Iberia Airlines’ New Business Plus Cabin

Iberia Business Plus Seat

Iberia Business Plus seat

Iberia Airlines recently debuted a redesigned Business Class on their new Airbus A330 aircraft. Known as Business Plus, the rehabbed cabins offer more amenities on long haul flights to Spain.

Rollout of Business Plus has been staggered since its introduction in Spring 2013. On a recent trip to Madrid, I had the opportunity to experience the new service on both outbound and inbound flights from Miami, Florida.

Miami lounge and boarding
Before the flight, I waited for boarding in the Premium Lounge, which is jointly operated by Iberia, American Airlines and British Airways. Located in Concourse E, the spacious lounge is available for passengers flying Oneworld-eligible international First Class, Business Class and Emerald- and Sapphire-tiered customers, as well as Admirals Club members departing from Concourse E.

The lounge didn’t seem overly crowded, though at 6,000 square feet it was easy to find a quiet space. Two buffet tables served up plenty of decent food that could easily make a meal, and a full bar was self-serve with a wide array of choices. The staff were especially friendly and accommodating, and the Wi-Fi worked great.

Boarding Iberia from Miami to Madrid was not smooth. There were no lines designated for boarding by specific zones. I thought I arrived late to the boarding gate, because of the massive throng of people circling the gate agents. In the midst of trying to board in the appropriate category, I accidentally cut in front of other Business Plus passengers in the herd of people, angering them and embarrassing me. Not a great way to begin my Iberia experience.

Onboard
Once onboard, it was easy to see the configuration of the Business Plus cabin on the Airbus A330 (though when choosing seats online there was no indication of where the galley or restrooms were). The Business Plus cabin is also divided into two sections, with a galley between, which is not indicated online.

Lying flat in an Iberia Business Plus seat

Lying flat in an Iberia Business Plus seat

The seating is arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. Every other row alternates as to how the seats are aligned. In row 1, the single seats are immediately positioned next to the window. The double seats are located next to each other. In row 2, the single seats are positioned by the aisle, with the double seats also positioned farther apart on each aisle. The larger Business Plus cabin is where rows 1-7 are located, with a galley and toilets in the front. Rows 8-9 are located behind the galley and restrooms, with a bulkhead behind separating them from coach.

The seating configuration makes it possible to accommodate lie-flat beds with a 180-degree recline. However, for those seated directly on the aisle, it means that you’re lying down facing the aisle traffic with much less privacy than those seated towards the inside.

For travelers flying alone, the best seat for privacy—both from aisle traffic or a fellow seatmate—would be one of the window seats positioned immediately by the window.

On the outbound flight I was seated in the main section, and on the return I was in the small section behind the galley. Comparing the two, I would have to say that the section with rows 8-9 had an especially private feel, since no one was walking through the aisles to get to the bathroom. The only traffic came from the flight crew. With a bulkhead in front of row 8 and behind row 9, there wasn’t the sea of brightly illuminated screens in the seats in front of you that is so common now on aircraft, and especially bothersome at night. The only caveat would be if there were an especially noisy group in the first few rows of coach, since there is no sound buffer from behind.

A comforter-like blanket and full pillow were to be found on each seat when boarding. During the flight, an amenity kit stocked with standards (toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, comb, etc.) was handed out, along with some additions such as a hairband for women, an additional bag inside the amenity bag, and a bottle of eau de cologne.

Lunch appetizer

Lunch appetizer, created by four young Michelin-starred chefs

The meal service was enjoyable, highlighted the food and wine specialties of Spain. The menu was created by four young Spanish Michelin-starred chefs. Dinner to Madrid included a choice of duck with Porto wine sauce, king prawns ragout or tomato tortellini. Lunch returning to Miami included a choice of roasted lamb shank, cod confit or duck and apple ravioli. The famous Spanish ham was prominently featured in the return flight menu—with a strawberry gazpacho with Iberico ham, and an afternoon snack of Iberico ham.

A mini bar of snacks and drinks was available in the galley in between meal service. Individually wrapped sandwiches, fruits and chocolates were set out for Business Plus guests, along with drinks and bottles of water.

The larger inflight entertainment screens in Iberia's Business Plus cabin

The larger in-flight entertainment screens in Iberia’s Business Plus cabin

One of the hallmarks of Iberia’s new Business Plus cabin is the upgraded entertainment system. The large in-flight screens are definitely more enjoyable to watch. A touch-screen makes it easy to scroll through selections, while a touch-screen remote by the seat also helps navigate the entertainment without having to constantly bend forward.

On my outbound flight, I had no problems with the entertainment system, though I didn’t use it much as I was sleeping. My inbound flight presented a few hiccups while I was trying to watch movies, including a problem trying to switch my system to English at the beginning of the flight that occurred again midway through the flight.

Power ports are available, and there are plans for internet access, texting and phone calls. One fellow passenger was on the phone during the flight, which instantly made me cringe at the possibility of all passengers one day being able to talk while flying. It is loud and disruptive when one person does it, so just think what would happen if more than a handful were on their phones at the same time.

Madrid lounge and boarding
In Madrid, the lounge available for Business Plus Iberia passengers was exceptionally busy. There was a small hot bar with food, as well as a refrigerated wall of shelves displaying sandwiches, drinks, fruit and other snacks. A self-serve bar was also available with wines and liquor. Though it had plenty of amenities, the Madrid lounge was not nearly as nice or peaceful as the Miami lounge.

Boarding in Madrid was more organized. There was a separate boarding queue line for Business Plus passengers located quite far from the boarding for coach passengers, causing no confusion as to when to board.

Overall, the new Iberia Business Plus cabin is a welcome product when flying to Spain, where Iberia is among the nation’s largest airlines. Be sure to choose your seats wisely, and then relax and enjoy the experience.

Kim Button

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About the Author

Kim Button

Kimberly Button is an Orlando-based journalist, TV correspondent and author writing about travel, wellness, green living and sustainability. Her work appears in American Way and Celebrated Living (American Airlines’ inflight magazines), The Miami Herald, AAA, Whole Living, Private Clubs, Sierra, and many more national publications. Button writes extensively about Orlando and the Southeast on her blog, www.kimandcarrie.com, and green living at www.getgreenbewell.com. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

3 Comments on "Iberia Airlines’ New Business Plus Cabin"

  1. Kim,
    My wife and I are going Iberia 6124 MIA-MAD in April, 2014 on their A330-300. We are booked in 1EG (bulkhead behind the first galley) since 3EG & 5EG are already booked. I’m trying to decide if this was a good choice or should I switch to 7EG (back of the main cabin near a galley) or or 8DH (bulkhead in the little cabin behind the galley). We are concerned that we will hear the flight attendants having a chat session during the night since they are all near a galley. Or are they all about the same? Any thoughts as to the best seats to choose in priority order since you have actually seen the inside of the plane?

    Thanks.
    Gary Cobb

  2. Gary,

    None of them are bad, so don’t worry! I sat in row 6 on the flight over. I didn’t really notice much noise behind me in the galley. I don’t want to dissuade you in any way, but do realize that most people are going to use the bathrooms directly in front of row 1 and behind row 7. So there will be more traffic in that cabin.

    My flight during the day was in the small cabin, row 9. I did hear more chatter then, but it was in the day, so no one was being quiet. But there were far FAR fewer people walking by you – only flight attendants.

    I’m not sure that I’d tell you to change, because it depends on a lot of things and how talkative the flight crew is. I might pick 8DH, but I didn’t fly the tiny cabin at night, and that’s just from my personal experience during my flight.

    Hope you enjoy your trip! Either way and either seat, it will be well worth it compared to the alternative :)

    Kim

  3. Your seatmap is referred to an Airbus A340–600 with recently retrofitted new Iberia Business plus. The small business cabin with rows 8-9 is for the Airbus A330-300. I always prefer the main cabin because the 2nd small cabin is only divided from economy by a thin bulkhead and in the first ecomony row Iberia (and most carriers) seats families with small children/babies so it can become extremely noisy . For a couple ona daylight flight I would pick seats E/G so you can enjoy company but would never choose seats D/H were you both would be exposed to aisle traffic and noth that close anyway,specially considering the aircraft noise. All aisle seats have nearly no privacy at all. Best seats on all planes with this configuration are the windows seats, very private and supremely enjoyables and these are always our first choise on night flights were quiet and privacy are paramount and also on daylight flighs when seats E/G are not available.Hope it will helps.

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