Experience w/Iberia Airlines?

Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:37 PM
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Experience w/Iberia Airlines?

I've booked my NY-Amsterdam flight using AA miles for next July (YES!); however, the best mileage award available was on Iberia, flying NYC to Madrid, Madrid to Amsterdam. I've never flown on Iberia and never landed in Madrid, and I know I'll be needing to make a terminal change.

Has anyone had any experience flying with Iberia? Was it good, bad or indifferent?

How about the connection at the airport, going from the International Terminal to the domestic terminal? Is it easy to do? We'll have over 2 hours between flights, which I'm told should be plenty of time to make the connection.

I'd appreciate hearing your experiences, both positive and negative, with this airline.
Thanks,
Paule
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:45 PM
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progol, you sound like me. I just posted last night that I just got our FF tickets for next summer as well (AA) and we too are flying to New York (but staying there for 9 nights) before taking Iberia from JFK to Madrid. We are in Business Class and I've been told it is "superior" to AA's. We'll see.

Can't help you though on your questions, as I've never flown through Madrid before. Have you booked your seats? The rep at AA wasn't sure she was actually booking them as they didn't confirm. But today I called Iberia and they cheerfully checked. We changed seats on the one flight though as I think the AA didn't understand the seating and had us in front of each other. (We're including a second flight from Madrid to Rome). I was surprised that Iberia could check and set the seats for us -- something BA never could do when we had AA tickets with them.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:52 PM
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I haven't flown with Iberia but my son's girlfriend had a nasty experience with them this summer. She was flying Madrid-Miami when all of a sudden she looked out of the window and saw fuel leaking out. The passengers panicked. There was no announcement until they were told the plane was returning to Madrid and to get into position for an emergency landing. Her complaint was that the passengers were not told anything at all until the plane landed. An engine had packed up and they had been forced to return to Madrid. Then she had an unpleasant few hours trying to rebook for the following day and organising her onward flight to us in IAH. I believe she would not willingly fly Iberian again. Do you have an alternative?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:59 PM
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i fly iberia regularly and cannot say anything fabulous about them as i always fly tourist, nor anything horrible. i fly with the best rate and they have it quite often for me.

two hours is plenty to change planes ..i believe that although you are in transit, you will be going through a passport check but you will not collect luggage if they check it all the way to ams.

My complaint about iberia in general is when there are delays.. they normally are very slow to give explanations. other than that.. i have had much worse, tighter flights on other airlines.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Hi Progol,

Last month I flew Iberia from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid( arrival terminal 2) and had to transfer to a Continental flight from MAD to Newark( terminal 1). Iberia said they "couldn't" ticket my lugagge through to Newark since they're not partner with Continental. Well, last year Spanair did it and they're not partner with Continental . So I had to wait (it seemed forever)to collect my luggage and carry it ( they have carts) to terminal 1. The terminals are connected but it takes a while to walk( maybe 15 -20 mins?)

Since you're flying all segments in Iberia you shouldn't have the luggage issue, so the 2 hrs. connecting time should be enough.

I've never flown Iberia internationally. The local flights were fine( other than the lugagge issue).
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:08 PM
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You can't base an airline experience on isolated safety incidents. I personally would rather be ignorant of a problem than be made aware of it. What can you possibly do if fuels leaking, and the pilot's aware of it? Nothing constructive. All you can do is create panic among other passengers.

I've flown on a few Iberia flights, they're nothing special, but then no airline is these days. The days of personal service with BIG companies is over. I prefer BA, but that's only because I get more points!

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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:24 PM
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Hi Progol, Is this trip to celebrate your Master's by any chance??

We flew Iberia last summer from Miami-Madrid-Barcelona. I was really worried that it would be a crummy airline from things I had read on the web. It was just fine. The service and food were average. They give you complimentary wine with your meals...(this summer Continental did not). My husband's luggage did not make it to Barcelona. We went to the baggage office, they were as nice as they could be. They took down our hotel info, after locating the bag, and said if we wanted to go on into town, the bag would be on the next flight and they would deliver it to our hotel. They did just that. I have to say, I saw nothing wrong with the airline, and because of pre-conceived ideas, I was on the outlook!!

We were in Amsterdam this summer and absolutely loved it...I am happy for you. By the way, I have my FF tickets to Germany for July, 2006!!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Many thanks, all.
I agree, mkingdom, that individual experiences really don't say anything about an airline. We've all had those bad moments on flights which have made me swear I'll never fly THAT airline again....until the next time! I guess I was just curious about any trends, and "nothing special", unfortunately, is more than acceptable these days.

Patrick, I haven't actually booked the ticket yet, since we haven't booked the return flight. This will be a 2 1/2 week trip, returning from Paris, so once I get the return flight reserved, I'll book the ticket and try to reserve seats. Will they book the seating for next July now?
Thanks for the feedback.
Paule
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Yep. My flights were on hold until last night when I could finally book our return for next July 18. They then set the seats for all my flights and sent them on my E ticket sent by email last night.

Have you checked the AA website to see if your return dates are posted yet? They've actually been loading them earlier than the usual number of days it seems to me. Yesterday they added flights for July 16, 17, and 18 all at the same time.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:37 PM
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Patrick, I've checked. I'm looking for return on August 1, and I was told that they will be loaded on September 4. I'll continue to call as I get closer to that date, but I've found the information that the agents have given me has been pretty accurate.
Paule
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:43 PM
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We flew Iberia in June 2004. Chicago to Rome, connecting through Madrid.

It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great. Certainly I always felt safe. The food was actually better than what is served on AA (salt is not their primary ingredient) and they do serve decent wine with meals.

However, when it is not mealtime - good luck finding a flight attendant! We eventually wandered back to the back of the plane and the flight attendants gestured that we were welcome to help ourselves to water. It had been hours since any of them had walked through the cabin with beverages, despite several passengers pushing the "call attendant" button numerous times.

The connection through Madrid went quite smoothly with airline employees directing passengers.

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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Thanks, Texas Aggie. That gives me a good idea of what I might expect. I was most concerned about making the connection in Madrid, but feel better now.
Paule
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:51 PM
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I flew Iberia in July from Barcelona to Amsterdam. I thought it was a very comfortable flight, decent snack, and service. And I'd have to say I much preferred it to our really crummy overcrowded intra-European flights with BA.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Hi progol,

Our connection time in Madrid was only 1 hour and we did just fine. The only slightly unusual thing was that we boarded our plane (a smaller plane, but still a jet) from the outside. We were walked outside and to the staircase going up into the plane. It didn't bother me one bit or anything, just struck us as a bit unusual since you normally board from the terminal and walk down that connector-hallway-thingy.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:33 PM
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TexasAggie,

that's not unusal at all. Many, many, many airports still use the walk or bus boarding procedure. In fact, flying Cathay Pacific from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on a 747, we did the bus thing. One airport that comes to mind is Bangkok. Many 747s are still boarded on the tarmac. BKK receives so many 747s that there is just no room for them at the jetways.

Iberia? - not good in economy but since the change - very nice in business and actually world class in first(talking about seats). Unfortunately the CSRs, the TAs, the GAs and finally the FAs still have ways to go. Employment in Spain is "almost" guaranteed, and if not, your government unemployment is often as much as your last paycheck and it could last for years. I think you get the point.

Have a great trip!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Just to add to my previous post, I don't remember anything unusual about the Madrid airport. It was easy to navigate and we had absolutely no problem whatsoever.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:00 PM
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Just a note to hopefully reassure you.
We flew RT Barcelona to Sevilla in 03. It was a perfectly ok flight - even had a light meal in that short of a time.
There were no assigned seats, but that wasn't a problem either.
The flight attendants were very polite.
Good luck and happy travels!
Carol
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:08 PM
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Hmmm, regarding that post above about not finding any service and going to the back of the plane and being told to help yourself. . .
I see by looking at the Iberia site at their business class, that they have there an "always open" snack bar that you help yourself to, including drinks and wine. Whatever happened to service?
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