SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9055 times:
I have just returned from a two week tour of Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and London. I have never had so much fun in my life before, and I want to go back!
But anyway, here's the trip report, which was the only bad part of the whole trip. There are 4 segments.
1) From: JNB (Johannesburg International Airport) To: MAD (Madrid Barajas International Airport) Airline: Iberia (Nigeria) Flight: IB6050 Aircraft: Airbus A340-300 Registration: EC-GPB Name: Teresa de Avila Time of departure: 8:55pm Actual time of departure: 9:40pm Time of Arrival: 6:55am Actual time of Arrival: 6:55am
We arrived at the International Departures hall of Johannesburg International Airport at about 5:30pm. The weather was clear, and the excitement of going to Espana was high. I did not have to check myself in since I was going with a group and the tour leaders checked us in. As a result, I got a terrible seat - 17D. Right in the middle of the aircraft. Bear in mind that I have never sat in this kind of position before. It has always been either an aisle seat or a window seat. So I was quite annoyed, and I made a goal for myself to swap with someone. This was easier said than done. In the end, I settled for the aisle seat, 17C, which was slightly more comfortable than the previous one I had.
Anyway, we went through passport control very quickly, and walked through to the relatively new JNB departures hall. With it's millions of duty free shops, restaurants and bars, I can say that it's easily a world class airport. I shopped around a bit and bought a couple of things.
We had to be back at the gate at 8:00pm for boarding at 8:05pm. However, this was not the case. Boarding was only called at 8:45pm, 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave. IB uses the A340 to Johannesburg. I now find the A340 boring, since it's the only aircraft I've ever flown to Europe with, and I wanted a change. The seats were very nicely upholstered, but weren't the most comfortable.
After a long wait, IB6050 pushed back from the gate at 9:40pm. We reached the runway at 9:55pm, and we had a 41 second take-off roll, resulting in us using almost the full length of the runway. About 15 minutes after take off, the flight attendants came round with earphones and very cheap socks. There were no other amenities, which I have come to expect after flying Virgin and South African. There were no PTV's either, which I think an airline should install throughout the cabin if they want to be world class.
The f/a's were mostly old and grumpy, and were all female. They didn't speak English that well either, and were quite rude to everybody. About 20-30 minutes after take off, food and drinks came around. We had two choices...pasta and chicken (surprise, surprise). I had the pasta, which turned out to be lasagne. Accompanying the lasagne was apple pie and salad. It wasn't that bad, but not the best. I had Fanta Naranja with my supper, which has a different taste to the Fanta's I've had anywhere else, and is very nice.
Once I had finished my supper, I looked to see what movies there were. Hmmm, we don't really want to go there. They were Spanish made, and from what little bit I saw of the first movie, they were terrible. I instead decided to fall asleep. Or at least try to fall asleep, since it was almost impossible because I was so uncomfortable. I woke up several times during the flight, which didn't help the situation. There was water and orange juice at the back of the plane, which was quite helpful.
At about 5:45am the f/a's came around with continental breakfast. I personally don't see the point of having salami, ham and cheese for breakfast, so I gave it a skip, and just had a croissant. We were given very little time to eat our breakfast, and equally little time to fill out landing cards. We landed on time at Madrid, and taxied to the gate. Passport control was easy, and we had our bags about 15 minutes after leaving the aircraft.
On the whole, the whole group (including myself) didn't enjoy this flight. None of us slept comfortably, and most people hated the food, and were treated badly by the f/a's. As a result, we nicknamed the airline Iberia Nigeria.
2) From: BCN (Barcelona International Airport) To: ORY (Paris Orly Ouest International Airport) Airline: Iberia (Nigeria) Flight: IB4426 Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 Registration: EC-HIR Name: El Salvador Time of departure: 10:00am Actual time of departure: 10:55am Time of Arrival: 11:40am Actual time of Arrival: Forgot to write it down.
WOW! What a flight. I must give Iberia Nigeria some credit here...they sure as hell can provide a roller coaster ride free with your flight! Will explain later...
We arrived at BCN at 8:00am, and again, I couldn't choose my seat, and again, got a crappy seat. It was 20C by the way, above the wing. But anyway, after a quick check-in we went through to the BCN departures hall, which is very nice and very modern. There are many duties free shops, as well as many large windows where you can see all the aircraft. I took the opportunity to go wild with my camera, and took photos of airlines that I have never seen before, such as Virgin Express, Air Europa and Spanair.
We were travelling on a B757, which like the A340, annoyed me. I would have loved to have gone on one of IB's DC-9's, MD-80's or B727's. But, you know what they say, tough s**t. I forgot what time we boarded, but we were all on the plane in time for our intended departure time of 10:00am. However, we ended up sitting in the aircraft for 55 minutes, waiting for it to leave.
BCN is a busy airport. We had to wait for an IB B757, an IB A320, an AF A320 and an IB MD-80 to take off before we could go. At 11:05am, we took off over the Mediterranean sea, and headed up the Spanish coast to France. Not long after take off, we were served breakfast, which wasn't that bad. It was a croissant with gammon, a roll, plain yoghurt and coffee. I also had a Fanta Naranja with it. I know I stated above that I don't like continental breakfasts, but this was quite good.
After breakfast, I took the chance to read the Iberia magazine, Ronda. The seat pocket in front of me was broken, but besides this, the seats were quite comfortable. The f/a's on this flight were again grumpy old woman, whom I did not get along with. I managed to watch some of the French countryside as were neared Paris, and was really impressed with it's beauty. There were television monitors hanging down from the ceiling, which were showing an EXTREMELY corny comedy type show, as well as many adverts. There were also of course, music channels, where there was a nice selection. I forgot to mention that they also had this on the JNB-MAD flight.
At 11:59am, as we were nearing Paris, we had to descend through some clouds. IB4426 hit SEVERE turbulence. This was the roller coaster I was talking about. No need to go to Euro Disney (which is not that nice compared to Disney World) here! Turbulence is normally bump, bump, bump, right? Well this one was bump several hundred metres, bump another several hundred metres, not forgetting another several hundred metres. It was so bad that most passengers were screaming, whilst some were crying, because we all seriously thought we were going to crash. I, for some reason, laughed through the whole thing. Don't know why. Hmmm...
However, we landed safely at Orly Ouest Airport, where I saw the Corsair 747SP from afar, as well as some Corsair 743's. I also saw the Air Liberte DC-10, the Air Lyon DC-10 as well as a Tunis Air A300, none of which I have ever seen before. We taxied right around the airport to the other side, and parked in between a TAP A319 and something else.
Orly Ouest is slightly on the old side, but it works well. We had our bags in about 15 minutes after leaving the aircraft.
3) From: LHR (London Heathrow International Airport) To: MAD (Madrid Barajas International Airport) Airline: Iberia (Nigeria) Flight: IB3167 Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 Registration: EC-HIR Name: El Salvador Time of departure: 7:15pm Actual time of departure: 7:40pm Time of Arrival: 10:30pm Actual time of Arrival: Forgot to write it down
We arrived at LHR at about 5:30pm. This check-in took quite long, since they wanted to ask every single person the same questions, as well as check in everybody's baggage one by one. We had about 30 minutes to explore the duty free of LHR's terminal 2, which is very extensive.
We boarded on time, and we would have pushed back from the gate on time if someone hadn't lost their passport just before we left. They showed the safety demo, which is shown on the TV screens at 7:22, and 2 minutes later we were pushing back. It was a quite a bit of a wait for runway 27R, but I didn't mind since I could see all the aircraft at LHR. Our take off roll lasted 24 seconds, and we had lifted off the ground by 7:40pm.
This flight I was lucky enough to have a window seat, seat 23F, which was just behind the wing. Again I was annoyed with the aircraft, because not only was it a boring B757 again, but it was the exact same aircraft we had flown on from Barcelona to Madrid. The f/a's on this flight were very nice. I for once saw both male and female f/a's, and all of them were nice and had a sense of humour about things.
At about 8:00pm, supper and drinks were served. The meal was delicious - a Spinach and Feta quiche, salad with French dressing, strawberry cheese cake, and a roll. Accompanying it, I had a coke. I finished my meal at about 8:40pm, and still had quite a bit of time to kill. I made friends with a Chilean woman, who was travelling to Santiago de Chile later that evening. I was going to watch the same corny comedy again that they showed before, but then noticed the beautiful sunset setting over the Atlantic, and decided to watch that instead. They also showed a news broadcast by the way.
We landed more or less on time at Madrid, and I was immediately struck by the number of aircraft at Madrid. I would swear that there were more than 50 IB aircraft sitting on the tarmac. We didn't embark at a gate, but taxied to a remote stand. I took the opportunity to take some photos, and have a really nice look at the aircraft. The bus drove us to the Barajas terminal, where we walked up some stairs, and we were suddenly in the international departures hall.
4) From: MAD (Madrid Barajas International Airport) To: JNB (Johannesburg International Airport) Airline: Iberia (Nigeria) Flight: IB6051 Aircraft: Airbus A340-300 Registration: EC-GHX Name: Rosalea de Castro Time of departure: 00:45am (!!!!!) Actual time of departure: I was sleeping, so I didn't check. Time of Arrival: 10:25am Actual time of Arrival: 10:25am
Madrid is a modern airport, and is most certainly world class. There were mainly South American carriers at Barajas, including Lan Chile and Varig, again neither of which I've ever seen before. We had quite a bit of time to go duty free shopping, although I didn't find the selection of things you could buy very extensive and appealing. So I didn't buy anything.
I think boarding was called on time, and we boarded another boring A340, Rosalea de Castro. The interior was exactly the same as the one we had flown over here with. Business class and first class look quite comfortable. Business class is in an Aegean Blue colour, and first class is in a brown colour, obviously the airline wanting to create an oak finish type of interior. I see an airliners.net photographer has sat in the same cabin that I have...and we both seem to agree on the seat pitch.
This flight also had male and female f/a's, and were also all quite old, but not as grumpy as the previous ones. Two of the male f/a's greeted us at the doors, and sent us to our seats. As usual I had a terrible seat, 17E, but I was too tired to bargain with someone for a better seat.
I sat down in my seat, put the Iberia tartan blanket over me, and went to sleep. I remember us taking off, and I remember putting my seat back after we had just taken off. I woke up once or twice (when everyone else was asleep), and went to the back of the cabin for some water, that tastes absolutely brilliant when you are dehydrated.
I woke up again at about 7:30am with a huge neck pain and we still had about 3 hours to go until we landed. They had the map display up when I woke up, unlike on the trip to MAD, and I could see we were over the north of Angola when I awoke. It also showed other information: When I woke up it was -47 degrees Celsius outside, we were flying at an altitude of 11300m at a speed of 922km/h.
Breakfast was soon served. Oh yes, apparently there was supper, which was either chicken or pasta (hmmm, deja vu). They were both apparently terrible, and no one that I spoke to enjoyed it. Breakfast was not much better. Again, the usual salami, ham and cheese in the middle of it. I didn't have anything; just coffee, and decided I would opt for something at home.
I read some of my Airliner World magazine for a while, and got bored. Landing cards were handed out but I didn't have to fill it out because of my South African passport. Nothing much happened until we landed, except that when we landed (quite heavily), everyone clapped. I don't know why, but I decided to be a sheep and joined in with them.
It took quite a while to get to the gate, because we landed on the far runway (I don't know the runway numbers). We got to the gate, went through passport control, which was quick and painless and then collected our bags, which took longer than usual, but we were through within 25 minutes of leaving the aircraft.
Overall Impression: I would first like to say that this is the second worst airline I have flown on, just beating American Airlines. Iberia is not punctual, and not many of their f/a's have that 'personal touch' that I feel is required in today's airline industry.
They also need to jack themselves up on the little things, such as amenities and PTV's. Airlines such as BA, VS, SIA, EK and even SAA are world class airlines, and in my opinion, if you want to be world class, you should try to match the standards set by these airlines.
Iberia has better service on inter-Europe flights, but it's inter-continental flights...hmmmm! They have quite a bit to go if they want to be world class.
Ilyushin96M From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 2609 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 8706 times:
VERY interesting trip report. I love all the details. I don't think I will EVER fly Iberia; sounds like they are as bad as the old Soviet Aeroflot, and with ticket prices nowadays, there is no excuse for that kind of service.
Wimpycol From Netherlands, joined Aug 2001, 484 posts, RR: 5 Reply 3, posted (12 years 3 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 8712 times:
Thanks for the nice report!!
It really gives a good impression of how Iberia services are on their fleet!!
I will fly Iberia next month AMS-MAD-BOG-MAD-AMS.
After your report it becomes more clear how Iberia works.
I think my flight from AMS to MAD will be good. I can't expect a lot of the transatlantic flights from MAD to BOG Colombia. Well I choose for Iberia because they've got the lowest fares to South America at the moment. Also they fly A343's. For me the first time that I will fly that kind of airplane! Always flown transatlantic on B747’s, B767’s, B777’s, MD11’s and DC10’s!
I agree that it's a shame that they don't have ptv’s onboard of their A340. But I think (I’m 'not sure) LH and AF also don't have ptv’s on their A340 in economy.
Well I will send my trip report when I come back in November.
Wimpy soon to be seen @ BOG Colombia
Colombia... can't wait to be there again!!!!!!!!!!
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8673 times:
Thanks for your comments guys!
I would also have to say that your flight from AMS should be good, but probably delayed. I think a good flight all depends on the f/a's. If you have kind and humorous f/a's, then I reckon you'll enjoy your flight, even if say the meal is bad.
I hope your flight to BOG won't be that bad! And I hope you have a wonderful time. Your report should be very interesting; can't wait to see it. Thanks for your comments as well.
Oh yes, I wish I'd flown as many types as you have! I've only ever flown A340 and B747 inter-continental. YAWN!!!!!!!!! Although I should be adding a B727 to my list at the end of the week when and if I fly BA or Nationwide down to Cape Town. I'll post a report though, whichever aircraft it is!
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 8669 times:
Great trip report. Very interesting for reading. Looks like that Iberia is not the best. I already heard that quite a lot. Try to fly Swissair and SAA next time for your trip to Europe, they should be good. It is typical, Iberia has not enough competition, so they don't must be that good, because the government paid a lot into Iberia in the past years. I would love to fly SAA once and to visit South Africa, especially Cape town.
Greetings from Switzerland
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 8642 times:
Yeah I noticed that (that Iberia does not have enough competition) at both MAD and BCN airports that the terminal was dominated by IB flights...very few SpanAir or foreign carriers in comparison to the vast number of IB aircraft.
I would love to fly Swissair one day because I've heard many good things about them. But it's difficult to find another carrier because three carriers, Sabena, Austrian and there was one more, but I forgot which one, have dropped flights to South Africa. But flights to Europe are 100% full. One radio DJ that I was listening to the other day was complaining that he couldn't even get a flight in Business çlass on any airline to Europe during September because it was so full. I don't see the point of these airlines leaving South Africa, because it's not exactly like there isn't a market. There are many South African tourists going to Europe and many Europeans coming to South Africa!
Luzezito From Spain, joined May 2001, 268 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8672 times:
Good trip report!
Iberia has some way to go before reaching the standards of other European airlines, but I am confident that the recent privatisation undergone by this airline will result in a better service. It is going to be a painful process, but the choice is basically to go thruogh it or disapper.
Old grumpy F/A? Yes, those are the one who got in when Iberia was state owned, lacking quite a lot of customer orientation as far as service is concerned. I have flown Iberia many times though and the improvement is visible. You will fly old grumpy F/A because those routes are reserved to them since they are more profitable (pocket money, hotels, etc)
Iberia-Nigeria? Not very funny or fair in my opinion, both for Iberia and Nigeria. I have never flown in planes of that country, but I am sure they struggle to to their best with the means that they have. The implied criticism to this country is not fair to them. Also I am convinced that Iberia's standards are at least up to Nigeria's standards.
Ilyushin 96M: if you are Russian, we both know what the situation in this country is as far as aviation is concerned. I live here and have flown what you call "soviet aeroflot". Have you flown them recently on international routes? You would be surprised to see the improvements!
Stereotypes may be funny but I think it is time for us all to lift them up based in our experience and not on preacquired gossips or outdated information.
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8633 times:
Thanks for your comments. I found them very interesting. I would have to agree with you about your comments regarding Iberia Nigeria.
As you say, it's a stereotype. And stereotypes aren't fair at all. But the fact is that most people I know think of Nigeria as backward and worse than a third world country, even though 99% of them have never been there or have never even met a Nigerian.
I would also love to see stereotypes lifted; But in my opinion, it's in human nature to stereotype something or someone different or worse off then you are, so I doubt they would ever be lifted. But still, it's not fair to anyone being stereotyped.
Cheers - SunAir
PS...I would assume from your email address that you work for Spain tourism? Well, I have not included my comments about Spain, the actual country, so here goes...
Madrid is the best city that I have ever been to. Out of London, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava, Cardiff, New York, Washington, Orlando, Miami, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, Madrid tops the list. The place never sleeps, and the amount of fountains and statues in the city is totally amazing! Everyone that I spoke to (except the f/a's) were very friendly to me. The place is the best for shopping, especially the massive El Corte Inglais department stores. The architecture is also great, and the weather is the absolute best. Places I would recommend anyone going to would be: Plaza Mayor, Toledo, the Prado Museum, the Modern Art museum, as well as just walking the streets of Madrid, because it's a beautiful city!
I was slightly more disapointed with Barcelona, but still it was a nice city. La Ramblas was great, as well as Gaudi's Garden City and the Segrada del Familia. Oh yes, the beach was also very nice, and the sea is very warm. You just need bigger waves though.
Marco From United Arab Emirates, joined Jul 2000, 4168 posts, RR: 17 Reply 12, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 8608 times:
Spain is my favorite european country. My family and I came back from a two week vacation in Marbella on the 12th. We loved Spain and this time was our third time there. Marbella and Spain in general is beautiful!
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 13, posted (12 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8621 times:
Yeah Swissair flights are mostly 100 % full in every class. And Swissair owns a 20% stake in SAA so there are two daily flights from ZRH to JNB. Mostly full. Swiss tourist are mostly flying SAA, because it is a night flight. A lot of european airlines dropped service to South Africa, but not Swissair. This is a very positive point. I would love to fly SAA very soon and to visit South Africa. But in September and October every flight is full, by SAA and Swissair.
Mas010 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (12 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 8596 times:
BEST report in the Air!!!Congratulations!!!!
Im waiting for your next trip report.
1-You were surprised when people clapped at landing in JNB..I think most of the people on that plane was from Spain. In Spain and other Latin countries , like those of South America, people used to clap hands after landing, specially if you are returning to your own country. For example, I flew a lot on Aerolineas Argentinas to ROM, MAD and MIA, and when the plane arrives to EZE, our international airport, all argentines, right when landing gears touches land, start clapping hardly..for two reasons, first of all because most passengers still feel fear of flying and it s a way of start feeling sure on ground again..and the other is just a "national" love to the country .it s like to say...OK I m again in my land......however...
2-I flown a lot on IB planes ...My long haul experience was like yours...On an old 747 that must land in Canarian Island for refulling between BUE and MAD..But my experience on European flights wasnt so bad..
Meals on long haul bad..european ones in an Spanish style...just to be abituated in that meal.. but not too bad..
Crew... hhhmmmmmm It just a matter of "way of being"...Spanish has a very spacial way of speaking..always speaking aloud..most of them speak English worse than me....so you can immagine...But the youngest crew members has a very good sense of humor...not the oldest ones...
3-Like in other comments and reports in this post.. next time try Swissair..you enjoy it!!!