Review of Iberia flight Madrid London in Business

Airline Iberia
Flight IB3160
Class Business
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 02:35
Take-off 16 Jan 22, 09:00
Arrival at 16 Jan 22, 10:35
IB   #39 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 274 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 768
Published on 1st May 2022

introduction


Hello and welcome to the second of three segments in this series of pandemic-era flight reviews taking us back to the US after spending the Holidays and New Year 2022 in France with family and friends. 
 
As explained in the previous flight-report, this routing is a bit odd due to some cancellations and schedule changes on the original routing of TLS-MAD-ORD-SAN. Though backtracking to London looks odd on a map, there wasn't really a better way of getting to SAN from TLS being that BA had pulled down the TLS-LHR schedule so much since the beginning of the pandemic that neither of the one or two daily BA flights connected to SAN, or the connections were too short for my liking (i.e. less than an hour).

There is a small Madrid tourism bonus from our overnight in the Spanish capital at the end of this review for anyone interested. 
  


routing


Originally booked as TLS-MAD-ORD-SAN
Re-booked as TLS-MAD-LHR-SAN
 
Reports in this series. 


Routing


photo routing

check-in & lounge


The morning of the flight we arrived a little over two hours before the flight. The huge Terminal 4 check-in area was mostly empty. 


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We made our way to the Business class check-in area, where there were only a few people in the queue ahead of us. 


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Check-in was quick as I'd already uploaded all required Covid documentation online. I will say that Iberia's online document upload feature has consistently been buggy in my experience, and it's often been easier just to show all document at check-in at the airport. I would later find out that none of the documents uploaded to Iberia were communicated to British Airways, who were operating the second leg of this itinerary. To be continued in the next review!
 

There was no wait at all through the Fast Track security lane as we were the only ones going through at that moment. 


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The security agents were super friendly and helpful with getting my son through as I had my hands full.


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From the security checkpoint we headed directly to the underground train station as our flight to London, a non-Schengen destination, would be departing from the T4S Satellite gates


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It was very quiet on the train to T4S as there are very few non-Schengen flights at this early hour. 


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The entrance to the Iberia lounge in T4S is located inside the duty free store in the centre of the terminal. 


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Oops…Where R U going 😉


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At the entrance we were greeted by an agent and self-scanned our boarding passes for access. 

The T4S lounge is large and was pleasantly empty this early in the morning.  


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Though there were plentiful seating options, we chose a table near the buffet so the kid could eat breakfast and have room to play on the table. 


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There was a decent selection at the buffet including fruit, yogurts, cereal, pastries, and hot breakfast items like scrambled eggs, sausage, tomatoes, and potatoes. 



There's another café/bar area on each end of the lounge.


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Where there are great views of aircraft lined up at the gates. 


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Our aircraft to London was the first aircraft parked closest to the lounge. Convenient for us!


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The other end of the lounge, where there were only maybe 3 or 4 passengers. 


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Qatar Airways 787-8 Departing


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The Iberojet A330neo still parked in the same spot as the day before when we'd arrived at MAD.


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boarding


Being that our gate was right next to the lounge, we weren't in any rush as it would be a quick walk.


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Boarding had already begun when we arrived at the gate. With Business class tickets we were able to go through the the priority lane and skip ahead of the rest of Economy boarding…


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…though a long queue had already built up in the jet bridge. 


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Our aircraft was looking good in the beautiful soft light of sunrise.


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Our flight was set up to have the maximum six rows of Business class from the time of booking. I assume this is typical for the route as premium demand must be high on this important IAG hub-to-hub route.


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Short-haul Business class on Iberia narrow-bodies, like most European carriers, consists of seats with more legroom and blocked middles. The seats are the same Collins Aerospace Pinnacle model found on sister IAG carrier, British Airways. Seats


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Seats in the Business class section have better legroom than Economy with 31-32" seat pitch, better padding, adjustable headrests, and both USB and AC Power for each passenger. By comparison, seats in Economy are simple Recaro slimline seats with only 28-29" seat pitch, no headrests, and USB power only. 


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Iberia Mainline A320 family aircraft are equipped with Wi-Fi available for a fee. 


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Lucky for me, I would end up having the whole row of three seats to myself.


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 A quick check of our seat map on ExpertFlyer during boarding showed there would only be three empty seats in the Business cabin, including the seat next to me. 


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Though it's never fun getting up so early, the beautiful sunrise makes it worth it. 


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the flight


Boarding wrapped up on time despite a full flight


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We pushed back from the gate a few minutes early.


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There's that Iberojet A330neo again


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That's one loooooooooooooooong terminal. 


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As temperatures were below freezing that January morning, we required a quick de-icing of the wings. 



The process was very fast and efficient with no wait at the icing pad and one truck on each wing.

No wait for takeoff and we were off. 


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Nice views of Madrid in the distance on this cloudless morning. 


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Well, cloudless except for what looks to be a thin layer of smog over the city. 


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This same time of year in 2021, flying in and out of Madrid, everything was covered in over 50 cm of snow following a rare winter storm. Now only the highest mountaintops have snow. 



We leave Spain over the Cantabria Coast, just west of Bilbao.


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The coastal towns of Santoña and Laredo–looks like a beautiful place to visit. 


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Breakfast was served shortly thereafter. I can't remember what the other option was, but I believe it was a cold plate. I had an omelette–still served with covers over plates per Covid protocol. 


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Once again, the child meal I'd pre-ordered for my 3-year-old son was once again more copious that the standard adult meal, hah. This seems to be a consistent thing, at least in short-haul Business class. 


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The further north we headed, the cloudier it became.


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Arriving over England as we began on descent into Heathrow. 


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arrival


Despite our early departure from Madrid, we were put into a holding pattern over London prior to landing. A holding pattern to land…just like the old days of pre-Covid time! The world really is healing!

It quickly became evident that we would end up arriving late into Heathrow. I was not worried as we had well over two hours before our flight to San Diego; however,  the passengers in the row behind had a rather short connection and began to worry. The cabin crew kept them updated about their connection based on information they were receiving from the flight deck and informed them of our assigned arrival gate as well as the location of their departure gate. A very professional cabin crew going above and beyond to keep passengers informed. 

Low ceilings and fog in the area definitely played a role in delaying our arrival. There was very little visibility, even close to the ground.


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Ah LHR, nice to see you again after a few years! Still as foggy as ever I see


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We taxied to Terminal 5A, the main building, where most European flights operate.



We arrived at the gate about 20 minutes late despite our early departure. 


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We headed right to the transit security checkpoint to get the lounge until our next flight. 


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Thank you for reading.


MaDRID Tourism bonus 🔽


Bonus : Click here display
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Verdict

Iberia

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering7.5

Iberia Velázquez Premium Lounge - 4S

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services7.5

Madrid - MAD

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

London - LHR

7.8/10
Efficiency6.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Intra-European Business class is rarely very glamourous, but it was a good overall experience. Though I prefer the more-spacious recliner seats found in the US and elsewhere to the blocked-middle-seat concept in Europe, the seats were reasonably comfortable and featured both AC and USB outlets for every passenger. Having a row of three seats to myself helped boost comfort further. Cabin crew were very friendly, polite, and attentive--I've had consistently good experiences with Iberia cabin crews. Like most mainline Iberia aircraft, this plane was equipped with Wi-Fi for a fee; however, I wish Iberia would offer streaming entertainment on their mainline narrow-bodies as they do on both Iberia Express and Air Nostrum (Iberia Regional) aircraft. Though breakfast catering is never very exciting on any airline, Iberia short-haul catering is consistently good in my experience.

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 34 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

2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 601740 by
    ChrisB GOLD 1952 Comments

    Hey Mate!
    Thank you for the nice report!
    Not too many people at the checkin counter which is always Nice.

    I like the IBE IA lounge XD
    And it is nice that it is so empty
    So nice that the lounge is so close from the aircrafts, and especially yours!
    Stunning shot of the fuselage, especially with that sun reflection...
    The breakfast seems nice and in fair portions, and with fresh fruits, which is a bit too rare.
    Of course it is not the same weather in london!!

    Very nice Madrid bonus especially the food part ahah

    • Comment 601757 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 5832 Comments

      Hey Chris, thanks for your comments!

      Not too many people at the checkin counter which is always Nice.

      It is, though my only complaint is that the check-in area is soooo huge at T4 that it can sometimes be hard to navigate to find the counters

      I like the IBE IA lounge XD

      It's the new cool lounge branding!

      Stunning shot of the fuselage, especially with that sun reflection...

      The only good thing about flights that early, pretty lighting haha

      Very nice Madrid bonus especially the food part ahah

      I live for Spanish jamon, so delicious

      Thanks for stopping by!

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