IB3167 London Heathrow to Madrid – BUSINESS CLASS
Widebodies and Short Routes
- Let’s do a challenge
- Off to Heathrow
- Points to be Made vs Economy Class and Beyond – Two idiots race across Heathrow
- Heathrow Terminal 5 and The British Airways Galleries South Lounge
- IB3167 London Heathrow to Madrid (BUSINESS CLASS)
- Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport
- Exploring a bit of Madrid
- Back to Barajas and the Iberia Lounges
- BA461 Madrid to London Heathrow (BUSINESS CLASS/BA FIRST)
- To the trains!
- Two sides of the IAG coin
IB6137 London Heathrow to Madrid Barajas
Iberia, Airbus A340-600, Seat 2A, Business Class (EuroBusiness)
773 Miles Flown, 0 Tier points earn, 0 Avios Earned (Redemption Seat)
We were both welcomed aboard and turned left to our seats. The crew welcomed us, inviting us to take any unoccupied seat.
There were a total of six business class passengers expected for a cabin 40. With all six already now loaded.
Excuse the laughing from me.
We took this opportunity to look around the A340 business class cabin, which is in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration, with seating by Stelia Aerospace – and their Solstys seat.
I’ve played with Solstys for some years at aviation shows – but have never actually sat in one installed in a plane.
Aft cabin, looking towards Premium Economy
And – I was impressed.
The seats were pretty comfortable, with adequate room inside them. With the staggered 1-2-1 seating layout – it means that every seat is an aisle seat. That on a long haul flight (or a short-haul flight with a bit of moving around after the meal service) makes a major difference.
A simple table design that doesn’t need two degrees to open.
Seat control and IFE controller
Power, headphones and drink holder.
In the seat, the reading materials were out as opposed to in the document pockets (mainly as they didn’t fit).
IFE System interface (Panasonic)
Document Pocket… and Tim reviewing this flight
With this my first A340 flight – it was time to read the safety card. It’s something I recommend you do when you get aboard a plane – but especially if you’re aboard a new type you haven’t been on before.
In the seat pocket, I found a wireless access card. We’ll look at this later.
Free Wi-Fi onboard? Let’s not get too hasty….
With the formalities out-of-the-way, I settled into to explore the plane and onboard systems. That and taking ridiculous photos of us trying to occupy as many seats as possible – mainly as the cabin was so empty.
It also helped the crew was in a playful mood.
With a 23-minute departure penalty, there was time to explore stuff – including anything of interest. I took a look at the Wi-Fi system (and quietly worried it would be the wonderful L-Band system that would be installed.
Examining the IFE and the Wi-Fi Coverage. Some rather big blackspots…
Eventually, the seatbelt signs were switched on, and it was time to head off.
But first, there’s the safety video. Dual-Langauge safety videos by their nature are long… mainly as they have to communicate information twice.
Iberia’s effort wasn’t too bad – it got the pertinent facts over in both languages at a reasonable pace – and without the over the top whimsy, some airlines engage in.
The plane eventually pushed back and begun its taxi around Heathrow Airport, finally lining up for a departure off Runway 27L.
Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
With a roar, the four enlarged hair dryers that power the Airbus A340-600 pushed IB3167 into the sky.
I spy one of four engines powering IB3167
All red in the cabin – that’s the IFE welcome screen at work
The crew was quick off the mark once we were airborne and the announcements were made – firstly with Internet access and 3 x 4mb Wi-fi access cards were offered.
Ok, let’s get the pain of the Wi-Fi out-of-the-way. This aircraft was fitted out with SITA OnAir L Band connectivity.
Those who remember the Qatar Airways trip reports should run away fast. This is one of the slowest technologies out there to connect from the air to a satellite, then to ground for Internet connectivity.
Such speed. So much wow. Oh who am I kidding?
And boy was it slow. 4mb was enough to refresh a Twitter feed, send a photo to Instagram, and attempt to do a speed test. I had to bust into a second card for that.
The speeds – as expected – were dismal, and shows that the age of L Band connectivity needs to pass fast as Ku and Ka becomes the norm
The meal service was offered straight away – a choice between a veal burger and cheese and nut pasta.
I went or the burger. Pretty much it was delivered straight away. Bubbly was offered in the form of a dry Cava.
So the burger – this is more than a little different, to put it bluntly. But it was done well and presented with potatoes and other things. A sold if very different main meal.
The cheese plate didn’t appeal to me, nor did the yoghurt (an odd choice for an evening dessert). The salad was a lovely fresh item.
The crew was in a good mood and did their duty-free sales. And yes. I skipped the page of the Iberia A350 model (as I haven’t flown it… yet), but instead went for the Playmobile Flight attendant.
This thing has mileage. Trust me…
With the transaction taking a few minutes (and me locking the pin on one of the cards I had), the crew were on their way again.
I debated getting a model plane – but logic prevailed. For once.
Let’s take a look at the IFE System. This again is the Panasonic IFE system, and very fluid to the touch. It could also be used with a remote in the seat.
Map showing IB3167 flight path
Content seems varied – and beefed up from when I last flew Iberia.
It’s unusual to see IFE activated on European flights, so this is welcome to see.
The plane continued going over the Bay of Biscay, with Santander coming into view. It also marked the beginning of the descent of the plane as it begun its approach to Madrid.
Not wanting to hang around on the ground, I visited the small room in the front of the A340-600. And yes… It’s small.
I headed back to the seat, with Madrid coming into view
In addition, the IFE System played an arrivals guide to Madrid. This is something I could had done with in the past when I’ve had to transit the hell of T4S, with a transit time of less than an hour from gate to gate.
With ease, IB3167 made its final approach to Madrid Barajas, and landed safely.
The plane peeled off the runway for a short taxi to T4S.
Parking next to another Iberia A340.
With a bong, the seatbelt signs were switched off, and we were free to move around the cabin. Tim and I gathered our items and headed for the exit.
IB3167’s OSD – With Salvador Dahi doing the work that day.
With the jetbridge attached, we thanked the crew and headed on our way.
A rather good performance with Iberia aboard IB3167. Service was personalised (which helps when you only have six passengers loaded on your premium cabin), and the crew were on point for the flight, topping up drinks and being generally engaging.
Yes. It’s a bit different to the usual Airbus A319/320/321 for the short-haul run… and the flight does run often with this kit (and will be back to Airbus A350 operation soon).
But as a way to go from London to Madrid in comfort? Solidly recommended.
Tim from Points to be Made also has his review online from IB3167 if you want to compare our experiences.
Next: Into Barajas, and the Crown Plaza Madrid Airport.
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