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Review: Iberia Business Class A330 Chicago to Madrid

a person standing in an airplane with monitors

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Earlier in the year Iberia ran an incredible promo offering 9000 Avios per flight booked. I ended up booking 10 flights for roughly $330-$340. The major catch was flights needed to be booked by December 1st, 2018 or you’d lose the points. As luck would have it…I found availability on December 27th, for just 34k Avios and $116. What a steal! Let’s take a look how it went.

If you’re interested in more booking information: check out this dedicated post

a stuffed animal on a chair

The Deets:

  • When: December 2018
  • Where: ORD to MAD
  • Status: None
  • Currency: Iberia Avios 34k + $116
  • Seat: 2A
  • Flight Time: 8h 5m
  • Aircraft: A330

Check-in

Iberia occupies the far counters at Terminal 3 at Chicago O’hare. The counters are actually right next to a high volume employee security screening TSA check point. I ended up using the passenger line here instead of walking all the way down to priority.  TSA Pre wasn’t extended even though we were in a terminal that offered it.

Lounge

Iberia utilizes the American Flagship Lounge. I reviewed this lounge roughly a year ago, but this time around was completely different. It. Was. Dead. I’d say the entire time I was in the lounge, which was almost 2.5 hours, there weren’t more than 30 people in it total. While I was impressed with the lounge my first go around, this made it even more impressive. In fact, it made me want to score One World Sapphire with BA just to access it more often.

a woman standing next to a wall

Boarding

Roughly 45 mins ahead of the flight we boarded.  I almost made it into the cabin before anyone else, but there were some pre-boards sitting in biz that made it in as well as one other passenger. I was shocked at how empty the cabin remained. I’d estimate nearly half the seats remained empty.  Why they weren’t opening up more award space is a mystery to me.

a person standing in an airplane with monitors

One thing that I don’t think I’ve encountered on any other premium cabin flights was the lack of any champagne/sparkling wine offering before take-off. Other carriers will keep the good stuff until they’re up in the air to avoid paying ground taxes, but I believe this was a first where none was offered at all.

Seat:

I’ve flown this seat type and configuration a couple of other times ( Hong Kong Airlines and Etihad ). Most recently was on Hong Kong Airlines aboard their A350. It’s a nice 1-2-1 all direct aisle access, and I was able to snag 2A, which I consider to be amongst the best on the plane. Perhaps the other side of the aircraft is slightly more advantageous, but any of the window seats will afford single travelers more space and privacy.

a stuffed animal on a chair

Storage in the seat is minimal: better than what BA offers in Club World, but far, far inferior to best offerings of say AA and their Cirrus or Super Diamond configured 77Ws and 772s.

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As far as sleeping is concerned, the window seats afford more room to curl up on your side. My biggest complaint on HK was in the center aisle I kept on getting bumped, and my shoulders were often squeezed by the width of the seat. Neither happened this time around.

Service:

I found the service to be very prompt and friendly. Everything is catered via a cart; however, my only complaint would be that on an 8 hour flight ( which is a short redeye IMO ) there should be a quick option. I timed the entire process and it was over 2 hours before dinner was finished. That left only 5 hours until breakfast was served.

Food:

I had the Salmon which was a bit overdone, but nice nonetheless. The nicest surprise was the chicken consume which I ended up pouring onto the salmon and rice which gave it a great flavor and needed moisture. I finished with the ice cream and then conked out.

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Bed:

While it does lay completely flat, it was a bit lumpy and after sleeping roughly 3.5 to 4 hours I couldn’t get comfortable. Honestly, I was happy with that amount of time slept considering it departed at roughly 5pm.

a stuffed animal in a bed

Overall:

This was my first go at Iberia and I’d fly them again in a heartbeat. Is it the best business class you can fly from the States to Europe or Asia? No. Is it a solid business class that you can lock down at an incredible rate of just 34k + $116. Absolutely.


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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13 Comments

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  • Antonio January 7, 2019

    I like your review. Straight to the point and how you did your pictures so that they’re all in one place and we just scroll through them. Nice touch.
    Are you still using your GoPro for pics and video?

  • GR Downtown January 5, 2019

    If Iberia is not the best business class from the USA to Europe what are the top 5? Top 5 to Asia?

    • Miles January 5, 2019

      GR – To Europe, with regular routes, I’d probably rank Air France on the 773, 772 and AA on 772, 773 at the front of the class. Reverse Herringbone and really comfy seats. If you can land Delta One Suites or United’s real Polaris they’re both nicer than Iberia. SQ runs good products between IAH and MAN as well as the a380 between jfk and fra although they don’t recline well. Thrones on both Swiss and Austrian ( even Aer Lingus ) fare better than Iberia, but I’m not sure I’d put the other seats much ahead of them as they don’t offer all aisle ( Aer Lingus does ). I’d put SAS ahead of Iberia as well, Finnair ( unless A350 ) behind Iberia, Lufthansa on a purely seating basis behind Iberia, and Virgin is definitely ahead of Iberia as well, but fees are hard to swallow.

      To Asia from the States… Certainly Cathay, EVA, JAL, and China Airlines… Haven’t flown Korean but I’d argue if you get their apex seats it’d warrant a top 5 argument, and SQ would be in heavy discussion as would AA, but limited routes. I’d say Delta One Suites and United Polaris could be argued into the conversation as well, but avail is seriously tough to get. Top 3 would probably be CX, JAL, and EVA ( EVA is practically first class with their champagne and pj offerings ). Asiana offers tons of avail and a great soft product, with a similar hard product as Iberia…not my fave tbh.

      I’ve probably forgotten some, just rattling off – if anyone noticed a gap lemme know.

      Hope that helps!

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