Howard500 From Spain, joined Dec 2004, 77 posts, RR: 1 Posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5888 times:
This is my first trip report in airliners.net, I hope you enjoy it.
The flight data was as follows (off my memory);
Route: Madrid Barajas Airport - Montevideo Carrasco Airport
Equipment: Airbus A340-300
And so it started....
On arrival to Madrid Barajas Airport I proceeded directly to the first class check in desk in terminal one. As always there was no one in line and check in was smooth and efficient.
After the security control I took the elevator to the Iberia first class lounge which is a nice quiet area with showers, sleeping area, and comfortable sofas.
The lounge is well serviced with snacks and all kind of drinks. However, one does miss a more comprehensive offer of hot food. Unlike Cathay Pacific’s “The Wing”, Iberia’s lounge has no hot meals on offer for its costumers.
On the other hand, there is a fantastic wireless system in the lounge that allows all costumers to connect with their laptops to the internet with incredible ease. Of course internet access is available for those without laptops.
After a short while my flight to Montevideo was called for boarding and I proceeded to the gate which surprisingly was close by. Unfortunately Barajas airport has no double air bridges for large aircraft, although the new airport, expected to begin operations in mid 2005, will have several of them. So boarding did take a little while.
Once inside the aircraft, a wonderful Airbus 340/300, my coat was quickly taken by the flight crew and seconds later I was offered a glass of cava (Spanish champagne).
Shortly after, very complete amenity kits were offered (differentiated for men and women) plus excellent, noise reducing headsets. Since this was a 13 hour night flight, comfortable pajamas and hotel style slippers were distributed along with large pillows and warm blankets. A negative point is that crew members do not refer to passengers by name like in other world-leading airlines; however the captain does come out of his wonderful “cavern” to greet passengers which I consider a very rewarding ritual which not many airlines preserve.
International and domestic newspapers and magazines were offered. The A340 first class cabin is comfortable although, at least in my opinion not very tastefully decorated. Seats are large and very comfortable, reclining to nearly flat beds. Since first class is a shrinking market, Iberia operates its A340/300 fleet with a five seat configuration, making the cabin really welcoming and cozy.
The seats are not what we find on BA or CX, as they lack privacy, wood and leather but are very capable of offering a truly relaxing atmosphere and superb flight comfort.
The in-flight entertainment is where Iberia really falls behind. First class passengers find a small screen with a limited choice of films which repeat themselves all flight long, that is, not on demand. However video-walkmans are on offer with a good choice of films which slightly compensates for an overall, antiquated in-flight entrainment system.
Once airborne menus were offered and a full dinner service begun:
Iranian Sevruga Caviar
Smoked Salmon Rhea with Prune in Port Wine
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Palm Heart and Tomato Salad
“Thousand-Island” Creamy Dressing
Apple Vinegar Vinaigrette
Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary Sauce
Sole with White Wine and Coriander Sauce
Cheese-stuffed Chicken with Curry Sauce
Baked, Noisette and Steamed Potatoes
Plate of Cheeses
Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Walnut and Apple Cake
Custard Cream and Raspberry Ice-cream
Service was exquisite without being exaggerated. Flight attendants were, experienced and elder, but this poses no criticism, only praise. I was the only passenger in first class so attention was superb. The "sobrecargo" (head flight attendant) was a true proffesional and took personal care of me during the whole flight.
Passengers can choose any combination from the menu and a quick service is available, although on a 13 hour flight there really is no rush. The meal was complimented with a choice of two white wines and four reds. Iberia does fly with a rich, great quality wine cellar which adds greatly to its gastronomic service.
After watching a film, I changed into my pajamas and fell asleep for a good eight or nine hours only to awake to a nice warm cup of coffee along with a full breakfast service. Before this I did take a good few minutes to watch the mid atlantic night sky which was breath taking. We sometimes forget to appreciate the miracle of flight, and there are few better places to do so than from the dark and quiet cabin of an airliner in the middle of a cold night at 30000 ft.
Sauteed Bacon and Mushrooms
Potato Pancake with Corn
Fresh Orange Juice
Yogurt and Fresh Buns Butter, Jam and Custard Cream
Arrival was on time and since Montevideo’s Carrasco Airport is truly a small airport, and has no capability for docking large aircraft on its few air bridges, a bus shuttle was the only option. Iberia offers a special bus for its First and Business Class passengers.
On a negative point Iberia should take greater interest for its customers once they have left the aircraft with “fast-track” style service or arrival lounges. This is a big downside.
None the less and overall Iberia offers a truly first class product, considerably behind Cathay Pacific, British Airways or Singapore Airlines but certainly a flight in this cabin will be a delightful experience with very good service and food.
Seats and in-flight entertainment could do with a slight improvement although having said this; this cabin will shortly disappear and give way to the ever more common BusinessFirst.
So while you still can, give it a try, it surly will not disappoint you!
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
Well..... off to 2005 party!! Je, je....
IBERIA747 From Spain, joined Aug 2003, 1825 posts, RR: 61 Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5443 times:
Nice to hear you had a good flight on IB's first.
Uruguay is a wonderful country.
I still remember eating "Matambre", "Pulpa" and "Bife" at the "Mercado del Puerto"...the "Pocitos" district and the "Tres Cruces" Bus station in Montevideo..."El Palacio Salvo"...well everything!! ohh, and those Uruguayan girls...OH MY GOD!!!! if at least the girls here had half of the charm and sympathy of the Uruguayans!!
Also went to Punta del Este and Colonia. Really nice...I hope to go back soon.
Gdser From Uruguay, joined Oct 2004, 25 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5419 times:
I live in Uruguay at present, although Im not Uruguayan. It's a wonderful place with great character. No soy muy matero tampoco.
I remember watching the inaugural A340 IB flight to MAD from MVD. That plane used up every square inch of runway available. I kid you not, all of us watching were saying "please, oh please, oh please lift lift lift!!!!" When that baby goes out full - it's something to watch, at least on the MVD end.
Howard500 From Spain, joined Dec 2004, 77 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5350 times:
Yes I did enjoy my flight, it was a good experience. As you say Gdser, take off on the return flight did take most of the runway wich was a good fun!! Anyway in my report I say that Carrasco airport has no capability for docking large aircraft on its airbridges, which I thought at the time... but on my return flight I saw a couple of 767's at the airbridges.. so my question is, is it Iberia's decision or is it a technical reason not to dock the 340 on an airbridge?
Howard500 From Spain, joined Dec 2004, 77 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5096 times:
Excelent trip report Dario,
After reading yours I realised my big mistake. Since it was a while a go I confused one big factor! my trip report is actually based on the MVD-MAD sector and not the MAD-MVD as I claim above. On the MAD-MVD I also was given the midnight "snack", just like yours. oops! sorry !!!!!!!
Thowman From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 363 posts, RR: 3 Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4786 times:
It sounds pretty similar to the experience I had in F between MAD and MIA last year, albeit in the exclusivity of the upper deck of EC-DIB Cervantes. We had a full load of 8 passengers in F, but the service from the 2 flight attendants was faultless, efficent and the food a delight. However, the captain didn't come out to see us - even though there was a celeb on board (not that I had any idea who she was but she was fussed over all flight long).
Lima From Argentina, joined May 1999, 1122 posts, RR: 15 Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4721 times:
Thank you Howard for your report. Very interesting to read about this particular route.
About MVD airbridges, I am not sure but I think I read there is a conflict. The airport operator charges apparently high fees for using the airbridges. Iberia, I am not sure but I think I read it in this forum, does not agree and so they use the remote stand.
The airport operator is the same as in Argentina, where also many conflicts arised between airlines and the company due to the high fees charged. Probably a similar situation in MVD.