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Old Jun 19, 07, 4:04 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Programs: IB plus Platinum, JK Gold, BAEC Silver, LH Senator, PC Platinum Ambassador
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Iberia Business Plus review MAD-BOS-MAD

Hello flyertalkers I´m going to share with you experiences on Iberia Business Plus service during my last flight last month.

I flew last month on Iberia from Madrid to Boston, flight IB6165 is departing 13:25, (as many of Iberia long haul flights departs in a (12:00-14:00 window) check in counters even in Business Class get quite busy at Madrid.

Check-in
There are not specific long haul check-in desks so domestic, European and long haul flights check-in at the same desks (my impression was a poor service as there is not long haul web check-in option or self service kiosks on Iberia and at that time there was only 40% of the business desks open with an average of 10 passengers per desk waiting for check-in.

VIP Lounge
After check-in I headed to Sala VIP Velazquez located on T4S, lounge is over average, quiet and with big windows and natural light that’s really appreciated, at my time nice breakfast buffet (pastries, fruit, coffee, tea and juices), around 11:30 they turn around service to a different sandwich buffet, there are nice alcoholic drinks in three different bar locations over the lounge. I will like to mention the “wine corner”, where you can taste different recognized Spanish wines that change every month and they will be served on board afterwards during your meal service.

Boarding
Boarding Iberia flights from Spain is a mess, there are not boarding throw rows and you just feel like a “sheep”, my flight did not have a second finger for business class passengers.

Seating
Iberia´s new Business Plus seat is good, I is a "lie" flat seat, I was seated in row one and foot rest is going higher that any one row in business plus (I´m not sure if row 6 in A340-300 gets higher as well)

Service on board
Service on board Business Plus is quite different than the “rude” service you receive on Iberia Y service, the new seat is quite comfortable and it allow you to rest during the flight. I received a menu with a 1st course, an option between 3 different 2nd courses and 2 options for a dessert, the wine list was quite good and selection of liquors were improved as well in this new service. (Just let you know that seat movement function is not working when you have extended your tray table). Food was good on daylight services (PLEASE NOTE THAT ON LONGHAUL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM MADRID AFTER 11PM ONLY A PASTA DISH WILL BE SERVED, and no one informs you at check-in or even when you buy your ticket that that flight will be served with short list service). IFE system worked ok except for SMS/e-mail function that was unable to send or receive nothing during the whole flight (purser didn’t know if the system was enable on that plane), the second meal just a Club sandwich (same as you can buy on domestic/European routes for 9€ on board). Amenity kit above average for business class service. Cabin crew was happy to answer you any question but they really disappear between services, they have an “auto bar” at the end of the C cabin but it was feed with a couple of cheese portions, no sandwiches, no fruit and after finished cabin crew did not refilled for the whole flight.
Arrival
Boston immigration was quite at the time of arrival, just 5 minute wait at the queue and bags arrive just after cleared immigration.

Flight IB6166 BOS-MAD

Check-in
Iberia’s check-in staff at Boston Logan (Swissport staff dressed with Iberia uniforms trying to cheat passengers) is the most incompetent Iberia staff I saw in ages… As my Business class reservation was on waiting list and my Spanish domestic flight Iberia issue me 2 Business class tickets, one for MAD-BOS-MAD and a Spanish domestic business class ticket, when I arrived to BOS Iberia Business class check-in only one business class check-in was opened at that time, agent took 25 minutes to check-in and print boarding pass for a passenger without luggage, at my turn I arrived with my 2 different PNR, the one for the intercontinental flight and the one for the domestic flight with a connection time in Madrid of 80 min. Agent told me that She was not able to retrieve domestic flight segment as she was not training to do it… When I told her that I will like my bags checked to my final destination she told me that she didn’t know how to do it… When I asked for a supervisor to take care of myself she told me that “supervisor is on Miami for the weekend”, afterwards she told me that she would have a hand-note in a paper book that will try to help her to check me to my final destination, She asked me for the three characters code of my destination airport (yes, check-in agent ask me for the IATA airport code for my final destination) and she attach a paper hand written with a “rubber band” to my luggage, and gave me back a piece of paper hand written as luggage tag receipt without any name just saying “ 2 pieces checked at Boston to XXX on day xx/xx/xxxx” I asked her if this is the normal “procedure” for connecting flights and she told me that it is the only thing that she will do for me as she didn’t receive properly training. She took 30 minutes at check-in to do it… so on Business class check-in queue was getting mad!!! As well she gave me an “invitation for the VIP lounge” and she told me that there is a map inside the invitation that shows how to get the VIP lounge and If I have any problem that I would be able to request assistance from any agent in the airside of the terminal after security check.

VIP Lounge

As soon as I passed security check I took my invitation to VIP Lounge and open it, I had a terrible surprise when the map did not reflect Boston Logan Terminal, and the invitation was heading me to an Admiral’s Lounge… as I’m frequent traveler I realized that the map printed in that invitation was Miami International Airport Map showing the way to Admiral’s Club in Miami (but I was in Boston Logan), trying to find anyone from Iberia in airside was impossible, Logan information desk at airside told me that they didn’t know which lounge Iberia is using for his Business Passengers, they call check-in and got an answer on the phone that the information is on the VIP invitations, information desk agent told over the phone that VIP invitation seems wrong as airport map printed was Miami Int´l airport, Iberia check-in desk agent told her that they didn’t know which lounge were Iberia’s passengers entitled to use. I went through BA terraces lounge (assuming as in JFK, BA will provide lounge access to Iberia Business Class passengers), BA Lounge staff told me that they do not have at Logan airport any contract to get access Iberia business and she really didn’t know if Iberia provide that facility at Logan airport, but as “BA courtesy” she will gave me access to the lounge (after I show her my VIP invitation and she claim how a One world airline would take that care of its premium passengers). At boarding time I asked agent about Business Lounge in Logan and she told me that “I heard that would be entitled to use Northwest lounge facilities, but I’m not sure”

Flight

Flight was ok, only disappoint that Iberia cabin crew take nearly 1:30 hours to start to serve dinner on this short flight. Full dinner service on this flight from Boston.

Arrival

Obviously with baggage check-in problem bags did not arrive on expected flight, when I tried to go to baggage claim office and open a complaint for that they told me that “with that piece of paper we can not do anything for you”, after a big discussion and complaint to handling agent they checked for me and told me that they found two baggage tag numbers attached to my ticket checked in Boston but they did not have any clue about where they are… Bags arrived very late next day and I did not receive any apology from Iberia.

Baggage Department

I receive a call from Customer service from baggage services saying that I’m entitled for 53.60€ total for my personal expenses after they lost my bag flying business plus intercontinental flight, (I told the agent that if he was joking with me, but he told me that he received information as delayed passengers flying in any class will be entitled for 1/21 of 1,000 special rights for each delay day, and that’s what Iberia is going to post me by cheque)

In general Iberia offers a good product in the air, but they cut to much ground services outside the plane, if something is going wrong Iberia staff have a nightmare to help you. Many new staff now is not properly trained to deliver the service that customer pay when fly intercontinental business plus.

Iberia seems that had closed down customer service department as there is no way to contact them either by phone or e-mail, just receive a P.O. box in Madrid (I complained to that P.O. Box 5 or 6 timed during last two years and I did not receive an answer for my complaints).
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Old Jun 19, 07, 4:25 pm   #2
 
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This is what happens when some services are outsourced: workers get a very simple instruction and then don't know how to do when a problem arises.

However, I'm surprised this happened to a very large and well-known firm as Swissport...
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Old Jun 19, 07, 4:41 pm   #3
 
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Txolo, thanks for this comprehensive report on Business+. I think it's something a lot of people have been wondering about.

It seems that the problem with boarding you experienced in MAD is universal in European airports (with maybe one or two exceptions). I know that at both AMS and CDG it's a rugby scrum to get on board and at BCN they call everything all at once (though, being Spanish, most of the people line up single-file and wait patiently).

I think you have a basis for a complaint and compensation over and above your lost-luggage compensation based on your experience at BOS. Swissport staff are universally horrible it seems to me, and I wonder if they aren't there because they were the lowest bidder.

You can file a complaint with IB on the web at: http://www.iberia.com/OneToOne/v3/complaintPrepare.do (funny: they have about 60 boxes you can check to indicate what you want to complain about but if you check more than three a message pops up to inform you that you're only allowed to complain about three things).

In your case I would pass the IB ticket office at any airport and ask to file an hoja de reclamación. Iberia is obligated to let you file one, and by law must respond within ten days or face a fine up to 30,000 Euros. The courts are running out of patience with IB: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/2207...ndenada/pagar/
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Old Jun 20, 07, 5:50 am   #4
LRD
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txolo View Post
... I is a "lie" flat seat, I was seated in row one and foot rest is going higher that any one row in business plus.
I haven't heard this before and it's hard to believe that IB would put different foot-rests in the first row of their two business class sections.

Seatguru and Seatexpert do not have IB seat-maps, so your observations are valuable... Please forgive my astonishment, but are you sure that these foot-rests go higher?
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Old Jun 20, 07, 6:39 am   #5
 
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In fairness, IB interlined my bags in BCN on 2 PNR and 2 different airlines without flinching.
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Old Jun 20, 07, 6:50 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txolo View Post
IFE system worked ok except for SMS/e-mail function that was unable to send or receive nothing during the whole flight (purser didn’t know if the system was enable on that plane
This is normal: the service is not available in the A340-300. What it is a shame is that the FA didn't know that.
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Old Jun 20, 07, 8:30 am   #7
 
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Thank you for this very informative report. I'm disappointed in the service you received in Boston; I am planning on flying this route in September. Hopefully by then, the training issues will be resolved.

I would think that BA is the logical lounge choice in BOS, but then again, I'm relying on logic here. Certainly oneworld elites could use the BA lounge without any problem.
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Old Jun 20, 07, 8:31 am   #8
 
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Quote:
IFE system worked ok except for SMS/e-mail function that was unable to send or receive nothing during the whole flight (purser didn’t know if the system was enable on that plane
Quote:
This is normal: the service is not available in the A340-300. What it is a shame is that the FA didn't know that.
Gato Volador, I previously e-mailed messages and sent SMS from IFES screen on A340-300. I don´t know if you are referring to web e-mail conection on some 340-600 where you are allowed to plug your computer and use it for web-mail and instant messaging service (that it is different from the one I´m telling you). IFES SMS and e-mail worked perfectly for me on a 340-300 early this year.

Regarding seats, Iberia intercontinental frequent flyers should know that as "lie" flat bed rows 1 & 6 on A340-300 do not have another seat in front of you, there is a hole/cavity inside bulkhead where foot rest is expanded, the bulkhead permits foot rest to go higher in that rows because the hole/cavity when you have a seat in front of you is smaller than the other one. Any other flyertalkers would support these??
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Old Jun 20, 07, 8:36 am   #9
 
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It seems perfectly reasonable, and it's nice that IB bothered to go to the trouble to configure (adjust?) the seats this way.

It's possible on NW and KL aircraft to do it manually, though not without some furious pulling and a carryon to shove under the footrest.
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Old Jun 20, 07, 4:30 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
In fairness, IB interlined my bags in BCN on 2 PNR and 2 different airlines without flinching.
But BCN agents are Iberia Handling employees (or better, since january 2007 they are ex-IB workers gone to Groundforce until the concession ends), so they know how to deal with IB issues.

The problem arrives when you're abroad and the agent only had a high-speed preparation of how to do their job. They usually know what is basic, but no more. (Just take Iberia's call center: before being outsourced, the operators were real experts and knew all the products and were able to solve problems. Now the "SITEL" operators (SITEL is a Customer Relations Management firm that received the contract with IB) only know how to make a booking, but if there is a problem, or you have any question beyond, then they start saying... "well, hold the line a moment... I'll ask my collegue...", and finally you get a non satisfactory answer.
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Old Jun 23, 07, 3:00 am   #11
 
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Regarding footrest that's true, first row has extra adjusting. You have to press up footrest button once you reach the fully extended flat (angled) position. Could be about 5 degress up. This is only available on 1st rows.

And about dinner service on long haul night flights departing from MAD, Txolo is right, service is complete cut off, only pasta, no chance to choose, also bar service is really poor.
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Old Jun 24, 07, 3:34 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txolo View Post
Regarding seats, Iberia intercontinental frequent flyers should know that as "lie" flat bed rows 1 & 6 on A340-300 do not have another seat in front of you, there is a hole/cavity inside bulkhead where foot rest is expanded, the bulkhead permits foot rest to go higher in that rows because the hole/cavity when you have a seat in front of you is smaller than the other one. Any other flyertalkers would support these??
this is true
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Old Jun 24, 07, 6:20 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juliusgg View Post
And about dinner service on long haul night flights departing from MAD, Txolo is right, service is complete cut off, only pasta, no chance to choose, also bar service is really poor.
but they offer a full sit-down dinner service in the Velasquez Sala VIP in T4S for all Business Plus passengers before the late night intercontinental flights depart, right? Whether or not they communicate this well to all passengers ahead of time is another story...
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Old Jun 25, 07, 7:08 pm   #14
 
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Brettyokom, you are right, so on as well why when you fly Iberia Business class from around 2 years ago now they didn´t advise Businness class customers what lounge are they entitled for or where is the lounge located? It happened to me at Milan and Amsterdam or Athens during last year, because they can forgot it one time, but not 3 different times at 3 different airports... Maybe Iberia is cutting costs on contracted lounges to reduce their bills...
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Old Jul 12, 07, 5:09 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHLbuddy View Post
I would think that BA is the logical lounge choice in BOS, but then again, I'm relying on logic here. Certainly oneworld elites could use the BA lounge without any problem.
I hope not, as BA has an absolutely horrid lounge in BOS (although, I must admit, not as bad as the NW WorldClub...)
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