On the Ground: Iberia’s dedicated check-in for premium classes is separate and not easy to spot, but a helpful representative directed us to the secluded area behind the bay of check-in counters facing Iberia’s. While I checked in, one of the three good-humored agents checked the next morning’s weather in Málaga to see if I should pack my warm coat or carry it for easy access. (29/30)
Pre-flight: The lounge, which Iberia shares with British Airways, is large, quiet and well-equipped, with several big seating areas, plenty of computer terminals and a wellstocked bar with good wines and snacks. Unfortunately, the snacks lean heavily to packaged junk-food and sweets (although the latter were good brands). The Iberia lounge at Barajas Airport in Madrid is better stocked with fruit and healthy pre-flight snacks. (28/30)
In-Flight: The four rows of Business Plus seats were in front of the six rows of business class in the cabin. As soon as I was seated, the purser introduced himself and made sure I knew how to use the personal touch-screen entertainment system, which included movies on demand, so I could stop the movie and tune in and out at will. There was so much legroom that I had to unfasten my seatbelt to reach the magazine in the seat pocket. The good-natured cabin crew — at my request — helped me practice my rusty Spanish by speaking slowly, even keeping straight faces at my pronunciation. Dinner was leisurely and the entrees hot. Porcini ravioli was tender. My travel partner pronounced the chicken ragout “tasty.” The wine list gave me a good chance to preview wines to look for in my travels — the Taberner from Cádiz was a surprise discovery. The seats reclined flat, and I slept so soundly in the quiet cabin that I slept right through breakfast, having posted my personal “Do not Disturb” sign before pushing the recline button. (40/40)
The Experience: The entire crew, both on the ground and in the air, was cordial, helpful and seemed genuinely interested in providing a good flight experience. The fully reclining seats make a 100-percent difference in comfort through the night and, I thought, well worth the additional cost of Business Plus.
Total Score: (97/100)
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