Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

Trip Report: Iberia Chicago-Madrid Business Class

DALLAS — As a lifelong Star Alliance loyalist, this is my first time flying Iberia (IB). In fact, it is my first time taking a One World carrier across the Atlantic. I had read some good reviews about its business class and decided to give it a try.

Aircraft: A330-300

Flight: IB6274

Distance: 4200 miles

Flight time: 8h30m

Seat: 1E

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Check-in, Lounge

I checked in at Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3 around 1 p.m. for the 4:35 p.m. flight. A small section set up for Iberia passengers was staffed by American Airlines agents. There was no wait in line. We were quickly handed our boarding passes and cleared TSA within five minutes.  

Iberia does not have its own lounge at O’Hare, so we headed to the American Flagship Lounge, located between H and K Concourse. It shares the same entrance as the Admirals Club. Upon showing our boarding passes, we were handed a laminated invite placard and directed to the 3rd level, just above the Admirals Club.

Once we stepped out of the elevator, an agent greeted us at the entrance, took our placards, and invited us in.

Having visited the United Polaris Lounge at O’Hare 6 months ago, I noticed that the Flagship Lounge was smaller. It lacks an attended bar and sit-down dining option. All food and drinks were served buffet style.  There was a variety of seating options, including a specified quiet area with loungers.

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The diverse food selection includes assorted cheeses, sushi rolls, cold cuts, salads, meatballs, ahi tuna, chicken, and pasta. During our two-hour stay, there was no sign of crowding.

The lounge provided a tranquil place to enjoy a meal, plane-spotting, and to catch up on some work before departure.  One nice touch was the “Flagship” branded napkins, which I find unique among all the airline lounges.  

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An ample number of showers were available with no wait. The shower suite was roomy and stocked with Brooklyn, NY-based D.S & Durga bath products. The overhead rain shower and hand-held shower head had responsive temperature control and good water pressure.  

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The Flight

Our flight departed from Gate K-19, located at the far end of Concourse K.  It took us a while to make the trek.  Boarding was delayed for about 15 minutes without any announcements.

We were seated at the first-row center in Business, with seats facing straight forward (a rarity on many Transatlantic flights) and arranged closer together than the even-numbered seats.

These “Honeymoon Seats” are ideal for couples who facilitate conversations.  There is a manually operated privacy screen between the seats.  Each seat is supplied with a pillow, duvet, and mattress pad.

Seat 1E/1G
IFE and lie-flat seats 1E/1G

Our flight was operated with a 12-year-old A330-300 (Registration EC-LUB) named “Tikal”, after an ancient Mayan city in Guatemala.  It seats 292, with 29 in business, 21 in premium economy, and 242 in economy.  Iberia operates a mix of A330s and A350-900s in the US. The A350s are currently deployed to New York-JFK, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The A350 offers more updated seating products across all three cabins.  Meanwhile, the older A330s serve Dallas/Ft Worth, Chicago, Boston, Washington-Dulles, and Miami.  The Boston and Washington markets might change soon as Iberia plans to replace the older widebody with the newly acquired A321XLR. 

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Amenity kit. Photo: Edwin Ng/AIRWAYS

Iberia business offers a practical amenity kit with a well-padded eye shade, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, comb, facial mist, lotion, and a toiletry bag.  As for the supplied headphones, I would much prefer my Bose.  The cabin temperature was warmer than expected. There are no self-adjusting overhead air vents above the seat.  Instead, ventilation slits are built above overhead bins to compensate.

The bed was surprisingly comfortable, probably partly because of the mattress pad.

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There was occasional turbulence while crossing the Atlantic. The entertainment system, which can be accessed via a touch screen or wired controller adjacent to the seat, had to be rebooted several times.  The movie options were less robust than I expected.  Even before boarding, I was able to look up the menu on the Iberia app by retrieving my reservation.  It was a great feature.

Digital menu

The Bresaola (salted beef) appetizer was quite tasty. The salmon was cooked "just right" with a golden-brown surface. It tasted moist and soft. The Tiramisu and strawberry ice cream were the highlights.

Breakfast was served about an hour before landing over the sky of Portugal.  I chose the chocolate bread pudding and crispy croissant. We landed at Madrid Barajas 20 minutes early at 7:35 am and parked at Terminal 4S (Satellite), where all Iberia long-haul and One World partner flights arrive.

We then went downstairs to take the people mover to T4 to reach baggage claim and ground transportation. 

Despite having my two checked bags priority-tagged at O'Hare, they were not among the first to come out of the carousel. Priority-tagged bags were mixed in with non-tagged ones.  It took about thirty minutes from the time I arrived at the carousel to retrieve both items.  

Despite the minor inconvenience, the flight left me with a positive first impression of Iberia.  I am looking forward to the next Transatlantic journey with them, hopefully on the newer A350-900.

Trip photos: Author

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