In the pre-Covid-times, I had quite a lot of good experiences with Air Nostrum, the main regional carrier of Iberia. As I recently did not have too many flights in Spain, I was really looking forward to be back with Air Nostrum on a flight from Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) to Andorra’s unofficial airport, Andorra La Seu d’Urgell (LEU). The flight was operated with one of the two turboprop option of the airline, the ATR 72 (they also have some smaller ATR 42 services). A good opportunity to share my inflight experience with you. Please note that some Iberia ATR services might be handled by Swiftair as well.
Air Nostrum ATR 72 – Network
Air Nostrum in general is servicing quite a lot of destinations all over Europe for the Iberia network. However, most of the flights are driven by Canadair planes, while the ATR 72-600 is typically used for smaller Spanish destinations. Apart from the two flights to Andorra Airport (LEU), you might spot the one of the five planes in service at Melilla (MLN), Badajoz (BJZ) and similar destinations.
Air Nostrum ATR 72 – My Flights
This review is based on a weekend trip to Andorra. In November 2022, there was the fortunate situation that I neither needed a night in Madrid for the outbound nor for the inbound connection from Dusseldorf (DUS). On Friday, 11th November 2022, I flew IB 8326 from Madrid (MAD) to Andorra Airport (LEU), two days later, I returned with IB 8327. The trip was on an Iberia Business Class ticket in both directions.
Air Nostrum at Madrid Airport (MAD)
The Air Nostrum domestic services are typically driven from the end of the K Gates at Madrid Airport (MAD). This unfortunately means that you need quite a bit of walking through the long Terminal 4 in Madrid, when you are connecting from another flights. Your airport experience is equivalent to any other Iberia service, which especially includes lounge access. Before the Friday outbound flight, I had some three hours at the Iberia VIP Dali Lounge, for example. The Air Nostrum Gates are at runway level, you simply walk to the plane. There may be parallel departures or departures and arrivals in parallel in the area, so that you typically have to show your boarding pass again.
Especially after arriving back to Madrid, I was surprised that the Air Nostrum airport ground staff was not too precise in locking the automatic doors after a flight has been serviced. I used that for some really nice pictures of the airport. Having said that, I could have stepped on the apron as well, which is definitely a serious safety issue. Unfortunately, the Andorra Airport (LEU) staff could not issue me the connecting boarding pass to Dusseldorf (DUS). It took me more than half an hour at the transfer desk just to get it. I feel that this was very unfortunate.
The ATR turboprop planes are typically used for smaller airports with short runways in general. It has own stair and is boarded through the rear of the cabin. The front door is for luggage and the cockpit. Here are some impressions, taken at both airports of my trip. The technical range of the ATR 72 used by Air Nostrum is roughly 950 nautical miles or 1,500 km by the way.
Air Nostrum ATR 72 Business Class – The Cabin
Air Nostrum is using the ATR 72-600 version, which is configured with 72 seats, 18 rows of four seats in a 2-2 configuration. As said, you board the aircraft from the rear, so that the flights give you the rather rare opportunity that you sit in the rear of the cabin as a business class passenger. This gives you the opportunity to leave the aircraft first after landing. There are no business class seats or any other additional comfort on these services. However, depending on the popularity of the flight, there is a good chance that the seat next to you is free. The comfort overall is fine, especially as the flights operated are typically not too long.
However, as there is no differnce in the seating as such, you might end up in flying in an all main cabin flight without business service. Apart from me, my flight had one additional business passenger each way. The overhead bins in the ATR are comparably small, so that trolleys very often need to be put into the hold before embarking the aircraft. This leads to some delays after landing, as the ground staff is typically providing this luggage close to the aircraft before you can leave the plane. There is even a small toilet available during the flight. With my body size, though, it does require some smart movements to use it.
Air Nostrum ATR 72 Business Class – Inflight Experience
In previous flights, I really enjoyed Air Nostrum service – and on these services again, they were just very charming. You find the exact food in the respective Food I Had Onboard posting. I feel regarding the duration of the flight, the cold cut platters were really nice. The crew was very charming. There is no WiFi on board.
Air Nostrum ATR 72 Business Class – My View
I like Air Nostrum – and these turboprop services with the French-Italian brand machine were a really good experience. Finally, the flights were both just about an hour, but Air Nostrum turned them into a really good time. The only limitations are comfort of the aircraft as such, of course. Unfortunately, I have to mention the safety issues at the Air Nostrum gates at Madrid Airport (MAD) as well.
Spain – Travel Postings
Here are all my Travel postings related to Spain:
Here are all my postings so far related to Andorra: