Iberia Express ~ IB 3617
London Heathrow (LHR) – Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (LPA)
Thursday, September 7
Duration: 4 hours 25 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A320
After a great six day visit in London, it was time to leave the drizzle, fog, fish, and chips for warmer weather. Our son, Zachary, isn’t quite two years old so he can technically be a lap child, but he’s too large and active to make that a pleasurable experience for more than the shortest of flights. I researched all of our options, and I decided to redeem British Airways Avios for two business class tickets on Iberia Express. “Business class” really should have quotes around it, as we’re talking about European regional business class, which is barely better than Economy Class. That being said, it comes with better food, a large baggage allowance (necessary when doing a 3 week trip with a baby), and lounge access.
If you’re not familiar with intra-Europe business class, let me paint a mental picture for you. Close your eyes… Imagine three normal economy seats. Then make sure nobody sits in the middle seat. Open your eyes! That’s European business class! Here are a couple shots of the Business Class cabin on our Iberia Express A320.
To divide the cabins, there is just a small curtain.
If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m actually not really. Booking this cabin was a very strategic decision. With 22 month old Zachary still technically being a “lap child,” using Avios to book two business class seats actually got him his own seat. We just put him in the open one.
I’m jumping ahead, though. We’ll start with check-in. Check-in was very smooth. We went straight to “H” check-in at Terminal 5 at Heathrow. This is where Business / First check in. We had no line, and we went straight to an agent. We had lots of heavy bags, and it was nice being able to check them all without concern of extra baggage fees, as Business Class tickets booked with British Airways allow 2 checked bags per ticketed passenger. I was excited to check out the lounges, but I ended up being disappointed. We had two options: British Airways Galleries Lounge (access due to Business Class ticket) and Aspire the Lounge (access due to Priority Pass membership). The two are right on top of each other so I thought it might be fun to bounce between the two. Instead, Aspire the Lounge was full with a 30+ minute waiting list. Nope. No thanks. The British Airways lounge was super full, and it was difficult to find seating. We posted up in the kids room, which was fine, as Zachary was exhausted, and we were somehow able to get him to take a nap on the couch in there, after he got some time in on the PS4.
It was finally time for us to take a quick walk over to our gate and board. Boarding was uneventful. There were no pre-departure beverages offered, which was disappointing, even with my rather low expectations for this business class product. After reaching cruising altitude, the flight attendant came around offering everyone a round of orange juice. I thought that was a bit odd for a 5PM flight, and I also thought it was odd that she didn’t offer any choice in the matter. I asked if she had sparkling wine, champagne, cava, or anything like that, and she said no.
When she was done with the OJ service, she asked if there were other drinks we would like. I asked her what kind of beer she had. She told me just Mahou. Okay. I’ll take a Mahou.
She asked Katy if we would be having dinner. We asked what our choices were. No choices. Just seafood pasta. Well okay then. We’ll take that!
I didn’t get to choose my beer, and I didn’t get to pick my meal, but the beer was fine, and the meal was quite tasty. The raviolis had some kind of seafood medley filling reminiscent of crab. The salad was nice, and the flight attendant did come by with bread as well. The dessert treat was also good.
Beyond that, service was relatively nonexistent for the rest of the flight. If I wanted a drink, I had two options:
- Get up, pull the curtain aside, disturb the flight attendant reading her book, and ask for a soda
- Ring the flight attendant call button
After electing the first option once, I went with the second from there on, as it actually seemed less disturbing than invading her reading space. She seemed to be reading a lovely novel.
The flight landed in Gran Canaria, and we were ready to visit our next vacation destination! I really wouldn’t recommend paying real dollars for this “business class” experience. However, if you have a child under 2 and need some extra checked baggage and an extra seat, it’s certainly better than flying economy, and it worked out really well for our family.