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September 15, 2015 / oneworld82

NCE-MAD-JFK on Iberia Business Class (plus a quick stop in Madrid)

Comes Monday and it was already time to fly back to New York, this time via Madrid.

We had a ticket booked on Iberia business class from NCE to MAD and then on to JFK. Our first flight departed at 7am, which meant we had to be at the airport at an un-Godly 6am. Check in was swift, and after waving my Dad goodbye we waited for our plane to board.

The NCE-MAD journey was on a CR9. Business Class wa 5/6 full (there are only two rows on C class here); the seat was fine, comfortable (a good thing counting that this was a regional jet).

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Our little cabin had two flight attendants, an older one (very well trained) and a younger one (who needed some more work on). A newspaper was offered before departure – a nice gesture that I wish more airlines did. After an on-time departure (taking off from Nice is always a treat!) we wer eserved breakfast, that consisted of a fruit platter and a sweet raisin roll or croissant. Nothing to tell home about, but not bad for a short 1h30m regional flight. Just as on my previous MAD-ORY segment, service on intra-Europe flights seem not to match the excellent service offered on Transatlantic flights, but the flight was perfectly fine.

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After landing in Madrid we had a few hours to kill, as our connection to JFK would only leave at 4.30pm. We then headed to the city centre, and we walked along the Gran Via, to the Royal Palace, to Plaza Mayor, stopping for some patatas bravas and bocadillo con chorizo. The sun was literally scorching hot, and the temperature quickly sored to an unhealthy 39C. We therefore took shelter at El Corte Ingles – Madrid’s famous chain of department stores – and killed some time there before heading back to the airport. Note to remember: we bought there the first stuffed animal (a sheep!) for our upcoming baby. He or she is already international…!

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Back to the airport, we went through security and we bought a bottle of Pedro Ximenez’ Sherry wine before heading to our gate for boarding.

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Flight IB6253, MAD-JFK

July 2015, 04:30p – 07:05p

Business Class, Seat 2G

Airbus 340-600

The plane had a retrofitted business class cabin, just as the plane that I flew on the other direction a few weeks back. This time, as I was traveling with my wife – we got middle seats, that were specious, private, and perfect to travel with a companion. The featured a retractable screen/divider between seats, which made each of them very private if traveling alone.

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The crew on this flight was very attentive and polite. The cabin was almost full – but I still counted 4-5 empty seats. A pre-departure beverage was offered, and I went for some cava.

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After take off, a hot towel was provided on a little ceramic plate, and after clearing some turbulence the flight attendant came taking lunch orders. The coolest thing? She had an iPad with a picture of the entrees on it to show customers! That perhaps didn’t leave much space to imagination, but it surely prevented disappointments as well!

The menu read as follows:

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A hot towel was promptly offered to customers, as well as a round of drinks. I opted for a featured wine, Val, a good, strong Spanish red.

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After around 10 minutes, the appetizer was served, all in one tray as on my previous flight.

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The cod was excellent – good temperature (not too chilled), great flavor. The salmorejo was a surprise as well – it was like a thick gazpacho, served with hard boiled eggs. Excellent way to start the meal.

After I was done, the small dishes were cleared off, and the main dish was served. Given the pictures shown to us by the flight attendant, I had decided to go with the free-range chicken stuffed with cherries and foie gras. Let me tell you this: it was excellent.

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To finish the meal, I had the egg yolk flan cake, followed by an espresso and the excellent Cardenal Cisneros Pedro Ximenez sherry wine. As I am a sucker for flan, I will say that the dessert was very good as well.

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Overall, this was another excellent meal served by Iberia – a carrier that’s improving by leaps and bounds if you ask me!

After this awesome feast, I reclined my seat in bed mode, and – while watching Shaun the Sheep – The Movie – I fell dozed off for a few hours. The bed is pretty comfortable, with a good amount of personal space. I have not mentioned it, but the central seats are perfect when traveling with a companion, as you are very close to the other person. If you travel alone, the retractable dividing screen provides good privacy, but the window seats are – of course- best for solo travelers.

When I woke up we were around two hours out of NYC. About 90 minutes prior to landing, a pre-arrival meal was offered.

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While simple, the snack was very tasty – thanks to top notch cold cuts.

We landed in JFK on time, and within minutes we were through immigration, waiting for our baggage (which took longer than usual). Overall, this was another great flight experience with Iberia. The seat, the IFE, the crew, the food, the drinks – everything aboard the new IB J product speaks great quality. As a way to cross the Atlantic, Iberia is often forgotten. Big mistake. I definitely look forward to fly this great airline again in the near future.

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