Iberia finally has been able to unveil its new Business Class and other cabin upgrades on the Airbus A350 to the media. The event this Thursday week had to be postponed several times after seat supplier Recaro ran into supply chain problems, forcing the airline to fly its newest A350s without Business Class. Iberia finally introduces its new Business Class product.
Although the A350-900 has been flying with the Spanish airline only since June 2018, Iberia and its parent International Airlines Group (IAG) felt the need to upgrade Business Class and bring it to the same level as that of the new British Airways and Aer Lingus products. At the same time, Iberia was able to benefit from the A350’s New Production Standard 2022. MSN567 delivered on September 28 was the first aircraft with this new configuration. MSN579 followed on November 28 and MSN556 on December 22. The first two have been outfitted with Business Class and in service for some weeks, but the work needs to be completed on the third one. This is done by Iberia itself and not by Airbus.
The new Business Class product has the same number of seats as in the previous version (31), but its design is fresher. The biggest difference is that each seat has a sliding door for more privacy, something that’s not on the original version that flies on thirteen other A350s. The overall layout is still 1-2-1, which gives all passengers direct access to the aisle. The central seats have a “honeymoon divider” that can be lowered if passengers want to sit next to each other. The new seat is five centimeters longer than the older one and offers more storage space.
Both Premium Economy and Economy seats now sport the ‘wings’ for more comfort and privacy. (Iberia)
Iberia also slightly upgraded the 28 Premium Economy seats (four more), adding the now familiar ‘wing’ to the headrest which not only gives more head support but also acts as a means to increase privacy. Economy seats share the same wings.
Economy Class still has 293 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, but they are one centimeter wider at armrest level thanks to the four inches/ten-centimeters wider cabin that comes with the New Production Standard. As we showed in our A350 flight report on December 1, the sidewall of the new version is more straight.
A big step-change in passenger experience comes from the new Panasonic inflight entertainment system, IFE Next. The touch screens with 4K resolution are larger in Premium Economy (from twelve to thirteen inches) and in Economy (from ten to twelve inches) and can be remotely controlled in PE. Passengers can connect their personal devices to the system thanks to Bluetooth. Iberia also introduces six different ambient lights for different phases of the flight.
Iberia has four more A350-900s on order, of which two (MSN622 and 634) have already entered production.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.