Iberia is the Spanish national carrier and has a strong transatlantic network connecting various European cities with the United States and Latin America. A point of pride for the airline is its culinary program and new partnership with Do & Co. Expect impressive Spanish fare with a well-balanced wine list to go with it. Iberia brands its long-haul Business Class product as Business Plus.
Iberia is part of IAG (International Airlines Group), which includes Aer Lingus and British Airways, and is also a member of the oneworld alliance. The airline’s Avios loyalty program gives members the opportunity to earn and redeem miles flying any IAG or oneworld airline.
Elite members of its partner airline loyalty programs can also enjoy special benefits when flying Iberia, even if in economy class, including lounge access and priority boarding. Among its many partners are American, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qantas, Qatar and Royal Air Maroc.
Iberia’s primary hub is Madrid, and it operates from the beautifully designed Terminal 4. Architecturally stunning, the buildings are nice to look at, but difficult to get around. A train connects the two concourses with one being for non-Schengen flights and the other being for shorter journeys.
Check-in at the main terminal is easy enough with a priority queue for security, but once through the departure formalities, travellers should allow time to get around. Walks are lengthy, and sunlight streams in making it bright and often warm. Moving walkways help, but it can be difficult to make short connections especially if the train is required.
For those with longer connections, there are lounges in both buildings. The Dali lounge is located in the main terminal while the Velázquez Premium Lounge is located in the satellite terminal. Both offer beautiful views of the apron although some of the windows have metal obstructions that keep the scenery somewhat limited. Both hot and cold food selections plus an open bar are available. Transit passengers will appreciate the nap room with dim lights and reclining chairs, and families will find the kids play area to be a welcome spot to let loose pent-up energy. Showers are also available. Most impressive is the wine bar, which offers a variety of Spanish wines from around the country with printed information available for each label.
Passengers flying with round-trip/return tickets, in full fare Business Class can avail themselves of complimentary pick-up, parking, custody and delivery service at Madrid and Barcelona airports. The free service is offered for up to three days for short haul flights and seven days for flights with destinations America, Asia and Dakar.
The airline’s long-haul fleet is uniform in its flat-bed seat design. With a staggered setup, the 1-2-1 seating means that everyone enjoys ample privacy and space to work, relax or rest. The design also means that some seats are closer to the aisle than others. It is best to choose a seat that is closer to the window with the table on the aisle side so you are not disturbed when people walk by during the flight.
In the centre section, those travelling together will find it easier to converse although every other row is set up differently. Rows with the seat closer to the aisle in the centre section, unlike the window seats, are preferable to those with the table closer to the aisle. While it is not ideal for light sleepers since you will find people brush past you as you sleep, those with tables on the aisle have the actual seats very close together. These side-by-side seats are so close, some people may find that their shoulders can easily touch the passenger next to you. This is not a problem if you are travelling together, but can be uncomfortable if it is a stranger as there is no full privacy partition. Most people will be happy selecting the window seats with the seat closest to the fuselage for maximum privacy.
Ample storage space is available to the side of the seat, and power outlets are convenient. Armrests can be lowered to create a wider sleeping surface. The easy-to-use tray tables fold down from the side of the seat using a latch. They are wide and unobtrusive. Weirdly, Iberia flight attendants remove all the seat pocket literature (inflight magazine, safety card and duty-free promotions) and place it on the seat during boarding. While they may be trying to make sure passengers see it, it is a nuisance as people board and juggle multiple items while trying to get settled.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
Iberia is known for its tasty Spanish food, which is provided by Do&Co following a change of catering partner in 2020. The new menus are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, using local and seasonal products where possible. As with many airlines, catering from outstations is often not as good as from the main hub.
After takeoff, beautiful, dual-tiered carts roll down the aisle with an array of soft drinks, juices, wine and spirits. There is plenty to choose from including a large wine selection similar to what is available in the lounge. As an accompaniment, passengers can select between nuts or olives with their aperitif.
Soon, table cloths arrive with a tray of food including the appetizer, Spanish cheese, warm rolls with olive oil and a bowl of soup. The latter can be consommé during colder months and a delicious gazpacho or salmorejo during warmer months.
Once appetizers are finished, the crew comes by to collect them and replace it with one of three main course choices usually including beef or poultry, seafood or pasta. Service can be swift, especially on short overnight flights.
The dessert trolley soon arrives serving ice cream or cake plus coffee, tea and cordials. Everyone already has a tasty cheese plate on the tray. Midflight snacks include sandwiches, fruit and chocolates available on a cart in the galley. During the flight, however, flight attendants are not proactive checking on passengers.
Before landing, a pre-arrival meal is served that varies depending on the time of day. It is very light, and there is no choice between dishes offered.
Special meals are available for pre-order, which can be done online or via phone including vegetarian, low-calorie, Kosher, or bland meals among others. There is no “dine-on-demand” service.
The presentation of drinks on the trolley is nice, and the selection of Spanish beer and wine brings the flavours of the country to the sky. A list of spirits and liqueurs are available with mixers plus juice, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Refills are hard to come by so be sure to flag down a flight attendant if you want something as they are not always responsive to the call bell.
It may not come as a surprise that Iberia has opted to focus its wine list exclusively on Spanish wines. Consequently, Iberia does not serve Champagne in Business Class. Instead, expect a carefully selected Cava, a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status. Cava is produced the same way as Champagne, but the Spanish process is named traditionelle, instead of méthode Champenoise. Impressively, the cabin crew pour the welcome bubbly at each seat.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
The flight attendants can be hit or miss with some being quite friendly and others more reserved. They are friendly if you engage in conversation, but do not expect effusive service.
Flights operating in and out of Asia often include native cabin crew, enabling Iberia to offer a customised service experience and local languages.
The large screen has a decent selection of movies, sitcoms, documentaries and music in multiple languages. Another nice feature is the 3-D moving map display, which allows you to zoom in to different parts of the world and see your aircraft from varying angles inflight. Frustratingly, Iberia collects headsets 30 minutes before landing, and the quality of the headsets is far from impressive.
Iberia provides a dedicated Business Class magazine named Excelente.
Inflight wireless internet is available on most long-haul flights for a reasonable fee without data caps. Business Class passengers receive a voucher for complimentary WiFi, but limited to 30 minutes or 20 MB, which can easily be spent in just a few minutes. The signal can however be painfully slow at times.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.
Soft pillows and thick blankets wait on each seat when boarding the aircraft, although the blanket may be of limited interest as Iberia sometimes keeps its cabins uncomfortably warm.
Bright red Iberia-branded amenity kits stock Germaine de Capuccini skin care products, ear plugs, a toothbrush and a nice-sized travel toothpaste, hair bands as well as a hair brush and a shoe bag. Germaine de Capuccini is a prestigious cosmetics company founded by Spanish cosmetologist Carmen Vidal in 1964.
Families travelling with infants can request a bassinet on long-haul flights to use at certain seats.
On the airline’s European flights, business class seats are rather uncomfortable since they are simply economy seats with the middle seat blocked. Luckily, Iberia has upgraded the experience on even its shorter flights with Do & Co menus providing lovely meals and an open bar. Many of these short flights feature a printed menu similar to long-haul flights. The new food and service offering on shorter flights elevates Iberia above the competition. Many short-haul flights are operated by Iberia Express, the low-cost subsidiary of Iberia, but they still offer Business Class.
Similar to other IAG airlines, Iberia is committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Even sooner, by 2025, the airline plans to achieve a 10% reduction in CO2 per passenger kilometre. Other sustainability efforts include re-use and recycling efforts on board as well as in its lounges. Passengers can also pay a fee to offset their own carbon emissions. In Business Class, the airline has replaced the plastic bags containing headphones with paper ones, saving 1,500kg of plastic a year.
On the ground, Iberia is renewing its fleet of motorised vehicles with a strong focus on vehicles with electronic capabilities, significantly reducing emissions. All lifts and tractors used in the Madrid Loading Terminal are zero-emission vehicles, and since 2019 all energy consumed in company-owned facilities in Madrid is produced by 100 per cent renewable sources.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.
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