This was not my first but certainly won’t be my last trip to New York. Every time again this city has something else to offer that makes my stay special and pleasant.
As AA was running a special promo on their new DUS-ORD flight I decided to leave from DUS (Dusseldorf) and flew AA241 & AA362 to New York. On my way back I picked an AA codeshare on Iberia to test the new A330, AA5583 & AA5678.
I will share with you my experience.
Dusseldorf is an easy-going airport to depart from. Dusseldorf is off-course a pretty busy hub for one of the other partners of Oneworld: Air Berlin.
This is my first experience and maybe at other times the airport may be more busy but I hardly experienced any queues. Notice that AA signs are not yet installed outside at departures. Don’t start looking for them, you need to be at ‘A’. As an AA Gold I could use the Business Class check-in. Staff was extremely friendly and making jokes. My bags were tagged with the priority labels, I got the usual security questions. (Was your bag with you at all times?) and I could continue to clear security and head to the gate.
Even at the security at Dusseldorf Airport were there smiling faces and a friendly hello. It must have been a while ago that I experienced this kind of service at security.
Dusseldorf airport offers many opportunities to shop, spend time and eat&drink but I did not have that much time. Just time to eat a way too much expensive sandwich (as always) and rush to the gate. They just started boarding when I arrived.
First Business was allowed to board and after that all elite passengers. I would have been aboard pretty quick if it weren’t were I was picked out for an additional random security check at the gate. After the extra security check I could finally pursue my way to my Main Cabin Extra (MCE) seat.
MCE seats offer additional legroom to travel in comfort. Look at how much space I have:
Enough space for a comfortable trip and a free upgrade for all elite customers in 2013. As of next year it will be free for Platinum and Executive Platinum Elites. Off course everybody can enjoy the benefits of MCE for a fee.
MCE is in the front of the Main Cabin which means you’re also one of the first to deplane and one of the first in line at the border in the United States. Those who experienced the lines when entering the United States know what I’m talking about.
I continued my flight to NY on one of AA’s MD’80’s where I had picked an exit-row. At first I had 2 seats for myself (configuration is 2-3) but as soon as other passengers noticed the flight was not full it didn’t take long before the exit-row seats were taken.
Bye Bye New York
AA Gold means you can’t pick your seats upfront on Iberia and BA. (You need to have at least Platinum status to do so.)
I checked in for my flight the evening before and was pleased with the seat they assigned me for the flight JFK-MAD (3rd row in economy and the right side of the plane (2-4-2 configuration). I changed my seat on the next segment to BRU to be seated in an exit-row.
As the A330 just joined Iberia’s fleet the plane feels and smells completely new. The new in-flight-entertainment system (IFE) looks quite fancy as well. Personal TV’s in every seat coming with a big selection of movies, series and games. The IFE is however not always as intuitive as I would have hoped. For someone used to these kind of interfaces I got lost when I was choosing my film and suddenly found myself in music and TV shows lists. Some older persons needed help. It took the crew 3 attempts to get the system up & running but once it was up it was running smoothly. I watched the movie ‘Taken 2’, the selection consisted of new movies as well as some classics, and I tested some of the games.
Legroom on the A330 is really, really very limited. I could not put my book in the seatpocket of the seat in front of me as I had not enough space. (and no, it was not the 3-in-1 edition of Lord of the rings ) (I measure 1m82)
I was glad this flight was only slightly less than 6 hours. For transcontinental flights you could use some more legroom.
Transfer at Madrid was again a long walk. Arriving from the United States you need to transfer from terminal 4s to main terminal 4 which includes a long walk, a bunch of escalators, a quite long tram ride, another bunch of escalators and another long stroll. Off course you pass immigration and security along the way. Be sure you have at least 90 minutes.
Iberia’s European flights are the opposite of their transcontinental flights when it comes to meal & drink service. Where the meals on their transcontinental service are, in my opinion, better than average, you have no free drinks and meals on their European flights. Prices are a little bit more expensive than what you would pay at the airport. If your thirsty or hungry be sure to buy your drinks&foods upfront.
Last but not least, all flights were on-time! Something I can really appreciate as it is, after safety, one of my major concerns.