Today, I’m on my way to Ibiza, where I’m getting to try out Surf Air’s offer for top tier frequent fliers – a free flight. More on that in tomorrow’s post, but there’s some detail here.
In order to get out here, I booked a ticket with Avios from Heathrow to Madrid on British Airways in economy, and then connecting on to Iberia over to Ibiza in Business class (mainly as that’s the only availability they had).
The day didn’t start too well, as the train I’d planned on getting from Ealing to Heathrow was cancelled, meaning that I needed to get a slightly earlier service in to Paddington and then on to Heathrow. Grumble.
I arrived at about 06.20, ambled up from the platforms, through the First Wing which is still brilliant, and then a quick breakfast in the lounge.
My flight was being operated from the B gates, so it was a short ride on the train over, up of coffee in the lounge over there, before boarding. Given British Airways is now buy on board and it was an 07.30 flight, I slept for most of the 1h 55mins over to Madrid. However the very lovely purser did go around the cabin looking for (I’m assuming) the Gold and Guest List card holders to say hello to. I always find that to be a nice touch.
We landed about fifteen minutes early at the farthest end of the Satellite Terminal at Madrid. For those that haven’t used the airport before, it’s huge. I think it’s architecturally fascinating, and indeed it won the Stirling prize in 2008. However it does mean long walks, so the 90 minutes that I had wasn’t actually that long.
I walk quickly and it took a good five to six minutes to get to passport control, so I could enter the Schengen area. Then there’s lifts or escalators down to the train to take you to the main terminal. From there, you need to clear security and then you’re back air-side again. From stepping off the plane to getting to the lounge took about 25 minutes in all.
The lounge in the Schengen area is called the Dalí lounge and for a business longe is actually pretty good.
There’s pretty much everything that you could want including snacks, salads, fruit, wraps and sandwiches. There didn’t appear to be anything hot, but given it was 11.30 felt that it was fine. They’re all quite nicely packaged, seemingly to encourage you to take them on board. I think given that both Iberia and BA now operate buy on board in economy, this should be something for BA to consider in their Heathrow lounges so that card holders can self-cater.
There is a range of seating all around the lounge from lounge chairs, a dining area, and even a darkened off relaxation room.
Soon, after grabbing a salad, it was time to walk literally to the furthest other end of the main terminal to get my Iberia (operated by Air Nostrum) flight over to Ibiza.
This time I was flying business class, however the seating was exactly the same 2 x 2 on the Bombardier CRJ-900 as economy. Unlike the Lufthansa Group, Iberia doesn’t block the seat next to you. Business was four rows and the seat next to me was occupied. To give us both a little space, after boarding was completed I moved back a row.
Given Madrid’s huge size it was a good ten to fifteen minutes before we were at the runway ready to take off. Flight time was a quick fifty minutes.
On board, there was a choice between a cheese or ham sandwich, and there was also a full bar service.
Before long, it was time to land into Ibiza about five minutes early. I wandered out of the baggage reclaim area and it was a five minute walk to the FBO. However more on my return journey tomorrow.
Madrid is an architecturally wonderful building, however with long walks. I certainly wouldn’t pick a connection less than an hour and a half minutes here. Other than that, being pretty new, it still works well as an airport, plus you can get a good few steps in!