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A significant number of airlines cut back on their inflight offerings when the pandemic first hit and while some cuts were almost certainly genuinely down to health and safety concerns, a lot of the cuts were also very clearly cost-cutting measures passed off as essential changes needed to keep passengers safe (when an airline is happy to pour you a glass of water but won’t pour you a glass of wine you know that the cutback has little to do with an abundance of care for your health).
Iberia has now announced that it’s restoring its Business Class meal offerings on all short-, medium-, and long-haul flights and that this restoration will include the kind of service that passengers had come to expect before Covid.
Iberia has followed British Airways (its sister airline) in moving its catering over to DO&CO and, on the whole, this should be good news. DO&CO provides catering for a number of airlines whose inflight services are very well regarded (e.g. Austrian Airlines, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, etc…) and as long as it is given a reasonable budget with which to work (British Airways please take note), the results are generally very good.
In partnership with DO&CO, Iberia has come up with a new set of menus which the airline says focuses on “the tastiest dishes of Mediterranean cuisine, using local and seasonal products where possible”.
Importantly (for a lot of people), the refreshed menus will be served with new tableware and linen (initially on routes to the US but this will be rolled out across the airline’s network), so Iberia’s Business Class passengers should now have seen the last of plastic cutlery and meals served in disposable bakeware.
Short-Haul & Medium-Haul Catering
In Business Class on short- and medium-haul routes, Iberia now serves hot breakfasts, which will include one of the following as the main dish:
- An omelet served with salted spinach
- A Spanish-style omelet accompanied by fresh tomato concassé and roasted green peppers
- An omelet with avocado and red onion accompanied by oven-baked tomatoes.
Alongside one of the main breakfast dishes, Business Class customers can expect to be served freshly made butter croissants, fresh seasonal fruit, a “superfood bowl of craft yoghurt with seeds and berries” as well as the usual selection of coffee, tea, and fruit juices. On longer flights, a plate of Spanish cheese and cold cuts is also offered.
For flights departing after 10:30, Business Class passengers on domestic flights within Spain or on flights traveling between Spain and Portugal will be served a “gourmet cold snack” as well as a main dish which will include one of the following:
- A smoked salmon tartlet with Japanese rice served on a light cream of wasabi
- A dressed cherry tomato salad with authentic buffalo mozzarella and mint
- Roast beef with hummus, baked courgettes, and black olives
Fresh fruit will also be offered.
On flights longer than 90 minutes and departing after 10:30, Business Class passengers will be served a hot lunch or dinner, which includes a fresh salad starter, and a choice of main dishes that will always include a vegetarian option. Examples of the main dishes include:
- Veal sirloin with string beans and crispy bacon served with baked potatoes
- Rigatoni with home-made tomato sauce and fried aubergines
- Grilled cod with a mild celery mousseline served together with garden vegetable ratatouille.
Alongside the main dishes, Business Class passengers can expect to be served “an exquisite home-made dessert”, such as double chocolate cake, almond and orange cake, or white chocolate mousse with berries“.
On longer flights, an additional plate of Spanish cheese will be included as an appetizer.
Business Class passengers on long-haul flights will now be offered a main meal with a cold starter (e.g. roast beef carpaccio served with grilled vegetables and Cipriani sauce) followed by a choice of three hot dishes:
- Roast lamb with smoked roast peppers on a bed of pea and edamame mousseline
- Langoustines with homemade tomato and Parmesan sauce served with grilled broccolini
- A vegetarian option which, in November, was a spinach quiche with Manchegan cheese and a mild Romescu sauce. (Iberia hasn’t said what December’s option is).
Desserts will vary from month to month and will include dishes such as passion fruit pannacotta and a Spanish cheese plate (Mahon, Manchego with paprika, and a goat’s cheese).
Depending on the time of day and the length of the flight, Business Class passengers may be served a second meal before they arrive at their destination. This second service will either be breakfast or an afternoon snack. On the very longest flights (e.g. Madrid – Los Angeles), Iberia is offering additional service between meals which includes salads, fresh fruit, and sweet or salty snacks.
Related Reading: What It’s Like Flying British Airways Business Class During Lockdown
For Iberia’s Business Class passengers it looks like the inflight meal services are getting back to what they were like at the very beginning of the year. The airline is still only operating a fraction of its pre-Covid route network but it’s still nice to know that if you’re paying for Business Class fare on Iberia you’re likely to get a semi-normal Business Class experience. There are a few other airlines that I could name that should be taking a leaf out of Iberia’s book.
I flew business class yesterday MAD-SDQ 27 Dec 2020. It was horrible. Apparently Covid only allows for cold food: two awful wraps and a tuna salad, worth less than 10 euros. The snack before landing was a unpleasant prosciutto sandwich, cold again. No liquor, only beer and wine. Even that in small bottles. Everything plastic and disposable. The crew brought in their own food and did warm it up as we could smell it in the cabin. Surreal. The plane was old and cold, and it was packed! Covid restrictions seem more toward cutting costs than actually safeguarding traveler’s health. Do save your money and avoid this business class that was frankly worse than many transatlantic economy flights.
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