With a difference of just €20 at the time of booking between economy and business, Iberia Express appeared to offer a competitive direct option between the Scottish and Spanish capital’s. It should be noted, however, that this route is seasonal, and currently operates between June and October.
At the Airport
Check-in queues were long, with only 3 desks open. There was a priority desk for passengers travelling in Business, or oneworld frequent flyers, and as such I was checked-in within ten minutes. Iberia Express do not pay for passengers to use the fast track lane at Edinburgh airport, which is disappointing. On this occasion, however, the agent managing the priority lane allowed me to use the facility. I find the security process at Edinburgh to be chaotic, and far less efficient than at Glasgow. Despite using the priority lane, the queues were long and the process felt more stressful than it need be.
Officially, Iberia uses the Aspire lounge at Edinburgh. This seems rather strange, considering Iberia’s owner, IAG have their own lounge at Edinburgh, in the form of the British Airways Lounge. As a result of oneworld access rules, however, you are also able to use the BA lounge if you want, and on this occasion I chose to do so. The BA lounge is a pleasant, large space with plenty of natural light. At the time of my visit, the breakfast offering was available and consisted of a continental selection. Champagne is also available on request.
The flight was scheduled to depart on time, and I arrived at the gate thirty minutes prior to departure, shortly after which boarding commenced. Priority boarding was available for those with eligibility and worked efficiently.
As is standard with European shorthaul business class products, the seating in business was identical to that of economy, the difference being the free middle seat, which allows for a little more personal space. Today, I was seated in 1F.
Shortly after take-off, the cabin crew came round with a tray of drinks with a choice between either orange juice or water. After this, I was asked whether or not I’d like anything to eat. There was no choice, with the only option being a ham and cheese quiche. If your flight leaves after 10.30am but before 12pm, Iberia Express offer a ‘brunch service’ – this was completely unsatisfactory for this flight, which departed at 11.05am, and was scheduled to last 2hr 55m, meaning arrival into Madrid at 3pm local time. The small quiche was served with a small bowl of fruit, and a bread roll. The quality was very poor – soggy pastry, and lacking in flavour. It was unexciting to say the least, and certainly wasn’t satisfactory for the length of the flight. Wine and spirits were available, and the wine was okay.
The service wasn’t great, with the cabin crew mainly staying in the galley once the meal service was complete, this said, they were quite quick to respond to any additional requests for drinks. One nice thing about Iberia Express is their onboard in flight entertainment, which can be accessed through your internet browser – in particular, it offers a moving map, something which isn’t available on Iberia’s mainline services.
As the price difference was so small on this flight between Business and Economy, I wasn’t as disappointed as I might have been with what was a pretty poor offering. The brunch meal service wasn’t satisfactory, nor was it appropriate for a flight which was nearly 3hrs in duration. Had I paid a significant premium for business, I would have been very disappointed.