Iberia quietly drops flights from Madrid to Johannesburg

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Iberia has suspended its Madrid to Johannesburg route from the end of August.

A Head for Points flagged in our comments yesterday that his booking – without him being notified – had been cancelled.  A search of the Iberia website shows no services after 31st August 2019.  I have found reference to the cancellation in the South African press, which cites substantial losses as the reason for the closure, but nothing published in Europe.

Iberia drops Johannesburg

This is a big loss to Avios collectors as the route allowed you to reach South Africa with minimal taxes and charges (around £150 return in Business Class) compared to £570 on British Airways from London.

Unfortunately, Iberia is not (yet?) rebooking people.  Although, to be fair, they haven’t told anyone that they won’t be rebooked.  That said, they haven’t actually told the impacted passengers yet that they don’t have a flight!  ‘Manage My Booking’ does show the cancellation.

EDIT: The Iberia website for travel agents does mention the cancellation and includes this line: “The Commercial division will announce flexibility and relocation conditions for affected passengers.”  If you are ticketed on this route I would wait for Iberia to contact you.

PS. Our detailed guide on how to redeem Avios on Iberia is here – it is well worth a look as there are many ‘sweet spots’ and taxes are low.

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

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  1. shoestring says:


    aped intoclub aspire t3 – 4 of us, lucky as filling up fast

    • Lady London says:

      Not No. 1?

      • shoestring says:

        lounong club

        • Darren says:

          Fat fingers Harry, or taking advantage of the facilities!?

        • Shoestring says:

          nah it was in the lounge – one of those tables with a built-in touchscreen monitor & internet, completely useless but better than nothing as I don’t carry a laptop

          [yep I had a few, finished up with several pints of Guinness with a single malt chaser (Spey) that was quite delicious and my charming Goanese server went heavy on the pour lol]

          back on the real deal desktop PC at our place in the sun now 🙂

        • Darren says:

          Excellent, good man.

          Have a great time.

  2. Will we still have the protection of EU 261 after BREXIT ?

    • ChrisC says:


      It is part of U.K. law and had been since 2005. It would require Parliament to repeal it.

      In any case it woukd still apply to EU based airlies whatever happens. And it would still apply to U.K. airlies on flights leaving the EU even if the U.K. repealed it.

    • Doug M says:

      Yes, no EU law as such. The EU determines what should happen and the individual countries write it into law.

    • marcw says:

      Are you leaving or just pretending to leave?

  3. OT my Hilton diamond expired March 31 but hotel still honoured diamond lounge access for stay earlier this week. *sighs when he sees Americans fill up the lounge by merely having a credit card*.

    • …. which has a $450 fee.

      • Peter 64K says:

        … Which is less than UK amex platinum which gets you only gold.

        • But Hilton Gold is a teeny tiny part of the Plat benefits.

          For $450 you could do 8 Hilton mattress runs to get yourself Diamond status via their status match / challenge.

        • RIccatti says:

          Alan made a case below, Rob.

          Its UK AMEX Platinum benefits which are weighting below the benefits for a specialised US card.

          In terms of hotels, Plat gives you Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold (Radisson/Shangri-la on the side), and Marriott Gold is now 2pm non-guaranteed checkout and that’s it.

      • Although for that $450 you get
        – Hilton Diamond
        – 150k Hilton Honors points sign-up bonus (after spending $4k)
        – 14 points per USD on Hilton spend (approx 8% return), 7x on airlines, 3x all other spend
        – free weekend night every year plus 2nd free night after $60k spend
        – $250 Hilton resort credit
        – $250 airline credit
        – $100 on-property credit if you spend at least 2 paid nights at WA/Conrad properties
        – Priority Pass for you and 2 guests
        – secondary collision damage waiver, lost baggage insurance and travel accident insurance

        Overall looks like an amazing package for $450 – if I was in the USA I’d be snapping it up!

  4. Bonglim says:


    Has anyone managed to successfully chase eu flight compensation through a lawyer?
    We were delayed through a lightning strike for the previous flight. Our flight back from Chicago was delayed because there was a lightning strike on the flight from Heathrow to Chicago.

    There has been some precedent with this, a judge awarded compensation in similar circumstances.

    But BA said now and the adjudicator said no.

    Is it worth going through a lawyer. Anyone have any recommendations as to who to go with?

    • shoestring says:

      bott and co highly recommended by others

    • Lady London says:

      Lightning strike = genuine weather issue (as compared to when airlines seem to try to sat its weather and yet same routing other airlines planes are not late). However problems with incoming aircraft due to be used for your flight do not count as valid reasons for airline not to compensate if your flight is delayed enough.

      So on the surface of it, it sounds like you should have a claim if other measures are met like length of delay in your arrival to final destination.

      I believe Bott & co are experts if you want to pay their % of your claim, I would go for this.

    • marcw says:

      You should be compensated, in some way or another. The problem is, they are I think 2 cases where it´s gone in favour of the passengers. But it´s not a precedent for others, since it´s not high enough in the system (because airlines did not appeal the decission).

      I once had a problem with easyJet, at the end we agreed a settlement through CEDR close to EC261, but not the same.

    • the_real_a says:

      I have also used bott and co with sucess

    • RIccatti says:

      As pointed, the issue with the inbound aircraft is not itself grounds for the airline.

      It’s different on bird strikes as there are protective measures that airlines should have taken.

      The divide is between what is inherent in the aircraft’s normal activity and normal operation of the airline. The relevant case here (which BA likes to throw in your face) is Marcela Peskova, Jiri Peska v Travel Service A.S.

      However, then you might request a proof from BA that measures were taken with regards to potential lightning strikes on that particular plane (and in general). If BA does not respond or refuses to, then you can go to court on these grounds — to compel the evidence will be in public interest.

  5. Louise says:

    OT – Cancelling BA Amex, when do points go across to BA account? Just before statement produced?

  6. O/T – Amex Spending Target – Best way to spend on Forex (and/or Spending in Foreign) and avoiding (lessen) 2.99% charge


    • No ways, now that Amex and Curve are not working together.

    • Grant says:

      The only way I can try and rationalise it to some degree is to spend on Gold where you get 2 MR points per £1 spent in FX so you are offsetting some of the 2.99% fee with extra points. Hitting spend targets for sign up or annual bonuses helps with the pain of the fee too.

  7. Phoned Iberia re my JNB flight. V helpful chap, David I believe.

    Re-routed on to BA business.

    Only slight pain is no change of origin or destination, so I will now be flying LHR – MAD – LHR – JNB and then reverse on way back!

    Still, happy with the changes overall.

    • marcw says:

      yep. It´s doable – but depends how your wife/husband/kids take it.

      • Just the wife this time. Not a great flyer, but happy-ish as we’ll still have a fab holiday in SA. Have previously flown BA business LHR – CPT in old 747, hoping the route to JNB in an A380 will be a better experience. Never flown in an A380 as yet.

      • callum says:

        They’re going to South Africa – if rerouting via London is so distressing then they’re going to be in for a big shock when they arrive!

        • David says:

          I dunno, it’s quite easy to persuade fellow passengers that you need to change planes in Madrid, without raising too many eyebrows. If they end up back at the airport they’ve just left, there might be some more intensive questioning about your itinerary…

        • callum says:

          I’d imagine a very simple “Iberia cancelled the flight so we’ve been rerouted back through London – yes it’s inconvenient and seems weird to be in the same airport twice, but it’s either that or we cancel and spend an extra £1000 each on direct flights” would suffice!

          I still maintain that if you consider that a hardship, Africa probably shouldn’t be the destination for you (unless they were planning to check into a luxury resort and never see the “real” South Africa I guess).

    • Would it not have been worth trying for a LGW -MAD flight on the return necessitating claiming your luggage at LHR. Some unforeseen circumstance could then have resulted in you being unable to make this flight…

      • RIccatti says:

        That is a minor thing.

        He should have asked for re-routing on Qatar citing that he is not happy with backtracking.

  8. OT:
    I hear people talk about tesco mobile offer….I must have missed this when it started. Am I too late to the party?
    Those who have done it and got points….can you let me know what i need to do step by step to do it before closing?
    Thanks in advance

  9. Ref the Madrid to Johannesburg flight cancelation. My wife and I booked business flights from MAD to JNB on 5th March 2020. We just had an E Mail from Iberia saying that the flight was canceled and to phone them. The operator was very terse and kept on saying that there was no availability on any other airline and that our only option was to cancel and get a refund. I was on the phone for 20 minutes and he simply refused to do anything to help. I pointed out to him that there were flights showing with Qatar Airlines but he told me that he couldn’t find any availability so there was nothing he could do to help. I asked him whether we could fly from London or any other city and he refused that. He refused to let me speak to a supervisor and refused to E Mail to confirm that Iberia was refusing to find me another airline, eventually he hung up despite me saying that under EU regulations Iberia were obliged to help.

    So….what are or options now? I am happy to threaten a notice before action to Iberia in London under EU261/2004 but does that apply as they have given me more than 2 weeks notice?

    Thanks guys?


    • I would hang up and try again. I had 4 separate bookings and all have been ‘reprotected’ on to flights wit BA via Heathrow by 2 different agents without any issues.

      Hope you get sorted out.

      • Thanks David….I telephoned back to the UK call centre during business hours and spoke to someone who had changed several flights for other customers last week. He was very professional and sent us MAD to LHR to JNB without complaint. Thank goodness for that as the other guy was SO unhelpful and rude. Phew!

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