertainment system by touching the screen. Unfortunately, it regularly lagged and one had the feeling that it didn’t register your touch, but then it did do something 5 seconds later. There is also a remote control, with a touch screen, which worked quite well.
The inflight map made a good impression, but sadly it didn’t have access to the A340’s cameras.
The headphones were disappointing. If they really had noise-canceling, it was very weak. Just like with British Airways, this is a real weakness.
Sadly, there was no amenity kit on this short flight.
Before take-off, WIFI vouchers were handed out, giving you – hold on to your seats – 4 MB. I thought that Singapore Airlines was stingy with its business class WIFI (it used to be 30 MB, now at least its 100 MB), but 4 MB really is a joke.
The prices for using internet above the clouds are also very expensive:
- 10 MB for $10
- 25 MB for $20
- 50 MB for $40
To be fair, if you’re flying on Iberia’s Airbus A330-200 and A350, prices are better. These would be the prices:
- 1 hour limited to 40 MB: €9
- 3 hours limited to 100 MB: €20
- Entire flight limited to 200 MB: €30
Roaming partners, such as Boingo or iPass, are sadly not available.
- Check-in and boarding
- Comfort & Cabin
- Entertainment system
Even if this product was far from perfect on this short test, it still is a product that I would use in the future on a long-haul flight. The seats offer a lot of space, always have direct access to the aisle, and the food and service were alright. The WIFI prices are a real flaw.