6 Interesting Plans Iberia Has For 2020


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As someone who books the majority of his flights on oneworld airlines, I take more than a passing interest in the announcements that emanate from the likes of BA, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL, etc… and a recent press release by Iberia caught my eye.

One of Iberia’s recent announcements outlines the airline’s plans for the year ahead and while some of the plans aren’t particularly interesting (I’m not sure may readers will care that Iberia’s new crew uniforms will be shown on the catwalk in Madrid during the Mercedes Benz fashion week), seven of the points/plans mentioned are worth noting.

Iberia Is Taking Delivery Of More A350s

Iberia A350

In March of this year, Iberia will take delivery of its seventh Airbus A350 aircraft and expects to see a further five more A350s delivered as the year progresses.

The A350 is an important part of the Iberia’s plans as it burns considerably less fuel than the aircraft it’s replacing but it’s the benefits to passengers that are of most interest.

  • The A350 is one of the quietest wide-body aircraft currently in production
  • The aircraft’s wide cabin allows airlines (like Iberia) to install wider seats than you’ll find in a lot of other wide-body aircraft (most notably in the Economy Class cabin)
  • The A350s ability to withstand higher cabin pressures means that the onboard environment is a lot similar to the environment you’ll find on the ground and that results in less stress on passengers’ bodies.
  • The higher pressure that the A350s cabins can handle also means that the air in the cabin can be kept at higher humidity which means that passengers are less likely to have their mouths, throats, and noses dry up during flight.

Overall, the A350 offers one of the more passenger-friendly environments that you’ll find in the skies so the fact that Iberia is taking delivery of more such aircraft is good news for customers.

Iberia Will (Once Again) Offer Service To Washington D.C.

1 May 2020 will see Iberia re-launch service to Washington D.C. (the press release incorrectly states that service will start on 1 March) (IAD) as the US capital becomes the airline’s sixth US destination after New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.

Here’s the currently published schedule:

IB6131 MAD 15:50 – 18:55 IAD (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun)
IB6132 IAD 20:30 – 10:15+1 day MAD (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun)

Iberia last offered a service to Washington in 2010 so, a decade on, it’s nice to see the airline back and offering Europe-bound passengers another option out of Dulles.

Iberia’s A350 Will Operate To/From Los Angeles

Iberia A350 Business Class

From 31 March 2020 Iberia will replace the Airbus A330 that currently operates between Madrid and Los Angeles with one of its new Airbus A350s on the following schedule:

IB6171 MAD 12:30 – 15:55 LAX (Tue, Wed & Sat)
IB6171 MAD 12:10 – 15:55 LAX (Thu)

IB6170 LAX 17:40 – 13:45+1 day MAD (Tue, Wed & Sat)
IB6170 LAX 17:40 – 13:50+1 day MAD (Thu)

In addition to the Airbus A350 offering an improved cabin environment and a Premium Economy cabin (as mentioned earlier) it also offers a significantly bigger Business Class cabin than the A330 that currently operates between Madrid and LA.

Currently, the A330 operating the Madrid – LA route offers just 19 Business Class seats while the incoming Airbus A350 offers 31 so, not only should that be good news for Business Class award availability, but, when you also add in the 24 Premium Economy seats that the A350 offers, you can see that Iberia’s Los Angeles route will be getting a lot more premium seating in a few months time.

Note: the A350 will only operate on 3 (out of 4) days to start off with.

Link to Iberia A350 Business Class cabin review

Iberia Adds A New Moroccan City To Its Routemap

Iberia already serves Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Tangier but, from August 2020, the airline will also serve the city of Fez.

With Royal Air Maroc joining the oneworld alliance from 1 April 2020 it’s good to see another oneworld airline adding routes to Morocco…even if Royal Air Maroc doesn’t offer any international flights out of Fez.

Often, the key to scoring great airfares (especially Business Class fares) is to take a slightly more circuitous routing than most travelers would think to take so it’s possible that the addition of Fez to Iberia’s list of destinations will open up new options for oneworld loyalists looking to find great deals to destinations served by Royal Air Maroc.

New Onboard Entertainment

Iberia A330-200 Business Class In-Flight Entertainment

When I reviewed the Iberia A330 Business Class offering last year I noted that while the entertainment options were good I couldn’t find any box sets or full TV series to watch. Now it looks like Ibera is taking care of that little issue.

In 2020 Iberia will be expanding its onboard entertainment offering to include 140 new release and contemporary movies, over 340 episodes from hit TV shows, 300 musical options, and 40 audiobooks.

That’s a lot more than the airline currently offers.

I generally don’t trust my inflight entertainment to the airlines (I prefer to load up my laptop and iPad with movies and shows I like so I’m guaranteed to be entertained during my flights) but, as a lot of people seem to do just that, this improvement will be good news for quite a few Iberia flyers.

Improvements Coming To In-Flight Services

Iberia A330-200 Business Class Dining
Iberia A330-200 Business Class Dining

This may well be one of the most important changes that Iberia will be introducing in 2020 but I’ve left it to last because there isn’t really much information available on what Iberia is doing with its onboard service.

The airline has said the following…

This year we plan to update our in-flight services to passengers with a new design, higher quality, and service that is both more personalised service and better adjusted to the duration of each flight. More than 3,500 members of our cabin crews are now undergoing additional training to bring these services to a new standard of perfection.

…and that sounds great but also doesn’t tell us much.

We know that DO&CO is taking over the catering for Iberia’s flights and its Madrid lounges in a few months’ time so that almost certainly has something to do with the new service updates…but it’s interesting to note that cabin crews are receiving additional training as well.

I may be flying with Iberia later this year so I’ll be on the lookout for any changes (positive or negative!).

Bottom Line

There seems to be quite a bit to look forward to from Iberia in 2020 and if the service changes turn out to be significant improvements on the current offering and if the airline starts operating its A350s on yet more long-haul routes the airline will become a very good option fo oneworld loyalists…as long as they’re happy to connect in Madrid!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Any ideas why Iberia has dropped some codeshare flights with American Airlines?
    A couple days ago, I booked an Iberia itinerary that included a non-stop flight ORD-BUD (Iberia 4120) operated by American Airlines (AA 130) scheduled in late August. Yesterday, they cancelled my ticket for a full refund. That route is no longer available for booking through Iberia, although it can still be booked on the AA website and appears still to be a codeshare with BA and Finnair. I ended up purchasing a new ticket that included ORD-MAD-BUD for that part of the itinerary.

    • That’s definitely odd. AA and IB are part of the same TATL joint business agreement (with BA and Finnair) so it doesn’t make much sense that a codeshare would be deliberately removed.

      At a guess, I’d suggest that it’s possible that a schedule change was put through (you can check if that’s the case by comparing your original booking to what can be booked on AA.com now) and since the new flights have been added into the system Iberia’s codeshares haven’t been loaded (possibly in error).

      I’ll keep an eye on this and let you know if I come up with a more solid answer.

      • Thanks for your thoughts.

        That flight operated by AA is appearing in Iberia’s booking system again. In looking at the original booking, there was no schedule change, so I’m unsure what could have created this issue or what caused it to last for several days.

        The Iberia system is throwing up a non-specific system error when I try to change my itinerary, so I may give them a call. Unfortunate that they insisted on cancelling the original ticket instead of leaving it in the system a bit longer until things sorted themselves out! I’ll have to remember this for future bookings.

        Thanks again for your explanations.

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