About two years ago I traveled from Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, to Dublin, Ireland. To get there I then, get back to home I flew in three different companies. One of them was Iberia which administrated my flight from São Paulo to Madrid then from Madrid to Dublin and the way back. It wasn't neither a good or bad experience.
Price: It was really cheap flying from São Paulo to Dublin passing throught Madrid, cheaper than traveling in other companies.
Time: Flights from São Paulo to Madrid, from Madrid to Dublin, from Dublin to Madrid, and from Madrid to São Paulo was on time either on the departure and arrival. It was good because I went for an interchange and the school send a person to receive me but if the flight delay I'll loose the service.
But it also had it's negative points:
Comfort: Even for economy class seats was quite hard and not very confortable. As I said I flew with two other companies (one from Ribeirão Preto to São Paulo and another from São Paulo to Uberlândia) on my way all in economy class and Iberia was really uncomfortable.
Conection time: We had to wait almost six hours on Madrid airport to flight to Dublin and almost seven to flight back to São Paulo. The other companies I saw when searching a fly to go had two or three hours.
Flight Attendants: There was one great one really attentive and prepared to give us all the information we requested but the other two I had in touch to not even worried speaking slowly so we could understand them (I'm Brazilian and I don't speak Spanish very well so if they speak slowly I can understand).
So that's my experience: good if you need small prices and don't care too much about comfort and boarding service, bad if you don't wanna spend many time in airports waiting for connections and if you need flight attendants to give you some information (first time travellers for example).
I recently made a trip to Tenerife with Iberia , flying there via Madrid. It was a ghastly experience and I will not be using Iberia in the future. We made 4 flights with two connecting flights in Madrid. None left on time or arrived on time. The departure from Heathrow was late departing and whilst our luggage was put through for our original flight we were placed on a much later one, leaving 4 hours late. This meant that we missed the connecting flight in Madrid and had to stay there overnight taking the earliest Tenerife flight at 12.10 the next day.
Due to overbooking and misallocation of seat numbers the flight left late so that eventually we arrived in Tenerife at 3.50 pm. Taking into account time changes the whole process of getting to tenerife had taken 23 hours. It is normally a four hour flight when using a direct route. On arrival our baggage was missing .
For five days we only had the clothes we arrived in and no toiletries other than those the hotel had given us . We had to purchase some basics and with the pound in free fall this proved expensive. Calls made to Iberia at tenerife airport baggage dept were expensive, as we had to use mobiles, and calls to Madrid to contact the tracking service were more expensive. We were given a number in spain to contact about compensation but it was never answered.
The return journey was almost as bad, with insult to injury being added when at check in the Iberia staff wanted to charge excess baggage as the replacement clothing took us over the limit. Removing books to put in hand luggage reduced the weight but the fact that our hand luggage now weight a ton seemed to pass them by .
The first leg of the return journey left late as Iberia put two flights together , poorly communicating this fact by not changing flight boards so that many passengers arrived late through no fault of their own and seat allocation was a free for all causing distress to some late arriving families with small children. I must advise you all too that Iberia charges for food and drink at exorbitant prices even though these were scheduled flights. This was not made clear by e-booker tickets and I have taken that up with them.
An incomprehensible explanation for the delays was given over the loudspeaker none of which was believed by us or other passengers one the excuses had been deciphered. We arrived late into Madrid. The stopover was mercifully fairly brief , though longer than planned due to late incoming arrival of the plane. It arrived back in Heathrow two hours late at 11.20 pm , a total return time Tenerife to London 8+ hours . At Heathrow only one of our bags arrived.
I write this after receiving the missing bag last night at 10pm, 15 days after returning to London . No receipt for the missing bag was given when requested - "we just deliver them mate!" was the reply. When I asked the driver if he had done many Iberia deliveries he said "mountains of it ". this came as no surprise having seen mountains of unclaimed , late delivered bags with Iberia stickers labeled "rush", all over the baggage reclaim at terminal two. The queue for claim forms to register lost luggage at the iberia desk was long and time consuming : this after not being able to find any staff to enquire why the carousel had halted. A search of the hall for my lost bag was horrifying as hundreds of bags , some open and rifled , were taken from overloaded carousels by three Heathrow staff( who quickly disappeared.) Had I been so inclined I could have walked out with any number of bags such was the laxity of staffing there. No doubt some bags will have gone missing this way. Security was appalling and a worry. I have written to BAA about this but not had a reply.
Passengers were given chits by Iberia so that we could use their web based tracking service . What they omitted was to put on a reference number so that tracking was impossible. Angry and tired by now and too late to get home by public transport we took a taxi home at a cost of £80. Thank you Iberia.
During the last 15 days I made dozens of phone calls to Iberia , many of which were automatically transfered to sales , who put the phone down at the mention of baggage and when they didnt they were unable to transfer me to anyone who could. The website for Iberia is a travesty for a national airline , staff are either uncommunicative or ill informed and at worst downright rude.
I am about to attempt to obtain compensation for the expense stress and worry this experience has caused , but a look at the web for similar experiences and there are hundreds of them does not bode well. If anyone out there in dooyoo land can advise the best way forward i would be grateful for some. Dooyoo currently rates Iberia with two stars - this is grossly overgenerous and should be amended.
I would advise anyone who intends to use Iberia to make sure they have fully comprehensive insurance( my expensive one I now find does not offer compensation for baggage delay on the return journey !) , ensure that they have ample funds to purchase food and drink on the flights , especially long haul, anticipate that the journey will be disrupted , that you will be treated with discourtesy by uninformed staff, and be frustrated to the point of despair at tying to get through to anyone who will offer you a sympathetic ear . Be warned !
I flew with Iberia from Spain to South America, and I have to say that this is my least favourite airline and I will not use them again.
My friend was kind enough to pay for our trip so to be honest I dont know about the cost of the ticket.
However, I do know that if you are flying from the UK to South America, you are quite likely to fly via Spain and be put on an Iberia plane!
There are a few reasons why I do not like Iberia. They are:
Comfort: we fly in economy class but the seats were not comfortable, even for economy. The seemed harder than the seats in other aircraft, and I also felt that there was less legroom.
Staff: the staff were not very helpful or friendly and they could not really be called bilingual. Obviously in an emergency the staff need to be able to communicate with all ofthe passengers on board and in this case I would have been concerned about their ability to direct us.
Food: the food was awful, and neither myself not my friend finished our meals. There were two choices- pasta or chicken, and for some reason the air steward tried to get us to have the pasta and not the chicken, but we both wanted chicken. Maybe he knew it was awful and this is why he tried to put us off!
Lateness: the first flight was over two hours late taking off, and the second was about two and a half hours late.
One good thing I can say about Iberia is that the plane was quite clean.
If you can, fly with someone else.
Iberia are the national airline of Spain, and are linked to the OneWorld alliance, meaning that any BA flight you take to Spain may well be operated by Iberia.
As a frequent flier between the UK and Spain, I often find that one or both legs of my journey are actually operated by Iberia, though if I have the choice I would always opt for a BA flight.
That's not to say that Iberia aren't good; they are. They do however seem to do just about the bare minimum required to keep you happy, and fail to go that little extra to make your journey that little bit more enjoyable.
Generally their fleet and services mirror those of British Airways. Most short haul European flights are in Boeing 737 oir Airbus A320 aircraft, with just a little more legroom than on the budget airlines. Long haul aircraft use the 747 or A340 aircraft.
My experience shows that generally they run on time and I have rarely had a delay of more than a couple of hours.
If you are lucky enough to fly business class you may be somewhat disappointed at the facilities available to you in the Iberia lounges, which again provide just the bare minimum and fall so far short of BAs superior Business class service that at first I thought I was in the wrong place. Note that if you are flying BA business clas your only option in Spain is the Iberia lounges.
On board the crew appear courtious and professional and i have never felt unsafe or indeed unwelcome.
In economy class the meals are just what you would expect: a dried meal encased in a pre heated tin foil dish, plus a bread roll and a desert, and of course free drinks.
A somewhat worrying fact is that while Iberia remains a full service airline, charging full service prices, they have begun to remove the full service features from their flights. While flights between the UK and Spain appear not to have been affected, many colleagues report that other flights no longer provide meals and refreshments of any sort. Indeed on a recent flight from Barcelona to Mallorca we received nothing at all, not even a drink of water.
Business class short haul flights appear to have remained unaffected, though I do try to select BA over Iberia as their meals and refreshments are far superior. Business class entitles you to a free Spanish newspaper and a more refined meal that is provided on a plate rather than a foil dish, and is of a higher quality than in economy.
Strangely though I have found that even in Business class there is no entertainment available on any Iberia short haul flights. While 2 hours is not a huge length of time, in the very least a little music to listen to would be a welcome distraction. Note that this is also the case on BA.
Where the gap between BA/Iberia really widens is on the long haul flights. Iberia do not have as wide a network as Ba or many of the other OneWorld partners, though it is worth noting that if your destination is in Latin America, South America, or the Spanish Caribean you can save up to 75% by booking with a spanish airline as there is fierce competition on these routes.
Selecting the cheap option though can have it's disadvantages. While Iberia claims to have a gleaming fleet of new long range aircraft with up to the minute entertainment systems, I have yet to see one. For the most part their long range fleet seems a little worn around the edges, and the entertainment system is straight out of the 80's with the large projectors placed at various intervals requiring you to crane your neck at an unnatural angle.
The food remains palatable and drinks are plentyful, and the staff perfectly courtious.
To sum up, Iberia are not a 3rd rate airline. They are professional, timely, and well worth a look. But don't expect a gleaming plane with first class pampering. There are far worse airlines out there, trust me I've been on a few. With a little work and a few simple touches this could be a world class airline