Pat's Travel Reviews

Iberia A319 Business Class Review Madrid to Prague

I have taken several flights recently that I wanted to review and this flight was not one of them 😉 (hopefully I will review Iberia’s A330 Business Class from Chicago ORD to MAD in the near future). However, it is fresh in my mind as I flew this route this month, it shouldn’t take me too long to complete, Iberia usually has some of the lowest Business Class fares within Europe, and I had read some unfavorable reviews of Iberia’s Intra-European flights that I do not 100% agree with.
I was a little apprehensive of this flight because of what I had read and I was not overly impressed with my experience with Iberia on the flight from Chicago. Iberia only flies MAD to PRG a few times a week (one of the reasons I was not planning on reviewing this flight), but I am sure the aircraft (they also fly A320’s & A321’s) and service is very similar to other European destinations they serve from Madrid, Barcelona, or any other cities Iberia flies from. My flight from Chicago arrived early in the morning and my connection to Prague was not until after 4pm so I decided to stay at the Hilton at Barajas Airport and get a few hours of sleep. That was a great idea, until I overslept and arrived at the airport 40 minutes before my departure. Luckily the airport was very quite at this time, I did not need to clear passport control and I already had my boarding pass. So it only took me a few minutes to clear security via the Fast Track lane. I was also lucky that my flight left from Terminal 4 (H gates) which was less than a 10 minute walk from security and not Terminal 4S, which requires catching a train. Unfortunately, because of my late arrival, I was not able to visit Iberia’s VIP Business Class Lounge.
The flight was boarding when I finally arrived and I was one of the last to board. I did not see any sign’s for priority boarding, but they may have been invited to early board before I arrived. There was a long line in the jetway to enter the aircraft as the agent was checking all larger carry-on’s. I maneuvered my way around the hold-up and thought I would be yelled at for not leaving my bag. Instead, when the other flight attendant saw my boarding pass, he warmly welcomed me aboard and opened an overhead to store my rollerboard suitcase (plenty of room) and backpack (first time using a backpack instead of a briefcase). There was plenty of room in the overheads as Business Class was not fully booked. The cabin configuration was 3 x 3 with five rows on the A & C side and four rows on the D & F side, I was seated in 2A and like most other European Airlines Business Class, Iberia only sells the window and aisle seats, while the middle seats are vacant. So essentially the seats are the same as the Economy Class seats (thus the Business Class capacity can be extended or reduced). The one difference is that unlike other European Carriers, Iberia does not have a tray table on the middle seat. The seat is just left vacant. At first I was a little disappointed with this, but 2C was empty and I liked that I could raise the armrest for a little more room and was able to place some of my personal items on the middle seat. What I found to be the biggest difference between Iberia and all the other European Airlines I have flown with this similar Business Class configuration is there is actually a little more leg room. From what I could see it did not look like the Economy Class seats had this much legroom. According to Seatguru.com the pitch for Business Class is 31″ and Economy 28″, but I felt it to be a couple more inches than 31 (standard pitch for US Airlines in Economy). The seat back pocket does allow for more knee room on these Recaro designed seats, and could be the reason that it felt so spacious. The bulkhead seats (1A & C – 2D & F) had around the same leg room as the other Business Class seats, but the armrests do not raise in those seats making them slightly narrower. The seats are leather but without a headrest and recline as an Economy seat would. We pushed on time and were airborne a short while later.
There was no pre-departure drink offered, nor was there a pillow or blanket on the seat. Shortly after take-off a small menu was handed out with the two meal options. The meal was served immediately after this via a cart along with drinks and bread basket. The two main course options were Steer Eye Fillet (beef) in a sauce from Cordoba or Pumpkin-filled Pasta in a Ripened Cheese Sauce. The entire meal was served on a tray which included a Mediterranean Salad as a starter, along with two desserts (Goat Cheese from Gerona, Spain and Toffee Pudding). The flight attendant did come back by with the bread basket which I was happy about as the rolls were quite good. The beef was also very good as was the toffee and the portion was quite generous. My only complaint was the main course could have been warmer and there was only some stir-fried vegetables that accompanied it. No starch. After dinner, tea and coffee was offered to conclude the meal service.
After dinner another flight attendant came by with pillows. A pleasant surprise as there was still an hour and a half left in the flight and I wanted to sleep a little. One of the reasons I wanted to sleep (besides being tired ;)) was there was no In-flight Entertainment or Wi-Fi to distract me. In addition, there are no in-seat power plugs nor was a hot towel offered. However, there was a towelette on the tray with the meal as well as some in the lavatory.
The pilot made announcements in both English and Spanish as did the flight attendants. There was a few automated announcements in Czech. Despite departing on-time we arrived a few minutes late. Our flight time was a lengthy 2 hr. & 45 min.
Iberia’s Business Class on flights within Europe is very similar to what most other European Carriers offer. You are getting an Economy Class seat with the neighboring seat vacant and an upgraded meal. It is a basic product, but so are most airline’s Intra-Europe Business Class. One of the biggest benefits flying Business Class is access to the lounge (unless you are Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald in which you gain access when flying Economy) which I regret I was unable to visit. I heard goods things about it and judging how nice Barajas is, I think I missed out. Considering Iberia’s Business Class fares can be much lower than their competition it is certainly worth trying. It wasn’t the most pleasurable flying experience I have had, and truthfully, if the meal and service hadn’t been so good I probably would have been disappointed. But they were so I would certainly not hesitate to fly them again within Europe.

2 thoughts on “Iberia A319 Business Class Review Madrid to Prague

  1. Maria

    Glad to find that you like. I don’t like that fat that they use the same seats and just leave free the one in the middle. In my opinion is not worth it to pay just for the meal in this kind of short flight. Of course is different when using points.

    1. Patrick Post author

      Hi Maria 🙂 I agree completely, plus I can use the lounge with whatever fare I pay. But the only real plus flying Business Class within Europe is the cabins are never full (probably because so many people feel the same as what you said, and they don’t upgrade for free like they do in the US). So it tends to be quitter and less crowded. I liked the seats and entertainment on the A330 from Chicago, but the service was just ok (like on a US Airline) and the meal on this flight was much better 🙂 Plus they gave a free wifi pass, which was nice, but it lasted less than a minute (I was able to send 1 text to my wife and receive 2). I really wish I could have visited the lounge in Madrid. I read some review on it and the food looked great! I will gladly fly Iberia again, I just wished I could book award travel thru American’s site with them like I can book British Airways flights.
      What airline will you fly to Prague on? I think Vueling flies there non-stop.

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Pat's Travel Reviews

Pat's Travel Reviews