The following trip report recounts my recent move to New York on Iberia in economy class. All pictures are taken with a Nikon CoolPiX8700.
I started writing this report on August 1, 2005 and finished on August 3, 2005.
My mother is a professor at Vassar Collage in Poughkeepsie, New York. She teaches in the Hispanic Studies department. We have been in Spain for a year because she had to come to direct the Vassar-Wesleyan Study Abroad Program in Madrid. The Colleges take turns sending a director to Spain and this year was Vassar’s turn.
We arrived in Spain on August 2, 2004 and left on August 3, 2005.
To get to the United States from Spain you can either connect in places like Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Frankfurt and then fly to New York or you can fly US Airways to Philadelphia, Delta to Atlanta and New York, Continental to Newark, American Airlines to Miami, or Iberia to Chicago, Miami, and New York.
We did not want to deal with any connections since we had are dog and six pieces of check-on luggage and where afraid they might get lost.
This meant that either we could fly Continental, Iberia, or Delta. We checked Continental and they don’t fly dogs internationally, we checked Delta and found out that they don’t take dogs unless the temperature is 82 degrees or lower. So we where stuck with Iberia.
We flew Iberia to Spain on the A340-300 and experienced their international product which is not the best. We have also flown them on inter-European routes and around Spain. The one thing that kept me excited was that the flight was to be operated by the A340-600.
Departure Time: 1:00 p.m.
Arrival Time: 3:15 p.m.
Seat: 20 ADC
Day of flight
At 10:30 a.m. two cabs arrived at are apartment, we had to call two because of the amount of luggage we had, and we set off for the airport.
We arrived at the airport at 11:05 and re-grouped are luggage which took about 4 minutes. We headed into Terminal 1 to find a total mess in front of us! People all over the place. For are flight to New York they where using check in desks 200-229. We made are way over to desk 228 where we were sixth in line. We waited for about 45 minutes in the line without any movement and then the women at the desk closed the counter! My mom got really pissed and went to find an Iberia personnel to complain to. My mom explained to him that we had been waiting in the line for 45 minutes and that we had a ton of luggage and a dog and that we where flying on the New York flight. He said that the flight was over booked (duh) and he would try to find us a free desk.
10 minutes later he came back and told us to follow him. We navigated are we through a ton of people and wound up at a Business Class check-in desk.
Now the trouble starts.
My mom passed our documents to the check-in lady and 8 minutes went by with just the sound of clicking and typing. The check-in lady told us that the flight had been over booked, classic Iberia, and that we where going to be on stand by.
My mom got really upset about that because we had made a reservation for the flight in April and had reserved row 20 ADC for the flight as well. After the check in lady heard this she went back to her computer and started clicking and typing again.
She was able to find two seats but not a third one. She asked my mom to go pay for the dog while she tried to find a third seat.
My dad and I waited at the check in counter for about 10 minutes before my mom returned very red in the face and it looked very clear that she had been crying.
The check in lady had finally found a third seat and everything was looking good for us until my mom looked at our seat assignments. We had gotten 24C, 28J, and 29L. She told the check in lady that there was no way that we could be separated because if there was an emergency we would not be together and then she gave the Air France flight 358 as an example. The check in lady, who was being extremely nice, told my mom to go to the supervisor to complain.
We made are way again through an ocean of people and waited in line at the supervisors desk. We where third in line and needed to wait for about 10 minutes.
When my mom got to the supervisor she told him about are seat situation and the supervisor told us there was nothing he could do because it was a full flight. My mom would have none of that and told him that she was going to report him to Iberia or something about how bad he was.
By now it was 12:10 and our flight was to board at 12:20! We made our way to the security line, which was not very long, and passed through in no time. When we got to the other side we went to find the departure board to find out which gate the plane was leaving from. It turned out that the flight was delayed till 3:00. Already very ticked off we made are way to the gate which was A4
. We had to go through an above ground tunnel with two moving side walks to get to concourse A. When we reached concourse A we had to walk all the way down the concourse to our gate.
We reached gate A5 and had to show our boarding card to a guy in order to get through to our gate.
When we got to the gate there was a lot of people sitting around, obviously waiting for out flight to New York. There was no plane at the gate when we got there as well. I went to the desk to see if L was a window seat but no one was at the desk. I walked down to gate A2 where a flight to Miami was departing to ask the agent if she knew what L was.
Me – Can I ask you if row L on the A340-600 is a window seat?
Agent – What flight are you on?
Me – The one to New York.
Agent – Oh goodness! You have to go right away to your gate the plane is about to leave! This is A2 and you need to get to A4
Me – Actually my flight is delayed till 3.
Agent – Oh, in that case, yes L is a window seat.
Me – Thank you.
I walked back to gate A4
with a very happy smile and told my parents that L indeed was a window seat. I dropped my laptop with my parents and took my camera to go take some photos. I went back to A2 to photograph the A340-600, EC
-JBA, headed for Miami. I got some fair shots:
Iberia World A330-300 getting its APU checked
Two Air Pullmantur B747s.
On its way to Miami!
As the A340-600 was backing out I noticed EC
-IZY, A340-600, being tugged through the tarmac.
I was pretty sure that, that was going to be the A340-600 I was going to be flying on. I headed back to A4
to get some photos and sure enough EC
-IZY was tugged into our gate.
The reaction of all of the passengers upon seeing the plane was amazing! Everyone started clapping and screaming “Hurray, the plane is finally here!” I felt the same way. For about 10 minutes the tug remained connected to the plane and ground staff where all huddling around the nose gear and talking together. Finally the catering truck was raised and the door to EC
-IZY was opened. After that baggage and other assortments were loaded on.
After watching the plane for about 10 minutes a security guard came to tell the passengers that we needed to leave the gate area so that they could check our documents. A lot of grunts and “whys?” where heard but everyone got up and filed out of the gate area. The line for the checking of the documents got mixed into the line for an Iberworld flight to Havana which created a mess! We waited in the line for about 4 minutes without any movement and then people started moving forward.
As soon as they checked our documents people started to line up to board. The new scheduled boarding time was 2:00 p.m. but the time currently was already 2:05. We waited in the line, where we were number 10, for 30 minutes while the gate agents sorted out the stand by passengers. I was enjoying listening to people talking about our plane and how they thought it was a B747.
Finally at 2:35 p.m. the boarding call for the flight was announced. First families traveling with small children boarded and then Business Plus passengers boarded. Finally the gate agent called rows 20 to 50. After the call people started swarming the gate and pushing to get ahead. My family ended up in front of the line, lucky us!
I handed my boarding card and passport, which he did not check, to the agent and he tore my boarding card off and gave it back to me. I proceeded down the gangway and into the plane.
Actual departure time: 3:29 p.m.
Actual arrival time: 5:15 p.m.
Seats: 24C, 28J, 29L
Load = 100%
When I walked through the door of the plane I was greeted by two friendly flight attendants who took my boarding card and directed me to my seat. I had never experienced Iberia’s new product and was very impressed.
The new seats have a blue, yellow, and white wavy pattern on them and are like the seats on Iberia’s domestic flights. A nice plus to the seats is that they have an adjustable head rest which makes watching the LCD
screens a lot easier and it also makes it easier to keep your head from falling when you’re trying to sleep.
I stored my laptop bag under my seat and my carry on bag in the overhead bin. Then I sat down in my seat to see how the seats felt. To my surprise they where quite comfy. A great plus to the cabin atmosphere is the large LCD
screens which show the tail camera view.
Parked to the left of us was a Air Europa B67-300 headed for Santo Domingo and next to that was a Varig MD
-11 which had just arrived from Rio.
15 minutes had passed since boarding commenced and people where still flowing on to the plane. My seat mate arrived and didn’t look to happy to see me. I looked at his boarding card as he sat down and it looked like he had had seat 41L and was switched to 29L where I was assigned to sit. My seat mate and I did not say a word to each other except when I asked him to move so I could go to the bathroom.
I was watching the tail camera on the LCD
screens and saw that our gangway had been moved away from the plane and we where now ready for pushback.
We began moving back and where pushed back to the left and where adjacent to the terminal. The tug was detached and the A340-600s massive engines where revved up and we began to taxi.
To my displeasure the tail view was turned off and the safety video came on. When it was over the A340-600 started its taxi and the tail camera came back on! We taxied passed terminal ones concourse B and then past Terminal 2 and three towards runway 36L. We passed the Iberia maintenance area where two A340-300s where parked waiting for later flights. We passed the new Terminal 4 and turned onto the taxiway towards 36L. We where third for take off behind a LAN A340-300 heading for Frankfurt, an Iberworld A330-300 heading for La Habana (Havana), and an Air Europa B767-300 heading for Cancun.
I had not seen any Flight Attendants for the duration for the taxi and was thankful because that meant I could take photos without being bothered. The captain came on and asked the flight attendants to please be seated. I watched the Air Europa B767-300 rocket down the runway and left off and then our long A340-600 lined up for take off. We waited for about one minute and then we started rolling down the runway. It seemed like we where not going very fast. We passed the end of the Terminal 4 satellite terminal and headed on almost reaching the end of the runway when finally our might wings lifted up and we rotated! The wind flex was really amazing! I could now see the top of the #4 engine. We did some nice turns and I got a great view of the country I love so much!
The captain came on while climb and told us that the reason for the delay was because the scheduled A340-600 had not been able to operate the flight so they needed to wait for the next A340-600 that was available, he also mentioned that we would be flying over Oporto for the beginning of our Atlantic crossing.
Time passed on and we reached our cruising altitude and the tail camera was switched off and the regular Iberia programming came on which is really crappy, it shows the same stuff over and over again.
I was glued to the window and could make out something that looked like Oporto and then we where over the Atlantic. 30 minutes later we reached Oporto and started our voyage across the Atlantic.
I was getting very bored with Iberia’s regular programming running over and over again so I pulled out my laptop and started watching “Friends”.
Now we where about two hours into the flight and lunch was begging to be served. The drinks and food came at the same time which is something I have not experienced before.
The two lunch options for today’s 6251 where Pasta or Chicken. I opted for the pasta and a diet coke and my seat partner got the chicken which looked Indian style.
The meal came with a salad which consisted of green peppers, two olives, and some lettuce, a bread roll, a cake, and the main meal which was green pasta with a mushroom/parmesan sauce.
I ate everything but the cake.
By now the Iberia programming had stopped and the LCD
screens where now black. The purser came over the speaker and announced that today’s movie was going to be “Guess Who” which had just come out in theaters in Spain. I decided to watch it but was not pleased with the movie. It was a really cheap version of “Meet the Parents”
After the movie the LCD
screens went black and I went back to watching “Friends” which I pretty much watched for three hours of the flight.
We where 5 hours into our 7 hour flight and I spotted land!
We passed over some Canadian islands and then we where back over ocean.
Another hours passed by and the flight attendants came around with a snack which was ham, cheese, pate, and a bread roll. I got another diet coke and passed on the snack, well except for the roll.
We where now back over land and the LCD
screens where back on.
We where coming down New York and did some turns and started our approach to JFK
. We where over Long Island and where getting lower and lower. We went over some residential neighborhoods. I could see NYC in the distance and was getting very excited.
I finally spotted JFK
and saw that we would be landing on 22L. The flaps where deployed and we had a nice smooth touch down!
We came to a halt and turned off 22L on to the taxiway. A Song B757-200 flew over head.
We waited for about 10 minutes on the taxiway and then started to taxi towards Terminal 7.
There was a British Airways B747-400 parked near the old Jet Blue hangars.
We got to the end of Terminal 7 and then made a left turn and now I was facing Terminal 7 with two British Airways B747-400 parked next to each other and a couple of Uniteds. We pulled into our gate which was the last one on British Airways side and parked next to a United B757-200.
Iberia has this really bad song that always plays when the plane reach the gate. I think the name of the song is “Oh know I love you”. There where a bunch of students on the flight which started singing it which made for a nice atmosphere.
I was watching out the window as a Northwest B747-400 approached from Narita.
Then the doors where opened and I brought down my carry on bag and headed for the door.
We passed business plus which did not look very comfortable but had been full for the flight.
Two flight attendants where at the door to say good-bye and then I walked out into the gangway and then down two hall ways to get to immigration.
The immigration line was not very long because a majority of the people where not American citizens. We passed through immigrations in 5 minutes and where on to the baggage claim.
They had run out of carts so we where kind of stuck considering the fact that we had 6 big bags to carry. We waited for about 30 minutes before more carts where brought out.
We got three carts and put our bags on. We had to wait though for another 45 minutes for our dog.
When he got to us his cage door was hanging out and my dog was very flustered. We went through customs and passed with no problem and where out into the arrivals hall of Terminal 7 which was very nice. We met our driver and stepped out into the hot humid New York air!
As we drove out of JFK
I saw my plane taxing for departure and Iberia 6252 another A340-600 touch down in beautiful light!
Sorry that the report has taken me a while to post. At first I did not have internet and then I had some trouble with the photos.
I tried to do my best with the spelling and spacing.
I hope you enjoy!
Comments are welcome!