Flying Iberia was supposed to be a flight of many firsts for me so when I was given an option between Vueling and Iberia, I chose Iberia gleefully to be my 32nd airline.
This was part of my recent trip to Barcelona and an open jaw return from Lisbon, on Emirates. I have made some observations about Emirates and it’s varying consistency. You can read them here.
This was my first time flying Iberia, my first time flying to Madrid, my first time flying to Lisbon and of course, my first ever ride in Business Class.
I had few British Airways Avios Points to spare and as British Airways (BA) and Iberia (IB) are part of IAG, their miles are interchangeable on each other flights. So after speaking with a BA representative on phone and finding the same availability on their site, I was able to book BCN-MAD-LIS online, and in the process saving myself some phone booking fees as well. Just for reference sake, the same flights in Business Class were coming out at Rs 16,000, with economy at Rs 6,300 approximately.
I also chose to have a slightly longer layover at Madrid Barajas Airport, almost three hours, as it was my first time at that airport and I wanted some extra time to check out the terminal’s famous wavy ceilings and of course the flagship Iberia Sala Lounge.
This is the first part of my three-part report of the trip, focusing on the lounge experience at Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport. Keep in mind, that my first flight was Barcelona to Madrid, thus I’m able to document only the relevant domestic lounge for Iberia.
Reaching the airport two hours in advance, so I could check out the Business Class Lounge, had its advantages. There were no passengers in the premium check-in lane and I must admit feeling a little bit giddy with my first ever foray into it. The lady at the counter was nice enough to suggest that my mobile boarding pass may not be comfortable for everyone at the airport and offered me the old-school paper boarding passes. My baggage got tagged as priority for the first time ever and I could not avoid a smile seeing that.
The priority security line was quick and I was through in five minutes for my long walk to the “Puente Aereo” area, which literally means Air Bridge in Spanish.
As the Madrid-Barcelona route is the second busiest route in Europe, there’s a separate section of the airport, which handles these shuttle flights.
To cater to the high corporate demand, the lounge is nearby these gates.
As I entered the lounge, my first impression was the lounge being relatively small but airy.
Even though this was my first business class flight I have experience about lounges, thanks to some airport and airline invitations and and credit card based access.
The lounge had very few occupants. I decided to park myself at the far end of the lounge, looking out to roads connecting with the airport. Unfortunately this lounge had no direct view of the apron or the airplanes parked.
The lounge however had a reasonable collection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. They had a reasonable availability of juices, along with chocolate drinks and water on one end of shelf. Opposite that, the fridge contained aerated soft beverages, milk, water and beer
The lounge also had a small bar area with choices of wines, spirits but the star attraction for me was of course local Spanish cava (Spanish sparkling wine). The bottle was dipped in ice cold water for that perfect crisp taste.
However, this lounge lacked severely in food options. The shelf next to the bar had few cabinets of breads, croissants and pastries, along with some ready-to-go munch options and I especially took a liking to these potato chips or crisps.
There was a nice little coffee and tea machine available as well, with a variety of flavour options, for those who were looking for a hot drink.
Unsurprisingly there was very little to read in English. All the newspapers were non-English, ditto for magazines. The only option in English was Iberia’s own magazine, which I decided to skip for that time.
With 15 minutes to go until boarding, I decided to pour myself a glass of cava. Free Wi-Fi in the lounge enabled me to check on my emails and get some quick pending work done. Barcelona airport also offers free Wi-Fi to travellers, but it’s limited to 15 minutes in a day, per device. After that it’s chargeable.
Few minutes later sure enough my flight was called out and I proceeded to the nearby gate to embark on my first A320 for the evening.
Stay tuned for the remaining reports of this journey.
Disclosure. The trip was paid for individually. Iberia did not review this report prior to publication and has not asked for any revisions. The review is independent and the views are those of the author.
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