I always love having the opportunity to fly onboard a long-haul jet on a short-haul route as it gives me a fantastic opportunity to blog about the experience on a bigger plane that I wouldn’t usually be able to afford a seat on.
My trip began in Iberia’s lounge for One World Silver members which overlooks a northern taxiway at MAD. The food was excellent and free WiFi was provided as well as a spectacular view of TAM’s Airbus A350. After eating far too much, I headed to my gate which was, too my surprise, packed!
I was very surprised by the amount of passengers on the flight. By looking at the load sheet I saw that it was almost at it’s 352 passenger capacity. Justification for using such a large aircraft on the route, I suppose.
The aircraft is split between two cabins; Business Plus and Economy. The BP cabin is used on the front 12 rows of the aircraft in a 1-2-1 configuration while the economy cabin covers rows 14-52 in a 2-4-2 configuration. Both the business and economy cabins are equipped with seat-back televisions showing a wide range of films and documentaries in different languages but as this was only a 2.5 hour flight, I was keen not to waste anytime.
My day had been extremely busy as I had been up at 3.30am that morning to catch the bus to LHR for my morning flight out to Madrid. I have to embarrassingly admit that I fell asleep in the middle of the flight for around 25 minutes. What a waste, I thought! I made a small trip to the rear of the aircraft so as to see the whole economy cabin and I was really impressed with the state of the cabin seeing as our bird, EC-JLE,was approaching her 12th birthday! The seat gave generous space and at full recline, 2 windows. What more could an avgeek want?
As with other airlines today, including Iberia’s IAG and Oneworld partner BA, Iberia has ceased to offer a free food service. In economy, you had the option to buy certain sandwiches and meal deals but I restrained myself. It is sad to see this being put in place on many national carriers at the moment and was one of the main reasons Air France stuck out to me. As the flight came to an end, I couldn’t help but wish we had circled for a little longer or even returned to Madrid! An excellent flight on one of the most beautiful aircraft out there and a really special treat for any avgeek wanting to travel on a long-haul jet that is strapped for cash.