Last week I had a chance to fly between Madrid Barajas and London Heathrow two times. I had a ticket for the inaugural A350 flight on Iberia, but my connecting flight was on late, so, unfortunately, I missed it.
I ended up on IB3166, which departs from Madrid at 15:55 CEST and arrives at the British capital at 17:20 BST. The flight time is 02:25. It was operated by EC-IOB, a 15-year-old Airbus A340-600. The overall load factor was 62% according to the monitors at the boarding desk.
My seat was 44L, a window seat in the 2-4-2 cabin. We boarded the aircraft by bus, giving a nice view on taxiing planes. The boarding process wasn’t very long, and we started taxiing without pushback a few minutes later. We took off with a 13-minute delay, and the true flight time was 01:40.
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system was working, and I watched a film. The quality was good. I didn’t order anything to eat or drink, and, overall, the flight was uneventful. The seat was comfortable, and the legroom was good.
We landed at Heathrow 10 minutes early, at 17:10 local time. The aircraft was parked at the C gates at LHR Terminal 5.
On my way home, as my connection flight from Frankfurt was delayed, I only had 8 minutes to reach my return flight, which was obviously not enough. I went to the Customer Service desk, where there was chaos. Numerous people from Zagreb were denied boarding – not because of overbooking, but because of a system error, which took a lot of time. Fortunately, I got rebooked to the BA 772 departing at 18:15. My aircraft was the 21.5-year-old G-VIIE, a Boeing 777. The aircraft has had its cabin renovated.
My seat was 24J on Word Traveller Plus (Premium Economy). The legroom was truly amazing. According to Seatguru.com, the pitch is 38 inch, while the width was 18.5 inch. The IFE box was similar to every British Airways wide-body aircraft which blocked some space, but it was okay, as I still had enough. However, the IFE did not work on this flight, which was quite a disappointment after the A340 (My friend who had not missed the original A350 flight told me that the IFE did not work on the A350 either.) There were two USB and one AC power sockets per seat, both of which worked throughout the flight.
No food or drinks were included in the World Traveller Plus. The flight was uneventful and the crew was nice. At the end of the flight, I was allowed to the cockpit, where I could meet the generous pilots. Overall, the flight was uneventful.
Both flights had both good and bad points. However, I would choose Iberia if I would take that flight again. The reason is that I compare a Premium Eco seat to a simple Economy seat. The Economy seat I flew in on Ibera was more comfortable than British Airways’ Premium Economy, especially since Iberia’s IFE was working. In contrast, though the crew wasn’t particularly nice on the IB flight, the BA crew was fantastic.
All images by Miklós Budai/Aeronautics unless otherwise noted
Featured image by Iberia