Iberia’s new A330 business class seat and the Velazquez lounge reviewed

This is my review of the new Iberia fully flat business class seats on its A330 aircraft.

I was in Madrid on Wednesday and Thursday, taking advantage of the American Express Platinum offer of a free night at a Melia hotel. I will cover the hotel stay tomorrow.

Back in January I wrote an interesting piece on short-haul flights which use long-haul planes. I noted then that Iberia runs long-haul planes on the Madrid to Heathrow route on certain days.

When I booked my Madrid flight, I didn’t actually bother to check the operating aircraft. It was only later that I realised it was due to be operated by an Airbus A330. Iberia is taking delivery of eight of these during 2013/4, and all will be equipped from Day 1 with Iberia’s new business class product.

I was therefore a happy man when I stepped on-board and saw this:

Iberia A330 business class seat review

And my seat (4A):

Iberia A330 business class seat review

 

Iberia A330 business class seat review

Note that all seats have direct aisle access, which is something you don’t get with BA’s Club World seat.

The seat goes fully flat. It is not incredibly wide, and tapers even further at the foot end. However, it is certainly more than acceptable.

(The only weird thing is that the TV does not fold away. You are staring at it for the entire flight, whether you want to or not!)

Even better, Iberia was running a proper hot meal service. Get on a BA Club Europe plane departing at 15.55 and you’d get 2 scones, each the size of a 50p coin!

Iberia, on the other hand, was offering this (and even gave out proper menus, I have left in the spelling mistakes!):

Fresh leaves salad with cherry tomatoes and daikon turnip

Breaded veal loin or baked salmon with bearnase sauce

Idiazabal cheese with prune

Yoghourt and mango cake

Assorted bread basket, extra-virgin olive oil

Selection of wines, soft drinks and spirits

Coffee and herbal teas

And very tasty the salmon was too!

If you have never flown a long-haul fully-flat business class seat, then why not give this a go? The one-way ticket in Business Class is only 15,000 Avios. (Read here for why you should book via Iberia Plus to get lower taxes.)

Make sure you look for the Iberia operated flights, and click on the flight number during the booking process to see what aircraft it is. You want an A330 to be certain of the new seat.

The flight in the other direction could be booked cheaply for cash if you didn’t want to use too many Avios.

You would also get access to the Velazquez lounge in Terminal 4S at Madrid airport (there is a second lounge, I believe, but I didn’t pass it):

Iberia Velazquez lounge Madrid review

This also has a decent hot food selection (pasta, fish, chicken – why can’t BA serve sensible options like this which satisfy everyone?):

Iberia Velazquez lounge in Madrid Terminal 4S

The upshot of this trip is that I will be more positive about flying Iberia going forward, especially when it comes to using them for long-haul redemptions, as long as you can guarantee to be getting an A330. I’m not sure at this point how long it will take for all of the A340’s to get the new fully-flat seats.

PS. I always pronounced Iberia as ‘eye-beer-ee-ar’. It turns out it should be ‘eye-berry-a’, listening to the onboard announcements ….

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Comments

  1. Or even something like “ee-berry-ah” as any Spanish speaker should know (I don’t speak it natively)…

  2. No wonder they are losing millions

    • London Traveller says:

      The reason for Iberia putting an A330 on this route is for the cargo capacity of the aircraft.

      • It was more about the food than the aircraft. Great for pax but having done q bit of cost reduction work in my time that menu doesn’t correlate great with a business in the mire

  3. I did this a fortnight ago, and had an A340 with the old Business seats. Still good though! And included a free domestic connection on BA for the 15k avios, which might have been because I booked as Reward Flight Saver before IB stopped them.

  4. Looks lovely. Our Miami flight to Madrid next summer is the A340, but IB are de to announce on 15/10/13 that all ing haul aircraft are to be updated with seat back TV’s in economy and flat bed new style seats in BC. We will see if the rumours are true.

    I’ve also checked my Madrid to KHR, but all flights on a Sunday are in smaller planes and I have BC booked for that leg. Still waiting for my Starwood points to post so I can upgrade to BC for the long haul leg.

  5. Nice to see this product, I’ve actually been looking forward to its roll out for trips to South America.

  6. Looking forward to the hotel review! I’m there next Saturday 😀

  7. I’ve looked on the website – the only Lon-MAD flights not on an A320 is the A340. When do the A330s fly? Is the A340 worth flying on?

    • I get a feeling that mine showed A340 when booked. However, it was definitely showing A330 a couple of days before I flew it. There may be an element of taking a punt here unless you book at short notice.

      That said, you will definitely get a long-haul plane as they sell well past the capacity of a short haul. When I checked in I was number 206 so they definitely sell a long-haul plane load of seats.

  8. Looks great. BA have an habit of using Long Haul 767s on BA1489 Glasgow to London (usually mondays). I flew down in the old style club world seat a few weeks back for 4500 avios plus £17.50. The cabin had been refreshed with the brown seats in CW. If you have a look on BA source you can see they keep using long haul aircraft on this route.

  9. I was surprised at your observation that it was weird that the IFE screen didn’t fold away – most business and first class seats are like this, few have the fold-away screens that BA and Virgin have.

    • Normally, though, the TV is attached to the back of the seat in front or otherwise hung on a ‘wall’. You therefore don’t mentally expect to be able to fold it away.

      Because this TV sticks out from the side of the seat, you do – in your mind – expect to be able to move it! If that makes any sense at all ….

  10. We travelled on one in economy back in August. Great for the 2:4:2 layout as we got a window seat pair.

    They do tend to turn the IFE off well before landing though. I only got half way through an hour and a half programme!

    As an aside head for points seems to be blocked in China…. weird.

    • I’m typing this at the st Regis in Beijing. Also been keeping up with the blog at my friends’ house in Shanghai. Maybe the block is only in certain parts of China.

      Thanks for the review Raffles, I may well have to do something similar myself!

      • Also in Beijing… Only seems to work for me over a VPN using China Unicom data or our hotel wifi.

        Odd….

    • I like it as a rebrand – definitely looks more modern and up-to-date than their old one.