Iberia received its first A350-900 aircraft on Tuesday. This is the first of 16 aircraft due for delivery between now and 2021 which will revolutionise Iberia’s long-haul offering.
Iberia will receive two A350-900s this year, three in 2019, six in 2020 and the last five in 2021. This follows on from 20 new A330 aircraft which have arrived in recent years.
It is advertised as “the quietest plane on the market” and has a range of 14,800km. Fuel burn is 25% lower than similar older aircraft models as 70% of the structure consists of modern lightweight materials such as carbon fibre, fibre-glass, titanium, and aluminium alloys. The engines are from Rolls-Royce and will hopefully prove more reliable than the Boeing 787-9 versions.
There are 348 seats on each plane – 31 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 293 in Economy. Wi-fi will be available.
The Business Class cabin is a more advanced version of the existing Iberia fully-flat seat, with larger screens (18 inches), more leg room and additional personal storage space, as well as an adjustable reading lamp.
And you can try it out
In order to get the cabin and flight crews familiar with the aircraft, they will be flying selected Heathrow to Madrid rotations.
The first flight is scheduled for 20th July, with the aircraft moving onto the Madrid – New York JFK route from 4th August.
I am already booked on one for late July and, as long as there is no last minute switch, I look forward to reporting on how the new Business Class seat looks.
If you want to do the same, don’t look on ba.com because they are still showing an A340 as the operating aircraft. Look at iberia.com. Even there, the inbound flight from London seems to show an A340 but the matching outbound plane from Madrid will show as an A350.
These flights are easy to book with Avios, and indeed cancellable Avios is preferable if you are worried about an aircraft switch. For cargo reasons, however, the aircraft is highly likely to remain a flat bed long haul one even if the A350 is switched out.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.