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The Barajas Purgatory. Iberia Being Iberia  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 15161 times:

I travel between the US (Chicago) and Europe quite frequently and a good deal of times my destination lies within the Balkans, either for business-related reasons or to see my family. Often, instead of flying into Bulgaria (SOF) I choose to fly into SKG (in Greece) which happens to be just an hour and half from the Greek-Bulgarian border and the Bulgarian town of Petrich where I sometimes need to be.

In late December I had to do my SKG run once more and having this weird fetish of wanting to try as many different carriers as I can, I chose IB who I had never flown with before. I booked my flight sometime in spring and at the time my itinerary involved stopovers at MAD and FRA before getting to SKG with A3. In June I got notified that my itinerary had changed and that I was to fly via MAD and DUS instead of FRA. Finally, in late Fall I get another notification that I had to fly via MAD and FRA again, but at slightly different times compared to the original itinerary. I was a bit disappointed because I liked the idea of flying via DUS (a new airport for me). However, my main worry now was the short layover at MAD (just over an hour). Knowing IB's reputation for delays I was convinced that I was in for a missed connection...

My suspicions did not take long to be confirmed as upon my arrival at ORD I see that the incoming flight from MAD is delayed by an hour. Knowing that this kind of delay can often be compensated for in the air (at least to some degree), I tried to remain hopeful. Unlike the vast majority of non-US carriers at ORD which arrive at and depart from T5 , IB arrives at T5 but departs from T3. As a result, the aircraft has to make a trip from T5 to T3 which adds a considerable amount of time to the turnaround.

I'll skip much of the details regarding parts of the trip that were unremarkable. My main focus will be on the events that took place at the airports I found myself in (mainly MAD) and less on the flights themselves, which were nothing to write home about. Due to the course of events, I did not shoot as many photos as I would normally do. However, at the end of this TR I do offer a few bonus photos of my final destination(s).

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6427.jpg
Here's our delayed bad boy

The flight was to be operated by an A340. Somehow I managed to get myself a bulkhead window seat for which I was very excited about as it would guarantee me a comfortable flight and potentially some sleep. Or so I thought. Once I get on the plane I see a couple and their few-months-old baby sitting where my seat should be. I informed them that the window seat was mine but they told me, in broken english (they were Spanish), that the crew had allowed them to sit here and next to each other so that they can both be next to the baby who had to use the bulkhead bassinet. Instead they offer me the seat right next to them on the isle side of the middle rows where one of them was originally assigned. No problem, I guess, I understand that it would be more convenient for them. Once I took my new seat I realize that the person sitting next to me is the grandma of the baby. She would bend over my lap and talk to the couple at frequent intervals so after a while I decide to offer her my seat so that she can be right next to them. So now instead of a bulkhead window seat I end up in the middle of the aircraft's width, with a person on each side. I happen to be 6'3'' so even this is better than most seats on the plane, at least in terms of legspace, so I shouldn't complain. I understand that travelling with a toddler is not easy and one should make any travelling parents' lives easy when possible. What bothered me however was that neither the parents nor the grandma even bothered to thank me. Lack of politeness bothers me.

Fast forward several hours later in MAD. We arrive at T4 of MAD with just about enough delay to miss my connection so once in the terminal I head straight for a transfer counter. I find one right away but so have 70-80 others who have formed a snaking line.

What followed I have chosen to describe in the form of bullet-point notes which I started taking once I realized that I was in for a long day.

9:35am: Been in the line for over half an hour and I swear that it hasn't moved at all. There are only 2 people on this desk and they are clearly dealing with some tough transfer cases, or possibly some tough-to-please passengers.

10:20: Still here. I can count about 10 people ahead of me now.
10:35: They just announced that the counter will be closing in 10 mins so everyone should go past the luggage reclaim and into the main terminal if they wish to find another transfer desk. What do I do? Do I stay here in hope that I will be helped in the next 10 mins (I am now 3rd in line) or do I make a move to make sure that all these people behind me don't beat me to those other desks?). I stick around for a bit longer and when it's clear that there is not enough time I make a move and head for the main terminal. Why would a transfer desk with so many people close? Is Iberia short staffed or something? This is terrible.

11:42: In my confusion, I waste 5 mins waiting in the lost luggage line thinking it was a transfer desk. OK, I am stupid I admit, but why is there no sign above the desk?

11:45: Oh boy. Each and every one of the 5 transfer desks I can see has at least 30+ people.
12:15: Still here
12:35: Everything is moving very slowly.
1:15: I can see the people behind the counter.
1:30: I am next in line. I hope they give me an exciting alternative route...

1:45: I am told that I will be flying with AZ to Rome. They give me a piece of paper with which I am supposed to go to T2 and check in for the next flight to FCO. I'm also told I need to go back to baggage claim and either find my suitcase or file to have it re-routed to SKG. I explain to the counter lady that I cannot go back there as there is a security checkpoint that prevents passengers from re-entering the area. She gives me another piece of paper to give to the security guy to let me through.

11:50: I went through. I am having a look for my luggage in the sea of lost suitcases. In a similar scenario a few years back in FCO I managed to find my bag.

12:10: No luck here though. I will report it lost and have it sent to SKG. I join the line for lost luggage.

12:50: Finally. Got it done. I can now leave for T2
13:00: I need to take a bus to go there. T2 is kinda far away.
13:15: Finally here. That was a longer drive than I thought. The line for checking in to my flight is huge and the space is minimal. The fact that the place is full of loud, line-skipping, Italians is not very encouraging.   But who am I to complain, I grew up in the Balkans, I should be used to this.

3:15: I just realized that I have not eaten or been in the bathroom since around 8am. It doesn't matter. There is no way I will leave this line right now.

3:25: The check-in counter lady laughs at my face when I give her the paper I was issued. She tells me that IB had put me on a waiting list for this flight and that there was no chance I could fly with AZ as their flights are fully booked for the next 2 days. She tells me to go back to T4 and ask IB to find me an alternative route.

3:35: Back on the bus to T4. Not looking forward to this. I know I have several more minutes (hours?) of waiting ahead of me.

3:50: The lines at the transfer desks are as long as they were this morning. I join the crowd. It seems that lots of people got stranded in MAD. I wonder what triggered this.

4:45: I am now very close to the counter. I see two people helping, a friendly-looking lady and a scary rude dude. I hope I get the lady.

5:05: I am next in line. It seems like I'm gonna get the guy. After waiting in several lines for 8 hours or so, I don't really care even if I have to deal with Bill O'Reilly.

5:12: The guy prints me out a list of all of AZ's flights for the next 2 days and asks me to go to T2 and basically camp there until I get on one of them. I try to explain that this is ludicrous and that AZ already told me that this was a lost cause. Surely, you can put me on a flight to ATH or elsewhere where I can connect to SKG, right? The guy doesn't even listen to me.

5:40. Back in T2. I skip the line and ask an AZ lady about my case. She tells me that I should not even bother and that I should ask IB to find me a route other than that through FCO. I ask her if she can do that on my behalf since I'm being ignored by IB. She says she can't do that. I understand.

6:00: Back in T4. I try a different transfer desk this time, just to make sure that I don't end up dealing with the same guy as earlier.

6:40: 40 mins! That was a quick one. I am next in line.
4:45: The guy refuses my request and tells me that he cannot undo what the previous guy did (that is, put me in AZ's waiting list) and that I should go back to the transfer desk he was. You gotta be kidding me. I can't say that I know how these things work, but I refuse to believe that I need to go to a specific transfer desk for my case to be taken care of. He won't listen.

4:47: Back to the original transfer desk. I am furious now. I wish I was given a flight to anywhere, even back to the US. This is ridiculous.

4:55: I cannot control my nerves anymore. Exhaustion has taken over and I'm afraid that I will snap at someone. I am seriously considering vandalizing something just for the sake of calming myself down.

5:05: This line is slower than any other all day. I will be here all night.
5:35: I give up on the line. I just need to rest my body somewhere. I have not eaten anything but I am so furious I don't even feel hunger.
6:25: I realize that one of the (somewhat remote) transfer desks has only 10 people waiting. I decide to join. More people join in after me.
7:25: Someone in the line behind me points out that this is a Business class transfer desk and asks whether we are all Business class customers. I am next in line so I pretend I'm not listening.
7:45: Finally I get to speak with someone that seems to be willing to help.
8:15: After much back and forth she tells me that there is nothing that can be done for today and that she has no flights for me. She tells me that I should go and talk to Aegean in T2 and ask them to put me to a flight to ATH the next day. I tell her that this is ridiculous, I shouldn't be the one to negotiate flights. They have the responsibility to allocate me to a new route. Besides A3 had no part in this, how on earth could they offer me a flight out of MAD? She tells me that there is nothing she can do and that I can wait until the next day. I ask her whether I will be accommodated for tonight. She reluctantly tells me that she can try and do something.

8:30: I'll be staying at the Tryp Hotel tonight. I have been provided with one night's stay and with dinner and breakfast vouchers. I'm now waiting for the bus to take me there.

8:50: I'm the first off the bus and I check in with the reception. In theory I can stay here and sleep until tomorrow noon but I'll be up and going as soon as I can so I can try to get me on a flight.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6428.jpg
Looking outside my room window at Tryp Diana Hotel

I shower, go to the hotel restaurant where I have some veggie soup and a nasty steak and head to my room for some much needed sleep.

The next day I get up early, shower again (who knows when I'll get the chance to shower again), eat breakfast at the buffet and jump onto the first shuttle bus to the airport. The bus is supposed to stop at T2 first. We get near T2 but there is a traffic jam due to a demonstration of some kind. The bus is stuck and there is nowhere to go. I decide to get off the bus and walk to T2. Maybe I can try talking to A3 while I'm there even though I know it's a lost cause.

I get to the A3 counter and of course I am met with the expected response: A3 cannot do anything. IB is the only one that can get me out of this.

The traffic standstill is still in effect so I cannot leave T2 yet. After a few minutes the traffic gets moving to some degree and a bus takes me to T4. Once there I join a line and hope for the best. I have now stopped taking notes as I am overtaken by a feeling of hopelessness. After waiting for about 45 mins I get to talk to a nice lady at the IB counter who seems very understanding of my situation. I spend about half an hour with her as she is trying to find me something. She seems to have trouble but she eventually agrees to put me to one of IB's own flights to ATH. I am starting to get excited! What about from ATH to SKG though? She tells me that given that IB does not fly between ATH and SKG there is nothing they can do. I'm starting to think that this whole thing is a prank. The reason I am not already in SKG is because of IB and their initial delay (which was not due to weather by the way). IB should reroute me to my ORIGINAL destination. You cannot dump me in ATH and ask me to find my way to SKG. Eventually after much deliberation she books me a flight with OA from ATH to SKG but for the next day, as my arrival in ATH would be near midnight. I ask her if she could arrange for my accommodation in ATH and she tells me that she sent a wire to ATH so that once I get there I would be taken care of. I believe it and I leave happy. The lady also gave me some lunch vouchers which I waste no time using since my appetite had returned.

Here are some shots from Barajas
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6430.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6432.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6435.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6436.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6438.jpg

Fast Forward to several hours later in the evening. I board the flight which has a load factor of no more than 35-40%... I find it difficult to believe that this flight was full the day before and I wonder why IB did not put me on it instead of insisting that I fly with AZ.

I arrive in ATH soon before midnight and I head to the OA counter to get my boarding pass for the next morning's flight and also ask about my accommodation. They tell me that they have not received any wire and that if anyone should have received it should be ATH's IB desk which was by now closed. The OA lady tells me that she'll ask her supervisor to see if anything can be done about me. She comes back and apologetically tells me that OA cannot help me. She tells me that if I want a nice place to sleep, there is a quiet area with some couches near the McDonalds restaurant. For a moment I am considering checking into a hotel but then I decide to stick around and wait the few hours to my flight. This made ATH the 5th airport for me to have spent a night on, after MAN, EDI, LGW and OTP. I find an area with some TVs and watch a couple of documentaries until 3am, then I sleep for a couple of hours and once I woke up I got ready for my flight.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6441.jpg
Many Greeks will find the name of this toilet's brand funny. It's interesting that this is actually in ATH.

Much of the rest of the morning goes by in a haze as I am now exhausted. I don't remember much of the OA flight, other than the christmas-tree shaped cookies that we got and the lovely pink sunrise over Mount Olympus and the Pierian Mountains.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6443.jpg
Christmas tree-shaped cookies, courtesy of OA

A few photos of the magnificent skies over the Pieria Mountains as we are approaching SKG
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6444.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6447.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6450.jpg

Once in SKG, I inquire about my luggage and whether it had made its way to SKG yet but of course I was met with a negative reply. Only 2 days later did I receive a phone call informing me of my bag's arrival. I hadn't left for Bulgaria yet so I went to the airport and collected it. The condition of the bag was hard to describe. While it used to be light gray, it was now definitely a very dark gray with black patches at places, while its pulling handle had been broken. At least nothing had broken inside the bag...

As promised at the beginning of this TR, and given that most of it was in text, I have decided to include a few photos from in and around Thessaloniki and Bulgaria.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6466.jpg
Some incoming traffic over SKG

Driving away from the airport
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6575.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6453.jpg

During the second day in Thessaloniki I took a walk up the Oraiokastro forest where one can see a distant panoramic view of the Thessaloniki bay

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6500.jpg
Thessaloniki and Thermaikos Bay as seen from the Oraiokastro hills

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6498.jpg
Looking east you can see the Hortiatis Mountain

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6477.jpg
Wild raspberries!

People in Greece really have no respect for traffic rules and signs...
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6602.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6604.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6510.jpg

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6729.jpg
A nice look at the bay from the old fortified town. At the far distance you can see Mount Olympus

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_7033.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6922.jpg
More of the old town streets

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6753.jpg
...and of course, the symbol of the city, the White Tower.

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6763.jpg
The OTE tower

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6741.jpg
Some modern architecture in the downtown area

What I like about Greece in the winter is the full of orange/tangerine trees that line pretty much every street
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_7047.jpg
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6758.jpg


By the time I was ready to go to Bulgaria it was already snowing. Here are some shots of the drive there
http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6803.jpg

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6828.jpg
The border crossing at Promahonas-Kulata

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll89/JuancaNadal/IMG_6831.jpg
Snowy Petrich



So in summary, here are my impressions of my first experience with IB:


Positives:
-The food, which I have not spoken about, but it was pretty decent in both quality and quantity. This was the case for both the transatlantic and the MAD-ATH legs.
-The new Terminal 4 of Barajas is a very nice building and all of its facilities were well taken care of. Too bad I did not get the chance to enjoy them in the way I wanted.

Negatives:
-Well, pretty much everything else. IB, for most part was extremely unhelpful, and it all came down to what individual you had the (mis)fortune to deal with. Again, I understand that they had a great deal of people to deal with, but their attitude and methods only made things worse both for themselves and their customers. Another negative that I did not discuss was the attitude of IB's flight crew (especially on the transatlantic leg) which was pretty poor to say the least, mainly regarding their attitude which at times reached the point of rudeness.

Overall this was an extremely exhausting and frustrating experience. I understand that sometimes things can get hectic, especially during the holiday season or immediately before it, but I feel that IB handled the whole situation extremely poorly. Of course I appreciate the accommodation and the food vouchers, but I feel that this is the least IB could have done following the ordeal that I (and I suspect many others) had to go through.

At this point I must say that the return leg went much more smoothly, even though IB's service was again average at best.

Thank you for reading. Any comments would be appreciated.


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2020 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 15127 times:

Wow!

I flew Iberia about 17 years ago on BOG - CCS - MAD and swore never, ever to fly them again! They are the worst airline I know out there by far. Plus, I got fleas!

I'm surprised we're not reading a news report about you trashing the airport. By the end of your ordeal I think I would've punched a few people and destroyed some property. I wonder how many other pax went through the same ordeal as you and hence there were the long lines at the transfer desk.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
10:35: They just announced that the counter will be closing in 10 mins

Why would they close the counter mid morning?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Somehow I managed to get myself a bulkhead window seat for which I was very excited about as it would guarantee me a comfortable flight and potentially some sleep. Or so I thought. Once I get on the plane I see a couple and their few-months-old baby sitting where my seat should be. I informed them that the window seat was mine but they told me, in broken english (they were Spanish), that the crew had allowed them to sit here and next to each other so that they can both be next to the baby who had to use the bulkhead bassinet. Instead they offer me the seat right next to them on the isle side of the middle rows where one of them was originally assigned. No problem, I guess, I understand that it would be more convenient for them. Once I took my new seat I realize that the person sitting next to me is the grandma of the baby. She would bend over my lap and talk to the couple at frequent intervals so after a while I decide to offer her my seat so that she can be right next to them. So now instead of a bulkhead window seat I end up in the middle of the aircraft's width, with a person on each side. I happen to be 6'3'' so even this is better than most seats on the plane, at least in terms of legspace, so I shouldn't complain. I understand that travelling with a toddler is not easy and one should make any travelling parents' lives easy when possible. What bothered me however was that neither the parents nor the grandma even bothered to thank me. Lack of politeness bothers me.

I used to get the bulkhead when flying in Y so I could get off the plane faster. I've learned that is a mistake as 90% of the time there will be crying babies there, so I try to sit midway through the cabin. I had a similar experience to yours on an SQ flight MEL - SIN, but the parents got the FA to ask me to move, and I ended up moving to the 4 seats in the center of the cabin, which was great!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
weird fetish of wanting to try as many different carriers

Aha! I think this would be part of the problem. I almost exclusively fly Star Alliance, as I have Gold status, and that helps a bit in situations like these.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | CX SYD-HKG-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25166 posts, RR: 48
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 14959 times:

Thanks for the report, and yes sadly Iberia can be Iberia. Quite a shame really for a country that has so many other positive things in it.


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently onlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6187 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 14810 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I chose IB who I had never flown with before.

That, my friend, was your first mistake. I thought they were the worst, until I travelled with AR this December, feel free to look at the trip report. Journey: MTY-MDZ; Part 4 EZE-MDZ, AR 1420 Y (by AR385 Jan 25 2011 in Trip Reports)

I HAD to travel TATL with IB 3 times , in 2006 and I swore after the third time that I would rather swim across than fly that lunatic asylum that calls itself an airline.

I´ve seldom encountered a company (until AR now) where the service is bad across the entire organiazation. IB should a Harvard Business School case.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I see a couple and their few-months-old baby sitting where my seat should be. I informed them that the window seat was mine but they told me, in broken english (they were Spanish), that the crew had allowed them to sit here and next to each other so that they can both be next to the baby who had to use the bulkhead bassinet. Instead they offer me the seat right next to them on the isle side of the middle rows where one of them was originally assigned. No problem, I guess, I understand that it would be more convenient for them.

True. But the FA should have at least waited to have had te courtesy to ask you.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I have some veggie soup and a nasty steak

You can only eat good meat in certain parts of Spain.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
that I did not discuss was the attitude of IB's flight crew (especially on the transatlantic leg) which was pretty poor to say the least, mainly regarding their attitude which at times reached the point of rudeness.

God save you from having to fly one of their South American TATLs. Their rudeness borders on racism and once I heard an FA yell to a passenger that was legitimally complaining: "Shut up Sudaca!"

In my experience, when something like what happened to you occurs, as opposed to the US where good education and politeness is the formula that works, in Europe it is the oppossite. You need to yell, scream, demand to see managers, make a fuss, no move from the counter, yelll again, etc. until you become such a nuisance (and a threat to their coffee break) that they will help you, if only to get read of you.

I´ve practiced this much with AF, which often comes up with shit like IB´s on the ground. After much yelling and screaming and protesting and threatening you get your way.

Also, never ever trust any paper they give you saying another airline SPECIALLY in another erminal is "expecting you". They are just trying to get rid of you. Demand a solution to your problem according to your original itinerary right there.

They only (major) European airline where I´ve had experienes like yours that I haven´t had to solve by yelling and screaming, threatening and almost scratching the floor is LH.

In the US is the oppossite, of course.

Good pictures though.



MGGS
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2417 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 14697 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Of course I appreciate the accommodation and the food vouchers, but I feel that this is the least IB could have done following the ordeal that I (and I suspect many others) had to go through.



Ok, you know that this is not enough. As you are travelling on an European air carrier on a long haul flight and you are arriving more than a day later on your final/booked destination, your are entitled to have 600€uro compensation. On top, IB will also have to pay for ALL accommodations (you should have taken a hotel and reclaim the money).

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/...uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:EN:PDF


User currently offlineBogota From Colombia, joined Sep 2004, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14097 times:

Why does it not surprise me at all, very good report, it got my blood boiling. As many around I try to never fly with them, can´t imagine why anybody with options would even consider them. I do not understand why they keep growing in Latin America, most destinations have much better options to get you to Europe.

User currently offlinefaucett From Peru, joined Jul 2009, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13975 times:

Oh g-d! I was reading your hour by hour saga in barajas, and I felt a hole being dug in my chest. I feel for you and your terrible experience.
Last year I flew from Almeria to Valencia via Madrid. A trip that should have lasted 3 hours lasted 17. A train would have taken me for under 4 hours. Big mistake flying IB via MAD.
It's a pity, since I really love Spain. There is a huge dissonance between the warm Spaniards and the simply obnoxious IB crew. Go figure. My cousing, who is Spanish, tells me the IB air and ground crew are trained with the Red Army....

Hope your next TR is a more positive one.

Dan



faucett
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1688 posts, RR: 31
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13921 times:

Absolutely great TR in a way to show how IB treats their CUSTOMERS !!!  

Leaving everything up to you (going from Terminal to Terminal), closing a transfer-desk because of siesta, giving you 'pieces of paper' while they should have given you a print of your AZ-reservation and even, reluctantly, giving you a hotel room at the airport after > 10 hours of giving you this 'mis-service'; go and figure: this is part of the BA-IB group now and part of the OneWorld alliance: they should have known and giving you better service !!! You were even a longhaul customer with them, not 'just' a local domestic one...

Like Debonair said: send in a claim for your 600 Euro, as they really mistreated you with a CONFIRMED alternative and hotel at ATH...



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3245 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13880 times:

OMG, your trip sounded AWFUL! IB's contempt for their passengers is horrendous. I'm flying BA/IB a week today LHR-MAD-TFN. *Hopefully* things will go a bit more smoothly than they did for you. It's terrible when airlines just ignore you, but what can you do? You are at their mercy. I suppose you can always try calling your insurance company or the people you bought the ticket from for compensation?


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User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13878 times:

Goodness me. What a dreadful experience you underwent. Reading it felt almost like reading a novel by Franz Kafka with its growing sense of desperation, anger and unreality.

After all the delays and frustrations you experienced IB were obliged to make arrangements for you and provide meals, accommodation and compensation as it was their fault that they delays occurred.


User currently onlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8535 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 13773 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for posting, a very interesting report for sure!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Once I get on the plane I see a couple and their few-months-old baby sitting where my seat should be. I informed them that the window seat was mine but they told me, in broken english (they were Spanish), that the crew had allowed them to sit here

- I'd at least have expected the crew to ask first!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
After waiting in several lines for 8 hours or so

- OMG!

Wow, IB on your trip seem to be just a disaster, quite amazing. I've heard bad things but never had a bad experience myself, perhaps I got lucky?

I'm off to MEX with IB soon, fingers crossed all will go well...................

Rgds

Mark



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User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 13711 times:

what a terrible experience you had in MAD. Sorry to read about all the trouble you had. IB should be ashamed (if they actually even cared). Airlines like IB seem to fail to realise that one of their best assets must be their staff. IB dont' seem to know this. I flew with IB in 2010 and whilst it was not TATL, it was one of the worst customer experiences I've had with an airline since I flew with Philippine Airlines back in 1994!


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13396 times:

Thank you so much for sharing this trip report, I will now avoid Iberia at ALL COSTS.

Seriously, what a horrible airline. I'm glad you made it to your destination in one piece though. I don't think I would've been able to keep my calm in all honesty, so I respect you for that.


User currently offlinegr09 From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2008, 115 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13341 times:

Wow what a terrible experience!

I've flown TATL on IB quite a few times in 2006/2007. If I could chose now, I would never select IB in Y. The business class is not so bad though, I quite enjoyed them. Their flight attendants are so rude, I'm always speechless. Now after reading your experience with re-routing I'm sure I won't even consider them for a long-haul if there is another option.

Once I was on a flight MAD-MEX. We had 4 hours delay because of broken toilet at MAD. They kept us all on board and only once passed offering a glass of water. And as usually, the flight attendants were almost yelling at passengers whenever anybody wanted anything. Believe me or not, this was also the only time where my luggage was lost in MAD (my leg to MAD was also on IB) and arrived to TAM (that was my final destination) after a week..


User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2175 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13240 times:

I agree, a disgusting airline that really needs to get in gear to improve its reputation. I had a similar problem with long queues at MAD when my connecting flight was cancelled once.

User currently offlineaa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13106 times:

Quoting Bogota (Reply 5):
Why does it not surprise me at all, very good report, it got my blood boiling

Agreed.

This TR is enough for me never to fly IB..... Unless it's a free F ticket with no connections.



Go big or go home
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 934 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 12870 times:

Huh, sounds like a fabulous trip if I ever want to get in touch with my masochistic side...

By the way, this was my favorite line:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
7:25: Someone in the line behind me points out that this is a Business class transfer desk and asks whether we are all Business class customers. I am next in line so I pretend I'm not listening.



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
User currently offlinelhr380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 12539 times:

WOW

Any idea of the reason for the delay. Ah, just went back to read when you flew, Europe was a mess with weather problems. Yes it may not have been bad in Madrid, but it would have badly effected schedules. I hated December as it was nothing but rebookings, tough enough in that month anyway, but even tough as everyone was getting hit hard by the delays.


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 12265 times:

Thank you so much for your responses so far guys! I really appreciate all you had to say and for your words of support.

Quoting Coal (Reply 1):
I'm surprised we're not reading a news report about you trashing the airport. By the end of your ordeal I think I would've punched a few people and destroyed some property. I wonder how many other pax went through the same ordeal as you and hence there were the long lines at the transfer desk.

Fortunately my case was taken care of just before I was about to reach my breaking point. I really don't know how I would have reacted if this thing kept going... If I was kept being bounced around and ignored I would have probably done something that would have required the presence of the airport's security. I'm glad that this was not necessary in the end.

Quoting Coal (Reply 1):
Why would they close the counter mid morning?

Good question. I have no idea and no explanation was provided. Given the number of people waiting there (and the duration most of them had already spent there) it's absolutely unacceptable to ask them to join new lines elsewhere. Lots of passengers were being screwed over in this way. Especially those ones that had reached by that time the front of the line.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Thanks for the report, and yes sadly Iberia can be Iberia. Quite a shame really for a country that has so many other positive things in it

I agree. I really like Spain (been there before with EZ) so it's really a shame that their national carrier is such a mess.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
That, my friend, was your first mistake. I thought they were the worst, until I travelled with AR this December, feel free to look at the trip report. Journey: MTY-MDZ; Part 4 EZE-MDZ, AR 1420 Y (by AR385 Jan 25 2011 in Trip Reports)

Wow, I feel for you. I somehow had missed your TR (even though I usually keep an eye out for TR involving Argentina). I'm really sorry you had to go through such a bad experience too.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
True. But the FA should have at least waited to have had te courtesy to ask you.

I agree. Apparently a verdict for my seating was reached in my absence...

Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
They only (major) European airline where I´ve had experienes like yours that I haven´t had to solve by yelling and screaming, threatening and almost scratching the floor is LH.

You can say that again! In similar scenarios in MUC (twice), I had my transfer taken care of within 5 mins of me getting off the plane. LH was super efficient at rerouting me, even though the reason for the missed connection did not lie with them but with BA the first time and AC and UA the second.

Quoting debonair (Reply 4):
Ok, you know that this is not enough. As you are travelling on an European air carrier on a long haul flight and you are arriving more than a day later on your final/booked destination, your are entitled to have 600€uro compensation. On top, IB will also have to pay for ALL accommodations (you should have taken a hotel and reclaim the money)

Thanks for the info. I guess in my frustration and exhaustion I did not bother to keep any boarding passes which I suspect I will require for such a claim. I need to specify that this trip took place in Dec 2009 so it's been already over a year. The reason I did not write this TR earlier was that I simply did not want to think about what happened. However a couple of days ago I decided to look up my notes and let people know of these events.

Quoting Bogota (Reply 5):
Why does it not surprise me at all, very good report, it got my blood boiling.
Quoting faucett (Reply 6):

Oh g-d! I was reading your hour by hour saga in barajas, and I felt a hole being dug in my chest. I feel for you and your terrible experience

I'm sorry about that guys. I get the same reaction when I read about other people's poor experiences with airlines.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 7):
this is part of the BA-IB group now and part of the OneWorld alliance:

I really hope that IB learns something from BA and get their act together. If anything the British are known for their politeness and good customer service. I lived in the UK for 8 years and never had a complaint regarding customer service of any kind,

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
I'm flying BA/IB a week today LHR-MAD-TFN.

I hope your flights go smoothly, I trust that in such a popular route (operated fully by IB's own aircraft) you will be fine even if you miss your connection at MAD.

Quoting Quokka (Reply 9):

Goodness me. What a dreadful experience you underwent. Reading it felt almost like reading a novel by Franz Kafka with its growing sense of desperation, anger and unreality.

Maybe some readers would think that I have exaggerated the events that took place but this is exactly how happened. It all sounds surreal, like a fiction novel, but unfortunately it was all true.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 10):
I'm off to MEX with IB soon, fingers crossed all will go wel

I hope you have a pleasant trip with no problems of this kind. Do watch out for those snappy flying attendants though!  
Quoting Palmjet (Reply 11):
Sorry to read about all the trouble you had. IB should be ashamed (if they actually even cared).

I doubt they care, just like you said. I think that this is where all of their problems stem from.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):

Seriously, what a horrible airline. I'm glad you made it to your destination in one piece though. I don't think I would've been able to keep my calm in all honesty, so I respect you for that.

I think that remaining calm sometimes is a mistake. Unless you show that you know your rights and show back some attitude, those guys won't listen to you. I feel that they often interpret politeness as a sign of weakness and they get rid of you in hope that you just won't show up again.

Quoting gr09 (Reply 13):
They kept us all on board and only once passed offering a glass of water. And as usually, the flight attendants were almost yelling at passengers whenever anybody wanted anything.

Isn't that terrible? It happened to me once in the past too. It's sad to see such behaviors.

Quoting BA777 (Reply 14):
I agree, a disgusting airline that really needs to get in gear to improve its reputation.

I really hope so. I don't intent on using them ever again, but for the sake of domestic and South American-TATL passengers that have to use IB I hope that they change.

Quoting aa61hvy (Reply 15):
This TR is enough for me never to fly IB..... Unless it's a free F ticket with no connections.

Quite honestly. Not even that would be enough for me...  
Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 16):
By the way, this was my favorite line:

I know that this was perhaps not the right thing to do but I had reached a point of total desperation. It was a jungle out there and I had to survive somehow.

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 17):
WOW
Any idea of the reason for the delay. Ah, just went back to read when you flew, Europe was a mess with weather problems. Yes it may not have been bad in Madrid, but it would have badly effected schedules. I hated December as it was nothing but rebookings, tough enough in that month anyway, but even tough as everyone was getting hit hard by the delays.

As I mentioned above, this was in fact Dec 2009. The weather both in Spain and Chicago was absolutely fine. We were never given a reason for the delay, other than the inbound flight to ORD from MAD was late.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinelhr380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12182 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 18):

My apologies, did not see the year, however my reply is still valid, December 09 was not that great weather wise either. It may have been fine as you stated, that does not mean there was not major disruption to the Euro network causing lots of delays because of weather. I was working in LHR and can tell you I hate December. 2010 was just horrible/////


User currently offlinekaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12435 posts, RR: 37
Reply 20, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12164 times:

I think the moral of the story has to be: if you ever have a chance to fly IB ... don't.

I know that strategic interests often determine what alliances airlines should be in, but I can't help fearing for the consequences of BA's service as a result of its relationship with IB; to put it in the vernacular - what's a nice airline like BA doing with a bunch of third raters like IB!

I sincerely hope that BA has more influence on IB than the other way around!


User currently offlineSumma767 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2559 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11981 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Positives:
-The food, which I have not spoken about, but it was pretty decent in both quality and quantity. This was the case for both the transatlantic and the MAD-ATH legs.
-The new Terminal 4 of Barajas is a very nice building and all of its facilities were well taken care of. Too bad I did not get the chance to enjoy them in the way I wanted.

I flew with IB in December and January and also found the catering quite alright, including decent wines in economy. They also did water rounds, which is an improvement on the old ways of having to go to the galley to beg for some. Onboard, I believe that service has improved.
Ground is another matter..

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 18):
Maybe some readers would think that I have exaggerated the events that took place but this is exactly how happened. It all sounds surreal, like a fiction novel, but unfortunately it was all true.

I absolutely believe your account, as I had a very similar experience back in December. Fog in MAD meant that my LHR-MAD flight was delayed and I missed the onward flight to PTY.
We were still asked to wait in the plane so that we would be bussed to the satellite terminal (T4S) where the long haul flight depart, only to find that all flights, except Santo Domingo, had left. Just as it happened to you, they told people to go to the check in counters (all the way back in T4). Hundreds of people in virtually still queues. I was 7 hours in different queues, and actually felt quite fortunate as there were so many behind me! There was out-roar at some point, when the few agents dealing with so many people decided to go for lunch before their replacements arrived.
When I finally got to the hotel in the centre of MAD and managed to eat something I felt nauseous. The good part was being at leisure and having 36 hours to revisit Madrid -which was nice-

Just as with you, I was only given a half cooked reservation for a re-routing, and on getting to the check in counter on the day of travel I was told that it had not been ticketed, so had to go back to another 2 hour queue at the IB sales desk.
Thankfully I had arrived very early as I knew how slow things are with IB.
But that was not all, in doing the re-routing, IB did not protect my return ticket, and as I had a connection with Copa Airlines, they informed me that I had no valid reservation! Despite 90 minutes of frantic calls to IB in Panama (having tried several other numbers), I could still not make the connection. So it meant flying the next day, and $250 of taxi bills and phone calls at my own expense, but worse, a lot of unnecessary anxiety. One cannot imagine LH being so careless.

So I am afraid that despite improving onboard, Iberia can be very incompetent on the ground. I know that there are some good, caring employees, but sadly those seem to be the minority.

Whereas I would prefer another airline, I don't rule out flying IB in the future -they do often have very good fares and are increasing their offer aggresively-, simply as I hope not to repeat being affected by a missed connection in very busy period. In any case there is not so much choice when going to Latin America, certainly Central America.
I really do hope that they improve, especially now that they have tied the knot to BA. But it somehow seems difficult, as attitudes are not that easy to change.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11727 times:

Thanks for sharing your experience, sorry to hear what happened to you in MAD. Indeed as said, IB handled it below all expectations.


Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1195 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 11670 times:

I flew IB from NYC to GVA. Loved Madrid airport and the food (coffee delicious) was good. Crew reserved.

However though my father was dying in the hospital they refused to allow me to change the return reservation even for a fee as it exceeded the 30 day limit. CO would have allowed me to do so even beyond the 30 days for a reasonable fee. I lost my return flight. They are not customer friendly.

As to the demonstration, I think it was the air controllers who in Spain earn $300,000 a year. This compares to about $100,000 in the USA and a little more in the UK. They want to cut their salaries so they are really upset.


User currently offlinecrosswinds21 From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 698 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 11510 times:

Damn, what an adventure. What I find interesting is that you seem like you're a fairly experienced traveller and you still wound up being delayed by two days. I can only wonder what would have happened to the typical Joe Schmoe if they werein your situation!

25 JL418 : Well Wyboderoga, if purgatory looks like anything you've been experiencing in Barajas you gave me a good reason to act well through all my life, in or
26 airbuseric : Well that's an interesting report for sure. IB did not seem to be in line with general expected customer service levels. Quite bad to be honest. I als
27 MH017 : What has Lufthansa to do with this ?
28 debonair : Yeap, would be interesting to know, how long this will take...
29 Summa767 : With what? the contrast in work ethic between 2 European airlines?
30 MH017 : Got it now; indeed workethics between LH/Star and IB/OneWorld... Still cannot believe BA got involved with IB, being a totally different company ethic
31 avion660 : My God.. that is one hell of an experience (literally). I know I would still be in a Spanish jail after blowing my top and doing something bad after b
32 ATLTPA : Thanks for sharing your experience! Too many of the trip reports on A.net consist of enthusiastic reviews where the writer throws bouquets of roses at
33 lewis : I cannot believe you stayed calm during this whole ordeal. I am sure I would have ended in jail for breaking something or screaming non-stop at the ag
34 AR385 : On my end of November flight, MEX-FRA, LH 499, we left MEX 3 hrs. late due to snow in Germany. Half an hour before landing in FRA, the Purser started
35 Post contains images lewis : Exactly, I never found LH to be anything special regarding the flying experience, catering is OK, staff and crew are what you would expect, friendly
36 Post contains images WideBodyroga : You may be right, it's not out of the question that the weather could have been a factor in the initial delay but then again the problem was not the
37 lhr380 : Why would you think that after the meger the staff are suddenly going to change their attitudes on board?? I know it was not, I just wanted to point
38 lewis : I think you did a good job, considering that you were thrown from counter to counter like a ball. In many situations it was obvious to me that people
39 HELyes : Thanks for the TR, interesting reading! Spain is a LOVELY country but there is something in the Spanish service culture I don't like, not only on IB.
40 daron4000 : Debonair, Thanks for the attached link. Out of curiosity, it seems like monetary compensation is only paid out in the case of cancelled flights or de
41 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi Roga, Whoa! What a story and what an endeavour! Sadly that's exactly my idea of the IB operation as well - I've flown them a few times and the actu
42 Post contains links debonair : There is a new ruling (Court of Justice of the European Communities C-402/07), it is not a law yet, but you can use it for argumentation: ...Next, wi
43 Post contains images abrelosojos : Here is the sad part: When I read the title of your report, I knew I had to get a beer and read and shake my head. Sadly, this is Iberia. Why anyone i
44 FlyingFinn76 : This actually got me wondering what will come out of the BA - IB merger? I mean BA is almost the complete opposite of IB in every sense. Friendly, pro
45 abrelosojos : = Well, the merger makes a LOT of sense from both a financial and operational perspective. Worse is that IB makes money on her Latin routes and (in s
46 AR385 : Aside from what Abrelosojos said previously, BA needed space. It cannot grow anymore at LHR (niftys) and if it attempted to do it at LGW it would loo
47 Post contains images Widebodyroga : I was not being serious of course It was just kind of a rhetorical question. I wouldn't expect from the BA staff to suddenly change their behavior. I
48 BA174 : Exactly it should have never happened. BA should of hung on a bit longer and found a carrier more like minded e.g. CX, QF and AA to name a few.[Edite
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