LONDON: Following the launch event of the Iberia A350 NEXT cabin, AviationSource flew to Madrid, in Business Class aboard their Airbus A320neo.
With no expectations in mind, the service and hospitality was beyond great. Join me as I take you readers through 3 hours and 30 minutes in seat 1F of Iberia’s 6-month-old Airbus A320neo with the new Airbus cabin design!
- Aircraft & registration
- Airbus A320neo, EC-NTQ
- Aircraft age
- 0.6 years at the time of flight
- Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
- Madrid Barajas (MAD)
- Business Class
The Airport Experience
With the flight being taken in very late December and on the very start of the Christmas break in Norway, Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) was a mess with people standing in crowds to check in, as well as security being an absolute mess.
However, thanks to Iberia’s possibilities of online check-in days, and me not checking in a bag, the overall experience for me went really fast.
As for security, fast track is also included in the ticket, making my total spent time in the security checkpoint a very minimum.
With Iberia, Business Class ticket holders may access the OSL Premium and Business lounge located in the international section of the airport (Pier East). However, they aren’t much to brag about.
With granted access to the Business lounge, I was shocked to find out that the premium lounge was significantly better by a great margin, as the selection of food and beverages in the Business lounge was straight up poor and not even decent.
Although, I was just happy to have a place to kill some time and eat before the flight boarded.
After seeing the assigned gate being E13, my walk from the lounge to the gate area was just under a minute, despite Oslo being a busy airport around Christmas time.
After receiving an e-mail from the company requesting me to check in any eventual bags I may have due to capacity, I quickly understood that this flight was going to be rather full, and I was not wrong.
Upon entering the gate area, it was flooded with every seat taken and multiple other passengers standing up just waiting for boarding to commence.
Naturally, Business Class ticket holders contain to group 1, leaving me no worry at all given boarding started five minutes later.
Boarding was quick and efficient, and came around with no disruptions other than a weight and balance issue which appeared after boarding was completed.
However, the crew in cooperation with the ground handlers were quick to fix the issue, leaving us just 15 minutes behind schedule.
Despite being categorized under the so-called “European Business”, Iberia’s seats actually do differ greatly from the Economy Class ones, as they appear more padded, and actually felt quite comfortable.
The seats featured adjustable headrests, and for myself in the bulkhead, a tray table in the armrest along with both a USB type B power port, complimented by a full on power socket. All in all, the seats provided me a comfortable 3.5 hours to the middle of Spain.
What definitely caught my eye upon boarding was the very different cabin design that this specific aircraft featured, which immediately led me to check the aircraft’s age; and finding it being only six months old.
I then realized that this aircraft featured the latest A320 Family cabin by Airbus, which has an incredibly modernized interior, including the biggest game changer being mood-lighting.
The inflight service
Shortly after takeoff, the cabin crew shut the curtains between Business and Economy, providing a greater feel of privacy.
Shortly afterwards, they were starting to prepare the inflight meal for Business class, which was catered by Do&Co, who are rumoured to be among the best caterers out there.
Needless to say, the menu was pure luxury, and with the cabin chief on his knees to take my order, I ordered the slow cooked veal, which came shortly after with a starter of an hard boiled egg and freshly cut Manchego cheese on top of a white bean salad.
As well as this, there was a dessert, being strawberry mousse with fresh and tasty strawberries on top.
The cabin chief also offered me a hot bun, which I of course gladly accepted. With that followed a small glass of extra virgin olive oil and a container of butter.
The meal went down without any problems and it all tasted absolutely fantastic.
Arrival at Madrid Barajas
Descending into a cloudy Spain, the arrival into Madrid left us experiencing quite some turbulence, including a circuit in the holding pattern due to traffic spacing.
However, the landing was very smooth and despite the delay out from Oslo, we landed prior to our scheduled arrival time, something which is always greatly appreciated by passengers.
Upon disembarking, I now faced the quest of finding the arrivals hall and exit at Madrid Barajas Terminal 4, which I quickly found by great signage and there being multiple of them indicating where it was located.
After spending 3.5 hours in Business with Iberia, my overall impression was a great and different product compared to what is European Business on other carriers, where there is no noticeable difference.
This being my first time in Business Class, I am not one to critisize nor speak like a professional, but believe me when I say that this product gets a high score along with a major reccomendation.
The key points to my reccomendations are:
- Crew friendliness
- Inflight meal
- Spacious cabin
- Comfortable seating