Review: Iberia Business Class ORD-MAD-BCN

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I never imagined I would ever be flying Iberia’s Business class but with the ridiculous promotion that occurred in the summer of 2018, I jumped on the opportunity.

BOOKING:

There was a brief two-day promotion in the third week of June 2018 from Iberia, where you would earn 9,000 bonus Iberia Plus Avios for every Iberia ticket you booked by the end of the promotion period, up to a maximum of 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios (you didn’t have to fly, just make a booking). One-way tickets were allowed, and there were a few select domestic routes that had fares come to around $20 CAD each, essentially allowing you to purchase 90,000 Iberia Plus Avios for $180.

Naturally this promotion took off like wildfire on the points and miles blogs, with a substantially high amount of skepticism that it would even be honoured. There were a few restrictions of course, bookings had to be on Iberia’s own metal only, the miles had to be redeemed by Dec 1, 2018, and the points couldn’t be transferred out to British Airways Avios (they did actually end up allowing this option). Iberia ended up being overwhelmed with the demand of the promotion, and it took about a month for me to receive the points despite the promotion stating within 10 business days. I generally don’t have too much flexibility with my travel dates so as soon as I was able to find award space in business class for the roundtrip over several days out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I booked it.

CHECK IN & PRE DEPARTURE:

Upon returning from downtown Chicago, I proceeded to the Iberia check-in counter. There was a dedicated line for business class passengers. Check-in was prompt and as an international business class passenger, I received an invitation card to the American Airline’s Flagship Lounge. I made my way through security quickly via TSA Pre (thanks to NEXUS) and proceeded to the lounge which is located in Terminal 3 between the K and H gates.

Entrance of ORD’s American Airline’s Flagship Lounge

Entrance of ORD’s American Airline’s Flagship Lounge

American Airlines Flagship Lounge Invitation Card

American Airlines Flagship Lounge Invitation Card

Since I had been wandering around town all morning, I eagerly wanted to have a shower. I mentioned my request to the lounge attendant at the entrance and she said a shower room would be available momentarily.

Shower room inside the American Airlines Flagship Lounge

Shower room inside the American Airlines Flagship Lounge

After my shower, I headed over to the dining area where I found a generous late afternoon presentation of hot and cold foods.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Sushi Platter

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Sushi Platter

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Mini Poke Salad Bowls

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Mini Poke Salad Bowls

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Shrimp & Penne

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Shrimp & Penne

There was an adjacent room which was more of a quiet area that had a coffee maker with a selection of desserts.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Desserts & Macaroons

American Airlines Flagship Lounge - Desserts & Macaroons

BOARDING:

I indulged in the lounge for approximately two hours before I made my way to the boarding gate. For some reason, I had a hunch the boarding process would be slightly chaotic - I was right. There were no dedicated lines for Business Class & Economy Class passengers. Just several dozen people all hovering around the gate area curious as to why boarding has not yet commenced (the inbound aircraft was arriving late).

The aircraft was an older Airbus A340. This route was actually going to be swapped over to the the new A350 in a couple weeks, unfortunately I wasn’t going to experience Iberia’s flagship product.

Iberia Airbus A340

Iberia Airbus A340

Boarding commenced after a 30 min delay, and I was appointed to my seat.

THE SEAT:

Seat 2A for the journey to Madrid

Seat 2A for the journey to Madrid

Amenity kits were handed out, which in my opinion were quite bare bones. They only consist of lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and earplugs.

Iberia’s Business Class Amenity Kit

Iberia’s Business Class Amenity Kit

WiFi vouchers were given out. In the past, my least generous experience when it comes to complimentary WiFi was Thai Airways with 20MB; but this was a new low - only 4MB! Before I even redeemed the voucher I had to disable all my background applications and anything that would load media, as that would use up all my bandwidth in a matter of seconds. Fortunately with my data restricted to just texts, I made the 4MB last around 5hrs, which I was quite proud of. There were options to purchase additional bandwidth, but at astronomical prices.

Iberia’s 4MB of complimentary WiFi

Iberia’s 4MB of complimentary WiFi

Iberia’s WiFi for purchase

Iberia’s WiFi for purchase

MEAL SERVICE:

Drink service commenced shortly after take off, followed by the meal service.

Iberia’s food menu

Iberia’s food menu

Iberia’s “starter”

Iberia’s “starter”

My selection from Iberia’s “main course”: grilled chicken with demi glace sauce, couscous, yellow cauliflower and broccolini

My selection from Iberia’s “main course”: grilled chicken with demi glace sauce, couscous, yellow cauliflower and broccolini

The majority of the flight was spent watching preloaded shows on my phone. I tried to get a nap in as I wanted to be somewhat refreshed for my early arrival in Spain, but it was futile. I simply was not tired, despite the red eye flight the night before. After binge watching a few shows, an announcement was made that we had started our descent into Madrid.

Gloomy Spanish landscape

Gloomy Spanish landscape

ARRIVAL & DOMESTIC TRANSIT:

Upon landing in Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) I proceeded through customs and made my way to the domestic terminal which required taking a shuttle bus. Once in the domestic part of MAD I located my gate and saw I had around 30minutes before boarding would commence. This was just enough time to check out Iberia’s domestic business lounge.

Madrid’s domestic Iberia business lounge

Madrid’s domestic Iberia business lounge

The lounge is located in Terminal 4 just past security and I was surprised to see how spacious it was. There was ample seating but not much in terms of food offerings, most likely due to the time of the day. Based on other passengers, it appeared as if they were just indulging in coffee and tea. There was a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, and fruit cups.

I grabbed a fruit cup and made my way to my gate, where I was catching my connecting flight to Barcelona. Fortunately on this flight, after the breakfast service was completed I managed to sleep for the remainder of the flight. It was just the power nap I needed before continuing my adventure in Barcelona.

Connecting flight to Barcelona

Connecting flight to Barcelona

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:

Iberia’s business class experience is what I anticipated it would be. It wasn’t too memorable, for a business class product it was satisfactory, but I would not go out of my way to book it, despite the cheap redemption rates.

Have you flown with Iberia before? Let us know your experience in the comments down below.

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Jason Wolf

Jason was introduced to travel at a young age. His parents are world travellers so it was only natural he would follow in their footsteps. He took his first international solo flight to Europe at age 14 (pre 9/11). Applied for his first credit card at the age of 19 as he had heard of the miles & points game and couldn't wait to get started. Over a decade later, he has traveled to over 100 countries around the world and always seems to have another adventure plotted around the corner. His wife tries to accompany him whenever she can, but sometimes it’s a bit too hectic as he has a tendency to travel frequently, even if it's just for a brief weekend getaway.