Not just my way to New York was very special by flying the remarkable BA 1 service from London-City to JFK, but also the inbound way. I routed with Iberia via Madrid, Terminal 4, back to Dusseldorf. My original booking stated the Airbus A340, which I knew from an LATAM LA704 replacement service. In fact, Iberia just installed their brand new Airbus A350-900 the day before on that service. Thus, I have been able to check out EC-MXV, the first Airbus of that model delivered to the Spanish airline.
The A350 airplanes currently just service the routes between Madrid and New York. IB 6250/6251 started its Airbus A350 service in early August 2018, while IB 6252/6253 has been added on 1st September 2018.
Iberia A350 – Business Class Configuration & Seats
The Iberia A350-900 offers eight rows with a 1-2-1 configuration. This means that all seats have direct aisle access, the window seats are single seats. Seat 1L, the right window seat in first row, is missing, leading to a cabin size of 31 business class seats. Thereby, the seats are straight (no herringbone) staggered. In the even rows, the window seats are orientated to the left and the two interior seats are separate by the two consoles). Vice versa, the odd row number have window seats to the right and interior seats close together. If you travel together, I would recommend this configuration, i.e. rows 1, 3, 5 and 7 (seats E, G). As a single traveler, I loved my seat 5L directly at the window. You will find similar comfort at 2A, 3L, 4A, 6A, 7L and 8A (the outside and inside seats even have different letters). On the direct aisle seats like C, D, H and J, you have significantly less privacy in my point of view. I have to admit that the small aisle to my seat has been challenging for my body size – but it was worth the effort.
Seats and Comfort
The seats itself are ordinary Business Class seats. You may adjust the cushioning of your back – but apart from that, there is a standard lie-flat configuration. The footrest is quite close to the seat, which makes it very confortable. When you sleep in lie-flat, your feet will be in a “box” or “coffin”, how I would call it. This is very similar to the solution Lufthansa offers. However, the seperation between two adjacent seats in the middle feels to be better to me. The sleeping comfort is limited compared to my recent BA 1 experience. I absolutely missed the great British Airways Cushion and mattress. Therefore, the shelfs around are quite nice – there is even a bottle holder close to the ground. Due to the nice privacy, I absolutely loved the configuration. One thing I absolutely disliked was the three-point belt, which cut my neck all the time.
The Inflight Entertainment screen is really nice and easy to reach – you may also use the remote control instead of the touchscreen. I like that the remote control does come with a screen on its own – so you can play on the main screen and have the flight progress map in parallel. However, I have been not too much friend of the headphones provided. These did also not feel to be too noise cancelling. Fortunately, the A350 is comparably quiet anyway.
The table is behind the back of the person in front of you and can be easily installed or turned around. Even with my body mass index, the table felt confortable and was not too close to cause problems during the meals. Of course, you find the Iberia Business Class Magazine Excelente in your seat pocket. I reviewed it in December 2018.
Iberia A350 – Business Class Service
Iberia is not top notch in service. One key problem about the crew is that they are significantly less open-minded to passengers who do not speak Spanish. This was a bit problematic to me. Nevertheless, the service was friendly and – what I like very much in short overnight flights – very efficient. They brought the several appetizer dishes on one plate. After you finished, they replaced it by the main dish I ordered. I absolutely liked the starters. However, the main meal, I had halibut, was close to a fish soup as it contained that much sauce. Cheesecake for desert was very fine. The breakfast served some 80 minutes before landing was… Spanish: toasted bread, a croissant, some fruit and yogurt. Typical spanish breakfast would be a coffee, a pastry and a cigarette, so the dish was within expectations.
The amenity kit was quite nice and even included a comb and a shoehorn.
Iberia A350 – My View
I love the cabin configuration of the latest addition of the Iberia fleet. The Airbus A350 offers a lot of comfort and privacy. Nevertheless, I just cannot call it a five star experience / top pick. First of all, the belt is really annoying – I even feel it could be dangerous in case of hard stops or landings. Apart from that, the Iberia crew was friendly and motivated, but the difference they made between me and Spanish-speaking customers was too much. Furthermore, they forgot to give me a bottle of water for sleep, which is especially important to me on an overnight flight. Especially if you find good deals on Iberia flights, you should definitely keep the Iberia A350 Iberia option in mind. It might not be your best flight ever, but you will not regret your decision as well.