So this post has taken me a while to write!
Over Christmas I travelled back to the UK via Madrid on Iberia. I’ve already reviewed the new Iberia business class on the A330 in the past, and up until 24 hours before I was due to travel I was expecting an A340-300 with Iberia’s old business class.
However, after I checked in I received an email advising me of a seat change, and suddenly I was on the new business class on an A340-600. It looks like the plane was swapped for the larger 346 due to a cancelled flight the day before (rather oddly, it seems the plane turned back to Madrid while over the coast of Africa).
The 346 has a slightly larger business class cabin than the A330, but the layout is exactly the same – the 1-2-1 with alternating window/aisle seats on the sides, and alternating middle seats with a gap and together. The flight was very similar to my previous experiences, with a comfortable seat and bed, and an unremarkable crew overall.
My return flight I was oddly more interested in, as this was still on an A340-300, featuring their 2-2-2 angled flight seats. Boarding was quick at Madrid, and thankfully I had kept an empty seat next to me, making it an overall far more pleasant experience. There is little privacy between the two seats, and the privacy screen is nothing more than a gesture.
The seat was comfortable as a seat, although the angled flat bed wasn’t the most comfortable ever. The foot rest at the end made it slightly too short for me. The massage function worked well though, and unlike on Qatar it was not going to also massage the passenger next to me!
The TV screen was something out of the 90s for sure – you had time to press the button and go and get a coffee while waiting for the next screen! That was when it was working – for the first hour of the flight it was doing nothing, but the crew did apologise.
In fact, the crew on this flight was excellent. I was greeted by name numerous times, and the cabin manager came round several times checking everything was alright with my flight.
I neglected to take pictures of the menu this flight, but I had a steak. It counted as just about edible, but was quite sinuous and definitely overcooked. I have always found the food on Iberia to be a bit below that of British Airways, and this was no exception. However the wine, sherry and brandy selection was decent. I do like being able to start my meal with a fino and end with a PX and brandy de jerez.
The washbag now has the L’Occitan products inside, rather than in a separate bag like it was on previous flights. It’s a decent selection, and I appreciate the good quality hand cream and lip balm.
Overall, it was a better flight than I was expecting – being a day flight I wasn’t planning on sleeping that much, and the seat was very comfortable for lounging in with a very adjustable footrest. In fact I probably preferred the lounging position to that of the new seat, which just has the fixed ottoman/footrest.
The connecting flight was on a BA 767, which still has the older Club Europe product. I chose the middle aisle seat, as this has a blocked off mini seat in the middle with a tray for extra room. On the 767 there is no blocked off seat on the edge, with a 2-2-2 seating layout, but literally 2 seats on the edge, with the 2.5 in the middle. There’s also a little more legroom than the economy cabin, unlike the newer Club Europe on the A32x planes where they just have the blocked off middle seat. The reason I selected the flight operated by the 767 was that I have had a plane swap a couple of times in the past to an international configured 767, with lay flat beds – always nice for a 630am flight even if it is just for 2 hours.
If flying on a A340-300, the economy product is a let down, with no individual screens, with drop down screens in the cabin for a shared movie experience… The seats themselves are fine though, in a 2-4-2 layout with acceptable leg room. I’d still rather take the BA 777 though. Speaking on the BA777, I have a return flight in economy coming up next week, which will be my first economy flight on BA in 4 years. As always I’ll be hopeful for an upgrade to the far more comfortable premium economy (which is still showing plenty of availability for a paid upgrade at least). On the way back I managed to get an exit row seat, so I think I’ll leave the upgrade and experience an economy flight for a change as I won’t be sleeping really and will just occupy my time with movies and my favourite pass-time of chatting with the crew! I also secured two bottles of whisky from the online Highlife shop for delivery – a Dalmore 15yo for £25 and the Dewar’s Signature for £45 – both great buys and two very nice whiskies to tide me through until the end of the Rio project in September!
Also coming up is a first class flight on the A380 to Hong Kong which I am very much looking forward to! However that is still 9 months away… I used my airmiles and BA Companion voucher to secure two returns for a little over 180k miles. Currently I’m scheduled on the return in business however, but I’m hoping to be able to change and upgrade to first if availability comes up.
In the middle I have a return flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo on Cathay Pacific and Dragon Air – I was tempted to book the Business Class on Cathay, but on reviews it looks like the regional business class product isn’t really worth the effort. It’s only a 4 hour flight, and it seems like the regional business class is just a premium economy. The question now is the return – to head back to Hong Kong and take the A380, or I could try and take a different flight from Tokyo on a 787 to experience both airplanes for the first time. However by all accounts the A380 would be a more comfortable flight with a more spacious cabin and better food. I wasn’t aware when I booked that you can return from a different city with a companion voucher. Having said that, the Hong Kong flight is better times in my opinion (midnight till 5am, instead of 1pm to 3pm!).