My Air Nostrum flight reviewed, booked with Avios

After my underwhelming experience in the Sala Lounge Cap Des Falco, I got to board the Air Nostrum flight from Ibiza to Madrid.

This was not the most exciting flight in the world as you will see.  The reason we wanted to cover it on Head for Points is to highlight the fact that you can use Avios on Air Nostrum services.

Based in Valencia, with additional hubs in Madrid and Barcelona, Air Nostrum is focused on flights around Spain.  There are also a number of international routes, of which Frankfurt is the longest – it does not fly to the UK.

The airline operates as an Iberia franchise.  It is not owned by IAG or Iberia.

If you find yourself needing to fly around Spain or major cities in nearby countries, Air Nostrum is a potential option.

You can book Air Nostrum services for points via either the Iberia or BA Avios schemes.

The Air Nostrum experience

My one way Business Class flight from Ibiza to Madrid cost 9,000 Avios points and £15.60 in taxes, booked via Iberia Plus.  This included lounge access in Ibiza.

I only booked via Iberia Plus due to improved business class availability.  Looking at peak summer dates, the cost rises to 10,000 Avios plus £17.20 via Iberia Plus.  Book on ba.com and you only pay 10,000 Avios plus £7.80!  For the Ibiza to Madrid route, Iberia Plus also has options to use Avios to fly with Vueling which are not bookable on ba.com.

Other business class benefits were few.  There was no priority line and not only did I end up being the last person in the boarding queue:

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 1

…… I also had to leave my carry on outside the plane:

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 2

…… as no larger items were allowed on board.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 3

When I got on board I understood why. The plane was very small and very busy.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 4

There were 12 business class seats in total and only four of them were occupied – which is why I found it more than annoying that I was at next to someone who also turned out to be an armrest hogger. Luckily they let me change seats.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 5

We were served a sandwich and an alcoholic, soft or hot drink. With only four people in business class the airline had loaded …. four sandwiches. I got to ‘choose’ the last one which was some kind of eggy red pepper mash – I never found out what the other option would have been.

As I was still fighting my cough, I chose a coffee which was actually pretty good.

Economy passengers have a ‘buy on board’ service – I couldn’t see what was available.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 6

In Madrid we got off the plane and I got my carry on back.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 7

We had to walk to the airport building.  As the plane landed at the gate furthest away from the exit, it still took about 30 minutes to leave the airport despite being on a domestic flight.

air nostrum ibiza to madrid 8

Conclusion

Air Nostrum’s service is comparable with any other two-class low cost European airline.  It was perfectly ok for a short flight but certainly nothing special.  With 2×2 seating throughout, there is no real benefit to business class except for a seat at the front and lounge access – although, given that it was only 4,500 additional Avios over economy, I (well, HFP) was happy to pay it.  If you find yourself needing to fly to smaller cities in Spain, bear them in mind as an option.

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Comments

  1. We used Air Nostrum to fly from Malaga to Madrid a couple of years back and later this year we’ll use them again to fly from Madrid to Granada. They’re perfectly functional, although the planes a little small, and we earned/will earn points on both flights. Quite fun to fly something different over the standard A320 family used everywhere else in Europe!

  2. Worth also pointing out that Iberia has some economy level air nostrum avios fares (rather than blue level that are the avios tickets available on BA.com). Flew blq-mad over the Christmas period, cheapest cash ticket was £647, but managed to book 4 avios tickets for 1,550 avios plus £55 each. Definitely earnt a few brownie points with the in-laws. Flight was undramatic, though can recommend the gazpacho they serve in economy.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Nice redemption.

      So what is the difference between getting the redemptions via IB or BA? You say economy level AN Avios fares vs Avios tickets on BA.com but is there a service or cost difference?

      • IB seems to offer 3 levels of avios redemption: Blue (same as economy on BA.com), Economy (1.5x number of AVIOS required, no availability on BA.com), Business (same as BA.com). Rob correct me if I’m wrong here. For some reason, when I redeemed there was 50% off the economy redemptions. Interestingly, also earnt something like 400 AVIOS on the redemption when claiming through BA.

  3. I don’t see any justification to pay the extra avios for business class on this flight for that rubbish lounge and to sit up front especially as many people might accept defeat when told they don’t have access.

    4,500 avios are worth more than the cash price to enter the lounge for most people. Perhaps travelling in the opposite direction, with access to the iberia lounge in Madrid might be better value.

    I remember this site previously saying not to use club Europe from London City in the past as it’s not worth it (no lounge, no blocked middle, etc.). This seems even less attractive.

    • If you sitting on a couple of million Avios you would think differently!

      I even do J from City if it is there, purely because the marginal cost off a 7-figure Avios pile is effectively nil.

      • the real harry1 says:

        depends if it’s your money or not

        I would suggest you are close to the position of an employee looking at a corporate travel policy – of course you always go business if the policy says you can on that itinerary, you’d be crazy not to, you boss also expects you to keep up the standards! [though I sweet-talked my very nice boss Martin Boozechief back in 1996 into swapping business return UK-USA into a RTW ticket with 2 weeks diving off the Great Barrier Reef, showing a cost-saving to the co :) ]

        your ‘couple of million’ points [ :) ] is effectively now the business, it’s tax deductible for a start if you get a lounge/ flight review out of it (or even if you don’t, if your business decides against) – plus of course the points keep flowing in if you do a decent job on hfp so it’s not as if it’s a finite resource

        hasten to add I would never, ever use Avios for a RFS redemption in CE when the flight is more than twice as expensive as economy & the offering is so similar/ not worth the difference/ we’re talking under 3 hrs posterior on seat

        except for the wife haha!

        • the real harry1 says:

          of course – that’s why the marginal cost is effectively nil – I hope it’s actually positive! :)

        • You should see the travel policy wording in Anika’s contract :-)

          • the real harry1 says:

            Your primary target readership is AB and a bit of C1 – the others are naturally welcome as social mobility exists & we hopefully all aspire to the good life. Unfortunately I think I’m a B heading for C1 in retirement but my wife is a good B so maybe we’ll pull through :)

            I assume hfp Anika is tasked to talk to your primary market? (and SP on top)

            no need to answer lol

          • the real harry1 says:

            [still managed to stick £40K in my wife’s pension fund this year]

          • Therealharry1 – That’s very generous of you to allow us poor people to keep reading! (And no, I have no aspirations for “the good life”)

        • Lady London says:

          BA often has only Club seats available on the useable flights on my route though. So if I took them I would have to pay twice as much really for a vaguely decent flight time and no other difference that matters to me.

    • Don’t know if it’s true but somebody told me that the meals in CE from LCY are better to make up for the lack of lounge – they mentioned steak and chips on their flight (which beat the salad I recently had in CE to Berlin from LHR)…

      • My first ever experience of any business class was actually flying City to Amsterdam. I was actually impressed with it (was in row 2 with huge legroom, decent salmon salad and managed a couple of beers and a wine in the short time I was in the air). However, I only booked it as there was no economy option at the time I wanted to fly and I wouldn’t say it was worth the extra 4,500 avios and the few quid in taxes.

        I was more annoyed that I let the lady friend I took with me have the window seat and she wasn’t remotely excited at the views of London after take off!

        • I’d take a long time view with that relationship!

        • Lady London says:

          BA often has only Club seats available on the useable flights on my route though. So if I took them I would have to pay twice as much really for a vaguely decent flight time and no other difference that matters to me.

          So I’ve got into the habit of paying perfectly acceptable cash flights on other airlines instead.

      • I did LCY-DUB-LCY in CE once. The LCY-DUB leg was on a Saturday morning and offered a full English (plus champagne upon request as a lady in 1A did). When I did LHR-DUB in CE the meal was a light salad.

  4. Michael C says:

    This will probably appeal to an extreme minority of your readers but…AirNostrum is great for redemption on the Spain mainland – Melilla routes. Not only is there almost always availability, but since Air Nostrum has a monopoly on most of these routes, the actual cash prices are often ridiculous, so it’s a great saving.

    • Before reading your comment I had no idea where Melilla was. It’s came up as a random option when looking to book Iberia redemptions from the USA to Malaga, 3 flights, changing in Madrid and Melilla, which seems rather rediculous.

      • Michael C says:

        Better to get the v pleasant fast train down from Madrid, Seville or Barcelona!

  5. Lumma … Club Europe out of LCY is a complete waste of Avis (or money!). No lounge at LCY, no empty middle seat (at least not on the Granada route), poor food. That said, I’m no big fan of Club Europe generally – you may get an empty middle seat, lounge access and slightly better food but seat pitch seems no better than economy!

    Rob – armrest hogger – love it (well hate it actually!) Not as bad as having Jabba the Hut sat next to you on a 3 hour economy flight – I ended up hanging over the edge of my (fortunately) aisle seat!

  6. The sandwich is an Ensaladilla Rusa one, a very popular summer dish in Spain. Next time you are in the country go to a local bar and ask for a “tapa” of it as it is the most usual way to have it (not in a sandwich) or go to Hispania in the City and try it there. I personally love it.

    • the real harry1 says:

      If that had me getting muggin’s choice I would have gone hungry as I don’t like eggs – pretty poor not to load a bit more variety

  7. I might be able use this airline as I have family in northern Spain, well off the tourist route. However, I struggle in general to find non-BA redemptions, e.g. I was looking at LAX to Hawaii the other day. Initially it showed an AA flight for 25,000 plus £9 tax, but when I looked again later, and each subsequent occasion, I got a message saying BA and its partners don’t fly that route so what is one to think?!

    Anika, did you book the Air Nostrum flights through BAEC online?

    • This one was booked via Iberia Plus because Iberia has better availability, but you can also book them off ba.com.

    • Suggest you ring BAEC and ask about Alaska Airlines for that route.

      • I think I will end up ringing, but still can’t understand why it showed the flight at first then changed to telling me they don’t fly that route at all!

    • Lady London says:

      If it won’t play ball try looking for AA saver seats or whatever their equivalent award level is on the AA site as though you were going to book them with AA miles, and then call BA and try to book those as those are often the class of award seat that is available to be booked by partner program members. Even if the partner program is not making it easy.

  8. FrequentDriver says:

    Is that a Silver BAEC tag on your luggage Anika ? What are you doing wrong :) ?

    • Getting gold would cost HFP thousands, presumably, of unecessary expenditure when they have millions of Avios sitting there. If you want a story about tier point runs there are plenty of those on FT.

  9. No tier points achievable, I guess…?

  10. The CRJ is extremely tight in a 2-2 layout, and I certainly wouldn’t pay extra for ‘business class’ which isn’t 1-2 (like US airlines are) on this aircraft type.

  11. At least for IB codeshare flights they offer priority services, use it all the time… First to board, there’s no line but there’s an announcement, just make your way to the front. Works both for fare and OW status. Use them often from/into Madrid for LHR connections.

  12. david cliff says:

    I travel to/from Alicante 7/8 times a year from Manchester. I often fly ALC-MAD-MAN on the return with Air Nostrum & Iberia Express. I can always get tickets for approx £75 one way and the transfer in MAD is just over an hour. A nice little journey and I collect Avios too !

  13. I don’t object to having to leave your carry-on at the steps, and get it back as you get off at the other end – quite common on US commuter flights.

    What really gets me is the KLM Cityhopper flights AMS – LHR (and maybe other routes). You hand in your carry-on as you board, then they put it in the hold – you collect it at the luggage carousel :-( I travel with hand luggage for short trips precisely to avoid the wait to collect a case – and I often have delicate items in hand luggage for a good reason!

  14. Barry cutters says:

    Off topic.

    Need to fly to Dublin in two weeks time.
    Ba flights are £300 for the times i need.
    Aer lingus are £200.

    Can i get in the lounge at t2 if i fly aer lingus.?
    Im a ba gold

    • I believe only if booked under BA flight numbers? (which are generally much pricier)

      • barry cutters says:

        yep as iv just realised .
        £102 for the aer Lingus flights in the end.
        Ba would have been over £300.

        As its a work trip I’m not bothered about the lounge as I can expense all food/drink anyway.
        Quite excited to go to T2 for the first time, and in fact use another carrier. I don’t think iv been on any other short haul flight that hasn’t been BA, Iberia or AA for at least 3 years.
        Which is some dedication for someone who flew over 100 sectors in 2016

        • I quite like T2, flown from there with SQ a couple of times.

          That price differential sounds like pretty much what I’d seen before for EI vs BA!

  15. Air norstrum did have a few U.K. Services, including Glasgow to Madrid.

    I used to fly on an Air Norstrum service between Jerez and Madrid every week, it wasn’t buy on board then, but it was far far superior service to Iberia where the staff can be truly miserable.

    If I saw a route that had Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Norstrum then I would pick Air Norstrum based on my experiences with them.

  16. Useful review. I’ll be taking my parents to Spain (their first time) in April and I’ve booked MAD-BIQ on Iberia (operated by Air Nostrum) to get to San Sebastian. The MAD-BIQ route was substantially cheaper than MAD-EAS.

    • Good decision! MAD-EAS is expensive because of IB monopoly and the comfortable, frequent coach from BIO to the centre of San Sebastian took me an hour and cost under €40 return.

    • Surely BIO is easier access to San Sebastián/Donostia than BIQ?