Route: Madrid - Bogota
Flight Time: 10:30
Airplane: Airbus 340-600
Seat: 25L and 25J (the best seats in Economy)
South America is one of the most interesting continents on our planet. Not just because of the culture, the freedom feeling and their lifestyle. Also because they speak the same language as we know from the European countries Spain and Portugal. In fact, languages we are also able to study and understand. Although there are many direct connections to South America, a lot of people still go via North America. Since we were looking at the prices 5 months before our travel already, we found the direct flight from Europe (well going out from Madrid) to be the cheapest and Iberia to be a very reliable and well reputed airline. Since it was also the fastest connection to Bogota, we were sure that we are going to try out Spain's most famous airline. With Iberia being part of OneWorld it is a great idea to use our AirBerlin Status and access the lounge in Madrid and Munich which was another big plus. So in the end, it was clear: Iberia is the airline to bring us to Colombia.
We were checking in at Munich Airport's Terminal 1 and found the process to be done fast and efficient. Even tough it was the first day of holidays even in Germany, the queues were quite alright and everything went quick. Upon entering the plane, the staff was quite friendly, however as Iberia was the first airline to stop in-flight service in Economy class during European flights, we did not have any further encounter with them. Luckily our flight was perfectly on time and we could go to the runway earlier than expected. As it was cloudy in Southern Germany, as soon as we were over the clouds we could gather a simply breath-taking sunrise over the Austrian Alps. I felt this was the perfect start into the adventurous holidays that followed. After 2 hours we arrived on time at the new Terminal 4 at Madrid International Airport. To get to the international departures you have to get to Terminal 4S for which you have to take an underground train. The whole process can take you 20-30 minutes so make sure to plan this time ahead.
As soon as we arrived at T4S, we went towards the Velázquez Lounge, Iberia's International Lounge. Yes there is also the Dali Lounge (which looks more impressive and has more seating space) which can be found in Terminal 4. Inside the Velázquez Lounge they even have a warm buffet (at the Dali it's only cold snacks) as well as a bistro for dinner, when leaving for non-Schengen and long-haul flights. During our stay there was a breakfast buffet set up with potatoes quiche, sausages, scrambled eggs, ham and cheese selection as well as various Spanish breakfast dishes. Bread selection was nice and there has been a toaster as well. In general, there was everything you can expect from an European airport lounge. What I loved most was the bar in front of the entrance with an extensive selection of spirits and wines. Nobody can deny a Gin Tonic in Spain, can you? Well if you have to leave the lounge before noon, you definitely should avoid a G&T.
Boarding was on time and we immediately found our seats. Since we were seated on am emergency exit, a stewardess arrived welcomed us and asked if everything was fine plus introduced us to the usual emergency exit procedures. She also said in case of emergency she will come and help, which I found very nice tough. In the end we did not need her help as there was no emergency of course. As soon as everybody took place, we were ready to leave for Bogota! In fact, we were really excited what was awaiting us - inspecting the people... Do they look like mysterious Colombian men? Will we feel and see the danger of the city? Before we could proceed, we departed and were served the drinks and the lunch for this flight. There was a choice between chicken and pasta. We both decided to take the pasta dish and it was a good choice. Well the Lasagna tasted good and was very good for economy class standards. In addition to the main course there was a small green salad and a dessert. Overall the lunch menu was quite alright and we finished everything.
Having booked emergency exit seats (the surcharge was 20€ and 60€ but well worth the money since it's a 11 hours’ flight and therefore unlimited legroom is a great plus!) and being the flight a day flight, we had such an enjoyable journey. As I don't sleep on day flights anyhow it was absolutely fine to go to South America in economy but for night flights I definitely prefer to have a bed. Flying Iberia also gives you access to onboard Wi-Fi, though I find it a little bit expensive so we did not use it. Well, I am one of these persons (even though I am a blogger) who appreciates the fact of being offline while flying. Back to the food offerings: During the entire flight there was always the possibility to get drinks at the galley or grab a sandwich (the taste was really good, so we probably could have had more than one...just saying ;) ). One hour before landing, there was another service where they offered a big red snack box for afternoon tea. Inside this box there was a bar of KitKat, yoghurt, biscuit and a croissant with ham and cheese. Unfortunately, we did not try the Economy Class' alcoholic selection of Iberia, however their wines in the lounge were quite nice.
In general, it was a super convenient flight and we arrived in Bogota perfectly on time. Even though it might not be usual to have a review of an economy class here at this luxurious travel blog, but let's be honest. There are more and more people getting the cheapest airplane fares but spending all the money at the destination. So do we, there is no need for a business class within Europe and yes Economy class on a day flight to the US is survivable nowadays. Why not staying at the Four Seasons instead the Sheraton? Or why not taking the Executive Suite Canal Grande View instead the darkest Superior Room you have ever seen in Venice? Iberia is definitely our favorite choice for flying to South America (and many other destinations of course) since the connections are perfect and the hardware was very convincing. Value for money is definitely amazing when you consider that the flights from Munich to Bogota via Madrid were at 550€ per person return. Now add a one way upgrade back from Bogota to Madrid and you might have an amazing trip for an amazing amount of money as flights to South America are always costly.
Thanks to Iberia Airlines for supporting us on our trip to South America. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.