While the aircraft was taxiing into the parking position I was called to the gate for processing my upgrade. I was by far not the only one called to the gate desk that day, at least two dozens of people were called regarding their upgrades, seat changes and so on. The gate staff was very busy handling my flight but were able to statisfy every customer, including me. I was booked in Economy Class on my return flight as well, just like I was on my inbound flight to Chicago. But I managed to be upgraded into Business Class stand-by. And luckily the Business Class cabin was not completely full that day, so I received my upgrade.
I was told that there weren’t any window seats available anymore, I was seated on 8C. Normally I would be quite upset about not having a window seat, but since I was upgraded in Business Class, that didn’t matter to me. Even though I was told otherwise, I had a window seat after all, but more on that later.
Boarding started shortly after the plane arrived at the parking position. The inbound flight arrived a few hours earlier and the passengers disembarked at Chicago’s Terminal 5, like most intercontinental flights. The plane then taxied, to my surprise with its own engine power, to Terminal 3 from where I boarded the Airbus A340-600, EC-LEV.
I was welcomed aboard and guided to my seat. Pillow, blanket, amenity kit and the inflight magazine were placed on the seat. The Business Class seats was in a 1-2-1 layout, giving every passenger direct access to the aisle. To my surprise 8C was actually a window seat, though it was marked as an aisle seat in the airline’s computer system. That’s because Iberia has a staggered Business Class. There are some seats directly at the window, the A- and L-seats, as well as some a little further away from the window, thus at the aisle, the C- and J-seats. The seat map of the plane is available on Seat Guru.
After everyone was seated the cabin crew distributed welcome drinks such as water, orange juice and Champagne, newspapers in both English and Spanish, as well as coupons for the inflight Wi-Fi. The coupon was good for 4MB of data, which was just enough to answer some e-mails and a short conversation on WhatsApp. Though it wasn’t much data I appreciate the gesture, some airlines don’t even hand out Wi-Fi coupons even in Business Class.
The flight took off at 3:56pm (3:40pm STD) from runway 10L. I had a great view over the airport and the northern parts of Chicago!
Shortly after take off the crew started with the service. Iberia offered both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The selection included standard drinks like coke, water, orange and tomato juice as well as drinks like Fanta Lemon, which apparently is quite popular in Spain. Alcoholic beverages included Spanish red and white wines as well as Brandys, Gin, Vodka, Whisky, Rum and some other liqueurs.
A little later dinner was served. I thought you could choose between various appetizers because the menu card showed a large variety of them but every passenger got all of the listed. The salad and the soup both were great. I am not a big fan of cheese, so I can’t really tell you how that one tasted. The dried tomatoes and mangos fitted perfectly with the meal. The scallops were a bit tasteless. All in all I was very pleasantly surprised by the appetizer since it was enormously diverse and unexpectedly large. It could have been a full dinner in my opinion.
As main course I chose the veal ragout with onion confit and caramelized apples. I have never had apples as a side and I was surprised to see it being served alongside a veal ragout. I found the caramelized apples to be a bit too sweet to fit into the meal. Compared to the appetizer the main dish was rather small. I was certainly not dissatisfied with the main course, but there is room for improvement!
For dessert I chose the ice cream, which was impeccable!
The sun started to set as we continued our flight over Canada. A sunset inside the cabin was simulated with the colored LED mood lighting, so the cabin wasn’t dark right away. I watched some episodes of my favorite TV series on my tablet as I went to bed. The universal power outlet made it possible to use my tablet for watching movies and TV series throughout the whole flight. I almost always use my tablet for entertainment and not the inflight entertainment. My inflight entertainment also got stuck while loading Bejeweld 2 when I wanted to play it. The loading screen was shown for solid three hours until I left the aircraft. The flight attendant was very helpful and insisted on me changing to a free seat a few rows in the front after rebooting the system didn’t work. I declined though since I wasn’t using it much anyway!
Shortly before landing breakfast was served. As much as I favor hot food over cold food, I very much appreciate that Iberia just served a light breakfast. The flight was comparably short because of strong back winds so dinner was not too long ago and I wasn’t that hungry. Spoiler alert: I got a hot breakfast on my connecting flight. The breakfast on this flight was exactly what I needed! Some bread, jam, a glass of cool orange juice and a fruit salad.
The plane landed in Madrid at exactly 6am, 45 minutes ahead of schedule. We arrived at Terminal 4S, S standing for satellite terminal. My transfer time was less than an hour which would have been close, but since we arrived early and were one of the first flights arriving in Madrid on that day the transfer was just perfect. We left the plane, went through passport control and another security control, both passed without waiting in a queue. We went to Terminal 4 by an underground train and arrived at the gate 10 minutes before boarding started, perfectly on time for watching the sun rise above Terminal 4S.
Boarding started and I was seated on 1A. There was a passenger seated on 1C which later changed to the second row because it was completely empty resulting in me having the whole first row to myself. The flight attendants were fantastic on my connecting flight to Vienna! I was served a hot breakfast right after take off, a Spanish omelet (which is just a regular plain omelet) with a tomato salsa alongside some warm bread and again a glass of cool orange juice. Now, about three hours into my day, a hot and hearty breakfast was again exactly what I needed. I don’t know whether that was a coincident or on purpose, but receiving a light breakfast on my long-haul flight and a hearty one on my connecting flight was exactly what I needed!
I slept for the remaining duration of the flight until we started our descent into Vienna. We arrived back home at 10:26am about 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Iberia’s Business Class isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what I have experienced on many other airlines. The cabin is very modern, the flight attendants are professional and friendly (especially on my connecting flight). The food left me with mixed feelings, while the appetizer was incredible and the breakfasts were of perfect size and composition, the main course was improvable.
I would recommend Iberia’s Business Class in a heartbeat because of the newly refurbished cabins and the typical Spanish charm of the flight attendants! And the diverse appetizers… ;)
Iberia provided the Business Class Upgrade for this flight. Except for this, they were not involved in the production of the video, nor this review. All opinions expressed are my own and the review has not been pre-read or approved by Iberia.
Original source: REVIEW - Iberia's Long-Haul Business Class: Chicago O'Hare to Madrid Barajas by Simply Aviation
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