Brrr Chicago! Iberia IB6725 Madrid to Chicago O’Hare
- Seriously… go somewhere warmer!!!
- Early morning Heathrow – Off to Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, South Galleries Lounge
- BA458 London Heathrow to Madrid
- A MAD transit
- Iberia IB6725 Madrid to Chicago O’Hare
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Dealing with Chicago Cold
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- More Chicago O’Hare
- BA296 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow
- Thawing out…
Boarding the plane, there were smiles as I boarded – and I smiled back, heading to the midpoint of the plane to Row 20 – where I would be spending the next 9 hours plus aboard.
No business class seat for me. Maybe I should had put a bid in for an upgrade.
So let’s look at at the refitted cabin in economy – and once again, the curse of the slimline seat has now arrived at Iberia in full force. Saying that – it’s not a bad seat in the least as it seems width and has a reasonable amount of legroom,
There’s a reason to choose an A330 over some types of plan – which is down to the width of an Airbus A330. This allows for a very comfortable 2-4-2 layout in Economy Class.
Moving onto the In Flight Entertainment System, you would had noticed it was nice and bright. This plane featured a Panasonic EX3 system… and it well, looks wonderful.
You’ll notice straight away there’s three ports to hand – a headphone socket, an eXconnect socket for iPhone interface and a USB slot to charge a phone or tablet. At last, carriers are getting the hint to provide power at seat… and even under seat.
Before departing, I noticed there was a guide to the In-flight WiFi aboard. Wait. In-flight WiFi? Yes, this plane offered inflight WiFi.
A quick browse of the guide and the video sort however put me off using the service.
Apart from the service recommending against using laptops, the pricing was pretty… expensive.
- 4mb (yes, mb) plan -US$4.95
- 22mb plan – US$19.95
- 50mb plan – US$39.95
- Every extra Megabyte – $1.75
I kindly ignored the WiFi offering at that point – least of all, I knew that my handset could chew through 50mb without even thinking about it.
I began to explore the IFE system – which was really easy to use. The system is much more “tablet system” than other IFE systems I’ve used. Which is all well and good.
Sadly, by the time I had finished faffing around with the WiFi system, it was time to depart.
Interestingly at this point it seemed there was a grandmothers convention of some sort on the plane, with some ladies making lots of noise, jumping and turning on seats and talking loudly. It took the crew a bit of effort to calm them down and to get them into their seats (in fact, it took them a fair bit of effort to manage these passengers during the flight as they were pretty active during the first hour and the last hour of the flight).
The safety video played, with some quite frankly scary CGI characters.
With that done, and charging cables removed during taxi and take off (so that in case of an evacuation – no one gets tangled in cables), our Airbus A330 begun its taxi around Madrid Airport.
Soon, it was our turn for the engines to spool up as we begun our take off roll.
One of the reasons why I love the window seat is the view you can get. Even more so when departing from an airport you’ve never left from before.
With the scenery settling down, I turned my attention back to the IFE system. Now whilst using it was fine, there was a problem with the IFE system – and it’s a very basic problem a lot of IFE systems have – a lack of content.
Whilst there were a few modern films and TV series, the mix was comparatively light to be polite compared to some IFE systems I’ve encountered.
Sorry Taylor. There are only so many times I can listen to you singing about Starbucks lovers who tell you that insane (yes, I know it’s a list of ex-lovers. I still hear Starbucks lovers when I’m not paying attention).
So what does one do when you’ve got poor IFE content? Oh you should all know by now – load up the map and create a GhettoIFE system!
Headphones were handed out – not great quality, but better than nothing.
With the basics done, the flight settled down as we tracked over Spain and out to the Atlantic to begin the long flight to Chicago.
Soon enough the trolleys began their first trip down of the aisles – with a combined meal and drink service. Being in the front cabin of the A330 has its benefits – apart from getting off the plane earlier (which if you don’t want to spend hours in US Immigration is essential), it also means the meal trays hit you first.
So let’s look at the tray.
First up, a big plus to Iberia who provide larger cans of soft drinks. As opposed to BA who use the tiddly 150ml cans, Iberia give you a whole 100ml more with 250ml cans of drink. Well. It was important to me.
I did request a vodka and cola – sadly, there was no vodka on the trolley, so it was fetched. And when its Absolut vodka, I can wait for a cute mini bottle like this. Wine bottles seemed to be given out freely.
The meal itself was filling – and of a reasonable quantity for a lunchtime flight. It was hot and reasonably balanced, with the Spanish style chicken main being a highlight of quantity and quality. Not a badly executed first service in the least.
As the tray tables were cleared down, blinds started being pulled down without the crew intervening or requesting them to be pulled down. Mine was up for a while, before I pulled it down to get some shuteye.
And since I had been up for quiet a while, I needed it.
Waking up later, the cabin was still pretty dark, and the plane ha completed the Atlantic trek – now crossing Canada.
Eventually, the lights came up and with the mood lights in a waking up phase; it was time for the second service to begin.
Opening the box, you’re entering the land of pre-packaged delights.
This pre-packaged special won’t win awards in freshness, but again- the quantity was there and the contents of the package were mostly passable and fresh to mouth (well, except with the yoghurt… but you all know of my objection to the bacterial fermentation of milk… and my love of milk for that matter).
With the distance to Chicago closing, the crew did a hurried run of immigration forms and begun tidying the cabin for arrival.
Soon, the plane begun its decent as we crossed Lake Michigan as we begun our final approach into Chicago O’Hare.
Soon, the coast of Illinois came into view and the plane begun its final decent.
With the minutes ticking away, the Airbus A330 kissed the ground at O’Hare, completing the 9 hour 25 run across the Atlantic.
Once on the ground however, the flight wasn’t over – as the plane had a long taxi back across the field at O’Hare to the International Terminal to park up.
Another 10 minutes, and the A330 parked at its spot at O’Hare. With that the bongs went off, and the plane became the scene of every man and woman for themselves as they scrambled for their bags, and to line up to get off the plane.
I gathered my items together, making sure I had what I needed – and headed off the plane.
Overall: Whilst the crew weren’t the warmest, the plane itself provided a great way to cross the pond. The catering provided is indeed above what any US based airline can offer across the pond and the seat – whilst a slimline seat – is reasonably comfortable for this length of flight.
I’ve had worse flights across the pond, I’ve had better flights – this fell into the better side if I was completely honest due to the onboard service.
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