Aircraft: Airbus A340
Route: Amsterdam - Madrid - New York JFK
Date: October 2010
We decided to fly from Amsterdam instead of Dusseldorf because this flight was approximately 700 EUR cheaper than the flight from Dusseldorf. We stayed the night before at the Hilton Amsterdam, which has a nice offer. Pay 160 EUR for one night and park up to 15 nights for free. Combined with the convenient airport shuttle this is really a nice deal.
Checked in at 6:55 for our 8:00 a.m. flight. Unfortunately there was a group of coach passengers lead to the Business check in, so even without a queue checking in for Business Class took longer than waiting in Coach line. You cannot check in online unless you are a member of Iberia's frequent traveler program, because Iberia still wants to see the credit card you used for booking. Looks a bit old fashioned to me.
We passed security, went to gate B 15 and boarding started directly. Not sure if they have a lounge in Amsterdam. We got no information about a lounge when we checked in.
The flight to Madrid was quite uneventful. No real Business Class product. I decided to take some sleep as I had been forced to get up at 5:30 that morning.
Because of a very long taxi time in Amsterdam it took the full 2h45 to Madrid and we arrived exactly in time.
Madrid T 4 / T 4 S is nice, it is stylish and it is ... a nightmare. You walk for miles if you have to connect. We landed at the farthest outside position of the terminal, had to cross almost whole T 4 to get down to the people mover and ... later on the sattelite again to the farthest away position.
However, if you arrive at 4 S, there is a wonderful Iberia lounge waiting for you. It is really hugh, but at the first moment it was too crowded. We had more than 2 hours to spend in the lounge, so I was really happy that it got empty soon and I could take some more pictures without disturbing anybody. The choice of food
and drinks is excellent. Seating is very comfortable and they have a smoking room with TV in there.
Every good time ends and we had to move to our gate U 67. Pre-boarding worked excellently and we headed to our seats 6 A and 6 C. Big smile, it was the new configuration.
Champagne, water or orange juice were offered as pre-flight drinks.
With a little delay we pushed back and after a short taxi we took off to New York. Both cabins were fully booked.
Shortly after departure the flight attendants offered a first drink and a choice of nuts or olives. Remarkable. Never seen this before. Not even on my last Iberia flight. I took some nuts. Maybe next time I'll go for olives. They looked very good.
At the same time the IFE started. Unfortunately Iberia still has only a limited amount of movies and they have different films for in- and outbound flights. In this case the most interesting movies were at the inbound site; something that doesn't make any sense to me, because on flights to Europe I prefer to sleep. However, I watched a movie whose duration was like the one of lunch service.
Together with drinks we were asked about our choice for lunch. There was beef, fish and pasta on the menu. I decided for beef and my daughter took pasta. The beef looked good, was a little too well-done, but not too badly. But no doubt, pasta would have been the better choice.
After lunch I put the seat in horizontal position and fell asleep even before they served bottled water. The flightdeck announced a very quiet flight with only some minor turbulences within the first two hours, so the fasten seatbelt sign was on for about 70 % of the flight and actually it was really bumpy. I woke up two or three times during the flight, but the excellent seats helped to go back to sleep directly.
Approximately 1 hour before landing at JFk I woke up and the crew served some dinner. No choice was possible, but it was excellent. We passed Boston, flew along the East Coast and descended slowly into JFK. When we were on final approach I saw the AF A 380 landing parallel to us. Thank God we arrived at the BA terminal and didn't have the French crowd in front of us.
After sensational 35 minutes we passed immigration, customs and were on the way to the rental car center.
Résumé: Iberia did a really great step forward by improving their Business Class by removing some seats and offering 180 cm (70") seat pitch and a 180° horizontal lie-flat seat.
Service, food and IFE is not outstanding, but somewhere between acceptable and good. The only negative thing is the long flight in an European "Business" Class to Madrid. I hope some day some of the other airlines will learn the lesson and install seats at least similar to US domestic "First" Class seats in the front cabin again. Alitalia, KLM and BA had those seats before and I definitely want to see them again. It could help airlines like Iberia who need long feeder flights to get even more connecting passengers into their premium cabin.