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

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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

and

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 ….


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.

You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Here are your other options. There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (17)

  • Andrew says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      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 ….

  • Mark says:

    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.

    • Jermyn says:

      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!

      • Mark says:

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

        Odd….

  • Alan says:

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

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