Episode 2 – The first wide-body and the perfect airport hotel

We had arrived onto the plane and a short delay turned into a big one. We had missed our slot and there was an issue with a door that wasn’t closing properly which needed to be check out by Engineering. Once cleared, we took off about 90 minutes late.

The plane was an Iberia A340-300 – more often found flying long haul that intra-Europe.

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I understand that it is used because it can carry more freight on this key link. Either way, it mean that we have a very comfortable flight. The cabin was a little shabby, definitely showing signs of wear and tear, but the main feeling was how spacious it was. There was at least a meter from my knees to the seat in front, which made a change from the previous flight!

I was a bit disappointed with how long it took for the crew to start the service – it must have been an hour into the, already 90 minute delayed, flight. When it did come, it was fast and efficient. I would have liked to have had a drinks run first, and then the meal, but these are small things. I opted for the pasta, a kind of macaroni cheese, which came with the same salad, manchego and toffee pudding that was on my last Iberia Business flight. It was tasty enough, and I wasn’t complaining.

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Sooner that we realised, the descent had started. At this point I had my case on the floor in front of and my laptop out to charge my phone – I thought that I would be told to put them away, but I only put it away as we were taxing into stand.

We were almost first off the plane and quickly onto a train and across to the main Terminal 4. What stuck me was the sheer scale of the place. It makes LHR T5 look like some backwater non-entity. We made our way out to the hotel shuttle waiting area for the bus to the Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport.

I called the hotel to be told that it would be arriving at 0015 and it was there almost exactly on time. One other couple were waiting for it so there were no issues in getting on. At the hotel we were checked in pretty quickly. As a platinum member I was warmly greeted, given 600 points welcome bonus (on a ticket that I had to redeem online – first time that has ever happened), and given super-quick wifi. I gave this to Mum and told her that she could have it for her iPad, as I could use my data on my phone. This act of son-chivalry obviously tickled the man at the desk, as he gave me another premium wifi code too.

Our room was great – it had 2 small double beds, effective air conditioning, and complimentary water which was needed. We were soon fast asleep and obviously slept really well as when I looked at my phone again it was 0930! The black-out curtains did exactly what they were meant to do! We didn’t have breakfast in our rate, which was insanely cheap – I think I paid less than 50EUR including tax – so we got up and decided to head straight into town.

The flight was fine – aside from the fact that we were delayed, and the crew were less than pro-active, I would certainly choose that evening departure to Madrid on the wide-body over the normal Airbus – there is so much more space and it feels special.

The hotel was great – which is a good thing as we are staying again on Sunday night when we return late from Frankfurt. Fingers crossed it will be as good!

You can follow the whole journey here:

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