Review of Brussels Airlines flight Brussels Madrid in Business

Airline Brussels Airlines
Flight SN3721
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:11
Take-off 24 Nov 21, 09:26
Arrival at 24 Nov 21, 11:37
SN   #64 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 218 reviews
YGeorgeW
By GOLD 450
Published on 10th December 2021

Thanksgiving in Madrid


My family rarely ever celebrates Thanksgiving, so often I take the opportunity to travel abroad. This time, I managed to snag a very nice Star Alliance business-class sale to Madrid. You can read the previous report for how I booked and the routing.


Routing

  • UA950 - Business - Washington → Brussels - Boeing 787-10 Past
  • SN3721 - Business - Brussels → Madrid - Airbus A320 You are here
  • LH1121 - Business - Madrid → Frankfurt - Airbus A321neo Coming soon
  • UA961 - Business - Frankfurt → Newark - Boeing 787-10 Coming soon
  • UA4435 - Business - Newark → Washington - CRJ-550 Coming soon

photo map

brussels airport


The entry process in Belgium was very fast, a quick check of my passport and boarding passes was all they needed. The immigration officer didn't even scan the QR code I was required to get before booking (I guess they really only care if you are actually entering Belgium?).  Either way, it was a brisk walk to the Schengen side. The delay on my previous flight left me with little time to enjoy the lounge. Brussels Airlines' Schengen lounge can be found right across from Gate A42 up a set of escalators. 


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The Loft


The Loft, by Brussels Airlines is also sponsored by Lexus. I was quickly checked in by one of the agents who informed me that Gate A56 is about a 5 minute walk. Also in the check-in area is a nice set of the different liveries Brussels Airlines has. Thinking back, I should have bought a Smurfs plane to commemorate my flight. Unfortunately, the thought didn't even cross my mind until I was writing this report.


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The lounge is fairly spacious, with two main areas: a main sitting and buffet area directly in front of you and a smaller wing to your right. There is a buffet spread in the smaller section as well. The Lexus sponsorship is very clear.



There are a variety of different sitting areas, from countertop seats, to individual armchairs, to couches, to a small bar setup adjacent to the stylish main buffet setup. There is a business center (or what I assumed was a business center) at the end of the main area.



The food was the same in both setups–here is the spread from the smaller right-side buffet. A few normal hot choices like bacon and scrambled eggs, some baked goods, and plenty of to-go snacks. As folks who have read my flight reports before might guess, I grabbed a pain au chocolat to nibble on. I had less than 15 minutes total time in the lounge, so I was rushing quite a bit.



The bathrooms were clean, but the urinals were out of order for some reason. It made for a bit of a wait for the few individual rooms.



I sat down by the windows for a few minutes to relax after a whirlwind around the lounge to take pictures. From the main room, you get a pretty good view of the tarmac. You can see a variety of airlines, such as Lufthansa, Ethiopian, and Tui.


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As I was leaving, I noticed a display station for Neuhaus Belgian chocolate. I assume these are staffed during the day and you can actually purchase chocolate here.


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sn3721


SN3721 departed from Gate 56, which was a 5-minute walk from the lounge as predicted.


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My ride to Madrid was OO-SND, a 19 years-old A320-200. More importantly, it was the Smurfs Livery plane.


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Document checks (Covid documents for non-Schengen arrivals) were called 5 minutes before boarding. We were all called by name to report to one of the gate agents, who checked our documents fairly quickly. Business class and Star Alliance Gold members were called for boarding as I waited for my documents check. Afterwards and as I scanned my boarding pass, the gate agent apologized for butchering the pronunciation of my name. She was very nice about it and apologized without me saying anything (I'm used it and usually don't bother correcting someone unless I know I'm going to see them in the future). Despite scanning our boarding passes, the jet bridge doors didn't open until a few minutes after boarding began.

As we walked down the jet bridge, had to try to get a better shot of the livery. 


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Brussels Airline has the standard intra-European layout in business class. This flight only had two rows of J for a total of 3/8. There was no divider, just a little placard that signaled the end of business class in row two. For whatever reason, I ended up with a seatmate in 1C (I couldn't select my seat online and didn't want to change seats in-flight because I wasn't sure how that might affect my Spanish arrival information–they asked for your seat number). Probably overly cautious on my part. I think in normal times one of us would have definitely opted to move to the other row.

As I usually emphasize for European J, bulkhead seats are the best–as you can see, plenty of legroom here. These seats barely reclined and were overall fairly uncomfortable. On top, you have the usual overhead panel. 


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The Smurfs livery continued into the bulkhead itself. I learned from the little certificate that the plane is nicknamed Aerosmurf. I didn't even realize the Smurfs were a Belgian comic.


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We pushed back at 9:26am CET and took off from Runway 25R 10 minutes later.

We were asked for our drink order 8 minutes after takeoff. I love how much more efficient serve is in the rest of the world compared to the US. The onboard menu was fairly plain. The purser informed us later that business class can ask for anything off the menu as a complimentary addition.


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I asked for a cup of coffee and orange juice, which was served about 5 minutes later along with Biscoff cookies.


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The breakfast tray was served about 5 minutes after drinks and involved some cold cuts, cheese, fruits, and yogurt. I grabbed a croissant from the bread basket. It was a fairly average meal, the croissant was warm at least, but the fruit tasted a bit stale and I didn't enjoy the yogurt.

I finished my breakfast fairly quickly (I wanted to get a nap in before landing in Spain). Trays were picked up about 15 minutes after breakfast was served. The purser asked if I wanted anything else, but nothing on the menu caught my eye and I honestly didn't need more calories at this point. 


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Before trying to nap, I checked out the forward lavatory, which was fairly standard.



As you might imagine with these seats, I had a hard time actually napping.

About an hour after trays were collected (at around 11:09am CET), the captain announced our initial descent and that we would be landing in roughly 20 minutes. 


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The views around Madrid were beautiful. Originally the forecast for the week was cold and rainy. While it was still cold, it only ended up raining one day while I was there.


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We touched down at 11:30am CET, as the captain predicted. While we were taxing, we passed by dear old Alitalia. I wonder when these are all going to be repainted into ITA?


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7 minutes after touchdown, we arrived at our remote stand. Six minutes later the staircase was set up and down we go. Normally I hate remote stands, but I certainly won't complain about get a much better picture of Aerosmurf.


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Just to note: there were stickers on the bus for where to stand to maintain social distancing. I didn't measure it, but it certainly wasn't 1.5 meters and I doubt it would have done much given the confined air on a bus.


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One more picture as we drove off. This is probably the most fun livery I've ever flown on. Too bad they don't go all out with a Smurfs-themed service like EVA does with Hello Kitty.


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From deplaning to the taxi stand took about 20 minutes in all. It was a short walk from the station where agents checked your health QR code.

See more

Verdict

Brussels Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering8.0

THE LOFT by Brussels Airlines

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services8.0

Brussels - BRU

8.2/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Madrid - MAD

9.0/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

Lounge: The Loft was quite a comfortable Schengen lounge, with all the usual amenities and not as crowded as some of ones I've been to in Amsterdam or Frankfurt. I would have liked a longer time to relax and explore the lounge more.

Cabin & Seat: Intra-European J is not comfortable and barely recline, but bulkhead seats are better than others.

Service: Service was very efficient and pleasant, but there's little else to say about it. The purser asked a few times if I wanted anything extra off the menu, but I didn't take her up on her offer.

Meal & Catering: I think this meal is probably roughly on par with what I had the last time I flew intra-European J. It certainly beats a United snack box.

Bottom Line: This was a fairly normal intra-European flight and I wouldn't hesitate to flew Brussels Airlines again. They have a nice lounge at BRU and the Smurfs livery was a fun surprise.

Information on the route Brussels (BRU) Madrid (MAD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 11 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Brussels (BRU) → Madrid (MAD).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Iberia with 6.9/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 21 minutes.

  More information

5 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 588760 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 5230 Comments

    Despite your short time in lounge, you took some pictures of it, thank you!
    The livery is nice and fun but that's it for this flight, the seat is very uncomfortable and the tray looks cheap with disposable materials and those horrific cutlery made of wood. At least they give you the option to choose additional items from the bob which is not the case at LH.
    7/10 for cabin comfort is very generous IMHO.

    • Comment 590370 by
      YGeorgeW GOLD AUTHOR 213 Comments

      Thanks for reading Leadership and sorry for how long it took me to respond!

      I agree that the livery was the sole bright spot of this flight. The seat was indeed uncomfortable and I could not fall asleep no matter how I shifted. I really never know how to actually rate intra-European J cabins because they're all the same, so I hesitate to "punish" an airline for having the same seat as everyone else in the region.

  • Comment 590415 by
    airberlin GOLD 1193 Comments

    Here again, very good review of the lounge which is still fairly new for everyone here as it just oppended before COVID.
    Comparing SN with LH... I would prefer SN, despite your review. Bulkhead seats.... aha - hate those ones and would still prefer row 2 even with low pitch.#
    Thanks for sharing, Vince / ab

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