Review: Iberia A320 Economy Class (LHR-MAD)

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Iberia’s flights between London Heathrow and Madrid depart from Terminal 5 so, because this was a morning flight and thanks to my oneworld status, I had the benefit of breakfast in the British Airways Galleries First Lounge before the flight. From previous flights on Iberia I knew that the airline only offered a “buy on board” food service so I figured it was a good idea to eat before the flight.

Because my flight departed from Terminal 5 (the home of British Airways) the gate agents responsible for the flight were all BA staff so I was interested to see if they would follow the correct boarding procedure……


…or if they would, essentially, invite the whole plane to board at the same time.

In my experience it’s almost always the latter but, on this occasion, the gate agents were great and boarding was about as orderly as I’ve ever seen on British Airways.

As usual I was one of the first to board (if I know I’ll be taking pictures I’ll try to get to the gate early to get on before the other passengers) and I was soon looking at Iberia’s A320 Economy Class cabin.

The cabin is set out with 3 seats either side of the central aisle….

iberia-a320-economy-class-04Iberia A320 Economy Class

iberia-a320-economy-class-08Iberia A320 Economy Class

…and, as I found out on a previous Iberia Economy Class flight, it’s very important to get an exit row seat if at all possible.

Here’s why:screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-13-05-41

Per Iberia’s own website the seat pitch (leg room) in its A320 Economy Class cabin is a horrendous 28″ (71cm). That’s 1″ less than easyJet (29″), 2″ less than British Airways  (30″) and 4″ less than Air France (32″) offer on their respective European A320 flights.

The last time I few in an Iberia A320 I booked my ticket very late so all the exit row seats were already taken..I didn’t make the same mistake this time.

The leg room in the exit rows is perfectly ok and, as I found out, made the 2 hour flight to Madrid a lot more comfortable than the last time I flew the same route.

iberia-a320-economy-class-06Iberia A320 Economy Class – Exit Row seat

My photos don’t make it incredibly obvious how much more leg room you get in the exit row compared to a regular row but, if you take a look at the next picture (which is a regular economy class row)….

iberia-a320-economy-class-07Iberia A320 Economy Class

…and look at the gap between the seat cushion and the seat in front, you should see just how little space passengers get.

The one benefit of the regular economy class rows is that the armrests between the seats can be raised…..

iberia-a320-economy-class-11Iberia A320 Economy Class

…while the exit rows have fixed armrests:

iberia-a320-economy-class-10Iberia A320 Economy Class

Moveable armrests can be nice if you have an empty seat next to you but they don’t make up for a lack of leg room – the exit rows are definitely the way to go if you can.

There are no power outlets on the Iberia A320 but, as these aircraft don’t usually fly routes much longer than a couple of hours, that shouldn’t be an issue.

There also isn’t any wifi on board…but Iberia has announced that it will begin installing high-speed wifi on its short-haul fleet from 2017.

Storage-wise the only option on the A320 is the setback in front of you….

iberia-a320-economy-class-12Iberia A320 Economy Class

…and, because the space is rigid and full of magazines, there isn’t too much that you can fit into it…although with a bit of persuasion I did get my 11″ Macbook Air stowed away.

All the pictures I’ve used so far were taken in the first 2 or 3 minutes I was on the aircraft – that why there aren’t any passengers in any of them – and, just after I had taken the picture of the seat back storage, a flight attendant came up to me and said “photographs are forbidden“.


One thing I’m 100% sure of and that’s that it’s never a good idea to challenge a flight attendant once you’re on an aircraft – that’s a great way to get yourself removed from a flight no matter how wrong the FA may be – so I let the comment go, I put my iPhone on my lap and just said “ok“.

Still, I was pretty sure that the flight attendant had just made up a rule…so I thought I’d check.

We were still on the ground and passengers were still boarding so I sent a tweet to Iberia and got back a pretty swift response. Here’s how the conversation went:


I deliberately used the same word that the flight attendant used just to make sure there was no misunderstanding and, as you can see, I was right. She had completely made up a rule.

I have no idea why a flight attendant would make up a rule (sadly they do it quite regularly in my experience) but, just as you can get some truly fantastic members of cabin crew you can also get a few that like to wield whatever power they think they have.

Still, like I said, it’s never a good idea to challenge a member of cabin crew once you’re on the aircraft so I let things be.

The flight itself was uneventful and, despite the fact I didn’t buy anything, I remembered to take some pictures (surreptitiously!) of the food you can buy on board Iberia’s short-haul flights.

There were individual snacks and a single breakfast item:

iberia-breakfastIberia A320 Economy Class Food

If you want something a little more substantial Iberia offers sandwiches:

iberia-sandwichesIberia A320 Economy Class Food

But the more economical way to get a meal is to purchase one of the “menu deals”(click to enlarge):

iberia-menu-meal-dealsIberia A320 Economy Class Food

Drinks-wise there are a selection of hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks:

iberia-non-alcoholic-drinksIberia A320 Economy Class Drinks

And a selection of alcoholic drinks including…

A choice of red or white wine:

iberia-wine-1Iberia A320 Economy Class Drinks

A sparking wine, whisky or gin:

iberia-spiritsIberia A320 Economy Class Drinks

And a choice of two beers:


Bottom Line

I really don’t like it when cabin crew make up rules to suit themselves but, apart from that incident, the flight was perfectly ok.

I would do everything possible to avoid flying Iberia Economy Class if I couldn’t get an exit row seat because I think that 28″ of leg room is bordering on torture but, if you approach the experience as you would approach a flight with a low-cost carrier (which is essentially what Iberia is on short-haul flights) you won’t be overly disappointed.

Next Up: Review – Sala VIP Puerta Del Sol Madrid T3


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