Review: Iberia Business Class Madrid – New York (JFK)

Our flight to JFK left at 12:50pm so we left the lounge about 15 minutes before our scheduled boarding time. Though the gate was within the same terminal, the walk was quite long. It must have taken us at least 20 minutes to get to the gate. This is pretty much the downside of transiting Barajas, the transit times are ridiculous.

How I booked this flight:

Before arriving in Portugal, I couldn’t find a single flight back on an award ticket because of all the frequent weather systems affecting Europe. Finding a flight back to DFW was extremely expensive even in economy with rates going for above $2000 since it was spring break. After hours of playing around with all possible permutations on Google Flights, I ended up paying $1500 RT per passenger for the following itinerary in BA and AA business class: LIS-LHR-EWR MAF-DFW-FRA. Of course a couple of hours before our BA flight to LHR, a massive storm hit Europe, and we got rescheduled on this flight to JFK via Madrid.

Back to the Review:

Anyway Iberia’s business class arrangement is what is considered the “staggered” configuration meaning you have alternating seats with two really close to each other and two exposed to the aisle in the middle. It’s pretty much the same configuration Etihad uses on most of their long haul aircraft (except for the A380 and 787). Since this was a last minute flight change there was no chance of my having a window at all. While my parents ended up with two seats pretty much right next to each other, my sister and I ended up with the outer aisle seats.

Here are the various seating styles:

 

In our seat were an amenity kit, some Iberia branded noise canceling headphones, and a water bottle. There absolutely nothing to write home about here. The amenity kit bags were some of the tackiest and most cheaply made kits I’ve seen from any airlines. However, they do have l’Occitane toiletries in them if that’s any consolation. I didn’t even bother collecting the bags actually 🙂


The flight attendants came by and offered us menus along with some juice as soon as we were seated. Here is what the menu looked like. Luckily there was one vegetarian entree on offer even though we didn’t order a special meal on this flight.

The captain came on just before we pushed back that our flying time was going to be around 8 hours and that he expects a smooth ride. He also said please don’t worry about the bumps because we have things under control.

The Food was kind of meh…..

Anyway 90 minutes after departure, the meal service began with, wait for it, cold peanuts and your choice of drink. I have to say I’ve seen European carriers give out packaged nuts or nuts which weren’t warmed, but I can’t say I’ve seen anyone serve chilled peanuts. The rest of the meal service wasn’t any better, the salad with blue cheese pretty much had nothing but a few leaves. While the main entree, a soggy mushroom ravioli had a funky, sour taste to it because of the white wine sauce. Definitely not how I would make my pasta more flavorful.

For dessert I ordered the coffee cheese cake and that was passable at best. At least it was better than the hard as a hockey puck, orange ice cream that my mom got I suppose.

Seat Comfort

The good part about the rather below average lunch service was that it was over quick which gave us the chance to push the seat back and get some shut eye. I must have slept for a good 5 hours on this flight. The blanket and pillow on this flight were more than adequate, though sleeping exposed to the aisle is a bit annoying sometimes with FAs pushing carts around at times.

IFE/Wi-Fi

The IFE on Iberia is not the worst, but it isn’t that great either. I always find something to watch because I’m not a huge movie watcher on the ground, but others may struggle to find something. It was impossible to sleep for the last hour or so with snack service happening so I ended up watching some random action flick (name of which I can’t remember). Wi-Fi was available on this flight for a fee (I think it costs $15 for the entire flight) and my dad said it was usable enough for text messages to and from his office.

My seat
Turbulence A Few Bumps During the Flight

The funniest thing about this flight was that every time the fasten seat belt with some moderate chop in the air, the captain would come on the speaker saying that it is nothing to worry about and that everything was under control with the turbulence. This happened nearly 15 times on this flight, which really made me wonder whether this captain was reassuring us or reassuring himself 😂.

Anyway aside from this oddly conversational pilot, the flight was uneventful and we landed in JFK on time. This pretty much caps another great trip to Europe. The adventures continue on my Switzerland blog posts since the return leg of this itinerary was to Frankfurt in July.

Final Thoughts:

At the end of the day, a business class cabin hits the mark if it has a flat bed seat with aisle access, which Iberia most certainly does. Where it falls short is the soft product where Lufthansa, BA, KLM, and all the US carriers completely trounce it. I should note that the hard product is quite competitive given that Lufthansa and KLM don’t even have direct aisle access on many of their long haul planes.

The greatest thing about Iberia remains the low fuel surcharges on award bookings especially using AVIOS (British Airways miles) and their consistent award availability out of Chicago and Miami. While I prefer every other major airline, I definitely would not mind flying Iberia on an award ticket.

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