On my trip to Rome, I decided to fly Iberia from LAX to MAD since I was looking for a new airline to fly and it fit my timeframe. Although things weren’t very punctual, the service and food were fine and there was certainly something to be said about Spanish hospitality. Although it isn’t an industry leading product,I found it comfortable especially for an A330.
Check in was a breeze and I was surprised to see the check in counters open at 3:30pm, a full four hours before our scheduled departure. Usually, the check in counters don’t open until three hours before departure (as far as I remember but it’s been a while) so it was nice to be able to check in early and enjoy the AA flagship lounge as well as the One World Lounge.
The one oddity through this whole thing was that Iberia doesn’t participate in the TSA Precheck program. It’s kind of difficult to imagine in today’s travel world that an airline wouldn’t participate in the TSA Precheck program especially since it makes it so much easier and pain free but there you go. As a business class passenger, you do have access to the FastTrack lane but that either wasn’t open or wasn’t functioning when I went through security. Luckily, security wasn’t too bad at all and they had enough lanes open so it took less than 5 minutes to get through. On a side note, Clear also wasn’t working at TBIT when I left…staffing issues with Covid maybe?
Boarding was supposed to start 60 minutes before departure and so I headed over to the gate at the appropriate time but alas, boarding didn’t start for another 25 minutes. I just really wish airlines would be more accurate with their times since it’s just a waste to be standing around at the gate. I could’ve stayed in the lounge or taken a quick shower if I didn’t feel rushed.
The flight was on a A330-200 and buisiness class was spread out over 5 rows in a 1-2-1 setup. If you’re travelling solo, you’ll want a window seat but try to choose the seats in the even numbered rows since those are closer to the window. The odd numbered rows have the seat controls and the console to your left so you’re more exposed to the aisle than vs. the even numbered rows. Unfortunately, I’d completely forgotten to check in for my flight until the night before so all the “true” window seats were taken. If you’re flying as a couple, you’ll want to odd numbered rows since those are closer together.
There were also 2 restrooms in the cabin. One was at the front of the plane and the other was in the rear of the cabin. The thing was, if you didn’t want to walk all the way to the front of the plane and down the other aisle to get to it, you had to cross through the galley right behind row 5. Oftentimes you’ll see flight attendants eating their meals, reading, or just getting off their feet for a bit in the galleys so I felt like I was disturbing them. But that rear bathroom was on the business cabin side of the curtain so I’m not sure if the thought process is people will use the restroom according to what aisle is closer to them?
The seat had all the controls you’d expect and the massage function was one I really enjoyed. The foot well also was spacious enough to comfortably rest my feet without any feeling of cramping. The seat also came with a touchscreen remote so you didn’t have reach over to the IFE screen if you were lying back. I also really enjoyed the massage function. The only that was missing (which always seems to be the case) are individual air nozzels. Luckily, I travel with a small USB powered fan so it certainly helped a lot since the plane got warm as the flight went on.
After boarding was complete, the flight attendants came around to distribute earphones and amenity kits. The earphones were standard and really only succeeded in making my ears sweat. The amenity kits had all your usual products like an eye mask, lotion, toothbrush, etc. Also, code for 30mins of free wifi was also distributed in case you wanted to get internet access.
Dinner service started around an hour after takoff and drinks and menus were distributed. For appetizers, there was a choice of smoked salmon or some sort of salad with mozzarella and avocados. For mains, there was a choice of braised short ribs, cod, or pasta but unfortunately, only the cod and the pasta were available by the time I was asked (which suited me just fine). The cod was actually really good (although a tad overcooked) but it seems like all protiens are overcooked on a plane for my liking. For dessert, I just got the dulce de leche ice cream which unfortuantely had half melted by the time it was served.
I thought all the flight attendants were so nice and overly appologetic when they informed me that they had run out of the short ribs. It just seemed like they went out of their way to make the journey as smooth as possible. The fact that they always greeted me with a smile was also nice.
After dinner, the lights were dimmed so people could get some sleep. Unfortuantely, I don’t really sleep in planes but I was feeling exhausted so I tried to get some work done before trying to rest my eyes. Sadly, along with not sleeping well on planes, wearing a mask made it difficult to sleeep as well so I don’t think I did anything more than just toss and turn. Eventually I justgo back to work and took it easy while keeping half an eye on a few movies.
Throughout the night, the menu said you had you option to grab some food from the galley if you felt peckish. I didn’t bother going since I wasn’t that hungry but they had some items. I don’t remember it being particulary impressive and I think the options were chips and/or fruit.
About an hour before arrival, the lights came back on and breakfast was served. There was choice of some omelette type of thing or a simple cheese and meat dish. For some reason, I wasn’t that hungry so I just wanted to keep it light with the cheese and meat plate. It was good enough for me so I didn’t mind it one bit. They also served bread but overall, it wasn’t nearly as large a meal as dinner was.
Before landing, the captain came on and made an awkward annoucement. Apparently LAX was having some sort of issue with their security in terms of x-raying the checked bags. So, they decided to leave without anyone’s bags. I guess it was a good thing to announce it at the end since there’s really no reason to destroy the mood of most of the passengers for 10 hours but that was sort of shocking. The captain said he didn’t know how long it would have taken to get the bags x-rayed and loaded but the fact that they didn’t even make an effort seems less than ideal. And that my friends, is why I always advocate to travel with carry ons only
I thought the seats were nice and did the job. There were times when I thought the restrooms were oddly placed but the entertainment selection was good and it kept me occupied for the duration of the flight. The bed was comfortable enough with no cramping of the feet in the foot well. Of course it isn’t the most cutting edge product out there, but it certainly isn’t the worst business class seat I’ve been in.