London Heathrow to Madrid
EC-MKI, A330-200 (1 week old at the time of flying)
In May 2016, I used up my American Airlines AAdvantage Miles include a ticket from Abu Dhabi to London on Etihad A380 First Class Apartment and onward to Madrid with Iberia.
Between the 2 flights I have 5 hours stopover in London so I headed out of the airport for a while before back to Terminal 5 of Heathrow.
There are dedicated Iberia Business Class check-in counter.
However, the passport check was slow with only one counter manned...where are all the staff?
Iberia Business class passenger among One World elite can use the Fast Track security line at Heathrow T5.
After passing the security, I headed to the British Airways Galleries Lounge South in the main concourse of T5.
My flight didn't have a gate assigned yet so I chose to remain in the main concourse instead of walking out to the remote concourses.
The Galleries Lounge South is quite big, with outdoor section and indoor section, also a bar, kitchen and lot of seating area.
The lounge has big windows with good lighting during the day.
I managed to find a spot looking out of the window.
Looking over to Rwy 09R threshold where all traffic line up for departures during Easterly operation at Heathrow.
Here are the food offering:
While there are plenty of food on offer, the quality is rather low. It feels like a cheap canteen rather than a posh lounge offering. BA lounge rarely have good far.
There is also a a la carte menu comprise of BA Burger and a chicken dish. It is by order only. Very few passengers are aware of that.
The food area is always busy with most of top tier frequent flyer "loaded" up before most of the inter-Europe flight.
I spent a pleasant 1.5 hours in the lounge enjoying the airport tarmac view.
About 1 hour prior to departure time, my flight has finally allocated a gate in the C concourse. This means I have to take the transit train to go from A to C concourse.
Here is the A330-200 with a few other Iberia flight going out.
When I booked the ticket, the A/C type showed as A340-600, then changed to A330-300.
Last minute, it became A330-200
I was greeted by a warm and friendly Spanish flight attendant.
The A330-200 has the latest business class product of Iberia which is a staggered 1-2-1 Business Class seating which is identical to Etihad, Alitalia, AirBerlin business class....
I settle in the middle pair seat without anyone next to me. These pair seats are very private and no foot traffic can "bump and knock" you over.
Before departure, no welcome drinks were handed out. Perhaps I shouldn't use intercontinental flight standard to judge it.
However, to my delight, a free wifi card is presented to Business Class passengers.
The crew maintained little interaction with passengers during the boarding.
"We have some cargo loading problem." the Captain came on the PA to update the passenger.
Subsequently, we missed our slot and departed Heathrow 1 hour late despite an early boarding.
Iberia do offer an excellent selection of IFE. I watched the moving map most of the flight.
Today's flight to Madrid is just under 2 hours.
Not long after takeoff, dinner service started with one large tray comprise of everything.
Main course is Beef Steak (Chopped steak kind) with Salad, a packaged cake slice, cheese and beverage.
The flight attendant recommended me this wine from Spain.While the presentation could certainly be better, but the taste is fine. A good meal to enjoy with a glass of Spanish red wine.
After the meal, I sent my log book to one of the FA to the cockpit crew.
After 20 minutes, the captain came down the aisle and return it with me. It turned out that we have a few common friends so we were really engaged. He was so kind to give me the paper map and printed out the ATIS info for both Heathrow and Madrid. He apologized for the delay profusely.
With just 40 minutes to land, I went to the galley to ask for a glass of water.
It is at this point I met the beautiful Roceo and her colleagues. She became interested in where I'm from and told me about some of her family story in a short time.
The distance suddenly vanished and we became close! I can feel the enthusiasm and passion really soared among the crew, it was electric in the galley!
They recommended many things to do and many places to go for my next Spain vacation in August! While mentioning vacation, they became very excited on their own coming holidays and sharing all the excitement with me.
The ladies have no problem posing for a crew picture.
Me and Roceo
Our approach was over Madrid city according to the pilot, we landed around 11pm, about 30 minutes behind schedule with a very short taxi straight into the gate.
I visited the captain in the cockpit.
EC-MKI, A330-200 is just 1 week old the captain told me! It is brand new!
Captain M Gonzalez, Roceo and me, a final picture before disembark...
A look at the new Economy Class cabin before leaving. I hope these seats recline.
I have a very pleasant short flight with Iberia. The A330-200 widebody with international business class seating is certanly an added bonus on this short inter-Europe flight. Once you became engaged with the crew, they're very passionate and easy going. They made me feel like a part of the family and feels like very special.
Contrary to expectation, I really enjoyed my Iberia experience. I think they have came a long way with a very modern Business Class product and benchmark. I certainly would not hesitate to choose to fly with Iberia again.