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Iberia receives its first A350-900 – and test flights from Heathrow to Madrid still bookable

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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.

Iberia A350-900

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.

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Comments

  1. KevMc says:

    Have they given any indication as to which other routes they are going to put the other 4 that they are receiving in the next 18 months?

    Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a good hotel airport at MAD? Ideally something with a free shuttle bus and/or a cheap uber away…

    • Nick Burch says:

      I like the Hilton Madrid Airport – short shuttle ride, fairly frequent shuttles, good food, decent gym and spa pool, fairly decent exec lounge. Not always the cheapest. though I was fairly underwhelmed by the Crowne Plaza. Alternately, it’s a fairly quick train or metro into the city centre, lots of decent options there!

    • Depends what you define as good, but there’s a ton of hotels in the village of Barajas which is on the metro line between the two airport stations. Free airport shuttles seem to be included with everywhere I looked at. You have to pay extra to get the train to the airport so the shuttles are probably the best option

      • KevMc says:

        Thanks for the suggestions, both.

        We will be arriving late and leaving early the next morning, so don’t think we will bother going into the city on his occasion. I will take a look at the Hilton.

        • Bigsi says:

          The Marriott is also very nice with efficent shuttle services.

        • Michael Jennings says:

          I stayed in the Pullman recently, which was also good. Lots to choose from.

  2. Cristian rivera says:

    Can you just cancel the first flight on your booking? I booked my self a return ticket but from londo to Madrid I’m flying economy and on my return biz. I want to cancel the first leg to book this on biz. Booked with avios. Thank you

  3. Concerto says:

    I really quite liked the Melia in Barajas village, complete with swimming pool and decent service, if it still exists and hasn’t rebranded.

  4. STUART says:

    As per previous article is this now NOT the case :

    “From 20th July to 3rd August and from 17th August to 31st August, an A350 is due to fly IB3166 and IB3167”

    Will it finish LHR on the 3AUG and not return ?? Please clarify. Thanks

    • The first plane starts on NYC on 4th August. I assume the other dates relate to the 2nd plane and whether it is delivered on time.

    • Graham says:

      I’m booked on IB3166 MAD-LHR on 19 March next year – showing as an A350…

  5. Flying New York to Madrid overnight business in December with partner for her 21st birthday present, hoping we get this new plane. All Paid with Avios points and cheap taxes. All made possible by Rob thanks for you help.

  6. slightly OT – but Iberia related !

    i realised why i couldn’t see any AA reward flight availability on the IB website – they only show up if you search for return flights.

    but i can’t understand why the IB website isn’t showing any LON-DUB or DUB-LON reward flight availability … any ideas ?

  7. Troll Basher says:

    “The engines are from Rolls-Royce and will hopefully prove more reliable than the Boeing 787-9 versions!”

    Come on Rob.

    The affected engines on the 787 are the Trent 1000 package B & C with blade and compressor issues.

    The A350 has RR Trent XWB engines with different architecture and no such issue.

  8. I am on IB3166 in September must check my booking.
    The food on the flight this week was very very good for a short haul business. How can 3 iMessages use up 4mb of data that cant be right surely……..on the onboard WiFi

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