Monday, May 31, 2010

Iberia Improved?...



Yes, it's been a while since my last post, but I've been working on a lot of stuff over the past month and blogging took a back seat to life... We still don't know anything more about UA/CO other than the fact that John Tague's name isn't appearing anywhere on the merger committee, and there's been a big oil spill that's captivating most of the press's attention lately, so there really hasn't been a lot to blog about.

Thanks to one of those "stuff" things in Real Life, I'm on my way to Nice, FR for the week on one of my least favorite airlines. Iberia.

Amadeus had it's IPO a few weeks back, and IB held onto all of their shares, so they're still a part owner.  Thus, they offer a pretty good discount in return for us flying on them between the US and Europe...

Today was the middle of Memorial Day weekend in the US, so it was a light travel day in general at O'Hare.

I really lucked out at elite security -- there was nobody in line, and two xray lanes open. For fun, I put one shoe and my backpack on one belt, the other shoe and my laptop on the other belt... TSA laughed mostly out of boredom. Guessing the concept of demand scheduling was lost on their admin staff with the holiday weekend... Normally, the lines are pretty long on a Sunday afternoon.

Skipped the Club and went straight to the Flagship Lounge at K19, which was also lightly filled for the hour. Maybe 15 of us, vs what is normally 35-50 when I take this flight. They have hot food vs nothing in the Club, and they're closer to the gate used by Iberia. Other than that, its just a mini Admirals Club.

Boarding was called a little early in the lounge, so I missed "Running of the Bulls" for a change... J cabin was full. Didn't walk thru coach.

AF1 spent the weekend in ORD (which really messed up my Thu pm arrival and probably messed things up on Friday with his photo op in Louisiana), but Obama wasn't joy riding today. 20 minutes out to off on 22L.

Routed ORD-JFK and then direct to MAD, passing north of the Azores and making landfall near Vigo, Spain, just north of Porto, Portugal and the border. Must be cheaper for IB to avoid overflying Portugal...
Had a great view of the moon thru open windows on the south side of the aircraft.

IB's menu hasn't changed much in the past three years. Appetizer of mescalane salad and scallops, entree choices of veal, sea bass or lasagne, and dessert choice of fruit/cheese, chocolate cake or ice cream. I had the sea bass & ice cream...

I usually opt for express service for dinner when flying east. It is delivered in one shot (skipping appetizer & salad) as opposed to being multiple courses drawn out over an hour...

Tray was delivered four minutes after asking for it, and I was done eating and asleep before appetizers were delivered to my row... Only mark-down here was the tray was never picked up until after entrees were delivered...

IB has done a reconfig on the 346, as there is no longer a self-serve bar in the rear of the J cabin, and that allowed them to repitch the cabin to allow full flat.  Believe it or not, IB has finally  responded to my three year old complaint about the accordion wedgie seat.  Now all they need is better IFE.... 12 movies, none of which interested me.

I managed to sleep a good four hours, despite some light turbulence/porpoising, loud snoring and not so loud but not light flatulence from about the cabin.  I haven't flown on a 777 lately to compare it to, but the A340 is a somewhat quiet aircraft, which means that cabin noises aren't masked by the outside slipstream noise... that includes heels walking up/down the aisle, galley clanking & banking, lav flushing, and snoring.  I could clearly hear the people ahead, behind, and across the aisle from me snoring..... I didn't catch anyone flatulating, but it was pretty obvious that it was happening...

Arrival at MAD was quick as well --- I was thru passport control, on the train, and at the T4 security queue in less than 20 minutes.  Waited a few minutes there, and was in the IB Lounge within 30 minutes of landing.  That's pretty normal this time of day as well.

Overall, I can't complain as much now that they've fixed the seating.  I'm flying them three more times in the next two weeks, so no more trip reports unless there's something noteworthy, which is admittedly rare for IB, but this flight was definitely better than my November & December flights.

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