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After flying Iberia A330 business class from Miami to Madrid and staying at the Four Seasons Madrid, it was time to continue our journey to Oman. That started with an Iberia A320neo flight from Madrid to Milan, which I’ll be reviewing in this post.
In this post:
Our time in Oman would be starting in Salalah, so I booked the following in business class for 42,500 AAdvantage miles plus $74.60 in taxes and fees (what a deal!):
02/16 IB3252 Madrid to Milan departing departing 11:30AM arriving 1:45PM
02/16 QR128 Milan to Doha departing 3:50PM arriving 11:35PM
02/17 QR1130 Doha to Salalah departing 12:50AM arriving 4:20AM
While we could have flown nonstop from Madrid to Doha, I decided to book us a connection in Milan instead. Why? Because I wanted to experience Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 business class, which is only available on select routes.
After spending some time at the Iberia Premium Lounge Dali, we headed to our departure gate, H16. Boarding was scheduled for 11AM, and we left the lounge at around 10:45AM.
The gate was maybe a five minute walk from the lounge, and that mainly consisted of walking down one long hallway.
I was surprised to find that boarding started at 10:50AM (10 minutes early), with business class passengers being invited to board first.
Once down the jet bridge, there was still a barrier preventing boarding from starting. However, that was removed within a few minutes.
As is standard on intra-Europe flights, business class simply consisted of economy seats with blocked middles. In this case there were five rows, and eight of the 20 seats were occupied. In theory the size of the cabin could change with each flight by just having the partition moved around. However, this particular plane actually had different seats in business class than economy.
Below is a look at the economy cabin — as you can see, these are different seats. It seems like the business class seats are the same that you’ll find on British Airways, while the economy ones… aren’t. The cabin still felt pretty “fresh” — for what it’s worth, we were flying on the two year old A320neo with the registration code EC-NFZ, so it was one of Iberia’s newer A320s.
I assigned us seats 5A & 5C, the aisle and window in the last row of business class on the left. While legroom was by no means great, it wasn’t awful either.
Each seat had a tray table plus a literature pocket.
What was most pleasantly surprising is that each seat also had an AC and USB power outlet. It’s sad how low my expectations are of short haul aircraft in Europe (minus Aeroflot and Turkish, which are great), but I’d consider that to be a near cutting edge amenity.
The overhead consoles were also modern, and had individual air nozzles.
There was also a lavatory at the front of the cabin, which was reasonably clean.
Boarding was surprisingly slow, given that this isn’t a huge plane, and we started boarding early. I was impressed that all of the flight attendants were wearing N95s or KN95s (unlike in the US, where flight attendant unions complain that they feel unsafe and want to suspend service, and then they wear cloth masks). Furthermore I noticed that the flight attendants strictly enforced correct mask use during boarding, which is to say that anyone with a mask under their nose was asked to pull it up.
Once boarding was completed, sanitizing wipes were distributed.
At 11:25AM the captain came on the PA to announce our flight time of 1hr55min, but said that we were still waiting on one passenger who had checked a bag. If the passenger didn’t show up they’d have to offload the bag, which can take a while. Fortunately the person showed up within a couple of minutes.
At 11:30AM we began our pushback, and five minutes after that we began our taxi. Around this time the safety demonstration was performed — there was a recorded track, and then flight attendants performed the demo in the aisle.
I enjoyed the view as we taxied out, and in particular all the Iberia jets lined up at T4.
We taxied out behind another Iberia A320neo, and made it to runway 36R by 11:45AM.
We had a quick takeoff roll and a steep climb out of Madrid. The seatbelt sign was turned off within five minutes.
I was delighted to find that this Iberia A320neo had Wi-Fi. Power outlets and Wi-Fi on an intra-Europe flight? I should buy a lottery ticket!
Not only was there Wi-Fi, but it was quite reasonably priced. A Wi-Fi pass for the entire flight cost 8.99 EUR, and included unlimited data usage. Speeds were excellent as well, so I was able to stay productive the entire flight.
After takeoff the curtains were closed between the galley and the cabin.
Shortly thereafter a flight attendant came through to take lunch orders. The choices were described as either cod with vegetables and mustard sauce or spinach gnocchi. Everything was brought out on a single tray about 10 minutes later. Like on the long haul Iberia flight, dishes were served covered.
I was impressed by the catering, as there aren’t many airlines that serve hot meals intra-Europe on flights of under two hours. My cod was decent enough, and was served with an appetizer (I think it was some sort of a quinoa salad), a bread roll, and a panna cotta dessert.
Ford ordered the spinach gnocchi, which was swimming in a cheese sauce, but was otherwise quite good.
After the meal I ordered a cup of coffee. Iberia’s coffee cups are comically small (more like espresso cups), though fortunately the flight attendant was happy to provide a couple of refills.
The crew on this flight was efficient and willing to fulfill requests, but was hardly over-the-top friendly.
At around 1:10PM we began our descent for Milan, and 10 minutes after that the seatbelt sign was turned on. We had a smooth approach, and touched down at 1:35PM.
From there it was just a short five minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we pulled in five minutes ahead of schedule.
Iberia really impressed me with its short haul product. The plane had power outlets (AC and USB), fast and reasonably priced Wi-Fi, and hot meals. On top of that, our flight departed and arrived on schedule. That’s about as good as intra-Europe business class gets, so kudos to Iberia. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Iberia again, especially on an A320neo.
If you’ve flown Iberia’s short haul business class, what was your experience like?


Ben,
nice review. But one thing. You mentioned coffee size was not sufficient. In my opinion this is normal size, as normal size of coffee in Europe is Espresso and not American XXL size cup coffee. Last weekend I was in Italy and ordered espresso. That is small, but good.
This flight was almost better than their long haul!
For intra-Europe a decent experience it seems, not bad.
Several years ago, I was upgraded on a flight from MAD to LIS on Iberia. I was surprised to be served a hot meal on such a short (320 mile) flight. The even more surprising part was that the food was quite good and came with some excellent Spanish cheese. Iberia has always fascinated me for some reason, but they are very inconsistent, and on long haul can be a bit of a dissapointment.
I ha e recently flown from Paris to Madrid and I totally agree with you. The service was a surprise, the abin crew as usual, not very sympathetic.
I don’t really understand why airlines promote different classes on short-haul planes with different prices when they are relatively the same. I guess that some seats have a bit more leg room and stuff, but especially on BA when they just block ou the middle seat, it just feels exactly the same without another person.
…the economy seats are indeed different, however you can see in your pictures that the very first row of economy class has the adjustable headrest and is marked as XL, because seat pitch in business class cabin is slightly bigger. This means that IB’s business class on the A320 can have a maximum of six rows, one more than on your flight.
Yesterday (02/23/2022) I flew from ZRH to MAD on IB on the very…
…the economy seats are indeed different, however you can see in your pictures that the very first row of economy class has the adjustable headrest and is marked as XL, because seat pitch in business class cabin is slightly bigger. This means that IB’s business class on the A320 can have a maximum of six rows, one more than on your flight.
Yesterday (02/23/2022) I flew from ZRH to MAD on IB on the very early morning flight, STA at 07:30am. Regarding the onboard food my experience was a completely different one. Everything was wrapped in plastic like you would get in a gasoline station! It look cheap, it tasted awful. My guess is, since the aircraft flew to ZRH the evening before, catering was from MAD and the previous day. A very disappointing experience, indeed.
Loving the non stop barrage of trip reviews. Great to see you back Lucky.
We were supposed to visit Muscat but COVID happened so I’m looking forward to your Oman reports.
Loving the trip reports and reviews. OMAAT IS BACK BABY!!!!
As always, thanks for the great trip reports. I literally flew an Iberia A320 (not a neo) out of H16 on Sunday afternoon so it was nice to read this post. Transferring from AA business class (Super Diamond) to an Iberia A320 in Y was literally torture. Zero legroom, seats have no recline, and no adjustable headrest. Flying any US carrier domestically puts European carriers to shame. I will say that the crew was great…
As always, thanks for the great trip reports. I literally flew an Iberia A320 (not a neo) out of H16 on Sunday afternoon so it was nice to read this post. Transferring from AA business class (Super Diamond) to an Iberia A320 in Y was literally torture. Zero legroom, seats have no recline, and no adjustable headrest. Flying any US carrier domestically puts European carriers to shame. I will say that the crew was great as I spent plenty of time chatting with them in the galley vs sitting.
Fantastic review. I’ve been considering Iberia’s business class for sometime.
Iberia Express is also fairly decent. BA has a near identical business product to Iberia (on their NEO’s) but, I cannot quite get passed the leg room with them as it’s awful, even in business.
“so I was able to stay productive the entire flight” – what a needed productive time on 2 hour flight when everyone in the US a sleep. You are so hard working that I am starting to be afraid of your well being. LOL.
As others have said, this is a standard configuration across IAG’s Neo fleet. So, contrary to what you say Ben, you will find exactly the same seats on BA’s Neos. The key if flying in economy is to fly as far forward as possible to maximise the chance of the better seats.
Nice to see you flying again- as Mr Brian Radigan noticed you are on fire again. Interesting to read your comment on how the crew was ‘willing to fulfill requests, but was hardly over-the-top friendly’ – I can feel the difference between crews that ‘go through the motions’ and really care (as well as those crews who do not even go through the motions). Nice photos on the inflight cuisine too; your candid honesty makes…
Nice to see you flying again- as Mr Brian Radigan noticed you are on fire again. Interesting to read your comment on how the crew was ‘willing to fulfill requests, but was hardly over-the-top friendly’ – I can feel the difference between crews that ‘go through the motions’ and really care (as well as those crews who do not even go through the motions). Nice photos on the inflight cuisine too; your candid honesty makes your blog fun to follow. Did Iberia offer wines on this short European flight?
Iberia’s food and beverages in Business Class is generally top notch. Also they have been amongst the most ontime airlines in Europe and this since 2013, so for almost a decade.
Finnair has outsourced their Barcelona and Madrid flights to Iberia, much to the joy of Finnair pax, who now get a decent product on these routes. Iberia does a really great job compared to the competition.
I guess they do move the curtain if needed. However, you should have test-sat the seats further back. The legroom in economy is terrible.
“I booked the following in business class for 42,500 AAdvantage miles plus $74.60 in taxes and fees (what a deal!):
02/16 IB3252 Madrid to Milan departing departing 11:30AM arriving 1:45PM
02/16 QR128 Milan to Doha departing 3:50PM arriving 11:35PM
02/17 QR1130 Doha to Salalah departing 12:50AM arriving 4:20AM”
What a deal is right. Great redemption. When you increase the itinerary with another leg to try out a specific product, do you get raised…
“I booked the following in business class for 42,500 AAdvantage miles plus $74.60 in taxes and fees (what a deal!):
02/16 IB3252 Madrid to Milan departing departing 11:30AM arriving 1:45PM
02/16 QR128 Milan to Doha departing 3:50PM arriving 11:35PM
02/17 QR1130 Doha to Salalah departing 12:50AM arriving 4:20AM”
What a deal is right. Great redemption. When you increase the itinerary with another leg to try out a specific product, do you get raised eyebrows from Ford, or is he just happy to be along for the ride?
@ Jimmy’s Travel Report — Indeed a great deal! Ford isn’t quite as much of an avgeek as I am. Of course he appreciates traveling in comfort, but he doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for indirect routings.
Back in the old days when warm meals were standard item in practically every inter European flight my younger brother managed to book always five different legs between Helsinki and Baghdad. He just loved the airline food.
Interestingly enough, this aircraft (EC-NFZ) is painted in the Oneworld livery. Perhaps you did not notice due to the jetbridges. Other member airlines have much bigger Oneworld logos on their special livery aircraft, compared to the usual sticker next to the door on Iberia.
@ VT-CIE — I remember noticing that, but never got a good view of the side of the aircraft due to the gates we departed from and arrived at.
By the way, BA’s A321neos have the same seats as you can find here – yes, they’re crappier than the normal A320 ones. Think IAG is standardising their shorthaul product…
At least some BA A320 / A321 have two different seats – I think to row 12 on an A320 and row 14 on an A321. So if the biz cabin isn’t all the way back then some lucky Econ passengers get the slightly better seat
Just be happy you were sitting “up front”. The Iberia A320s I’ve been on might win worst coach legroom I’ve ever experienced. Made Ryanair, Frontier, etc seem luxurious.
Yep, Iberia is one of the few airlines where the regional carrier (Air Nostrum) is better than mainline for short-haul flights
“unlike in the US, where flight attendant unions complain that they feel unsafe and want to suspend service, and then they wear cloth masks.” You fly a whole two iberia flights and you’re somehow convinced the entire IB flight attendant population wears those masks.
i’ve seen plenty of FAs in the US wear KN/N 95s, and even the ones that don’t, where are they going to buy one? its not like you can walk into your old regular walgreens and grab a box of KN95s.
@ Tony — Based on the fact that every Iberia flight attendant I saw was wearing an N95 or KN95 (sample size of about a dozen), my guess is that it’s a requirement at Iberia, though someone correct me if I’m wrong. And getting N95s or KN95s in the US isn’t that hard. At a minimum, wear a surgical mask, which you can easily pick up at a supermarket or drugstore. The number of flight attendants in the US wearing cloth masks is just strange to me.
Why is it strange to you? I recently flew Pegasus to and from Turkey and the FA’s couldn’t care less who wore a mask or not and what kind. We’ve already established that an airplane is one of the safest environments to be in re air quality so this would mostly apply to American carriers, no?
You can believe whatever you want thst our union is the one wanting service cut. That is far from the truth. We keep complaining about the unedited sandwich, and the frozen salad just as much. The reality is that aa didn’t let covid go to waste, reduced staffing due to ligh loads , and never brought staffing back now thst flights are full, and service has been reintroduced. We fly minimum crew to Europe, and…
You can believe whatever you want thst our union is the one wanting service cut. That is far from the truth. We keep complaining about the unedited sandwich, and the frozen salad just as much. The reality is that aa didn’t let covid go to waste, reduced staffing due to ligh loads , and never brought staffing back now thst flights are full, and service has been reintroduced. We fly minimum crew to Europe, and we have five flight attendants for 60 Passengers seating in first and buainess on the 777 300, but of course , you prefer to ignore that detail. Anyways, who really needs a full blown meal on such a short flight, even after going to the lounge before boarding. How do you keep yourself so skinny?
Free mask program. It isn’t hard to find a participating location. Unless you live in a cabin.
Looks like the seats in row 6 are the same seats as those in business class but marked off as XL; extra legroom or premium economy?
@ Aaron — The XL seats are sold for an extra fee on economy tickets, as far as I know. Interesting point about them being the same as the business class seats, I hadn’t noticed that.
Hi Ben. Nice review. The seats across both cabins are identical to the BA A320s just a different colour.
All seats up to the exits are the premium design with the winged headrest. While on Iberia I see they have XL seats behind Business, on the BA aircraft whatever rows remain behind Business to the exits are kept for elites until check in or available for purchase. The slimline seats you showed on Iberia…
Hi Ben. Nice review. The seats across both cabins are identical to the BA A320s just a different colour.
All seats up to the exits are the premium design with the winged headrest. While on Iberia I see they have XL seats behind Business, on the BA aircraft whatever rows remain behind Business to the exits are kept for elites until check in or available for purchase. The slimline seats you showed on Iberia behind the exits are identical to the BA slimline seats with limited legroom on their A320s. They’re designed to compete with Low Cost carrier type seats and mostly offered to non-elites.
So effectively, BA and IB have identical A320 family cabins except for the colour.
CORRECTION: I see the premium design seats don’t go as far back as the exits on Iberia – as they do on BA – and are limited to about rows 1 – 7ish. Still the seat design itself is the same as BA. Iberia have slightly better food than BA though, based on your review.
Great review Lucky, been on fire lately!
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Great review Lucky, been on fire lately!
Loving the trip reports and reviews. OMAAT IS BACK BABY!!!!
Finnair has outsourced their Barcelona and Madrid flights to Iberia, much to the joy of Finnair pax, who now get a decent product on these routes. Iberia does a really great job compared to the competition. I guess they do move the curtain if needed. However, you should have test-sat the seats further back. The legroom in economy is terrible.

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