Review of Iberia flight Madrid London in Economy

Airline Iberia
Flight IB3166
Class Economy
Seat 24A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 02:05
Take-off 17 Mar 19, 16:25
Arrival at 17 Mar 19, 17:30
IB   #56 out of 74 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 237 reviews
Jett Tyler
By SILVER 401
Published on 8th September 2021

Roll Back to 2019


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I did a trip with my friend in March 2019 to enjoy the Boeing 777 experience with British Airways to Madrid which was running daily on the BA460/461 service, the only wide-body route being served in Europe since the Boeing 767 retired. We also found a good opportunity to try the Airbus A340 wide-body service too, on the returning IB3166 which I had done before three times (twice with the A340-600).


There is a link bellow to the Boeing 777 flight if you want to find out more about that flight, but this is all about IBERIA!


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Image from my July 2017 flight on IB3166 which featured on the now retired Airbus A340-600 of Iberia.


The day we were due to fly we found there was an aircraft change removing the Airbus A340-600 on a downside, but on the plus side- we weren't going on a shoddy Airbus A330, we were flying on a new Iberia Airbus A350-900!!!


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Now that the Airbus A340 fleet is gone, the Airbus A350-900 often comes to London Heathrow on the IB3166, sometimes swapping with the not so impressive Airbus A330.


Prior to this, I had only experience the Finnair Airbus A350- so it was nice to get a chance to enjoy the aircraft on another airline. My friend was a little put off as he missed a chance on the A340 (which was suddenly retired the following year) but I was still excited about the A350, which turned out to be the 3rd one delivered and at the time the newest in the fleet at less than three weeks old!


Madrid to London with the Airbus A350


Routing


We got to Madrid Barajas via the Metro after a visit to the Museo del Aire (Aviation Museum in Madrid). Whilst the fares by the metro system are quite reasonable, there is a premium for exiting or originating a journey at Madrid Barajas Airport. 


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From a previous Madrid visit, this is the route via the Metro line from Madrid Barajas to the nearest station by the Museum.


The museum is quite the spectical and holds an interesting collection covering 100+ Years of Spanish Aviation.


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The Boeing 727-200 & Douglas DC-9 are the former backbones of the Iberia short-haul fleet, now dominated by the Airbus A320-family.


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This British Olley Air Service DeHavilland Dragon Rapide delivered General Franco to Morocco from the Canary Islands at the very start of the Spanish Civil War, so he could take control of the army in Africa. It was gifted to General Franco after WW2 and is preserved here.


Getting to Madrid Barajas, we checked in at the Iberia desks at Terminal 4, and after clearing security we transited through the under ground monorail to Terminal 4S, the Satellite Terminal that handles on non-Schengen flights by Iberia & their OneWorld partners.


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Arriving at Madrid Barajas from the Metro train. We got off near arrivals, but Departures weren't far away.


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It was quiet on this part of the Airport when we arrived, but it does get busy at time, as seen bellow.


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A view of Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas, with a huge number of Iberia Airbus A320-family aircraft. You spot the single Vueling A320?


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The Monorail train that moves people between Terminal 4 and Terminal 4S at Madrid Barjas.


We had a wait at the Passport check point which isn't uncommon for Madrid Barajas based on my previous experiences. However we had allowed for plenty of time for this. I quite like the Terminal 4/4S building at Madrid as its modern with some amazing viewing opportunities as well as a nice mix of retail, restaurant and café services.


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Airbus A330 make up 20 of 26 long haul aircraft in the Iberia fleet, at the time of writing, with another 14 A350-900 on order.


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Whilst London Heathrow gets the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Royal Jordanian, Madrid Barajas sees the Airbus A320-family.


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Ryanair has quite the presence at Madrid Barajas. In 2019 it was the third largest MAD operator behind Iberia & Air Europa.


We got our gate and went over to it to find our IB3166 flight had an Airbus A350-900 parked on stand, we knew our flight had changed aircraft that day- but it was a nice surprise to see this brand new A350. Sadly my last A340 experience with Iberia would prove to be already a done affair following the events of the next 24 months.


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The bulk of European flights by Iberia are done by these Airbus A320-family aircraft like this A321. I've only done one flight so far with the IB A320 family so far.


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Here is EC-NBE at the gate, this aircraft was mere weeks old and brand new from Toulouse when we flew on it!


Boarding from what I recall was promptly on time, boarding at Iberia was done different to British Airways as they still had all three OneWorld status groups boarding together after business class. Where as BA does it Emerald/First, Sapphire/Business, Ruby, Everyone else.


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I boarded a the aircraft threw the jet bridge and accidently ended up at the Business Class entrance, however the crew allowed me passage to get to my Economy Class seat just over the wing at 24A. It provided a great view of the wing and engine. Though I did feel a little envious of the Airbus A340-600 next to us, still wearing the former pin-stripe (and my preferable) Iberia livery.


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The cabin of the Iberia Airbus A350 was very similar to the Airbus A330 fleet, which I felt was quite bland with the sandy beige colour dominating the place. Given the national Spanish colours are Red & Yellow, I felt they could have done with a bit of that. 


None the less the IFE was working so I could tune into the IFE Map, a few TV Show episodes and whilst waiting- play some ANGRY BIRDS- I have no shame!


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We pushed back from stand a few minutes behind schedule, but not enough to worry as we'd make up the time flying to London. Our plane taxied to the runway and away we went off into the Spring sky over Madrid and Central Spain.


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Beautiful departure out of Madrid.


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I tried out the headphones for the flight, which was handed out before departure, they weren't amazing- but they were ideal for a free pair for a 2 hour flight within Europe. Checking out the Buy on Board- I chose to go for the 10EUR meal deal on a hot sandwich with crisps and cola. I would also acquire from Duty Free an Iberia Airbus A350-900 model which I was delighted over! I still possess it.


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Feeding time at the A350! The Iberia selection is ok, but nothing special to rave on.


I took the time to visit the facilities during the flight and I grabbed a picture from another window as well as get a quick Galley shot whilst waiting as there were no crew hovering around. Unlike some reviewers or "bloggers" I like to try and respect the crews privacy.


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The overall flight was smooth and there was little turbulence over the Bay of Biscay as we crossed from Spain, to France and towards England.


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I asked one of the crew if I could visit the flight deck- not expecting an enthusiastic response based from my last three IB3166 flights. However the Captain flying this aircraft was a chief A350 pilot who delivered the plane from Toulouse, as well as the first IB A350- so he was quite happy to see some aviation enthusiasts want to explore more of the aircraft, which was delightful to hear!!!


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Descending and circling around above London as we await arrival into London Heathrow Airport.


Given it was starting to get busy at London Heathrow for the evening rush of flights connecting European traffic to Long-Haul BA flights, we had a slight hold before coming into London. But as we descended bellow the clouds it allowed for some nice views of Central London on arrival.


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Eye spy one of the Boeing 747-400 BA100 Retro jets!!! We have landed in London!


We arrived and taxied over to Terminal 5, parking on one of the Satellite terminals (can't remember if it was T5C or T5B).


Our aircraft once parked, we started to fallout, but me and my mate got our flight deck visit- thanking the pilots for a nice flight and asked a few questions about the Airbus A350 compare to the existing A330 & A340 fleet.


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Not a fan of dull grey and beige myself. I feel that the Iberia logo at the end of the name should be yellow/red, put some colour in the cabin without being too gangly.


It was a pretty nice flight. I can't wait to get another Iberia A350 flight again once the restrictions on travel lift, this has been the last Iberia flight to date as I wasn't able to do one in 2020/21 so far. It would be a nice change from British Airways/easyJet on intra-UK flights.


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Verdict

Iberia

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering6.5

Madrid - MAD

9.2/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services9.5
Cleanliness10.0

London - LHR

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Iberia- A nice flight, the crew was really friendly and enthusiastic compare to the previous flights I've done. Ok in-flight selection. Nice bit of IFE to pass the time on this 2hr ride. Decent introduction to the future of Iberia long-haul flying. I would love to try the business class product out one day to compare to BA & AY.

Madrid Barajas- Nice airport, very modern and decent selections to choose with great aircraft views. Not sure about the other Terminals as I've only used T4/T4S.

London Heathrow- Nothing special to write about, I've done too many LHR flights tbh!

Information on the route Madrid (MAD) London (LHR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 27 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Madrid (MAD) → London (LHR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

  • Comment 580203 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5500 Comments

    Hey Jett, thanks for sharing this fun throwback report!

    The MAD-LHR IAG hub-to-hub route is always a good opportunity to fly on some BA and IB widebodies within Europe. Looks like the IB A350 offers a really nice experience in Y. The seats look comfortable and wider than the Y seats on the BA 787s. I finally got to fly the IB A350 recently in J and it was also a very nice experience. I agree with you though, that the colours in the J cabin are really drab, considering the bright red and yellow in Iberia's branding. The blah brown/grey just doesn't fit.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 580205 by
      Jett Tyler SILVER AUTHOR 208 Comments

      Thank you for the kind words about my article! Hope you enjoy the video as well.
      I can't wait to get some more Iberia flights done in the near future. Not sure what is happening on British Airways end with wide-bodies on the Madrid route, but Iberia is still operating their A330/A350 sometimes twice in a day.

  • Comment 580295 by
    ChrisB GOLD 190 Comments

    Hey Jett, nice report!
    I really like your pictures, especially the one overlooking T4 at madrid with all the IB planes lined up and the fish eye wing views!
    I had no Idea there is an Iberia musuem, thanks for sharing :-) Also what a beautiful shot of the cabin, it is not every crew that let you in, so lucky you! What did the pilot tell you about the main differences for them with the A330?
    Thanks again!

    • Comment 580324 by
      Jett Tyler SILVER AUTHOR 208 Comments

      Thank you for the kind words Chris!
      I don't recall the conversation I'm afraid. The museum in Madrid is mostly military, but has some civil aviation, they also have an ex-Iberia 727 simulator!
      I was really chuffed to be allowed in the flight deck as the two times I did the A340 the crew didn't allow it, but the senior captain was keen to show off the new toy!
      The shot of T4 Iberia A320s was taken from my hotel just to convey a bit of scenery, I can't wait to visit Madrid again!

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