Review of Iberia flight Madrid Santiago in Business

Airline Iberia
Flight IB6833
Class Business
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 13:20
Take-off 06 Mar 21, 23:55
Arrival at 07 Mar 21, 09:15
IB   #76 out of 101 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 225 reviews
767 traveller
Published on 14th March 2021

 This report covers a recent trip of mine between Madrid, Spain and Lima, Peru via Santiago de Chile. Originally, I was supposed to fly non-stop, however due to Peru’s prorogation of a (now lifted) prohibition of long-haul flights (> 8hs) into the country, I had to get creative on how to get there. As absurd as it sounds, aircraft are not allowed to carry passengers into the country. However, they can fly those who can between Peru and Europe. Given this, Iberia operates the outbound leg between Madrid and Lima as cargo only and the return leg as a commercial flight.

My original flight was cancelled because of these measures. Iberia didn’t offer any rebooking possibilities via another destination. So, it was either wait another two weeks for the first scheduled flight or ask for a refund and rebook on my own. I proceeded to do the latter and asked for a refund and rebook myself. Unfortunately, booking a combined itinerary on Iberia with a connecting leg on LATAM is getting trickier. It seems that LATAM’s inventory is limited on Iberia’s engine and I could only get itineraries to show on particular days a week. Since I originally had booked my trip using an Iberia voucher, it would be refunded in the same way. 

With another bloody voucher in my hands and not wanting to spend cash on another carrier, I had to get creative and book my flights in two separate reservations. This is  something I wouldn’t recommend doing though,  given he ongoing travel restrictions in place. After looking at entry eligibility to Chile, I booked a one-way ticket from Madrid to Santiago using an Iberia voucher and then added a leg between Santiago and Lima using cash.

If this is of use to anyone, these are Chile’s entry restrictions up to date:

• Foreigners can enter Chile with a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before boarding the flight with destination Chile.
• All international arrivals to Chile need to quarantine for 10 days. This can be shortened with a second negative PCR test on day 7. If your trip to Chile is for less than 10 days, you can travel, however you cannot leave wherever you are isolating at until departure from the country.
• Foreigners going to Chile need to show proof of travel insurance covering a minimum of $30,000 in medical expenses and including cover for COVID-19.
• Overheard at MAD: Chile is not accepting international business travellers, other than those holding a business travel visa/permit. Leisure travel on the other hand is fine.


Without further a due, lets go to the flight:

I arrived at Madrid Barajas T4 with plenty of time to spare. The Business class check in desks were completely empty and I was seen by a very nice agent, which checked all of my documents and understood the reason behind my itinerary. He assured me that as much as he would like to tag my luggage all the way to Lima, this was no longer possible as he would be unable to flag up my onward reservation on the system. 

Security was done in a jiffy as there was virtually no one around that time. I then proceeded to the Dali lounge which usually serves Schengen flights as the Velazquez lounge in the satellite terminal remains closed.

At the lounge I enjoyed some early dinner of a beef casserole with roasted potatoes, washed along with a glass of wine.


photo lounge-fi

There was an assisted buffet with three dinner options. Aside from the beef, there was an eggplant lasagna and a vegetable stir fry.


photo ib-lounge

Drinks were self-served. Coffee machines, soft drinks and beer were stocked up as usual. The wine section which usually includes a nice selection of reds and whites was shut though. Instead, there were mini bottles piled up in the coffee counter, with three red choices and two choices of white.


Funnily enough one of the wines on offer was Albali, which is a cheap (though completely decent for me) wine sold in Spain. In fact, it is offered in economy onboard Iberia’s long-haul flights.


I left for my gate with plenty of time to spare, as I had to take the train to the satellite terminal and clear immigration. Once at T4S, one could tell how COVID had shuttered passenger numbers down, as there were only 5 flights departing during the busy nights flight bank.


photo mad-t4s

There was an Aeromexico 787-9 flight to Mexico City which seemed to be having a higher load than the rest based on how many people were around the gate area.


photo am-789

Then there were three Iberia A350-900 flights. One was going to Buenos Aires, the other one to Mexico City and the third one to Santiago de Chile. Then there was also a LATAM Boeing 787-8 also bound for Santiago and also departing at the same time.


photo ib-a359n2

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photo mad-t4s-2


 I was one of the first onboard and quickly settled on my assigned seat 2A. Business class onboard the A350-900s is made up by 31 seats on a staggered 1-2-1 layout. Window seats in odd rows are located closer to the aisle, while those in even rows are located closer to the window with the seat console next to the aisle. I prefer the latter as they feel more private and are less exposed to the aisle.   

 


photo ib-bs-1


  There were only 9 seats occupied in Business Class today, filled in mostly by solo flyers. Despite the fact the flight was not too full, boarding took a while. There were no welcome drinks because of the sanitary situation. However, amenity kits were handed in by the crew along with a sanitising towel. 
 


photo ib-bs3


Seats are lie-flat and were comfortable enough according to my books. The central console has  some storage space to store small  items such as mobile phones, books or a tablet. The seat ing controls are located right next to the seat and are very intuitive to use. 
 


photo ib-bs-4


 We took off and soon made our way towards South America. The captain came on the PA announcing our route for the night, leaving Europe over Lisbon and entering South America above North Eastern Brazil. Afterwards the crew announced that they would soon commence with dinner service. Beer and wine were limited to one glass per passenger in economy, though fortunately they announced the drinks cap had been lifted in Business class.

  The crew came to take dinner orders. There was a choice of beef with mashed sweet potatoes or ravioli if I recall correctly. The flight attendant serving my aisle was kind enough to bring the three red wines on offer for me to decide which one to have. I settled with a nice Rioja to enjoy along with my dinner. No printed menus were available.

Despite having had beef earlier, I went for it. The meal was served all in one tray. It came with a tuna starter which was superb, a cheese plate, bread and a chocolate dessert.

The beef main was very nice. The meat was tender, and the combination of zucchini and mashed sweet potatoes worked out very nicely.


photo ib-dinner


Same could be said for the chocolate dessert, which was kind of a dark chocolate mousse served with raspberries. The quality of food definitely improved with the DO&CO contract. Unfortunately, for me the quantity was a bit small. Though that might be so that all can fit in one tray and therefore minimise passenger interactions with the crew.



photo ib-dessert-85981


Fortunately, the crew would refill your drink as soon as they saw your glass was empty. I had a couple of glasses of red wine and washed off the meal with a glass of Muscatel before going to sleep-


photo ib-pus-cafe


Given the light load, I ended moving to an empty pair of “honeymoon seats” in row five. I ended up sleeping through for more than 7 hours in this 12 hour and a half flight. The seats were hard, but I found them comfortable enough. The seats were pretty private and I could almost feel I was sleeping in a double bed.      
 


photo ib-seats-slep-2photo ib-seats-sleep



. I woke up three hours before landing and went back to my original seat, where I watched some shows and listened to music while admiring the magic of flight.


photo moviing-map


Meanwhile, the sun was rising over Brazil as we were cruising down our way towards Santiago.


 


photo sunrisephoto sunrise-2



 Breakfast was offered one hour before landing. It was all served in a single tray and there were no options to choose from, as it has already been the case in Iberia before the pandemic.


photo breakkie


Once again, one could tell DO&CO had chipped in the catering department as the plain omelet that Iberia used to offer in Business class had been made a bit more creative. It now came filled in with mushrooms and ricotta, while being served along with sun-dried tomatoes. I am not a big fan of ricotta, so tried to eat the mushroom filling along with the sun-dried tomatoes, leaving the eggs aside.

To drink I had a cup of coffee along with a glass of orange juice.

As I had my breakfast, I enjoyed myself with moving map


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As we started our descent into Santiago, the Andes came into sight. It turned out to be a very clear summer day in Santiago, so the views were stunning.


photo vie2-6

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photo view-4

Descent was smooth and we docked in our gate 30 hours our scheduled arrival time.


photo lsn

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photo pa

Once again, we disembarked by rows with business class allowed to disembark first. As we parked at the new C pier, it was a very long walk to immigration located in the main terminal.

Bye Bye Iberia, hope to see you soon!


photo plane

Before we had to go through a sanitary control were staff checks your PCR test, travel insurance and asks you to scan a QR code given to you once you fill in the health declaration form. The process was smooth as there were lots of agents processing forms, however there was still a bit of a queue formed given that there were two wide-body flights arriving at the same time.  Fortunately, immigration was flowing quickly, and I was only asked what the purpose of my trip was. I mentioned I was in transit and just had to recheck my luggage and was let into Chile.

Bags were already out once we got through that process, though unfortunately I was not allowed to recheck my luggage as LATAM requires “health security” staff to validate passengers health documentation for international travel. Why can’t a regular check in agent do this? I frankly don’t know.

So off it was to the airport’s Holiday Inn to isolate myself for the eight hours or so before I could check my bags and head airside.

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Verdict

Iberia

7.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.5

Madrid - MAD

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Santiago - SCL

7.2/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

Iberia provided a comfortable flight across the Atlantic. The A350 is a superb aircraft and though the cabin colour palette might seem bland, the seat seemed comfortable and practical enough for me.

Information on the route Madrid (MAD) Santiago (SCL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Madrid (MAD) → Santiago (SCL).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Iberia with 6.8/10.

The average flight time is 13 hours and 23 minutes.

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6 Comments

  • Comment 572216 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 4981 Comments

    Thank for this well written report.
    Quite a creative way to reach your final destination.
    What about the diner that I guess has been served after takeoff ?
    See you

  • Comment 572277 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 517 Comments

    It is indeed a pain in the arse to book any longhaul flights now given the border lockdowns, changing regulations et cetera and it doesn't really make sense that flights over 8 hours are locked, while you can bypass this law by connecting in another country. Thanks for sharing this report and it does seem that Iberia did an okay job in service given the pandemic conditions.

    • Comment 572315 by
      767 traveller AUTHOR 48 Comments

      Unfortunately nothing makes sense in Peru atm. Fortunately that restriction has now been lifted and flights from Europe can carry passengers. Regarding the flight, it was good enough given the current situation. I did enjoy being able to have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner again

  • Comment 572728 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5393 Comments

    Hi 767 Traveller, nice to see one of your reports again! It's also super interesting to see reviews on ultra-long-haul flights like this, with so few operating during the pandemic.

    Long-haul travel has definitely become very complicated--my long-haul travel as been limited to essential transatlantic EU<->US trips since I have access to both as a dual French/US citizen. Most people can't say the same.

    I've have several similar issues with rebookings when there are multiple carriers in the itinerary (AA/BA and BA/IB in my case). Not only is availability a problem between partner carriers, but the schedules got so thin and changed so often that it became nearly impossible to make itineraries work with only 1 stop. I don't blame you for piecing together separate itineraries to make it work, though, as you mention, it's super risky even in normal times, much less during the pandemic with all the border closures and ever-changing entry requirements! Glad it worked out for you.

    Given this, Iberia operates the outbound leg between Madrid and Lima as cargo only and the return leg as a commercial flight.

    It's crazy that this has become commonplace--BA are doing that to several destinations as well.

    It's nice to see a report on the IB A350...one of the more positive schedule changes I've had swapped an IB 333 to a 359 for a trip this summer...crossing my fingers that it holds! Such a beautiful aircraft inside and out.

    There was an assisted buffet with three dinner options. Aside from the beef, there was an eggplant lasagna and a vegetable stir fry.

    Not bad at all...hot food! I've had some crappy lounge experiences lately, with US lounges serving basically nothing and lounges in France completely closed.

    Seems like boarding was pretty smooth for your flight--maybe because it wasn't full. My recent experience flying longhaul from MAD was awful...we had to queue up for over a half hour at the gate just for document checks, with no priority queue for J pax.

    The quality of food definitely improved with the DO&CO contract. Unfortunately, for me the quantity was a bit small.

    My thoughts exactly! Food was good quality, but portions small. It's funny because my 2-year-old got bigger portions in his CHML!

    Thanks again for this report--I really enjoyed it...super interesting!

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