I was only in transit at Madrid Barajas airport. The incoming flight from Barcelona was delayed, firstly because of a cancelled flight, which got cancelled because of technical problems with the aircraft, and secondly because the flight I was rebooked to an hour later got delayed as it took quite some time to sort out all the rebookings and all the checked luggage.
Terminal 4 is the home of Iberia in Madrid which is divided into two terminal buildings. Terminal 4 is used for most Schengen departures and the satellite building, Terminal 4S, is used for most non-Schengen departures.
Although the main terminal building is one of the largest in Europe transferring between two flights is fairly straight forward. Originally I had two hours between flights, this ended up being no more than about 50 minutes, but with the Iberia lounge being located right between the two gates I actually had time for a quick 15-minute lounge visit.
The Schengen lounge is called the Dali Lounge and this afternoon it was packed to the limits with people waiting for the late afternoon flights. It was almost hard to find a seat but eventually I found one in the TV room.
A nice benefit of the lounge though is that they offer Häagen Dazs ice cream with various flavours. The selection of drinks is certainly not bad either, certainly above average for a business class lounge.
Iberia flight IB 3474
Priority boarding is always offered in Madrid for business class passengers as well as top-tier frequent flyers and mostly works quite well. It works somewhat better at some gates than at others, mostly because it is hard to see the signs at some gates.
Boarding had already started when I arrived at gate J54 and with a separate line for premium passengers I could walk straight onboard the Airbus A320.
Six rows were assigned to business class and I was seated in 03C on the third row. The flight seemed to be pretty much full in both economy class and business class.
After completed boarding Spanish and international newspapers were offered in business class, but there was no offer of any pre-departure drinks.
Punctual departure with a flight time of around two hours to Zürich.
Seat and cabin
Standard intra-Europe business class configuration with blocked middle seat, which meant a 2-2 configuration. Although certainly not comparable to a longhaul experience at least the blocked middle seat gives a bit more space.
Food and drinks
As we reached cruising altitude the menu was handed out with the meal choices for the flight. A rather nice initiative by the airline, not many airlines offer menus in business class on shorthaul flights, or two choices of main course. The only drawback is that the menu does not change very often, so if you travel frequently on Iberia you will get somewhat tired of the options after a while.
There were two choices of main course, steer eye filet or pasta. I chose the filet which was served with mashed potato and pepper sauce. There was also a small starter, a salad with green sprouts, orange and sunflower seeds.
Beer and wine were offered at the same time, in small bottles. I asked for a bottle of red wine and had two wines to choose between, both Spanish of course.
The meat was quite tasty and the pepper sauce was an excellent complement. Overall the meal was not bad at all.
The meal tray was cleared and a few minutes alter coffee and tea were offered, served as usual on small coffee trays, which is a nice touch. There was also an apple sponge cake for dessert.
Later during the flight I also ordered a gin & tonic. They had the Bombay Sapphire onboard, in a one litre bottle, and they usually mix the cocktail on a tray in front of you, which is another very nice touch on Iberia. Finally you get a nice red Iberia cocktail stick and a coaster where it says Salud!, cheers in Spanish.
With a full flight and a full business class cabin the service lacked some proactiveness and was very much by the book. The flight attendants were polite and professional but after the meal service with the regular meal and drink rounds I had to press the call button to get some attention. Also there was no recognition whatsoever of me as an Emerald member.
With a punctual departure and a good progress during the flight we actually arrived a few minutes early in Zürich just before 6 pm. Sitting on the third row I was obviously one of the first passengers to enter the terminal building and had plenty of time for yet another nice lounge visit before the last flight of the day.
Iberia offers a nice business class service on international flights in business class with a printed menu, two choices of main course and cocktail mixed on a tray in front of the seat. But the service could have been a bit more proactive.