Around 2 weeks ago I had the chance to fly onboard the all-new A350 belonging to Iberia. The Madrid based carrier owns two Airbus A350-900’s, EC-MXV and EC-MYX, although the latter currently is out of operation. These A350s are configured in a 3-class layout, featuring 31 Business Class seats configured in a 1-2-1 layout, 24 Premium Economy seats in a 2-4-2 layout, and 293 Economy Seats, in a 3-3-3.
Airline/Flight Number: Iberia L.A.E/ IB6251 August 8th
Aircraft: A350-900, reg. EC-MXV
Times: Boarding- 11:36 Pushback- 12:39 Takeoff- 13:01 Touchdown- 14:16 (20:16 CET) Deboarding- 14:27
Route: Madrid/LEMD/MAD to New York Kennedy/KJFK/JFK
Class/Seat : Economy/ 21L
I was the first person onboard the brand-new A350, and the first impression upon entering the A350 was cleanliness and elegance. Iberia has done a great job with the materials and colors used covering the cabin and in seating. Moving on, as I approached my seat I found out that, due to there not being a physical bulkhead between Premium Economy and Economy, my seat had huge legroom… great! The foldable table was stored in the armrest, and the PTV which was quite large (around 10 inches), between both seats. It delivered sharp, finite images. In addition, I was quite lucky to have the seat next to me free, which made for good extra storage space.
We pushed back, taxied to the runway, and took off from Madrid’s 14R. Upon reaching cruising altitude the captain gave us a briefing of the flight, including expected weather conditions, arrival time. Perhaps the most surprising part was that the captain tols us about the A350, reminding us that we were flying onboard the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft.
Half an hour after, the flight attendants started the meal service. We could choose between Sliced Chicken Tenders in a mushroom sauce with sautéed veggies or Penne Bolognese with. “Soya Meat”. That was quite surprising, in a good way, since it shows Iberia’s compromise with vegetarians and vegan passengers. I chose the chicken, which was very tasty. The meal also came with a bread roll, a salad, and a brownie. All in all the meal was quite good, balanced and healthy.
For the following hours, I chose to watch a couple of TV series and explore the IFE, which had a wide variety of movies, series, documentaries, games and even information about Iberia’s fleet. However, the in-flight wifi did not seem to function properly.
Around 2 hours before arrival, the attendants started a second food service, which consisted of a sandwich, a KitKat, sponge cake, yogurt, some orange juice, and a coffee.
The following 2 hours were otherwise quite uneventful. We made a smooth landing at JFK and disembarked normally. Upon arrival, I was able to chat with the cabin crew, and their opinion on the aircraft was great. They were very happy to be amongst the first crews to operate the A350.
All in all, this was quite a good flight. It is clear that Iberia is trying to improve the treatment of the passenger, and their A350 lives up to the goal. Honestly, in my opinion, this could very possibly be the best option to go to New York from Madrid, taking into account that other airlines like American, United, and Delta operate older Boeing 767s and Air Europa uses their A330s of which most don’t even have IFE.
All images by Alvaro Lanza/Aeronautics Online