Review of Iberia flight London Madrid in Economy

Airline Iberia
Flight IB3167
Class Economy
Seat 34L
Aircraft Airbus A340-300
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 10 Dec 13, 18:30
Arrival at 10 Dec 13, 22:00
IB   #81 out of 119 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 219 reviews
Martin@MAD
By 7337
Published on 14th May 2014
Hello everybody!

Welcome to my new flight report! This one features the return flight of my long-weekend trip to London last December (you can see the outbound flight here:http://flight-report.com/en/report-6974.html). This one is a little more interesting as the plane is an A340, I hope you like it!

We enjoyed a lot our visit to London, the weather was fantastic, I guess we were lucky. One of the things I liked most about London were the planes flying over the city, my sister and her boyfriend got tired of me saying “Wow! An Emirates A380!” “Look! That’s an Air Canada 767” etc. They didn’t understand how I am able to recognize planes in the distance.

After a long ride on the tube we arrived at T5 with lots of time to spare. I must say that although being designed by the same architect, T4 at MAD is much more beautiful than T5. Wooden ceilings and marble floors at T4 really make a difference. Check-in was a breeze but the same can’t be said about security, which was a little busy. This time I was able to change seats for free at check-in online, the fare was the same as on the outbound flight, so it is strange, maybe there was a computer glitch when I checked-in for the previous flight. I noticed that there were no counters dedicated for Iberia. I wonder what happened to the former Iberia staff at LHR, I hope they didn’t get fired. I also wonder the reason why BA has dedicated counters at Madrid Airport instead of Iberia taking over BA’s check-in.

Entering the Departures Level
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Bag drop counters
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Cheap Boarding Pass
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Once in the airside of the Terminal we went to Starbucks to have something to eat and waited for the gate to be announced. Boarding time was 18:00 and at 17:15 it hadn’t been announced yet, so we went to BA info desk to ask about that. The charming agent said that it would be announce soon. At 17:30 the gate finally appeared on the FIDS, it was C53, so we went underground to take the APM to the C concourse.

Very useful sign
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The view from Starbucks, the Terminal was packed!
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FIDS
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Going down to the APM station
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APM station
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The first sight of our plane. She was Beatriz Galindo, EC-GUQ. First time I flew on that frame
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BA A380 preparing for Hong Kong
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This one for Luanda
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Boarding was called at 18:00 as expected and it was a little chaotic, most passengers proceeded to the priority entrance and staff didn’t seem to care, if I were flying Business Class I would have got a little upset, but this time it was not the case. The load factor was again low so it didn’t take long.

Boarding Gate
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Apparently the pilots forgot to retract the spoilers…
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The plane was what Iberia refers as “342”, internally it is known as Caribbean configuration. Some years ago Iberia decided to change 7 A340s configuration from 36J 218Y to 24J 265Y, as Business Class demand to some destinations as HAV, SJU, UIO, SDQ etc. was weak. Today Iberia doesn’t fly to Caribbean destinations anymore but they send the planes to any destination, although they are resuming SDQ in September. Nowadays every A340 has this configuration, the last A340 with the old configuration and seats was returned to lessor few weeks ago.

Apart from increasing the number of Economy Class seats, Iberia replaced them. These new seats feature adjustable headrests and power outlets. They don’t have PTVs, but I think that power outlets on long flights are better than nothing. Business Class is the same that you may find in any other A340 of the fleet, except for the ones that have been refurbished with new interiors. The central screens on the wall were replaced by 37” ones, and the old CRT retractable screens were replaced with LCD screens. I think that a long haul flight would be bearable on that plane, and much better than on an A340 with the old Economy Class, which was quite uncomfortable in my opinion, apart from looking outdated.

Our assigned seats were on the back of the plane, my sister’s boyfriend is afraid of flying so when entering the plane we asked the purser if we could be reseated in the front of the cabin, she replied that there shouldn’t be any problem, she took note of our seats and asked us to wait until the closure of the gates. The load on this flight was again low, about 50 passengers in Y and 5 in J.

The view of the cabin
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Legroom was enough: 31. The backrest of the seat was a little hard, tough
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Seat recline was generous. It also moved forward the seat cushion, decreasing legroom but getting a more comfortable position
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Power outlet, there was one between every two seats
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Control panel. A little bit outdated but nothing compared to those on AA's 767s that are ancient :)
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When it was departure time we were not leaving, the captain came over the PA and said that they were waiting for more cargo. At 18:40 the pallets arrived and were loaded in the aircraft. At 18:44 the gates were closed and a FA came to us and said that we were free to go to the front. After doing so the push back didn’t seem to start… After a moment or two the captain came over the PA again and informed us that the tow truck was damaged and that they will send another one as soon as possible.

The view from my new seat
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At 18:50 we finally taxied to runway 27L. Take off was powerful and the flight was uneventful. This time I didn’t buy anything from the cart since I was full of Starbucks pastries. Later I noticed that the control panel of the seat next to me was not working, so I called the purser and she said that she would report to maintenance in order to get it fixed.

Taxiing
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I changed to the other side of the plane in order to see terminals 3 and 2. I tried to make a photo of the Virgin planes but the photo is blurry, sorry for that
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Going up
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Dark night
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I think that eyeshades are advisable for those sitting in front of that screen during a night flight
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Commencing descent
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We arrived in Madrid with a 20-minutes delay. We parked at T4S and had to took the APM back to the Main Terminal. At 22:45 we were waiting for our bags that came out at 23:00.

Reverse
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T4S with the Control Tower
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Docked next to Isaac Albéniz (a famous Spanish musician) nowadays that plane wears the new livery
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Heading to immigration. There were no lines and went through quickly, the police officer that checked my passport was an asshole.
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New shops in the baggage claim area
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See more

Verdict

Iberia

7.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering5.0

London - LHR

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Madrid - MAD

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

It's nice to fly a widebody on a short haul route. The plane was in perfect condition, the seats were comfortable and I was able to charge my phone.

The crew on this flight was nice and friendly. I got minimal interaction with them as I didn't buy anything onboard, but they were very attentive with the seat change request.

The flight wasn't punctual but the Captain kept us informed, maybe the cargo issue was Iberia's fault, but the broken tow wasn't. In any case, a 20 minutes delay is not much.

In conclusion, I was satisfied with my experience with Iberia and wouldn't have a problem to fly again with them.

As I always say, feel free to comment, I will be happy to respond.

Best regards,

Martin

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 22 reviews of 2 airlines on the route London (LHR) → Madrid (MAD).


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

10 Comments

  • Comment 108435 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    My friends and GF have the same problem with me, I'm always identifying planes. Some even think I'm BSing them...only my brother and cousin who are also av.geeks believe me.

    LHR's T5 looks very...industrial compared to MAD's T4...and much much more crowded.

    IB's Y seats are a great change compared to their former seats, but it's a shame they didn't venture to incorporate PTVs on that occasion. Are A343s going to receive PTVs? IB's former livery was so beautiful, I'm so sad to see it go for that...thing they've adopted as their livery. It looked so glorious on the A340s.

    May we know why the Police at the border check was an asshole?

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 108459 by
    Martin@MAD AUTHOR 21 Comments

    A343s are leaving the fleet in a year or two, so I don't think they will install PTVs in them. Maybe they change their about their retirement, who knows.

    I actually like the new livery, it's not my favorite, but I see it clean and modern. The new logo and the branding look very nice. The former livery was a little bit outdated and was expensive to maintain on planes.

    When I go trough passport control anywhere in the world and I'm traveling with my family, we proceed as a group and not individually. That time the three of us got to the counter and the police officer said one by one!, I replied that we were family and he said I think you are old enough to do things by yourself, all this was said in a very rude and intimidating way. It was the first time that something like that happened to me there, the officers sometimes are disinterested, sometimes friendly. This one must had a bad day or something like that, but passengers are not to blame.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Comment 108466 by
    mgescheidt 52 Comments

    Thank you Martin for sharing this report with us. I like the MAD-LHR-MAD route operated by A340s.
    Iberia´s interior looks nice, but the lack of PTVs is disappointing. Was the airshow on the big screen permanently shown or was alternating with some ads or movies?

    You are absolutly right about the planes approaching LHR over London. There is just so much of them and also many interesting planes visible on approach in so small intervals.

    Glad you enjoyed your stay in London.

    • Comment 294107 by
      Martin@MAD AUTHOR 21 Comments

      You're welcome! The airshow was the only thing shown, apart from the safety video. Keep in mind that IB's A320s are not equipped with screens so they don't have any kind of programming for short flights.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Best regards,

      Martin

  • Comment 108485 by
    KL651 TEAM 4493 Comments

    Thanks for this FR. another one I had first read on Airliners.Net ^^
    It looks like your crew as nice, not something constant on IB.
    For a short flight it sure is confortable, but on a long haul one, not having a PTV nowadays sure is a letdown.

    I wonder if IB will ever bring back a free service on their European network.

    • Comment 294131 by
      Martin@MAD AUTHOR 21 Comments

      Thanks for showing interest on it again, then. :)

      Sure not having a PTV is a let down, but you can always bring your own entertainment ;)

      I wonder the same too, but I'm afraid it's difficult, IB seems to make a good profit with BOB. They offer free water at least. The best service for me would be free drinks and food for purchase, just as some American carriers. I think that one is better than AF's service, for example, where they offer you a drink and some biscuits, but there's nothing more substantial to eat in case you're hungry.

  • Comment 108529 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5307 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this great report! It's definitely cool to get a widebody on a short intra-European flight. It's weird that the seats are new but that they didn't bother putting in PTVs, although it is nice that at least all seats have power outlets. Nice pics once again!

  • Comment 108530 by
    Avionero 77 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this unusual FR. I wonder if Iberia sends regularly the A343 to LHR or it was an exception. Of course it's great to fly a widebody on a short route but load factor seems too low: 18% in Y and 20% in J. Maybe the cargo load factor was high enough to make up for.
    You were lucky not been caught by a FA when changed seats from starboard to port, while the plane was taxiing ;)

    • Comment 294163 by
      Martin@MAD AUTHOR 21 Comments

      Yes, Iberia sends regularly wide bodies to LHR, almost everyday. A330s or A346s are also sent depending on the day. Low load factor made the flight more enjoyable, lots of empty seats to choose :). I have read other report of this flight and the plane seemed to have a more healthy load, so I guess mine was an exception. In any case, as you mentioned, cargo is the reason why they send widebodies to LHR.

      I realized I was on the wrong side of the plane to see T3 and T2 so I took advantage of a plane stop and that I was out of sight of the FAs to change seats. Later I saw that I would have a better view from starboard during take-off, but it was too late to change seats again as the FAs were on their seats prepared for take-off :D

      Thanks for your comment!

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