The Two Million Mile Honeymoon Luxury Travel at Budget Rates

Iberia Business Class A340 MAD-JFK

Our spring trip to Europe this year ended in Spain so we decided to try Iberia’s Business Class on their direct flight from Madrid back to New York.

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Iberia Business Class Lounge Madrid

Iberia Business Class Lounge Madrid:

Business Class Lounges rarely have the over the top luxury that some First Class Lounges are know for,  so as far as I’m concerned the best thing a Business Class lounge can do is embrace and showcase the culture of the country the airline represents through decor, food and beverages. Judged on that criteria Iberia’s lounge in Madrid gets a 10/10.

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Wine Bar – Iberia Business Class Lounge

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Wine Tasting – Iberia Business Class Lounge

It was clear that whoever organized the lounge took great pride in introducing travelers to Spanish products. The coolest part was the wine bar where you could sample different Spanish wines and learn about the most popular wine regions (Rioja & Ribera Del Duero) and the typical aging distinctions (Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva). Instead of champagne they had two types of Spanish Cava, as well as a sampling of Sherry and Spanish Brandies from Andalusia. They even had about eight different Spanish beers available, many of which I’d never seen before, and this was my seventh visit to Spain.

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Iberia Business Class Lounge

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Brandy de Jerez – Spanish Brandy

The Flight:

Iberia uses a staggered configuration similar to what Etihad and  Air Berlin utilize in their Business Class Cabins. The staggered configuration means that all seats have direct aisle access, but it also means that some seats are significantly better than others.

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Iberia Business Class Layout – from seatguru.com

For example, the six pairs of E&G seats (often referred to as the honeymoon seats) are phenomenal for couples, but are so close together that they would actually be a little weird for a pair of strangers.

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Alternating Rows of Aisle Seats and Honeymoon Seats

Seats in rows C,D,H & J are all on the aisle, and although the seats are nice they seem a bit exposed. On the flip side, the A & L seats are incredible for solo travelers as they offer direct aisle access, as well as windows and a ton of privacy.

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Exposed J Seat & Private L Seat

We were originally booked in the E&G “Honeymoon Seats” but due to an equipment swap our seat assignments were mixed up and we ended up in 9L & 11L which are the better, more private, single window seats on the starboard side of the plane.

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Exposed J Seat & Private L Seat

For boarding there were two jetways utilized in Madrid; one for Business Class and one for Economy. An odd thing I noticed during boarding was that there were about 100 people boarding through the Business Class jetway despite the fact that there were only 46 Business Class seats. Usually one of the nice things about having separate jetways is that you can settle into you seat without a hundred people needing to pass you but that wasn’t the case here as people kept passing our seats during boarding.

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Iberia Business Class A340 – Boarding

While other passengers were trickling by the flight attendants welcomed us with menus, cava, and amenity kits, but something about them didn’t make us feel exactly welcome. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the flight attendants were openly rude to us, but Iberian FA’s have a reputation for being a bit disinterested and curt, and based on this flight I would agree with that assessment.

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Amenity Kit – Iberia Business Class

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Amenity Kit – Iberia Business Class

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Cava – Iberia Business Class

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Lunch Menu – Iberia Business Class

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Wine List – Iberia Business Class

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Wine List – Iberia Business Class

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Wine List – Iberia Business Class

After takeoff lunch service began with olives, nuts and wine.

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Olives, Nuts, Wine & Moana

The meal continued with bread, cheese, soup, salad, foie gras, and more wine.

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Second Course, More Wine, More Moana

The gap between the second course and the main course was nearly an hour, but that didn’t bother me as I was perfectly content sipping wine and watching a movie. However, I did get slightly annoyed when the FA’s eventually returned with the dessert cart and asked if I wanted ice cream or cake. I responded that I’d rather just have the entree I ordered and still hadn’t received and they looked confused and then angry when they realized they forgot to serve entrees to the back three rows of the Business Class Cabin.

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Roast Chicken – Wasn’t Bad

After the lunch service was finished and the plates were cleared the flight attendants turned the lights off (it was approximately 1PM) then they all left the cabin and closed the curtains behind them. I continued to watch the movie expecting one to pop by every 30-45 minutes to see if anyone needed anything but after an hour of not seeing anyone I went behind the curtain to ask for more wine. The FA did fill my glass but she acted like I was bothering her and she was doing me a favor. After another hour I saw an FA pop out from behind the curtain and walk towards me. I assumed she was coming to ask me if I wanted more wine but instead she quickly snatched my glass and disappeared behind the curtain and didn’t return.

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Iberia Business Class – Aisle Seat in Sleeping Position

After that I decided to try to sleep. I found the seats roomy and very comfortable in the sleeping position, and cozy and protected too since ours were the ones closer to the window and farther from the aisle, but I was unable to sleep because the cabin temperature was too warm. Warm cabin temps while trying to sleep is another frequent complaint I’ve heard about Iberia and I would have to say this criticism is valid based on our experience, but that it also may be cultural as we encountered many places, hotels, and restaurants in our trips to Spain that we felt were a bit warmer than we would have liked.

Instead of sleeping I took my shoes and socks off, rolled up my jeans to the knee to cool off and watched another movie. An hour before landing the FA’s reappeared, turned the lights back on, and served a small meal.

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Pre-Landing Snack – Iberia Business Class

Despite the warm cabin temperature and the odd behavior of the FA’s I still think Iberia has a solid Business Class product and with a few minor adjustments could actually have one of the top Business Class products for crossing the Atlantic. The lounge was great, the food and wine was above average and the seats themselves were actually pretty great–with direct aisle access to every seat, honeymoon seats for couples, and those private window seats for solo travelers Iberia’s hard product is undoubtedly superior to Delta, United, British Airways, Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian and Turkish. If they could just figure out how to cool down the cabin and warm up the FA’s they’d be in the running for best Business Class across the Atlantic.

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