Last June I flew from my local airport, OVD, to JFK, via MD), Spain">MAD and stayed in Philadelphia with my aunt and uncle. USA is amazing -you always see the good face with skyscrapers, huge cities, nice country-side, etc, and it's true, very nice and also better than other areas of Europe, of course, but we are not shown the bad face -dangerous neighborhoods, very old and bad-kept streets and buildings which are very difficult to find in typical European countries. But in general, my visit was very nice. NY impressed me: Empire State Building, Times Square, Ground Zero... You know... amazing!!!
And now, let's start!
Aircraft- McDonnell Douglas MD-88
Code-Share Agreement- British Airways BA7270
I and my parents arrived at the airport at 13:00pm, had something for lunch and bought some magazines (Airline92 and Muy Interesante). A few minutes after, the announcement for my flight was given and I went to the boarding area gate. The security measures in OVD were ridiculous, I was wearing a belt, I did not place it on the scanner and the arch didn't sound.
I went to the gate, took some photographs of our MD88 and then stayed in line waiting for boarding. A few minutes after, the same staff who checked my suitcase in appeared and started the boarding with another two Iberia staff. We entered the plane by the front door where a group of two male F/As and a female one, received me with a friendly "Buenos días". Then I went to my seat, placed my bag in the locker, fastened my seat belt and started reading my new magazine. An Ensidesa (Now Aceralia, the largest iron and steel factory in my region) staff sat in the seat next to me and started filling some documents with Aceralia's logo. He didn't say anything to me till arrival at MD), Spain">MAD.
I thought that IB's MD88s were more modern equipment than MD87s so that they were equipped with bigger TVs every three rows, as A320s or MD87s, but for my surprise, there were none! So that, the security instructions were explained manually by the cabin crew, in Spanish and English (This time their English was awful, and it was very difficult to understand them). Then we started the push-back and a few minutes after, we were ready for take-off. This MD88 was not in very good condition, the seat structure was repainted badly, I had no magazines, no security instructions etc, but my partner had two magazines and at least three security instructions sheets in his bag. The overhead lockers design looked very functional and old-fashioned, and also did the individual lights design. During the flight, some newspapers were given, and nothing else. The "Tu menú" service was offered, but no service was offered face to face, I mean, the F/As did not carried the trolley along the corridor, they just said that "Tu Menú" service was available, and if you want something, just press the button and the flight attendant will serve you whatever you want. Some people asked for some food but that was all. 40 minutes after, we started descent into MD), Spain">MAD and landed smoothly.
The commandant received us to Madrid and said that the finger was broken and we had to wait for ten minutes inside the aircraft. We arrived at 3:15 exactly, and my flight to JFK was leaving at 17:10, boarding 16:00, and because of that, I felt very nervous, because I had to go from one side of MD), Spain">MAD to the other. Luckily, I caught the shuttle bus on time and brought me to terminal B (No TA bus service). I had to wait for twenty minutes in a Security Inspection in TB, where hundreds of people from other flights were waiting to be inspectionated. I couldn't have anything to eat because all the restaurants were full of people, long lines, and I didn't have any time to waste. After a long walk through terminal B, I got to Terminal A. I was impressed of TA: I had thought It was old, but well-kept as terminals B and C, but it was completely new, with a modern design and a spacious area for passengers with lots of seats -quite comfortable- and at least three large Self-Service restaurants. In addition there were some duty-free shops and also a bank.
My gate was A4, and before reaching it, some counters with IB logo were waiting for me: at least four long, long lines for the ticket and passport checking. A female staff checked my ticket, my boarding pass and my passport, and then, I was ready to go!!!
Terminal A is literally used by Iberia (No foreign planes there). At least seven IB A340s were parked there (Including an A346) and two B742s, in the gate next to mine (A1 and A2, A3 was free)
The plane in the other gate next to mine, A5 was departing to Havana and It was delayed (Sheduled departure was 16:40, and finally left at 17:50.
Aircraft- Airbus Industries A340/313X
Code-Share Agreement- American Airlines
Remarks-Delayed till 17:50
Seat-29H (28G, first)
The gate A4 was full of people, some waiting in line for boarding, and other people buying snacks and candies at the vending machines which were near the gate. Ten minutes after the scheduled time for boarding, four IB staff came and announced that Iberia was going to start boarding for flight IB6253 to NY JFK. When they said that people in rows from 37 to 22, business and first class passengers, and children traveling alone, and families should board the A340 first, the line disappeared, everybody started to run to the gate, and Iberian staff started boarding. I was one of the first passengers to board our modern A340. The huge plane door was amazing, and two female F/As, with Iberia's boarding uniform welcomed me and asked me my seat number, I answered that it was 28G, but, as there were no window seats free, I asked them if it could be possible if I changed my seat with another passenger who had a window seat. The F/A, who might be 45 or 50 years old, replied that there was no problem, but she said I'd better seat in my seat (28G) first and then, she'd look for a window one for me. She showed the way to my seat and asked me if it was the first time I was traveling alone on an intercontinental flight, I answered it was, but I wasn't feeling nervous. Some minutes after, my mum rang me asking if I had got the window seat, but I told her I hadn't got it yet, and that the F/A would look for one for me.
Then she came and said that the seat behind me was free and the window one too!, so I changed my seat. A pillow and a blanket with Iberia's logo were in the seat. My flight partner was a guy from Los Ángeles who stayed in Madrid for all the year where he studied engineering. When everybody was boarded, the captain announced that mad's air traffic was congested, and because of that, our flight would be delayed 40 minutes. A loud ughhhhh could have be heard. The problem was that it was very hot outside, and inside, too! The air conditioner started working, and the situation improved a lot. F/As started serving cold water to all the passenger. The rear doors were opened, and finally, after long 40 minutes, the doors were closed again, and the safety record was shown. The push-back started and we taxied to the runway. At least ten aircraft were waiting in front of us (I remember, three IB A340s, an IB 742, two IBA320s, two JK MD83s, a BA B757 and an AF735.
I have to say that Barajas Airport was "Hasta la bandera"-Spanish expression which means that MD), Spain">MAD airport was full and congested-.
Finally, we took off nearly an hour after scheduled. Climb was slow, but finally, after twenty minutes, we reached our cruise speed. Then, a male F/A gave some games and crayons to the children. In addition, newspapers were offered to all the passengers.
Headphones were given, as a pair of socks with IB's logo to all the passengers. A film called "Me llaman Radio" or "Radio" in English, was shown, and dinner was served. I thought that Iberia's catering hadn't improved, but I was impressed when I saw my tray. The F/A offered paella or chicken, I and my partner asked for paella. I chose Coca-Cola and my partner Spanish Wine. The dinner was a main dish of paella with tomato, foi-grass salad, Spanish cheese, a cheese slice or "quesito, a nice cake and two pieces of Spanish breads (one with cereals, and the other one regular)
In addition, coffee, tea and soft drinks were offered after that. The dinner was excellent, but what I don't understand is that if you want to have something to drink or eat during the flight you have to go to the galley and ask the crew for whatever you want. The logical thing would be crew offering drinks and food or snacks with the trolleys in the corridor, as BA or other airlines.
Then, the lights were switched off, and crew started closing the blinds of the windows. Sleep time had come, and another film was shown, but I can't remember its title.
I fall asleep and after three hours sleeping, I got up again and crew started serving breakfast. It was turkey and pasta salad as the main dish, a fruit salad, some crackers, called Peñón Crack (Peñón Crack sounds funny), margarine, jam, and another delicious cake. Coffee, tea and beverages were offered too and also a wide range of juices, like banana, orange, apple or peach.
The interior of our A340 was quite good. It was very well-kept, and looked quite modern. Seats were comfortable, and the pillows and blankets made my trip more comfy.
The only thing I missed were the PTVs, but I did other things during the flight, like reading, spotting and chatting with my flight partner.
We started descent into NY after 8 hours 10 minutes flight. seat belts lights were switched on and after five minutes, we landed in a cloudy New York airport. I could see an AA767, B777 and also some B737s waiting for-take off. Two LH A340s were parked in T6, I think, and also an AF777 and three BA744s. Another IB A346 was parked in T8, next to many AA's planes and a Finnair MD11. We left the plane by the front door, and walked through Business and First class. I was amazed: First class enviroment in IB is awesome. It looks like you are on a cloud and in the Taj Majhal at the same time! All the crew together said good-bye and a "Buenas Noches" (Good Night), because in Spain it was nearly 3:00am!!! I have to say that NY Terminal 8 is the oldest one I've never been in, with broken glasses, old corridors, and old-fashioned building design. My local airport which is a 3rd class airport, is much, much modern and better well kept that this terminal in New York International. I don't know how American Airlines, the world largest and most important carrier has this old-fashioned terminal in one of its main hubs.
I got surprised about IB's onboard service, the plane interior and the aircraft condition. The only thing that went wrong was the delay we suffered.
The crew was not very old, the Sobrecargo was nearly 60, but the F/As in tourist class were young (around 30 or also there were two female members of 25-28) In addition, the crew was formed by an American staff who was very polite and spoke Spanish too.
I definitely choose IB again.
I hope you had ejoyed reading my report
Emilio López Palacio