My review of Iberia Express in Business Class (a good redemption from UK regions)

This is my review of Iberia Express and its business class product.

Over the next few weeks we are going to review the premium cabins of all of the other IAG airlines, apart from British Airways.  First up is Iberia Express.  Later this week I will look at Iberia’s long-haul business class seat.  Vueling has promised me an Excellence flight to try out.  Anika is off to Boston in a few weeks to test the new Aer Lingus long-haul business class.  We won’t get to cover LEVEL – unless they want to offer us a Premium Economy trip – but they are only flying from Barcelona at the moment.

Iberia Express operates from five cities in the UK so I thought it was time to take a look.

What is Iberia Express?

This reviews covers Iberia Express and its business class service.  The airline has its own website which is here.

Based in Madrid, Iberia Express styles itself as a low-cost carrier which provides ‘feed’ to Iberia’s mainline operations.  The aim appears to be to offer connecting services to airports which would not support a ‘full service’ short-haul flight.  It flies to 40 destinations in 14  countries.

Of course, as part of Iberia, Iberia Express is NOT a genuine low-cost airline:

It offers connecting flights, including through-checked baggage, to Iberia

You can earn Avios in Iberia Plus when you fly with Iberia Express

The flights operate as codeshares with various oneworld and other airlines

It offers lounge access, fast track security and priority boarding on ‘business’ tickets, as you will see

It is a member of oneworld through Iberia

It operates a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.  I was on an A320-200.

From the UK …..

From the UK, Iberia Express operates, mainly in Summer:

  • Heathrow to Asturius
  • Heathrow to Gran Canaria
  • Gatwick to Madrid
  • Birmingham to Madrid
  • Edinburgh to Madrid
  • Cardiff to Madrid
  • Manchester to Madrid

My flight

I flew Iberia Express from Palma to Madrid last week.

I booked a one-way business class flight via Iberia Plus for 9,000 Avios plus £17 of taxes and charges.  An economy ticket would be 4,500 Avios plus £13 of extras.

I was pleased to see that my ticket got me fast track security at Palma.  I was also allowed into the Formentor Lounge which was directly next to gate D86 from where the flight departed.

I’m not going to do a lounge review but I was very pleasantly surprised by the Formentor Lounge.  I was there over lunch and the supply of food was very good:

Formentor lounge Palma Airport

There was also a fridge full of cava, among other drinks, and a decent selection of upmarket newspapers and magazines.  It wasn’t very crowded either, although I can imagine that a Saturday in August is a different story.

Formentor lounge Palma Airport

As I directly next to the gate I wasn’t rushing to board.  I missed the priority boarding call for the flight, but when I arrived I walked up to the desk and was allowed to board immediately.

Seating

Seating is 3 x 3 throughout the plane.  In Business Class, the middle seat is blocked.  British Airways uses a fancy tray table to block the seat.  Iberia Express uses two cushions!

Iberia Express business class

The aircraft had a curtain positioned after Row 3, which was drawn during the flight.  However, only Row 1 and half of Row 2 was allocated for business class passengers.  As it turned out, I was the only passenger!  Sitting in the bulkhead I had plenty of legroom:

Iberia Express business class review

Business Class food and drink

I should mention that Iberia Express offers a lower level of service on its domestic flights.  The food I was given is NOT representative of what you would get flying from the UK.

You can find food and drink information on this page of the Iberia Express website.

Here is a typical menu for international business class flights on Iberia Express:

Breakfast (before 10.30) – “a hot breakfast is served, comprised of French omelette served with seasonal vegetables and  fresh fruit”

Hot snacks (10.30 to 12.00) – “a service consisting of a delicious quiche or some tasty scrambled eggs accompanied by fresh fruit,juice, coffee and tea”

Lunch (12.00 onwards) – “flavoursome meat and fresh pasta dishes of the highest quality, served with salads and exquisite desserts”

Economy is ‘buy on board’.

Instead of the menu above, I got a glass of orange juice, followed by a one-tray snack:

Iberia Express business class food review

… and I had two mini-bottles of wine.  The crew poured the first glass of each bottle for me, which does not happen on BA.

Iberia Express business class wine review

It was hardly a massive meal but, frankly, not really worse than some of the food I have had during the day in British Airways Club Europe.  I had no complaints given my modest expectations.

The crew were very pleasant.  I didn’t quite understand the uniform though.  One crew member was wearing a typical Iberia blue trouser suit with a blouse.  The second younger crew member was wearing a short – by airline standards – striped skirt in the Iberia logo colours of red and mustard (classy!), black tights and a black top.

How to book

For cash, you can book on the dedicated Iberia Express website or on the Iberia site.  The Iberia Express site may be cheaper but your ticket may have fewer benefits – check carefully if baggage or pre-booked seating are important.

For Avios redemptions, you can book via ba.com or Iberia Plus.  You are likely to get better availability if you use the Iberia website and transfer your points to Iberia Plus to make the booking.  However, remember that you can only transfer into an Iberia Plus account which is 90 days old and has ‘earned’ at least 1 Avios.  Transferring 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to Iberia is the easiest way to do this.

What did I think of Iberia Express?

I had heard decent things about Iberia Express in business class and, for a low cost carrier, I wasn’t disappointed.

My bulkhead seat was spacious, I had the whole 1.5 rows to myself, the snack and two mini-bottles of wine were fine (and you’d get better food flying out of the UK) and lounge access and priority boarding removed any possible pain from the process.

If you live in London and heading to Madrid then the sensible thing to do is target those Iberia services at Heathrow which use long-haul A340 aircraft, so you get a flat bed in business class!  From the regions, however, Iberia Express offers a decent option to Madrid especially if you splurge for business class.

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Comments

  1. Lawrence says:

    I flew on “regular” Iberia Heathrow-Madrid last month, and it sounds like you got a better service there than I got!

  2. joe blackman says:

    Are you sure you didn’t miss the ‘smoked duck
    Salad’ from BA on your flight 😉

  3. Richard G says:

    If you’re flying with Iberia Express are you still able to make use of your oneworld status for lounge access in the UK? I’ve heard of people having issues with access.

    • Should be OK because they are technically in oneworld, but I agree there is confusion occasionally looking at reports.

  4. Been a couple of years since I last flew them MAD-EDI in Biz. They’re okay but still a notch of class below CE I thought. Should say it was a breakfast flight straight after an overnight flight from EZE so I wasn’t really in the mood for taking notes on the product…..after the omelette I promptly fell asleep so I’ve no idea what the service was like post meal. What I enjoyed most was the direct flight rather than having to connect at LHR. That to me was the biggest benefit of choosing to fly with them so I would not hesitate using them again.