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Cuba! BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 24877 times:

BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class

As I mentioned in my Qatar Airways report a few months back (), I had been planning a trip to Cuba for April 2010. However, for various reasons, I ended up going to Korea, China and Malaysia. I was, however, still extremely keen to visit Cuba before “things changed” – and more importantly, I’d already bought the guide book.

I was planning on booking flights with Air France, as they had a B 747-400 operating on the CDG-HAV route, and Business class is inc the nose, which is always nice. When I came to book it, though, the price had rocketed from reasonable (GBP 1400) to extortionate (over GBP 3000). Yikes! After playing around with Galileo for a bit at work, I ended up deciding on Iberia. Skytrax had some mixed reviews of IB Business Plus, but being the optimistic fellow that I am, thought I’d risk it. Also, it was slightly cheaper then the original AF itinerary that I had wanted. Once I bought it, I logged onto the booking via my BA Executive Club account, and realised that if I became a ‘Eurocheat’ (i.e. move my address to somewhere in mainland Europe), I’d actually qualify for BA Silver, something that I’d never thought possible given my normal tendency to buy discounted economy flights, and patronising Star Alliance rather than oneworld. Very annoyingly, a few days after booking, I was playing around with different dates (which weren’t as convenient), and found a Virgin Upper Class flight for GBP 200 less. Grrrr. Although if I’d gone with them, I wouldn’t be BA silver now.

I decided to book a night in Madrid on the outbound, and chose my flights as to hit meal times, as apposed to ‘snack’ times, as well as getting what will probably be my last flight on a BA B757. I’m a bit busy currently, so the report won’t be too wordy. I’m actually writing this from Stockholm. My return flight to London (actually from Tallinn via ARN) will hopefully feature on this website in a few weeks.

Despite having logged over 30 flights on BA, this would be my first time in Club Europe.

Welcome to Heathrow
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8536.jpg

July 2010
British Airways BA 464
London Heathrow (LHR) – Madrid (MAD)
Airbus A320-200 (G-EUUN)
Scheduled: 1310-1630 (2h20m)
Actual: 1435-1728 (1h53m)
Club Europe

Check in was handled by a very dour employee, whose first question was “Are you in Business?”. Obviously expecting a negative, she completed tagging my bags, and printing my boarding card without another word. Very rude.

I headed to the Galleries lounge, which was full when I arrived, but emptied soon after as the Qantas flight was called. (no photos of the lounge, but I got one in the AA lounge next door).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8546.jpg

It was raining heavily, and as such there were quite a few delays (including ours).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8538.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8539.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8540.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8541.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8542.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8543.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8547.jpg

As normal for BA European flights from T3, we were bussed out to the plane. A full compliment of 7 rows of 4 in Business Class today.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8550.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8551.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8552.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8553.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8554.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8560.jpg

As it was the first day of my holiday, obviously I decided to go with the Champagne!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8562.jpg

The cabin was completely full, with 7 rows of 4.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8556.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8570.jpg

One of the Channel Islands
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8567.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8568.jpg

Lunch was fish with pasta – quite tasty
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8571.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8572.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8575.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8573.jpg

Madrid Airport has some spectacular architecture, although using Terminal 4S means a long transit time to get into downtown Madrid – did they have it build it so far away?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8585.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8590.jpg

I think having 'dead' planes sitting around your main base, complete with current livery looks very cheap. Can't you move them out of the way?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8593.jpg

A night in Madrid…
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8614.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8632.jpg

I took the metro back to the airport, arriving just over 3 hours before my flight. I had to walk quite a way to the Business Class desks, then had to wait for ten minutes (there was quite a queue). Fortunately, the staff has excellent English, and were very friendly. My bag was tagged, and I was given a fast track boarding pass, which took just a few minutes to pass. I then hopped back on the shuttle train, and headed to the lounge.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8645.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8649.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8650.jpg

FIDS
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8651.jpg


I indulged in a few mini-Cavas, as well as some lunch. The lounge was nice – nothing was obviously missing, apart from reading material in English. As far as I could see, there wasn’t much in Spanish either.


Views from the lounge
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8655.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8658.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8659.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8671.jpg

EC-JBA for Havana
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8678.jpg


July 2010
Iberia IB 6621
Madrid (MAD) – Havana (HAV)
Airbus A340-600 (EC-JBA)
Scheduled: 1700-2045 (9h45m)
Actual: 1719-2026 (9h07m)
Business Plus

When I arrived at the gate, there was an enormous queue. I went to one of the gate agents, who after looking at my boarding card, let me through on the empty airbridge. The economy one was completely backed up.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8682.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8683.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8684.jpg

First impressions of the Business Plus cabin were very good. Iberia has just finished removing rows so that all seats recline to 180° (or thereabouts, they didn’t feel completely flat, but were far better than ‘lie-flat’).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8685.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8693.jpg

BA LCY flight
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8694.jpg

Pre take off drinks was a choice of water, orange juice, or cava, and a towelette.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8695.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8696.jpg

Thank goodness I wasn’t on one of those
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8697.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8699.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8700.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8701.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8703.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8705.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8706.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8708.jpg

The amenity kits were pretty good, although the container was very cheap plastic.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8711.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8714.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8715.jpg

The coast of Portugal
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8716.jpg

Hot Towels
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8717.jpg

Lunch started with nuts and more cava
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8718.jpg

Strangely (I thought) the appetisers were all served at the same time (along with the cheese) on a tray at the beginning. Not very premium. The food was tasty, however.
Tuna and Couscous
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8719.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8720.jpg

Pork and potatoes
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8721.jpg

Dessert wine and chocolate dessert
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8722.jpg

Tea and lemon


The Azores
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8725.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8727.jpg

After lunch, the lights were turned off, and the window shades were shut
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8728.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8729.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8730.jpg

Mid-flight snack – there were some sandwiches and drinks, as well as salads left out in the galley.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8731.jpg

Another disappointed came with the second service. No choice, and only a cold plate. What kind of longhual business class is this? I’ve spent too much time on Asian airlines! At least it was tasty.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8732.jpg

The cabin before landing
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8741.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8736.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8746.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8748.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8753.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8754.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8757.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8759.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8762.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8765.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8768.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8773.jpg

We touched down at Jose Marti Airport around twenty minutes early. I was one of the first off, so managed to get through immigration very quickly. Baggage wasn’t too fast, but at least the priority bags came out first.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8769.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8772.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8774.jpg

The arrivals hall was a bit of a nightmare, with people running around greeting relatives, but I managed to find my transfer guide after a while, and was on my way to start my Cuban adventure.

I found the staff to be very good on this sector. The cabin was around a third full, and so everything was relaxed. The staff spoke good English, and interacted well with the customers.


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24847 times:

A few photos from Cuba…

Havana
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8811.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9825.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9855.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9861.jpg

Old Cars
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8841.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9847.jpg

The Capitolo
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8864.jpg

Che and friends
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8909.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG8915.jpg

Trinidad (very nice city)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9004.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9008.jpg

Casa de la musica
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9110.jpg

Carribean Sea
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9141.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9255.jpg

Ladalimo
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9347.jpg

Tropicana Show
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9435.jpg

Varadero Beach
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9974.jpg

I also took one domesitc flight from Baracoa to Havana on AeroCarribean


Rest of the report is on it's way....



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4660 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24830 times:

Thanks for the report - lots of good pictures!

I wasn't too impressed with the meal service actually... reminds me a bit of a Finnair flight that I took in 2007 - similar crockery and such. Not amazing compared to the Asian carriers, that's for sure!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineN809FR From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 182 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24794 times:

Excellent trip report! It's always nice to see plenty of pictures from a new airport!

User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24733 times:

From my hotel in Varadero, I took a taxi (there were no buses….) back to the airport. Three houses later, after a very scenic drive, I was dropped off, with a good three and a half hours to go.

Some of Cubana's vintage fleet at the airport
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9988.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9990.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9991.jpg

August 2010
Iberia IB 6620
Havana (HAV) – Madrid (MAD)
Airbus A340-200 (EC-GJT)
Scheduled: 2250-1400 (9h10m)
Actual: 2302-1358 (8h56m)
Business Plus

I wasn’t sure if check in would be open yet, but as I approached the desk, they opened. My bag was tagged, and I was given both my boarding passes.

Annoyingly, the departure tax (around USD 40), has to be paid in local money at the airport, so I queued up, paid, and had my boarding card stamped.

Some views of the airport:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9992.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9994.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9996.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9997.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0007.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0008.jpg

Immigration was pretty quick, but then the queue for security took an age. There seemed to be two people running two machines, so watching the monitors, and frisking simultaneously. Not terribly efficient, especially during peak travel hours.

The lounge was not great. There was a bar, with a few bottle of rum, and a fridge with water, coke and beer. I took a few Cristals, and found a quiet corner. There were some snacks too, but they were stale/disgusting. Lucky I only had 3 hours to wait!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG9998.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0005.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0006.jpg

When I ventured into the main terminal I appreciated what little comfort was afforded in the lounge – it was very chaotic I the main area.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0003.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0010.jpg

Boarding took place around 2215, and the priority lane cut off a five minute wait. The staff weren’t as motivated as the ones coming over. Even by the end of the flight they didn’t realise that my Spanish really wasn’t very good – maybe it was better than their English?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0011.jpg

Welcome drink
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0013.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0023.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0025.jpg

The cabin was a bit fuller than on the way over, around 50%.

A full dinner was served shortly after take off. I can’t speak for my fellow passengers, but I’d have preferred a light meal, then a full breakfast, or maybe even a choice of 2 meals for each service. There I go again, being picky with my plane food.

Starters/cheese/soup course tray
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0026.jpg

Main course, plain but nice
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0027.jpg

Dessert
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0028.jpg

Tea and chocolate
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0029.jpg

Passing through the Bermuda Triangle
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0030.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0031.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0032.jpg

Breakfast….I kept expecting the crew to come through with a hot dish, or more bread, but no. That’s all you get, some fruit, some sugary yoghurt, a stale roll, and 3 pieces of cold toast…not impressed at all. Easily the worst meal of all the flights. How can QR and SQ offer 3 hot choices for breakfast in economy?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0033.jpg

Shortly before arrive, a survey was passed out, which I dutifully filled in, highlighting their poor (in my opinion) breakfast catering
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0037.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0034.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0038.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0048.jpg

Lovely architecture of MAD
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0049.jpg

After clearing secutiry (which had some very poor staff), I headed to the Iberia lounge, and took a very welcome shower.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0054.jpg

This time of the afternoon was extremely quiet in the lounge, and I had the buffet to myself.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0055.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0051.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0053.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0052.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0056.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0057.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0058.jpg


At ten past six I headed down to the gate. Unfortunately, there was not priority boarding, so I just joined the queue.

August 2010
British Airways BA 461
Madrid (MAD) – London Heathrow (LHR)
Boeing B757-200 (G-EUPD)
Scheduled: 1835-1950 (2h15m)
Actual: 1852-1952 (2h00m)
Club Europe

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0061.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0064.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0067.jpg

Upon boarding, the very bubbly purser checked my boarding card, and indicated to the left. Despite having 5 rows dedicated to Club, there were only 4 of us, so plenty of personalised service.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0068.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0069.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0070.jpg

We pushed back a few minutes late, and after a short taxi, we off on our way back to London.

Of, once again, I went for the champagne. In fact, I had 4 mini bottles over the next two hours, which made the flight quite pleasant.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0069.jpg

Dinner choices were salad niçoise, or potatoes and beef. I went for the latter.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0075.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0076.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0082.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0087.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0098.jpg

We touched down just 2 minutes late, and had a short taxi to Terminal 3’s remote stands, reserved to BAs European flights.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0104.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0105.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0108.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Cuba/CIMG0111.jpg

So, British Airways, after the initial poor start, had some pretty good service, especially on the return flight. In flight food was tasty, and the drinks were more than adequate.

Iberia were far better than I thought they were going to be. The staff on the outbound flight were great. The return staff not so much, but having a very late departure, explains the lack of customer interaction. The seats didn’t seem fully flat, but were pretty comfortable to sleep on. Would I fly with them again? Maybe if they had the best schedules, and had good prices. In economy though, probably not.



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User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1966 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24595 times:
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Good report! Sorry to see Iberia's Business Plus wasn't as good as you were hoping! The seats look very nice and comfortable, but the food does not look as impressive as some other airlines.

I like your photos too of Havana and some of Madrid; thanks for including these!

767747


User currently offlinecytz_pilot From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 569 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 23999 times:

Man, there were some nice photos in there! I really like the shot of the clouds approaching Havana, and the last photo, of the 757. Great work and thanks for posting about your trip!  

User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1278 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 23924 times:

1. So BA in C don't seem to serve a desert.

2. I find the BA Executrive Frequent Flyer Program a ripp off. They still have "fuel surcharges" on Awards and the high taxes through London which are not their fault. A so called free Award ticket on BA from NYC to GVA is $300 vs. $80 on CO. And if one stops over in LHR the cost is $400.

3. Also the first 10 days of October NYC to LHR no Award seat availability while on AA no problem. To Mauritius in November also difficult to get back even in C or F or Premium Y.

4. IB Y I liked to NYC from MAD but not impressed by their C based on your pictures. I also liked MAD Airport. I spent 5 enjoyable hours there 1 week after the bombings. It's beautiful.

Would love to go to Cuba. So near yet so far. Thanks for a great report.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 23202 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 2):
Thanks for the report - lots of good pictures!
Quoting N809FR (Reply 3):
Excellent trip report!

Thanks

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 2):
I wasn't too impressed with the meal service actually... reminds me a bit of a Finnair flight that I took in 2007 - similar crockery and such. Not amazing compared to the Asian carriers, that's for sure!

No, the meals really let the side down. If they'd spent an extra $20 per person, I think they could have something really good. Or even, if they just sort out what they serve, and when.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 5):

I like your photos too of Havana and some of Madrid; thanks for including these!
Quoting cytz_pilot (Reply 6):
Man, there were some nice photos in there!

Thanks. I took about 1500 over 3 weeks - most were right offs, but I did get a few good ones!

Quoting cytz_pilot (Reply 6):
I really like the shot of the clouds approaching Havana

That one have very recently become my desktop background!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
So BA in C don't seem to serve a desert.

Well, on the way out, there was a main dish, cheese and bread, but on the return, there was also a sort of yoghurt pot thing, so it seems to vary.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
I find the BA Executrive Frequent Flyer Program a ripp off.

It's not the greatest, but I qualified for Silver without consiously doing so. I also just made my first BA redemption (flying ARN to LHR), which saved me quite a lot of money due to very expensive last minute fares - they're changable online for free, which is quite nice.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
IB Y I liked to NYC from MAD but not impressed by their C based on your pictures. I also liked MAD Airport. I spent 5 enjoyable hours there 1 week after the bombings. It's beautiful.

IB wasn't too bad. I was just a bit dissapointed with the food. And MAD is very beautiful, I agree.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):

Would love to go to Cuba. So near yet so far. Thanks for a great report.

Cuba is an interesting destination. I'm next planning to go in around 2050, when they've rebuilt old Havana!



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User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 22105 times:

Hola Gabrielchew!

Thanks for this TR showing a non-profusely displayed in here.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
more importantly, I’d already bought the guide book.

The best reason... it has happened to me sometimes.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Iberia has just finished removing rows so that all seats recline to 180°

I have read about it and seems the result is quite satisfactory.

About IB food, I have tried it basically on long-haul to NYC and EZE and it varies from excellent to very basic, especially on breakfasts. On long hauls, NYC / HAV they tend to serve this basic thing you had while on 'ultra-long haul', EZE / SCL, they serve a more generous portion. A far as I remember they serve food from the trolley and there are usually three options, vegetarian one being a pasta dish that I once tried and promised to myself that I would never have it again: bland and very basic.

As well, snacks to EZE or SCL tend to be more generous.

Lack of smiles and professionalism is what keeps me from flying them, especially if delays and cancellations occur.

All in all an excellent TR, keep them coming.

Salut,

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineeric From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 21554 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
1. So BA in C don't seem to serve a desert.

2. I find the BA Executrive Frequent Flyer Program a ripp off. They still have "fuel surcharges" on Awards and the high taxes through London which are not their fault. A so called free Award ticket on BA from NYC to GVA is $300 vs. $80 on CO. And if one stops over in LHR the cost is $400.

3. Also the first 10 days of October NYC to LHR no Award seat availability while on AA no problem. To Mauritius in November also difficult to get back even in C or F or Premium Y.

4. IB Y I liked to NYC from MAD but not impressed by their C based on your pictures. I also liked MAD Airport. I spent 5 enjoyable hours there 1 week after the bombings. It's beautiful.

Would love to go to Cuba. So near yet so far. Thanks for a great report.

Firstly, they do serve a dessert. Secondly, your English (and I am not a native speaker) is incoherent. What did ya say???


User currently offlineWhereToNext From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 21122 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
A few photos from Cuba…

Thanks for the great trip report... and stop making us Americans so jealous! haha.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Lovely architecture of MAD

MAD is a beautiful airport. When I lived in Madrid for a short stint, I loved flying out of T4 and would frequently show up way to early for my flights just so I had the opportunity to wonder the terminal.


Again, thanks for the great trip report and a window into Cuba!

-Matt



Next Adventure: TBD
User currently offlineDavidCA From Canada, joined Jun 2009, 74 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days ago) and read 21078 times:

Nice TR! Iberia's food looks interesting even if it was limited in choice and less substantial in quantity than one might expect. I wonder what Cubana's service on the route is like.  

I visited Cuba (Havana only) for the first time last year and loved it despite the inconveniences. You seem to have taken in a lot more of the country than I did, so I enjoyed your pics.

Congrats on getting to silver, and enjoy the perks!


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8596 posts, RR: 54
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 20941 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gabrielchew,

A most interesting report as a, I'm flying IB Business Class to MEX next year and b, we are thinking of visiting Cuba next hear!

The IB lounges are a weak spot though I have seen signs of improved food offerings, hopefully this is one area BA will be able to show some influence.

Liked the shot of the MX 332, had booked to fly them but the current troubles made me change my flight, best safe!

Whilst the food and cabin was not so great, the food certainly looks better than I was expecting so thats a good thing, thought it would be much worse, though I admit that breakfast offering was pretty pathetic.

Thanks for sharing, quite looking forward to my IB flight now!

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 20871 times:

Thanks for all your comments!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 13):
The IB lounges are a weak spot though I have seen signs of improved food offerings, hopefully this is one area BA will be able to show some influence.

Well, to be honest, I though the BA and IB lounges were on par with each other. IB in T4S is certainly a lot empiter than BA in T5.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 13):
Liked the shot of the MX 332

I know, it's a very nice looking machine.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 13):
though I admit that breakfast offering was pretty pathetic

Yup, definately the low point. Very stingy.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 13):
Thanks for sharing, quite looking forward to my IB flight now!

Yes, IB (in Business) aren't something to worry about too much.

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 9):
About IB food, I have tried it basically on long-haul to NYC and EZE and it varies from excellent to very basic, especially on breakfasts. On long hauls, NYC / HAV they tend to serve this basic thing you had while on 'ultra-long haul', EZE / SCL, they serve a more generous portion. A far as I remember they serve food from the trolley and there are usually three options, vegetarian one being a pasta dish that I once tried and promised to myself that I would never have it again: bland and very basic.

I might have to give IB a try on one of the 'deep south' routes, just to try their breakfast!

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 9):
All in all an excellent TR, keep them coming.

No problem!

Quoting WhereToNext (Reply 11):
Thanks for the great trip report... and stop making us Americans so jealous! haha.

Well, there were a few Americans around. Way more Canadians and Europeans, but still a few. It IS possible to go!

Quoting DavidCA (Reply 12):
I wonder what Cubana's service on the route is like.

Mmm, I can't imagine it'd be great

Quoting DavidCA (Reply 12):
Congrats on getting to silver, and enjoy the perks!

Oh, I will do. I have an ARN-LHR flight coming up on Thursday, and possibly LHR-AMS-LHR in September, so making full use of the lounges!



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User currently offlinetaichen From Spain, joined Jul 2001, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 19912 times:

Very nice report ! IB catering looks as a quite poor business product .. .that food is fairly basic and almost is Y class quality ... the cold snack on the MAD-HAV leg and the breakfast HAV-MAD a re really a joke !

User currently offlinePlunaCRJ From Uruguay, joined Nov 2007, 576 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 19768 times:

Fantastic report. Cuba is in my "wish list", it lools fascinating and your pictures are very tempting.

IB´s catering for sure does not look good. A shame really, as otherwise their "Business Plus" looks quite good.

Quoting DavidCA (Reply 12):
I wonder what Cubana's service on the route is like.

I´ve got no idea, but´d love to try it and fly on a beautiful Il96!


User currently offlinealuminumcity From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 19600 times:

Hey! I saw you stayed at the Blau Varadero; how did you like it?


"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 19378 times:

Quoting taichen (Reply 15):
the breakfast HAV-MAD a re really a joke !

Yeah, it wasn't great.

Quoting PlunaCRJ (Reply 16):
Cuba is in my "wish list", it lools fascinating and your pictures are very tempting.

Cuba is certainly a facinating country, and worth a visit. I was there for 3 weeks though, which was far too long. It's not the easiest country to travel around.

Quoting PlunaCRJ (Reply 16):
"Business Plus" looks quite good.

Yeah, other than some dodgy catering, the product is good. Priority bags, lounges, plesant staff, good drinks, comfy seats, ok IFE.... flights on time, what more could you want than a hot breakfast?

Quoting PlunaCRJ (Reply 16):
Quoting DavidCA (Reply 12):
I wonder what Cubana's service on the route is like.

I´ve got no idea, but´d love to try it and fly on a beautiful Il96!

Yeah, that'd certainly be an interesting way to cross the Atlantic

Quoting aluminumcity (Reply 17):
Hey! I saw you stayed at the Blau Varadero; how did you like it?

I got a great rate for a suite on Opodo (less than US$100 a night), so I had a good room, with a nice view. The food was generally good, and a lot fancier than I thought. I loved the free flowing cocktails - different from the hotels I normally stay in! The beach wasn't great though, and the wind was too strong to do any watersports, which was a shame - quite fancied doing some windsurfing  



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User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27339 posts, RR: 60
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 19209 times:

Great report, brings back memories of my trips to Cuba. HAV hasnt changed a bit and I remember it being chaotic also.
I have to say the Iberia product is better than I thought it would be a nice surprise.

Great pics of the whole trip .

OA260


User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 19182 times:

Just in case you want to know beforehand!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I might have to give IB a try on one of the 'deep south' routes, just to try their breakfast!
Cheers over Florianopolis

Starters... usually the best meal of the day

Beef today was excelently cooked...

Cake and cheeses with some sweet wine... Very tatsy

Full breakfast... quality needs to be improved

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (2 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13086 times:

Sorry for the extremely late replies! A bit of end of year tidying up!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
Great report

Thanks Phil!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
HAV hasnt changed a bit and I remember it being chaotic also.

I don't imagine it will be improved any time soon

Quoting OA260 (Reply 19):
Great pics of the whole trip .

Thanks!

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 20):
Just in case you want to know beforehand!

Thanks Roger for adding those, very interesting.



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User currently offlinejetblast From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 1232 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (2 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13047 times:

Excellent report! I wasn't aware IB's J service was so lacking....

Small note for you though-

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
August 2010
British Airways BA 461
Madrid (MAD) – London Heathrow (LHR)
Boeing B757-200 (G-EUPD)
Scheduled: 1835-1950 (2h15m)
Actual: 1852-1952 (2h00m)
Club Europe

G-EUPD is an A319, looks like your last picture of the airplane shows you were on G-CPER 

Rgds Brian



Speedbird Concorde One
User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (2 years 12 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 12996 times:

Great read and great photos.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The lounge was not great. There was a bar, with a few bottle of rum, and a fridge with water, coke and beer.

Surely IB should get Havana to upgrade their lounge for premium passengers? They get 40$ per pax and in Cuba I think that would go a long way to building better facilities.

Sorry to say I thought IB food looked dismal (even the other later pics). I think I would have popped a sleeping pill and left it. Compared to the BA food one wonders how BA thinks they can have a seamless service service with IB? The two airlines are not in the same league.

I loved your pics of Cuba. Very well shot. It feels like I've been there. No need to go now.  


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 12079 times:

Quoting jetblast (Reply 22):
Excellent report!

Thanks!

Quoting jetblast (Reply 22):
I wasn't aware IB's J service was so lacking....

Well, most the routes they serve lack much competition, so they don't try their hardest I don't think. Still they are 100% flat beds in C, so better than a lot of airlines.

Quoting jetblast (Reply 22):
G-EUPD is an A319, looks like your last picture of the airplane shows you were on G-CPER

Thanks, I'll update my log

Quoting Babybus (Reply 23):
Great read and great photos.

Thanks!

Quoting Babybus (Reply 23):
Surely IB should get Havana to upgrade their lounge for premium passengers? They get 40$ per pax and in Cuba I think that would go a long way to building better facilities.

Well it's a puclic Cuban facility, I don't think the authorities are going to be investing any time soon!

Quoting Babybus (Reply 23):
I loved your pics of Cuba. Very well shot. It feels like I've been there. No need to go now.

Old Havana is a great place for a wonder, I'd still reccomend going!



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