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January 17, 2017 / oneworld82

Another good flight on Iberia business class MIA-MAD (plus Arrivals Lounge in Madrid)

Beef on AA back in December, business class LHR-JFK

Beef on AA back in December, business class LHR-JFK

Flight IB6124, MIA-MAD

16th Jan, 2017 – 05:20p – 07:50+1

Business Class, Seat 2D

Airbus 330-300

After a fun weekend with the family in Nassau, Bahamas, it was time to fly to Madrid for work. It had been a bit over a year since I last flew Iberia (exactly on this route), and so I was eager to try the product again.

After bidding my wife and daughter goodbye at the airport (they were continuing on to Dallas), I made my way from the D section of Miami airport to the E one. Unfortunately, my mobile pass function did not work, so I had to leave the transit area and re-check with IB agents at the desk. Security was fast and about 1hr before the scheduled departure time I was at the gate. E gates are quite drab – there isn’t much to do there and the contracted IB lounge isn’t great, so I just played on my phone waiting to board.

We boarded from the front door, between the main business class cabin (to the left) and the smaller cabin (to the right). The latter section is poised to become premium economy soon, reducing overall J capacity by 5-6 seats.

The front cabin had 18-20 passengers that I could count, and boarding was a bit chaotic as people spent a lot of time putting their carry-ons in the overhead bins. Once seated, a flight attendant came to take my jacket. I had an aisle seat (I was traveling with a coworker), and it felt private enough for the trip (it wasn’t one of the “love seats”, ideal for couples). I reviewed the hard product before, so no need to go through it again, but overall the seat still felt new and in good conditions.

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On the seat the usual blanket and pillow were present. I read lots of complaints about the thinness of the pillow, but I did not find it to be a concern. If anything, I noticed that while sleeping 3-4 times people bumped into my feet, which were resting on the cubby in front of the seat (I would like to note that the seat is perfectly comfortable in bot upright and bed positions and made for some relaxing sleep). A refreshed amenity kit was also offered, still with L’Occitaine products.

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Newspapers and magazines were offered prior to departure, together with a choice of water or orange juice. The crew worked the aisles efficiently, and while very polite they weren’t particularly friendly or unfriendly (just efficient).

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We took off on time, and once airborne the crew started working diligently on the meals. First menus were distributed; then the purser greeted each passenger (this was very nice) and offered us complimentary wifi – at 4MB that wasn’t much at all and a couple of text messages depleted my free allowance (On Air prices are obscene – $20 for 25MB is a rob!). Then the purser asked for our main dish choice, and shortly after the very efficient dinner service began.

Let's start!

Let’s start!

 

The menus read as follow:

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And the always nice and well-prepared wine list:

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First, a hot towel was offered.

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The table was set, and an aperitif was offered from the cart, together with a choice of nuts or olives. I got myself a glass of Dehesa La Granja Finca Alejandro 2011 – a 100% Tempranillo red that hit the spot. I would have that for the remaining of the meal – no need to complicate my life there.

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The starter was a very nice salad with smoked duck on top. It was served on a tray with veal consommé (delicious!) and some cheese. Bread was served from a basket.

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The duck, contrarily to appearance, was very tasty and flavorful.

Then, as main I had selected the beef (solomillo), which was presented like this.

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I usually do not order beef unless I want to challenge an airline execution of its catering, and since Iberia had impressed me so far in my first three trips with them, I decided it was time to test them for real. Well, I can tell you the beef was quite good, not dry, cooked medium – and the sides were tasty as well.

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Having decent beef on a plane is surely a great thing. Some airlines, like AA, are now testing away from steak and serving stewed beef, like on a recent AA flight from London to JFK where the stewed beef served was very good.

To conclude the meal, I had the almond and apple cake, which in reality was a good almond and apple cheesecake.

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As customary, I had the dessert with a glass of Cerdenal Cisneros, one of the great secrets of Spain. This sherry wine is absolutely delicious and I recommend it to anyone wishing to try something good!

Desserts were served from a cart, as was coffee and tea. A good cup of joe with a Lindt chocolate candy set me right for the remainder of the flight.

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Once I laid down I kept watching movies, sicne for some reason I was not sleepy. I first watched I.T. with Pierce Brosnan – a surprisingly decent movie – then the rather bad Legemd of Tarzan, before switching to the new Jason Bourne movie, which I aborted halfway through as I finally felt like falling asleep.

I slept quite comfortably for a couple of hours, and I did not need the blanket since the cabin was rather warm. I skipped breakfast (since I was planning to visit the Arrivals Lounge in Madrid) and woke up with 30 minutes to go before landing. When I woke up, a hot towel had been placed by my side.

We landed around 10 minutes ahead of schedule in a chilly Madrid, and shortly after I went through immigration and proceeded to the Arrivals Lounge, which offers showers and breakfast to Iberia premium customers (it’s a third party lounge, so I assume that other guests can access it as well). I presented my boarding pass to the attendant (together with my passport), I signed a couple of papers and I was let in.

While I did not take a shower, I did have some breakfast and a cup of coffee from the meager spread – nothing really to tell home about.

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The lounge overall was nicely appointed through, with dim lights.

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Overall, this was another good flight on Iberia across the Atlantic. While IB short haul economy is highly unremarkable and uncomfortable (as tried on my flight from Madrid to Rome last October), business class both on short and long haul flights never disappoints. If service were friendlier (and flight attendants cheerier) and if internet were cheaper I would definitely consider IB among the best (if not the best) Transatlantic business class out there. Nevertheless, the product remains solid and the food is probably the best of any carrier I tried across the Atlantic in business class.

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